Thursday, October 30, 2008

Maritime Authors Series

The line-up for 2009 Maritime Authors Series, which is co-sponsored by the Fellows, is as follows: Our average attendance last year was 50 people.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Newly Cataloged Collections

Here are some manuscript collections that are newly processed, thanks to our cataloging staff and volunteers. If you have any questions or would like to research our collections, the Access Reading room can be reached at (860) 572.5367 and is located in the Collections and Research Center, open 10-5, Mon.-Fri. Or explore the links below!

Papers, 1911-1995, of Henry Hill Anderson. Includes a variety of unbound logs, narratives, and journals as well as correspondence concerning Anderson pleasure voyage from 1911 Nov-1912 on the bark FOOHNG SUEY, from New York to Hawaii. During this voyage around Cape Horn he records navigational data, what he learns from the many different men on board, and the death of one of the men at the hands of the cook, who later jumped overboard mid-ocean. The different documents all record the same events and voyage but are written at different times and not all are complete. Anderson made this voyage following his graduation from the Adirondack-Florida School and before matriculating at Yale University. The collection also contains an edited log from his son, Henry Hill Anderson, Jr.'s, voyage on the schooner GEORGE B. CLUETT and the STRAHCONA from 1939 Jun 24-Sep 3 as part of the Tanner-Forbes charting expedition from Boston to Newfoundland and Labrador.

Records of the Schooner Orville Horwitz (Coll. 344): Records, 1846-1887, of the schooner ORVILLE HORWITZ. This collection includes paid bills, the protection certificate for Captain Chauncey Kelsey, and other papers. There are also two account books. The first contains the vessel's accounts for each port and details of the cargos for each trip. The second contains the date when each crew member was hired and their wages for each voyage. It is not clear who kept these records.

Isaac Henry Strauss Collection (Coll. 348): Includes a variety of government documents from Strauss's time in the United States Navy, including personal identification cards, his Navy training course certificate, government dispatches, and two copies of the servicemen's magazine, "The Chaser." The largest series of government documents concerns the sinking of the USS POLLUX, on which Strauss was serving at the time, in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland on February 18, 1942 and the investigation that followed. The documents concern both the USS POLLUX as well as the USS TRUXTUN, which also wrecked that night, and the USS WILKES which was escorting both ships and include American and Canadian action reports, press releases, a list of the sailors who died in the wreck, copies of deck logs, trial documents, administrative and battalion orders, and Strauss's citation for outstanding performance of duty. The collection also includes correspondence regarding articles in Readers Digest and Oceans magazine that Strauss wrote about the disaster, to and from fellow survivors and readers, as well as correspondence about reunions organized by the St. Lawrence Heritage Society, the memorials at the wreck site, and the dedication of the United States Memorial Hospital in St. Lawrence. There are also clippings from Strauss's time in the Navy about war time events and the shipwreck, as well as later clippings that include the articles Strauss wrote about the disaster and clippings about the memorials at the wreck site, the United States Memorial Hospital, and Strauss himself. The collection also contains manuscript drafts, including a personal account of the shipwreck written by Strauss while he was in the hospital following the wreck, a rough draft of his article for Oceans magazine, and two other drafts of chapters written by Cassie Brown and George Whitely. This collection complements photographs in the general collection.

Harlow Collection (Coll. 349): Collection, 1856-2006, of John Jones Harlow includes a personal memoir of his life on whalers, a logbook from the whaling brig LEONIDAS, papers relating to whaling and other personal papers. Memoirs and logbook contain descriptions of whaling mutinies, injury at sea as well as shipboard life. Logbook also contains whale and porpoise stamps.

Roy G. Roberts Collection (Coll. 337): Collection, 1938-1964, consists mainly of U.S. Merchant Service instructor training manuals for Sheepshead Bay New York, New York and officer's training at Fort Trumbull, New London Connecticut. It also contains logbooks and papers related to shipping.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pete Culler on Wooden Boats

A collection of Pete Culler's texts on the boats and all things boating have been collected into one volume; Pete Culler on Wooden Boats With a foreward by Mystic Seaport's Associate Curator of Small Craft, Peter Vermilya, the book also contains numbers Culler plans and photos now preserved in the Ships Plans and Photograph collections.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"Sea History" carries feature article by MSM Curator

Fred Calabretta's article, The Work of Captain George Comer - Whaling and Anthropology in the Artic is featured this month in Sea History: The Art Literature, Adventure, Lore & Learning of the Sea. The article details Comer's relationships with noted anthropologist Franz Boas, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Inuits of Hudson Bay.

Photograph from the collection of Captain George Comer (1858-1937) of East Haddam, Connecticut. Depicts Capt. Comer on the deck of an unidentified vessel. On mount, below photo: "From C.G.Y. King/ James L. Foord/ May 1926".

Friday, October 10, 2008

Photographs of Mystic in the Morning

It's a beautiful morning in Mystic and the Collections photographers took some amazing shots on the grounds. Check them out!

Monday, October 6, 2008

New England Regional Fellowship Consortium Meets

The New England Regional Fellowship Consortium held its annual business meeting at Mystic Seaport on Friday, October 3rd. The Consortium funds up to a dozen fellowships a year, supporting scholarly work in New England history. This year, three NERFC Fellows will be doing research at Mystic Seaport. See for more information on the program and participating institutions.

U. S. Coast Guard Alums Tour the CRC

While the rain poured outside on Sunday over 40 alum and their families took a special tour of the Collections and Research Center vaults. A great group with good questions.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Certificate of Appointment for Collector of the Port of New York, 1718

A new addition to our manuscript collection and one of our earliest pieces is a certificate issued to Thomas Byerly as Collector of the Port of New York. It is signed by four of the royal customs commissioners at the Customs House in London: John Stanley, Thomas Walker, John Pulteney, and Charles Peers. There are three blue tax stamps along the left-hand side of the document, an elaborate pen and ink depiction of the royal seal is located in the top left corner, the royal seal in red wax is present but partially removed, a revenue stamp and early owner's inscriptions are on the back of the document.

Thomas Byerly was chosen by Queen Ann to serve as the Collector and Receiver-General of New York. Byerly was suspended in 1702 from his post as Receiver-General by Lord Cornbury, governor of New York and New Jersey at the time, for "ill-behavior, constant disobedience to orders, and countenance of Illegal Trade." However, it is more likely Byerly was suspended because he clashed with Lord Cornbury and it was later decided that Byerly had been "illegally" suspended. Byerly was restored by Queen Ann following his first suspension and by Lord Lovelace, Conbury's successor, in 1707 after his second suspension. He was assigned to the Assembly of New York by Queen Ann in 1712, replacing more rebelious members of the group. Then, on August 20, 1716 Byerly was again replaced as Receiver-General by James Gohier. In 1718 he was assigned to serve as the Collector of the Port of New York. In 1724 or 1725 he sold his land holdings in New Jersey and returned to London, England.

The certificate can be viewed at

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