Tag Archives: Navy/Coast Guard

Poyer, David

POYER, DAVID [ANDREISSEN] (1949- ). David Poyer graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1971 and is a naval reserve captain, experienced sailor, and underwater diver. Poyer adapted his active-duty navy experiences to write best-selling sagas of naval fiction. The Continue reading & text links

Posted in P | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Poyer, David

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

Posted in P | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Porter, David

Peterson, Charles Jacob (“J. Thornton Randolph” or “Harry Danforth”)

[PETERSON, CHARLES JACOB], “HARRY DANFORTH,” “J. THORNTON RANDOLPH” (1819-1887). Charles Jacob Peterson was an editor, publisher, and historian, born in Philadelphia, where he worked all his life. Once he acquired an ample fortune, he and his wife purchased a mansion Continue reading & text links

Posted in P | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Peterson, Charles Jacob (“J. Thornton Randolph” or “Harry Danforth”)

Perry, Commodore Matthew

PERRY, COMMODORE MATTHEW [CALBRAITH] (1794-1858). Commodore Matthew Perry served a long and distinguished career in the U.S. Navy, which began in January 1809, when he was commissioned as a midshipman. Perry is best known for commanding an 1853 expedition of Continue reading & text links

Posted in P | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Perry, Commodore Matthew

Wouk, Herman

by Laurence W. Mazzeno (2000) WOUK, HERMAN (1915-2019). Herman Wouk, author of the best-selling sea novel The Caine Mutiny (1951) and other works about the navy in World War II, was born in New York City, eldest son of Russian Jewish Continue reading & text links

Posted in W | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Wouk, Herman

Wilson, Sloan

WILSON, SLOAN (1920-2003). Sloan Wilson was a Coast Guard officer before he became a novelist and a yachtsman before he gained a commission in the Coast Guard. He came to regard his Coast Guard experience as more educative than his Continue reading & text links

Posted in W | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Wilson, Sloan

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

Posted in W | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Wilkes, Charles

Whitman, Walt

WHITMAN, WALT[ER] (1819-1892). Walt Whitman was born in West Hills, near Huntington on northwestern Long Island. With almost two centuries of ancestral residence on the island and some seafaring tradition in his family, Whitman was naturally attuned to the ocean Continue reading & text links

Posted in W | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Whitman, Walt

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

Posted in W | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Warner, William W.

Taylor, James Bayard

TAYLOR, JAMES BAYARD (1825-1878). James Bayard Taylor, born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, launched his career as a travel writer with Views Afoot (1846), an account of a walking tour of Europe, and soon became probably the most popular and prolific Continue reading & text links

Posted in T | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Taylor, James Bayard

Sobel, Dava

By Marija Miklavčič (2020) SOBEL, DAVA (1947 – ). Dava Sobel grew up in the Bronx, NY, and received her college degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton. A journalist and science writer, Sobel has written six Continue reading & text links

Posted in S | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in S | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Slocum, Joshua

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

Posted in S | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Semmes, Raphael

Searls, Hank

SEARLS, HENRY HUNT “HANK,” JR. (1922-2017). 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 remained Continue reading & text links

Posted in S | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Searls, Hank

Roberts, Kenneth

ROBERTS, KENNETH [LEWIS] (1885-1957). Chronicling the lives of Maine coastal families in most of his distinguished historical novels of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Kenneth Roberts acquired and put to use an impressive and detailed knowledge of nautical matters. Continue reading & text links

Posted in R | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Roberts, Kenneth

Olson, Toby

OLSON, [MERLE THEODORE] TOBY (1937- ). Poet and novelist Toby Olson was born in Berwyn, Illinois, but spent much of his childhood moving around the United States. This constant movement instilled a theme of travel into his work, particularly his Continue reading & text links

Posted in O | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Olson, Toby

Nordhoff, Charles, the younger AND James Norman Hall

NORDHOFF, CHARLES [BERNARD] the younger (1887-1947) AND JAMES NORMAN HALL (1887-1951). Writers Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall were born the same year but worlds apart, Nordhoff in London of American parents and Hall in Colfax, Iowa. They met during Continue reading & text links

Posted in N | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Nordhoff, Charles, the younger AND James Norman Hall

Nordhoff, Charles, the elder

NORDHOFF, CHARLES, the elder (1830-1901). A journalist, Charles Nordhoff was born in Erwitte, a village in Westphalia, Prussia. At five, he emigrated with his parents to Ohio, where they died. Left an orphan in the care of a family in Continue reading & text links

Posted in N | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Nordhoff, Charles, the elder

Nelson, James L.

NELSON, JAMES L. (1962- ). Born in Lewiston, Maine, James L. Nelson, a former professional square-rig sailor, traces his love of the sea to his earliest memories when he chose boats and model ships for boyhood toys. In college Nelson Continue reading & text links

Posted in N | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Nelson, James L.

Michener, James A.

MICHENER, JAMES A[LBERT]. (1907-1997). Prolific novelist James A. Michener was rescued as a foundling by a widow living in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Years later, having taught high school and college, Michener found his nascent career as a textbook editor interrupted by Continue reading & text links

Posted in M | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Michener, James A.

Meredith, William

MEREDITH, WILLIAM [MORRIS] (1919-2007). With nine volumes of poetry to his credit, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Partial Accounts: New and Selected Poems (1987) and the National Book Award-winning Effort at Speech: New and Selected Poems (1997), William Meredith is also Continue reading & text links

Posted in M | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Meredith, William

Melville, Herman

MELVILLE, HERMAN (1819-1891). More than any other American author, Herman Melville used the sea as setting and concept to create great literature. With broad-ranging and deep philosophical interests, his books are far more than adventure stories. In his works, Melville Continue reading & text links

Posted in M | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Melville, Herman

McKenna, Richard

McKENNA, RICHARD [MILTON] (1913-1964). Richard McKenna was a career naval enlisted man whose 1962 novel The Sand Pebbles is a classic of naval fiction. McKenna’s childhood in Mountain Home, Idaho, was enriched by his great habit of reading, but when Continue reading & text links

Posted in M | Tagged , , | Comments Off on McKenna, Richard

Maury, Matthew Fontaine

MAURY, MATTHEW FONTAINE (1806-1873). The 1855 publication of Matthew Fontaine Maury’s Physical Geography of the Sea inaugurated the distinct discipline of oceanography, but earlier essays under the pseudonym “Harry Bluff” helped shape reform of the antebellum U.S. Navy. Born in Continue reading & text links

Posted in M | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Maury, Matthew Fontaine

Mason, F. Van Wyck

MASON, F[RANCIS]. VAN WYCK (1901-1978). World War I and II veteran, importer, and ultimately writer, F. Van Wyck Mason was born in Boston on 11 November 1901. He was awarded a B.S. from Harvard University in 1924 after serving briefly Continue reading & text links

Posted in M | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Mason, F. Van Wyck

Martin, William

MARTIN, WILLIAM (1950- ). History and the sea are the subjects of the fiction of William Martin, contemporary novelist and screenwriter. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and earning a B.A. from Harvard University (1972) and an M.F.A. from the University of Continue reading & text links

Posted in M | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Martin, William

Judson, Edward Zane Carroll (“Ned Buntline”)

[JUDSON, EDWARD ZANE CARROLL], “NED BUNTLINE” (1823-1886). Edward Zane Carroll Judson, better known by his pseudonym Ned Buntline, was born on the Atlantic coast in Stamford, New York. The family moved to Bethany, Pennsylvania, and then to Philadelphia about the Continue reading & text links

Posted in J | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Judson, Edward Zane Carroll (“Ned Buntline”)

Jones, Justin (“Harry Hazel”)

[JONES, JUSTIN] “HARRY HAZEL” (1814-1889). Justin Jones, who wrote under the pseudonym Harry Hazel, authored more than forty dime novels about Boston, war, life at sea, and other adventure. His career as a fiction writer covered the 1840s and 1850s, Continue reading & text links

Posted in J | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Jones, Justin (“Harry Hazel”)

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

Posted in J | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Jones, John Paul

Johnson, Irving

JOHNSON, IRVING [McCLURE] (1905-1991). Irving Johnson grew up on a farm in the Connecticut River valley of Massachusetts. Inspired by Jack London’s novels, he had an unswerving desire to go to sea and work with his hands. Johnson spent summers Continue reading & text links

Posted in J | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Johnson, Irving

Jennings Jr., John Edward (“Bates Baldwin”)

[JENNINGS, JOHN EDWARD, JR], “BATES BALDWIN” (1906-1973). John Edward Jennings Jr., historical novelist, was born in Brooklyn, New York. The son of a surgeon, he began his seafaring in 1925 as a foremast hand aboard a tramp steamer traveling in Continue reading & text links

Posted in J | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Jennings Jr., John Edward (“Bates Baldwin”)

Hine, Ephraim Curtiss

HINE, EPHRAIM CURTISS (1818?-1853). Sailor and author raised in Genoa, New York, Ephraim Curtiss Hine is best known today as the model for the nautical poet Lemsford in Herman Melville’s novel White-Jacket (1850). Melville, who was Hine’s shipmate on the Continue reading & text links

Posted in H | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Hine, Ephraim Curtiss

Hayden, Sterling

HAYDEN, STERLING [RELYEA WALTER] (1916-1986). Born in Upper Montclair, New Jersey, Sterling Hayden quit school at sixteen to join the crew of a sailing ship. He served as seaman aboard fishing vessels and sailing ships out of New England ports Continue reading & text links

Posted in H | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Hayden, Sterling

Hall, Lawrence Sargent

HALL, LAWRENCE SARGENT (1915-1993). Lawrence Sargent Hall was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Following completion of his Ph.D. at Yale University in 1941, he served for four years as an officer in the U.S. Navy, including three years of sea duty. Continue reading & text links

Posted in H | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Hall, Lawrence Sargent

Haley, Alex

HALEY, ALEX (1921-1992). Alex Haley joined the Coast Guard as a “mess boy” at seventeen after two years of college. During World War II, aboard the cargo ship U.S.S. Murzim, he sent story after story to national magazines, with no Continue reading & text links

Posted in H | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Haley, Alex

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

Posted in G | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Goodrich, Marcus

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

Posted in G | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Gallery, Daniel V.

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

Posted in F | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Fanning, Nathaniel

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

Posted in F | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Fanning, Edmund

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

Posted in E | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Equiano, Olaudah

Ellsberg, Edward

ELLSBERG, EDWARD (1891-1983). Edward Ellsberg was a naval officer, diver, expert in ship salvage, and captivating storyteller. Graduating from the Naval Academy in 1914, Ellsberg served as a naval officer until 1926, when he went into the naval reserve and Continue reading & text links

Posted in E | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Ellsberg, Edward

Coxe, Louis O.

COXE, LOUIS O[SBORNE]. (1918-1993). Louis O. Coxe was a student in Allen Tate’s Creative Arts program at Princeton when Pearl Harbor occurred. Having grown up in Salem, Massachusetts, Coxe joined the navy. He came to regard his wartime service at Continue reading & text links

Posted in C | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Coxe, Louis O.

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

Posted in C | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Cooper, James Fenimore

Connell, Evan S., Jr.

CONNELL, EVAN S[HELBY]., JR (1924-2013). Born in Kansas City and educated at Dartmouth, Columbia, and Stanford, Evan S. Connell Jr. remains best known for his novels Mrs. Bridge (1959) and Mr. Bridge (1969). Connell wrote the screenplay of the 1990 film adaptation that combined Continue reading & text links

Posted in C | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Connell, Evan S., Jr.

Carlisle, Henry Coffin

CARLISLE, HENRY COFFIN (1926-2011). Born in San Francisco, Henry Coffin Carlisle served in the U.S. Naval Reserve from 1944 to 1946, earned a B.A. and M.A. at Stanford University in 1950 and 1953, and entered the book trade as an Continue reading & text links

Posted in C | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Carlisle, Henry Coffin

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

Posted in B | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Burts, Robert

Brinkley, William Clark

BRINKLEY, WILLIAM CLARK (1917-1993). Two of William Clark Brinkley’s books, Don’t Go Near the Water (1956) and The Ninety and Nine (1966), are based on his four years of experience in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Don’t Go Near the Water is not Continue reading & text links

Posted in B | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Brinkley, William Clark

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

Posted in B | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Bridge, Horatio

Brewer, Lucy

“BREWER, LUCY.” Lucy Brewer is the pseudonym of either Nathaniel Coverly Jr. (1775?-1824), an early nineteenth-century Boston broadside and pamphlet publisher, or a writer in his employ, Nathaniel Hill Wright (1787-1824). Brewer’s The Adventures of Louisa Baker (1815) is purportedly a Continue reading & text links

Posted in B | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Brewer, Lucy

Brady, Cyrus Townsend

BRADY, CYRUS [TOWNSEND] (1861-1920). Author of some seventy volumes of fiction and nonfiction, some having to do with seagoing or naval heroes, Cyrus Brady was born 20 December 1861 in Allegheny, Pennsylvania. Graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in June Continue reading & text links

Posted in B | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Brady, Cyrus Townsend