Tag Archives: Whaling/Sealing

Mowat, Farley

MOWAT, FARLEY [MCGILL] (1921-2014). Farley Mowat is one of Canada’s more popular and controversial writers. Born 12 May 1921, in Belleview, Ontario, Mowat graduated from the University of Toronto in 1949. He spent two years during World War II as 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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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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Walcott, Derek

WALCOTT, DEREK [ALTON] (1930-2017). Winner of the 1992 Nobel Prize in literature, Derek Walcott identifies in his life and work two primary inspirations: the Caribbean Sea and his mixed-race heritage. Born and raised in the harbor city of Castries, St. 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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Norris, Frank

NORRIS, [BENJAMIN] FRANKLIN] (1870-1902). Although his short life was adventurous enough, including trips to Africa’s Transvaal and Cuba during the Spanish-American War, Frank Norris’ disposition to set two of his less successful novels partly at sea probably arose from his Continue reading & text links

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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

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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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Morrell, Benjamin

MORRELL, BENJAMIN (1795-1839). Benjamin Morrell, sealing captain and explorer, was born in Rye, New York, the son of a shipbuilder. His early experiences included being twice captured by the British during the War of 1812 and spending over two and Continue reading & text links

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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

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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

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Köepf, Michael

KÖEPF, MICHAEL (1940- ). Born in San Mateo, California, Michael Köepf is the son of a commercial fisherman. He grew up fishing and draws on his experiences as a commercial fishing-vessel captain for his novel The Fisherman’s Son (1998). The Continue reading & text links

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Houston, James

HOUSTON, JAMES [ARCHIBALD] (1921-2005). James Houston has made his mark in writing, art, film illustration, film and documentary production, and design. Winner of numerous awards, Houston has written several children’s books and novels on the Arctic, Arctic seas, and the Continue reading & text links

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Hough, Henry Beetle

HOUGH, HENRY BEETLE (1896-1985). Editor of the Vineyard Gazette on the island of Martha’s Vineyard from 1920 almost until his death, Henry Beetle Hough was the grandson of a sea captain. He was born and raised in the whaling city Continue reading & text links

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Herne, James A.

HERNE, JAMES A[HERN]. (1839-1901). James A. Herne was an actor, manager, and playwright whose early reputation as a successful melodramatist was established on the basis of his collaborations with playwright/producer/director David Belasco. Later in his career, however, he made a Continue reading & text links

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Hart, Joseph C.

HART, JOSEPH C. (1798-1855). A New Yorker whose mother’s family came from Nantucket Island, Joseph C. Hart is known today as the author of Miriam Coffin, or The Whale-Fishermen (1834), a novel that was an important source for Moby-Dick (1851). Continue reading & text links

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Gilkerson, William

GILKERSON, WILLIAM (1936-2015). William Gilkerson wrote nine books, most of which relate directly to maritime history. His first book, Gilkerson on War–From Rocks to Rockets (1964), is an exception, as it only touches upon maritime history in the larger context 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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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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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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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

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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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Ashley, Clifford

CLIFFORD WARREN ASHLEY (1881-1947). Born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, in 1881, Ashley enjoyed a successful career as a maritime artist and historian of the American whaling industry. His work romanticized New England’s whaling past as the region rapidly industrialized in Continue reading & text links

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Argento, Dominick

ARGENTO, DOMINICK (1927- 2019). Son of Sicilian immigrant parents, Dominick Argento won a Pulitzer Prize in music in 1975 for his mezzosoprano song cycle From the Diary of Virginia Woolf. Argento has lived near water, and his works are inspired Continue reading & text links

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