Tag Archives: 18th Century

Rowson, Susanna H.

ROWSON, SUSANNA H[ASWELL]. (1762-1824). Born in Portsmouth, England, Susanna H. Rowson became an actress, educator, prolific writer in several genres, and notably the author of Charlotte Temple (1791), America’s first best-selling novel. Rowson’s father, William Haswell, was a lieutenant in Continue reading & text links

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Jones, John Paul

JONES, JOHN PAUL (1747-1792). Born in Scotland, John Paul went to sea as an apprentice at age twelve. After inheriting property in Virginia, he added “Jones” to his name and became a lieutenant in the Continental navy in 1775. His Continue reading & text links

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Irving, Washington

IRVING, WASHINGTON (1783-1859). The first American to succeed as a professional author, Washington Irving was born in New York City in the last year of the American Revolution. Although he is best known today as the author of “Rip Van Continue reading & text links

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Freneau, Philip

FRENEAU, PHILIP [MORIN] (1752-1832). An “occasional” poet born in New York City, Philip Freneau during his long life wrote lyric and narrative poems on a wide range of subjects. Since he spent many years working on ships, a sizable number Continue reading & text links

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Fanning, Nathaniel

FANNING, NATHANIEL (1755-1805). Nathaniel Fanning’s Narrative of the Adventures of an American Navy Officer (1806) is one of the most reliable, graphic, and extensive eyewitness accounts of the famous battle between the Bonhomme Richard and the Serapis. Following the four-hour Continue reading & text links

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Fanning, Edmund

FANNING, EDMUND (1769-1841). Captain Edmund Fanning of Stonington, Connecticut, was the younger brother of naval officer Nathaniel Fanning. In a memorial to the U.S. Congress in 1833, Edmund Fanning urged the legislature to support funding for an exploring expedition to Continue reading & text links

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Equiano, Olaudah

by Arnold Schmidt (2000, rev. 2021) EQUIANO, OLAUDAH (1745-1797). By the time he died at the end of the eighteenth century, mariner, author, and abolitionist Olaudah Equiano had likely become the wealthiest and most famous Black man in the Atlantic Continue reading & text links

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Dunlap, William

DUNLAP, WILLIAM (1766-1839). William Dunlap, born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, showed considerable artistic aptitude at an early age and in 1784 was sent to England to study painting under Benjamin West. There, however, he became fascinated with the theater Continue reading & text links

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Delano, Amasa

DELANO, AMASA (1763-1823). Amasa Delano, whose Voyages and Travels (1817) was the source for Herman Melville’s “Benito Cereno” (1855), was born in Duxbury, Massachusetts. After serving briefly in the Continental army during the American Revolution, Delano began a lifelong career Continue reading & text links

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Dana, Richard Henry, Sr.

DANA, RICHARD HENRY, SR. (1787-1879). Richard Henry Dana Sr. was born into a prominent Cambridge, Massachusetts, family. He was educated at Harvard, leaving without a degree in 1807. He studied law and passed the bar in 1811 but showed little Continue reading & text links

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Cuffe, Paul

CUFFE, PAUL (1759-1817). Seaman, captain, shipowner, businessman, author, and African colonizer, Paul Cuffe was born 17 January 1759, on Cuttyhunk Island, Massachusetts, the seventh child of his African-born father and Ruth Slocum, a Wampanoag Indian. Cuffe went to the sea Continue reading & text links

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Cooper, James Fenimore

COOPER, JAMES FENIMORE (1789-1851). With The Pilot (1824) James Fenimore Cooper invented the sea novel, for the first time employing the dominant literary form of the nineteenth century as the vehicle for a fiction in which the sea and the ship Continue reading & text links

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Coker, Daniel

COKER, DANIEL (1780-1846). The son of a white servant and a black slave, Daniel Coker was born in Maryland as Isaac Wright, changing his name when he escaped to New York. After buying his freedom, he moved to Baltimore to Continue reading & text links

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Byles, Mather

BYLES, MATHER (1707-1788). Congregational minister, sermonizer, and poet, Mather Byles was the grandson of Increase Mather. Among his publications are two notable volumes, Poems on Several Occasions (1744) and Poems. The Conflagration. . . The God of Tempest and Earthquake (1755). The first collection Continue reading & text links

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Burts, Robert

BURTS, ROBERT (17??-1839). Robert Burts was born in Maryland and entered the navy in 1833 as a midshipman. He sailed to the Mediterranean on the sloop Ontario, but upon return in 1836 he began a string of extended leaves. After fourteen Continue reading & text links

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Bowditch, Nathaniel

BOWDITCH, NATHANIEL (1773-1838). Mathematician, navigator, and astronomer, Nathaniel Bowditch authored the book that since 1802 has been the standard reference for celestial navigators worldwide. Schooled only to age ten, Bowditch taught himself mathematics and several foreign languages in the course Continue reading & text links

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Blatchford, John

BLATCHFORD, JOHN (1762-1794). John Blatchford’s account of his voyages is one of the more extraordinary sea narratives from the American Revolution. First published in 1788 and soon republished in at least half a dozen other editions, Blatchford’s Narrative of Remarkable Occurrences Continue reading & text links

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