Tag Archives: First-person narrative

Porter, David

PORTER, DAVID (1780-1843). The son of a veteran of the American Revolution, David Porter was born in Boston and grew up in Baltimore. He began his naval career as a midshipman in 1798 and became master commandant in 1806. In Continue reading & text links

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Poe, Edgar Allan

POE, EDGAR ALLAN (1809-1849). Edgar Allan Poe, best known for his tales of Gothic horror, was a writer of poetry, short and long fiction, an unfinished drama, criticism, literary theory, essays, and a “cosmological prose poem.” His more than seventy Continue reading & text links

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Safina, Carl

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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Wilkes, Charles

WILKES, CHARLES (1798-1877). Charles Wilkes was an American naval officer, hydrographer, and writer. He commanded the United States Exploring Expedition, 1838 to 1842, wrote its five-volume Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition (1844), edited the expedition’s eighteen scientific volumes, Continue reading & text links

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Warner, William W.

WARNER, WILLIAM W[HITESIDES]. (1920-2008). Naturalist-author William W. Warner was born in New York City. From 1944 to 1946, he served in the U.S. Navy, where he rose to the rank of lieutenant, junior grade, and was awarded a Navy Commendation 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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Rudloe, Jack

RUDLOE, JACK [J.] (1943- ). Born in New York, Jack Rudloe moved to Florida as a boy and began his self-education as a marine biologist. In 1964 he founded the Gulf Coast Specimen Company of Panacea, Florida, which collects marine Continue reading & text links

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Riley, James

RILEY, JAMES (1777-1840). While on a voyage from Gibraltar to the Cape Verde Islands during the summer of 1815, Captain James Riley and his crew of the brig Commerce were shipwrecked on the barren coast of the western Sahara, where Continue reading & text links

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Nickerson, Thomas

NICKERSON, THOMAS (1805-1883). At fifteen years old, Thomas Nickerson was the youngest member of the crew of the Nantucket whale-ship Essex when she was rammed and sunk by a whale in the Pacific Ocean, 20 November 1820. In 1876, fifty-five 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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Hurlbut, Frances B.

HURLBUT, FRANCES [BRINDEL] (1842?-1892). Orphaned by age nine, Frances Hurlbut, nee Brindel, left Pennsylvania for Newport (now Marine City), Michigan, to live with her aunt, Emily Ward. Hurlbut’s only publication, Grandmother’s Stories (1889), recounts Aunt Emily’s tales of their pioneer Continue reading & text links

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Ingraham, Joseph Holt

INGRAHAM, JOSEPH HOLT (1809-1860). Born in Portland, Maine, Joseph Holt Ingraham was a teacher, minister, and popular writer who produced more than 100 novels, 25 in 1845 alone at the peak of his career. Until the late 1840s Ingraham wrote Continue reading & text links

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Hughes, Langston

HUGHES, [JAMES MERCER] LANGSTON (1902-1967). Langston Hughes, the prolific African American writer whose work in multiple genres endeared him early in his career to the black American community and later to a broad, international readership, first prepared to set sail Continue reading & text links

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Higginson, Thomas Wentworth

HIGGINSON, THOMAS WENTWORTH (1823-1911). This Harvard graduate and versatile man of letters felt at home in water from his early childhood in Cambridge, Massachusetts. While ministering to the Unitarian church at Newburyport, Massachusetts, he then formed friendships on the Isles Continue reading & text links

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Henson, Matthew

by Emma Bonanomi (2021) Matthew Alexander Henson was a Black American explorer who came to fame after United States Navy Commander Robert E. Peary’s 1908-1909 expedition to the North Pole. He may have been one of the first men to Continue reading & text links

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Harlow, Frederick Pease

HARLOW, FREDERICK PEASE (1856-1952). Frederick Pease Harlow was born in Mount Morris, Illinois, on 12 December 1856. He was the youngest son of Frances Ann Winsor and William T. Harlow, an educator and Methodist minister originally from Duxbury, Massachusetts. Harlow’s Continue reading & text links

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Hallet, Richard Matthews

HALLET, RICHARD MATTHEWS (1887-1967). In 1912, at age twenty-five and with both a B.A. and LL.B. from Harvard University, Richard Matthews Hallet abandoned the practice of law in search of adventure and a career as a sea-writer. A New Englander Continue reading & text links

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Gould, John W.

GOULD, JOHN W. (1814-1838). John W. Gould was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, the seventh son of influential judge and educator James Gould. He was christened “John Gould” but added the middle initial “W.” in 1835 to avoid confusion. Gould’s health Continue reading & text links

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Goodrich, Marcus

GOODRICH, MARCUS [AURELIUS] (1897-1991). Novelist Marcus Goodrich was born 28 November 1897, in San Antonio, Texas. Enlisting in the navy in 1916, he served initially in the Philippines aboard the destroyer U.S.S. Chauncey. With the outbreak of World War I, Continue reading & text links

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Gallery, Daniel V.

GALLERY, DANIEL V[INCENT]. (1901-1977). Admiral Daniel V. Gallery, termed a “true original” by his friend Herman Wouk, was a brilliant career naval officer who published widely both during and after his naval duty. A 1920 Naval Academy graduate, Gallery first 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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Eberhart, Richard

EBERHART, RICHARD [GHORMLEY] (1904-2005). Richard Eberhart is the author of some twenty-six volumes of poetry, from A Bravery of Earth (1930), to Maine Poems (1989). Throughout his career he has utilized nautical images and themes, many of which derive from Continue reading & text links

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Douglass, Frederick

DOUGLASS, FREDERICK (1818-1895). Abolitionist, orator, social reformer, editor, author, and consul general to Haiti, Frederick Douglass was born into slavery as Frederick Augustus Bailey. He spent the early years of his childhood in Talbot County, Maryland, on the eastern shore Continue reading & text links

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Doty, Mark

MARK DOTY (1953- ). From his birth in 1953 until age seventeen, when he left his parents’ home in Tucson, Arizona, Mark Doty moved frequently. In Firebird (1992), Doty’s memoir of childhood, he recalls living in seven houses in seven 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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Dean, Harry

DEAN, HARRY [FOSTER] (1864-1935). Published in 1929 in Boston, Berlin, and London, Harry Dean’s unique sea narrative and remarkable autobiography was entitled Umbala in Britain and The Pedro Gorino in the United States. Dean was born in Philadelphia in 1864, Continue reading & text links

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Dana, Richard Henry, Jr.

DANA, RICHARD HENRY, JR. (1815-1882). Son of a genteel poet and member of a prominent Boston family, Richard Henry Dana Jr. gained literary fame by turning his back on his Brahmin upbringing, sailing aboard a merchant vessel, and subsequently describing 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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Crane, Stephen

CRANE, STEPHEN (1871-1900). Stephen Crane’s first extended trip at sea ended in a shipwreck less than thirty-five hours after he left the Florida coast, forcing Crane and three other crew members to struggle toward land for almost thirty hours, crammed Continue reading & text links

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Coomer, Joe

COOMER, JOE (1958- ). A transplanted Texan, Joe Coomer married into a boating family and has spent a great deal of time off the Maine coast becoming adept at sailing. In 1992 Coomer purchased a wooden motor boat and recounted 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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Cheever, Henry Theodore

CHEEVER, HENRY T[HEODORE]. (1814-1897). Editor of the New York Evangelist (1849-1852), Henry T. Cheever was born and educated in Maine. In the early 1840s he voyaged as a passenger on the whaleship Commodore Preble and in late 1849 or early 1850 published The Whale and Continue reading & text links

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Chase, Owen

CHASE, OWEN (1796-1869). Author of Narrative of the Shipwreck of the Whale-Ship Essex, of Nantucket (1821), Owen Chase was first mate of the Essex when it was stove and sunk by a whale in the Pacific Ocean, 20 November 1820. The unprecedented whale attack and the Continue reading & text links

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Browne, J. Ross

BROWNE, JOHN ROSS (1821-1875). Author of Etchings of a Whaling Cruise (1846), J. Ross Browne was born in Beggars Bush, Ireland, and emigrated to America when he was twelve years old. In 1838 Browne journeyed on a trading boat from Louisville to Continue reading & text links

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Bridge, Horatio

BRIDGE, HORATIO (1806-1893). A naval officer, Horatio Bridge is most famous for his close friendship with Nathaniel Hawthorne, for whom he found a publisher for Twice-told Tales (1837) and to whom Hawthorne dedicated The Snow Image (1851). Born in Augusta, Maine, Bridge graduated from 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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Beston, Henry

BESTON [SHEAHAN], HENRY (1888-1968). Born Henry Boston Sheahan in Quincy, Massachusetts, Henry Beston is the author of about a dozen books, including The Outermost House. A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod (1928). In 1925 Beston built a Continue reading & text links

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Beach, Edward Latimer Jr.

BEACH, EDWARD LATIMER [JR] (1918-2002). As his father had done, Edward L. Beach [Jr.] spent a career as a naval officer and wrote many books on naval topics. Three of these are excellent novels about submarines. Beach graduated from the Continue reading & text links

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Barnes, James

BARNES, JAMES (1866-1936). Author of books about naval history and naval wartime campaigns, as well as juvenile works on naval leaders, Colonel James Barnes was a prolific writer, historian, journalist, and naval officer. His depiction of seafaring individuals is characterized Continue reading & text links

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Audubon, John James

by R.D Madison (2000) AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES (1785-1851). Born in Haiti and raised in France, John James Audubon became the world’s premier bird artist with the publication of The Birds of America (1827-1838). Audubon accompanied his life-size drawings with five volumes of Continue reading & text links

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Ames, Nathaniel

by Hugh Egan (2000) AMES, NATHANIEL (1805-1835). Son of the Federalist statesman Fisher Ames and grandson of a famous colonial almanac publisher, Nathaniel Ames was a blueblood who went to sea and later wrote about it. In this way he Continue reading & text links

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Aldrich, Thomas Bailey

by Frank Rotsaert (2000) ALDRICH, THOMAS BAILEY (1836-1907). Thomas Bailey Aldrich, known chiefly as the author of The Story of a Bad Boy (1869), edited Every Saturday (1866-1874) and The Atlantic Monthly (1881-1890) and also wrote poems, short stories, and five novels. Born in Portsmouth, New Continue reading & text links

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Adams, Bertram Martin

ADAMS, BERTRAM MARTIN [BILL ADAMS] ( 1879-1953 ). Bill Adams was born in England to American parents. He left college to go to sea at age seventeen in a career that lasted four or five years and logged seven passages Continue reading & text links

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