Category Archives: S

Carl Safina

SAFINA, CARL (1955-). Carl Safina is a biologist, author, activist, and educator. Born on May 23, 1955, in Brooklyn, NY, Safina spent his childhood fishing, breeding pigeons, and playing music. In high school, he participated in a bird-banding survey on Continue reading & text links

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Samuels, Samuel

SAMUELS, SAMUEL (1823-1908). Samuel Samuels was the most famous of the packet-ship masters, eventually commanding the renowned Dreadnought (1853). Packets sailed on a set schedule, regardless of whether or not their cargo holds were full. Almost all that is known Continue reading & text links

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Sandburg, Carl

SANDBURG, CARL [AUGUST] (1878-1967). Carl Sandburg, poet, historian, journalist, novelist, labor organizer, folksinger, and collector of American dialect, was born to Swedish immigrant parents in Galesburg, Illinois. Sandburg early understood the beauty, power, and destructiveness of water. He experienced the Continue reading & text links

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Santayana, George

SANTAYANA, GEORGE [JORGE AUGUSTIN NICOLAS RUIZ DE] (1863-1962). The Spanish-born American idealist-philosopher George Santayana drew on his frequent Atlantic crossings in forming concepts of the world and himself. He also used shipboard experience when developing abstract argument and inventing the Continue reading & text links

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Sargent, Epes

SARGENT, EPES (1813-1880). A Boston newspaperman and son of a Gloucester sea captain, Epes Sargent is best remembered as the author of the lyrics of one of the best-known nautical songs of the nineteenth century. In addition to American Adventures Continue reading & text links

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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe

SCHOOLCRAFT, HENRY ROWE (1793-1864). Born in upstate New York, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft was trained as a glassmaker. Like many Americans of his age, however, as a young man Schoolcraft went west, where his knowledge of mineralogy led eventually to his Continue reading & text links

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Seaborn, Captain Adam (John Cleves Symmes)

See Symmes, John Cleves Continue reading & text links

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Searls, Hank

SEARLS, HENRY HUNT “HANK,” JR. (1922- ). Novelist and author of nonfiction and short fiction, Hank Searls was born in San Francisco 10 August 1922. Graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1944 with the wartime-accelerated class of 1945, he Continue reading & text links

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Semmes, Raphael

SEMMES, RAPHAEL (1809-1877). A naval officer first in the United States and then in the Confederate navy, Raphael Semmes wrote two books on his naval adventures. The first, Afloat and Ashore during the Mexican War (1851), is an account of Continue reading & text links

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Siegel, Robert Harold

SIEGEL, ROBERT HAROLD (1939-2012). Growing up in the Midwest, Robert Harold Siegel also spent time on Long Island’s Jones Beach, cruised the Caribbean, and currently sails and whale-watches off the coasts of Maine, New Hampshire, and California. His Whalesong trilogy Continue reading & text links

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Sigourney, Lydia

SIGOURNEY, LYDIA [HOWARD HUNTLEY] (1791-1865). Lydia Sigourney, the “sweet singer of Hartford,” was one of the most famous literary women in nineteenth-century America. Her interest in the ocean and the sailing life came from her many excursions along the New Continue reading & text links

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Simms, William Gilmore

SIMMS, WILLIAM GILMORE (1806-1870). William Gilmore Simms was born in Charleston, South Carolina, where he spent most of his life. He was, with the exception of Edgar Allan Poe, the most significant author of the antebellum South. Beginning as a Continue reading & text links

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Sleeper, John Sherburne (“Hawser Martingale”)

[SLEEPER, JOHN SHERBURNE], “HAWSER MARTINGALE” (1794-1878). An author and journalist from New England, John Sherburne Sleeper first went to sea in 1809 as a cabin boy and assumed his first command in 1821. By 1825 he was captain of an Continue reading & text links

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Slocum, Joshua

SLOCUM, JOSHUA (1844-1909?). Joshua Slocum, the first singlehanded circumnavigator and author of the classic Sailing Alone around the World (1900), was born in Nova Scotia. At sixteen he left home to work as a deepwater sailor and by 1869 commanded Continue reading & text links

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Smith, Edgar Newbold

SMITH, EDGAR NEWBOLD (1926- ). A descendant of a maritime family, Edgar Newbold Smith graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1948. Best known as a collector of naval prints, Smith compiled American Naval Broadsides: A Collection of Early Naval Continue reading & text links

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Smith, John

SMITH, JOHN (1580-1631). Although born in Lincolnshire, England, Captain John Smith initiated many traditions in American literature, among them geography, autobiography, and history. A True Relation (1608), his earliest account of his experiences in the Chesapeake Bay region of Maryland Continue reading & text links

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Snider, Charles Henry Jeremiah

SNIDER, CHARLES HENRY JEREMIAH (1879-1971). A Canadian born in Sherwood, Ontario, Charles Snider first sailed the Great Lakes at age eleven and later worked in its merchant marine. During a fifty-year career at the Toronto Telegram, Snider researched, explored, and Continue reading & text links

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Snow, Edward Rowe

SNOW, EDWARD ROWE (1902-1982). A prolific producer of maritime history and lore for popular consumption, Edward Rowe Snow was born in Winthrop, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard University and earned a master’s degree in history from Boston University. Among his Continue reading & text links

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Snyder, Gary

SNYDER, GARY [SHERMAN] (1930- ). Born in San Francisco, Gary Snyder grew up among the forests, mountains, and shores of the Pacific Northwest. A graduate of Reed College (1951), Snyder first went to sea during the summer of 1948 and Continue reading & text links

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Sparks, Jared

Life of John Ledyard (1828) Continue reading & text links

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Steinbeck, John

STEINBECK, JOHN [ERNST] (1902-1968). John Steinbeck, winner of the 1962 Nobel Prize in literature, was born in Salinas, California. As a child, he divided his time between his family’s home in the rich agricultural land of the Salinas valley and Continue reading & text links

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Stevens, Wallace

STEVENS, WALLACE (1879-1955). Wallace Stevens is one of the most influential American poets of the twentieth century, whose central concern is with the relationship of the human imagination and the world of physical reality. Stevens grew up in Pennsylvania and Continue reading & text links

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Stevenson, Janet

Interested in contributing Janet Stevenson’s biography? Click here for more information.

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Stockton, Frank R.

STOCKTON, FRANK [FRANCIS] R[ICHARD]. (1834-1902). Best known for his short story “The Lady or the Tiger?” (1882), Frank R. Stockton lived in the eastern United States and wrote variously for both children and adults. His interest in the water was Continue reading & text links

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Stoddard, Elizabeth

STODDARD, ELIZABETH [DREW BARSTOW] (1823-1902). Iconoclastic novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet, Elizabeth Stoddard was born in the coastal town of Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, the daughter of its foremost shipbuilder and maritime merchant. Both the fluctuations of her father’s maritime Continue reading & text links

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Stone, Robert

STONE, ROBERT [ANTHONY] (1937- ). A distinguished, award-winning novelist, Robert Stone turned to nautical fiction in his fifth book, Outerbridge Reach (1992). Born in New York to a family of tugboaters, he served from 1955 to 1958 as a radioman Continue reading & text links

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Stone, William Leete

STONE, WILLIAM LEETE (1792-1844). William Leete Stone was a journalist and writer whose career as a newspaperman largely overshadowed his work as a historian. Born in New Paltz, New York, Stone had little formal schooling in advance of his employment Continue reading & text links

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Stowe, Harriet Beecher

STOWE, HARRIET BEECHER (1811-1896). Harriet Beecher Stowe is internationally famous for her antislavery best-seller Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852). In the summer of 1852, still living in Brunswick, Maine, where she wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Stowe began her romantic Maine idyll Continue reading & text links

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Stratemeyer, Edward L.

The Last Cruise of the Spitfire (1894) Continue reading & text links

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Symmes, John Cleves, “Captain Adam Seaborn”

Some scholars believe that “Captain Adam Seaborn,” the author of this fictional, first-person narrative, is the pseudonym of army officer and amateur geographer Captain John Cleves Symmes (1780-1829). Symmes claimed that the earth was hollow and accessible by “holes in Continue reading & text links

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