One of the greatest of all clipper ship sailing cards. The Great Republic was built in 1853 by Donald McKay. She was, at that time, the largest merchant sailing vessel constructed in the United States, but she burned almost immediately. The reconstructed version was still one of the biggest and fastest of her day. Fittingly this card is one of the crown jewels of all clipper ship cards. It measures 8 1/4 x 5 3/4 inches. The front shows the ship in full color surrounded by draped flags and patriotic images against a gold ground. It is also is one of the very few cards printed on the back. This information tells us that Capt. Limeburner was her commander and that she was scheduled to depart Pier 28 in the East River. This may have been her 1859 trip, in which she departed November 23, and made San Francisco in a commendable 109 days. This copy shows edge chipping and oxidation, a faint crack in the printed surface running in from the left margin, and water staining on the back affecting the tonality of the printing on the front. Still, a good copy of an iconic card. A copy of this card brought $4500 in the Siegel sale of 1990.
Broadsheet 10 1/2 x 5 inches, six eight-line rhyming stanzas in a single column with decorative border. The title, appropriately enough, is from the Book of Job. The plea is for help for a mendicant sailor, probably a whaleman, named Anthony K. Simmons, who is "totally blind - unable to distinguish day from night." One would receive a copy of this broadsheet from said Anthony Simmons in exchange for a small cash donation. The closing citation refers to the Book of Matthew, "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat..." The ballad is followed by testimonials as to the sailor's character by two ministers from New Bedford, the last of which reveals that Simmons was a seaman. Mendicant's appeals of this sort turn up occasionally , but this particular example does not appear in Worldcat or the AAS catalog.
New York: Harper & Brothers, 1847. xv-389, (xv)-xxiii and (4) ads pp. b/w chart. xvi, First American edition of Melvilles popular second novel. Building on the success of his first effort Melville continued his autobiographical portrait of these years. Omoo deals with the mutiny aboard Melvilles ship and his subsequent wanderings about various parts of Tahiti and other islands. BAL 13656 with two sets of terminal ads, the last being 4 pp. in length. Original boards, rebacked in black calf with title and date on spine in gold.
b/w printed card stock 11 1/2 x 9 inches. "-An' Sparm at That!... Hotel Essex Nov. 12, 1930... Here we are- / The Lackawanna / schooners / And while where here / Just cast your eyes / upon us / WAHOO! Get outer there / Let 'er flicker / Down the sewer / DOWN IT GOES!" Three-ring binder holes along left margin. A complete enigma.
New London (CT) : Bolles & Co., 1853. 12mo. 32 pp. This issue of Daboll's perennially popular almanac contains "List of Ships Belonging to New-London, Stonington, and Mystic, Engaged in the Whale Fishery." The list gives vessel's name, master, agent, and date of sailing. It makes an interesting companion and comparison to the 1842 broadside "List of Shipping Owned in New-London October 1st, 1842. Employed in the Whale Fishery &ct." (See #19, below). A very good copy in original printed wrappers, which contain ads for local firms.
Edinburgh: W.H. Lizars, n.d. (circa 1837). 12mo. 264 pp. Engraved b/w and color plates. This is one of the volumes from the Naturalists Library, notable for its gem-like handcolored illustrations of whales. This copy contains an engraved portrait, frontispiece cut, and 30 plates of whales, each measuring about 4 x 6 3/4 inches. Jenkins, p. 113. This was Clifford Ashley's copy, inscribed to him by his friends (?) de Forest. Bound in half calf over marbled boards, rebacked to match, with spine label.
This very early ship sailing card, printed in Australia, measuring an astonishing 5 3/4 x 9 inches, advertises a sailing from Australia to San Francisco - the El Dorado of America. An ad announcing the departure in the "Melbourne Argus" for July 17, 1854 lists the "Louisa" as "500 tons burthen." The card is dated in manuscript on the back Captain George Webster August 3 1854, and a small news clipping pasted to the front of the card validates this sailing date, names Elbridge Webster as owner, and lists cabin passengers. I have never seen the like, and probably never will again. Nor is it likely that Adams & Co., the agents for whom the card was printed, sent many more ships to California. According to an article entitled History of the Express Business in Bankers Magazine, the successful American firm Adams & Co. had attempted to establish an express at Melbourne, Australia but for various causes entirely beyond their control, the enterprise was a failure, and resulted in heavy loss to their firm. The printer's slug at the very bottom of the card reads, "Goodhugh and Trembath, 48 Flinders Lane, East, and 174 Elizabeth Street." Ferguson's "Bibliography of Australia" locates this printing company in Melbourne. The card is printed in blue, with gold display lettering. Lightly and evenly tanned. In fine condition.
Boston: W. Spotswood and J. Nancrede, 1797. (3)-xlvi, (1), 8-436; (3)-573, (3) pp. b/w folding charts. First American edition of this important early gazetteer, with folding maps - made by mapmakers in New York and Boston - of the northwest and northeast coasts of America, West Indies, South America, Africa and the South Pacific, as well as European and Asian seas. Text descriptions include physical characteristics but also navigating information for mariners, for thousands of locations, including recently discovered waters in North America and the Pacific. It contains, for example, the Correct Chart of the Northwest Coast of North America from Bherings Straits to Nootka Sound, which was the first map of Alaska published in America, and of great importance to American fur and China traders. Maps show occasional foxing, but are generally in good or better condition. Sabin 44119. Evans 32415. Bound in contemporary full calf, rebacked with new labels
n.p: Pacific Whaling Company, n.d. (circa 1930). 15 pp. b/w halftone ills. Public relations pamphlet for an outfit calling itself the Pacific Whaling Company. In fact this was a promotional for a stuffed whale exhibit. The centerfold is an illustration of Capt. Lew Nichols (pictured chomping his cigar on page 1) killing a sixty-eight ton Blue Fin-Back. Whatever species it actually was, Nichols stuffed it and exhibited it in Chicago, where over half a million people availed themselves of the opportunity of seeing this giant sea monster in the flesh. A good copy of a scarce whale show promotional. Bound in original pink wrappers.
London: Macmillan and Co., 1879. xvi, 620 pp. Color lithographed frontispiece and plates, b/w ills. in text. "The voyage of the Challenger recorded by one of the naturalists on the expedition... and sent home from the various ports touched at, in the form of a journal." Forbes 3267. The "various ports" included the Antarctic, Tristan Da Cunha, Kerguelen Land, the Falklands, Juan Fernandez, China, the Philippines, Japan, Hawaii, New Guinean Tahiti, Fiji and Queensland, among others. This is probably the most readable account of the "Challenger" expedition. Ferguson 12883b. Spence 820. Handsomely rebound in antique style half calf over marbled boards.
Washington: GPO, 1887. 4to. 102 pp. b/w ills, folding charts, color plates. Information on whaling, sealing and native population, with plenty of illustrations, including four color plates of birds, fish and plants. "Corwin's cruise in Bering and Chukchi Seas, giving aid to natives and ship-wrecked whalers, patrolling the fur seal islands and visiting Bogoslof Island; dispatching exploratory parties to complete the survey of Kowak (Kobuk) River and explore the Noatak River..." Arctic Bib 18401. Ricks 118. Wickersham 7596. Sturdily rebound in black cloth with gold cover lettering. Very good condition.
Folio journal, pre-printed and accomplished in manuscript. Melville Prison, on an island in Halifax Harbor, Nova Scotia, was used to house prisoners captured by the British in the War of 1812. This is an original, unpublished, manuscript poem written in rhymed couplets, composed by William Payne Jr. of Philadelphia. It is written in the back of a log book that was used to record the progress of an 1812 voyage aboard the brig General Eaton from Philadelphia, to Lisbon, and then to Brazil. Presumably this log was the only paper available to Payne. The "Melville Prison" poem, in 35 stanzas of 10 to 12 lines each, takes up 18 pages at the end of the book. It is intelligent, highly descriptive, and literate (Payne mentions William Hogarth and Samuel Butler.) Following the final stanza of the poem (which is written in ink) is a pencil note that reads, in part, "Taken in the schooner Idalia on the 18th of December 1814 by the Narcissus Frigate Capt. John Richd. Lumley after a chase of 12 hours." The poem graphically details living conditions for prisoners and terms of their imprisonment - (French, American and Negro prisoners were segregated into separate populations), the poor food (occasioning Payne's fantasy of a banquet), the harsh conditions and high rates of illness and death, and the hope of freedom and a return home. In fact, the war ended a few months after Payne's capture, though how long it took him to be released and find his way home is lost in the mists of time. One of the most interesting aspects of the poem is Payne's reference to negro prisoners, of whom there were a sufficient number to form their own group of prisoners. What were African Americans doing in the War of 1812? This is an original manuscript, and I can find no record of copies in any institution.
Boston: Joseph Bumstead, 1801. 12mo. vi-333 pp. First American edition of both the La Perouse and Vancouver voyages, and one of the earliest Pacific voyage books to have been publish in America. This is an anonymous compilation from the reports of Milet-Mireau and Vancouver. Hill 976. Forbes 331. Ferguson 333. Bound in original calf, rebacked, with original spine label. Pages evenly tanned. A scarce book in very good condition.
Quarto, unpaginated. 300 pages followed by a dozen pages of log entries by other writers during other voyages. The final page of the Brandywine journal is an An abstract taken from the Log between Sept 1826 and Oct. 1829. Although the writer is unidentified, this is a typical midshipmans journal with daily entries including courses steered, winds, weather observations, shifting of sails, the daily noon latitude by observation and dead reckoning, longitude by chronometer and dead reckoning, barometric pressure, temperature of both the air and water, and ship-board events such as mustering of the crew, courts-martial, deaths and burials - one murder and half a dozen "routine" deaths! - and ships sighted. Port entries include details on provisioning, ship repairs, names on the sick list, and visits by dignitaries and officers from other ships. The journal begins early May, 1828, as the ship departs Panama. The writer's tone is understated, but he records dramatic moments aboard ship. They were no more than two weeks at sea when a murder took place - "At 10 P.M. Christopher Garrison (Sea) while sleeping on the birth deck was wounded (as is supposed) by a 32 lb shot on his head of which he died on the afternoon of the 19th. Henry Lancy (Sea) was confined on the morning of the 18th on suspision of having committed the crime & on the afternoon of the 19th Wm. Strong (Sea) was confined on suspision of being accessory to the deed." Then, on 29 August, "At Meridian Henry Lancy was executed by hanging at the fore yard for the murder of Christopher Garrison." This is an excellent and detailed account of naval life at sea and in port. The Brandywine visited Panama, Payta (Peru), Callao, Valparaiso, and, during the return trip to the United States, Rio de Janeiro. Bound in full calf. Text shows some foxing and damp-stains. In a handsome contemporary leather carrying case.
n.p, n.d. 43 pp. b/w plates. Describes voyage of the Cadmus of Fairhaven... reached the Marquesas in 1842. In August ship struck reef about 360 miles northwest of Pitcairn... One boat with crew of eight... was saved and reached Tahiti. This is a 1960s reprint of an account originally written for the Central Georgian in 1859. Forster 95. Scarce little pamphlet in self-wraps, which are lightly sunned and soiled.
Large folio. 158 pages of manuscript entries. I've handled hundreds of whaling logs and accounts of whaling voyages in my career, and this one is the lamest, least productive voyages I've ever seen or heard of. After a twenty-six month voyage in the South Atlantic, the Orray Taft, a 176 ton bark, brought back 20 barrels of sperm oil, with 72 sent home, for a total of 92 barrels of sperm oil, plus a mere 2 bbl. whale oil. The North Atlantic fishery was slumping at this time, and meager returns were not uncommon, but this trip - the ship's maiden voyage - was an appalling combination of bad luck, poor management, questionable equipment, fractious and ill-trained crews, and sheer ineptitude. The voyage, which consisted of two cycles of summer in Azores - winter on Brazil Bank fishing, included mutinies, fights, collisions with other ships, and frequent desertions. For each lot that left newer, greener men would be shipped. They caught their first whale on August 17, 1853, and things fell apart soon after that. Low lights include - Aug 24, crew drunk, boatsteerer nearly kills cook. Sept. 23, mutinous letter, man refuses watch. Oct 17, fight. Nov. 27, mutiny over food. Nov 30, one of the mutineers dies. Dec. 5, mutineers in prison in Rio, ship new crew. Jan 21, 1854, whale destroys larboard boat, escapes. Mar 20, another fight. Apr 23, lose large shoal of sperm whales. May 8, boy falls from main topgallant mast. May 18, desertion. May 23, man draws knife on mate. June 2, men refuse duty. June 14, get fast to whale but line parts. Aug 14, land two sperm whales, a paltry 28 bbl. each. Nov. 9, collision with unnamed schooner. Jan 1, 1854, fire aboard. Aug. 29, last whale, an even more palty 18 bbl. The journal keeper Ephraim Wilmarth, made marginal drawings of whales taken, those that escaped, those that were sighted but not struck, and other forms of sea life, as well as recognition views of the Azores, and other whimsical marginalia. Unusual and entertaining, in a perverse sort of way. Two pages at the back of the journal detail attempts at whale-catching, and supplies and oil taken onboard. Wilmarth's writing in legible and the pages are clean and in good condition.
Three folio volumes, 70, 71, and 24 pages of manuscript. A fascinating series of letters from a textile broker doing business in Manchester, England, to correspondents in Boston and England, as he scrambles to solicit and complete shipments of orders placed by Americans prior to Gallatins alteration of the Non-Importation Act. In one letter he writes, I learn that Mr. Gallatin recommends such reversal of the Non Importation Law to take place on the 2nd Feby. as that all goods purchasd or orderd in this Country may be admitted to an entry, consequently the ships are now taking in freight very rapidly. To another correspondent, Mr. Gallatins report with a recommendation to Congress to revise the Non-Importation Law is what we had reason to expect from a government which is not YET completely mad. He also mentions Pinckney departing the country on the Essex Frigate and later writes, Owing to the vigorous measures of Bonaparte to annoy the commerce of this country & the dispute with America the embarrassment of the Manufacturers & Merchants are very great the departure of Mr. Pinckney will arrest, for the present, all negotiations on this side of the Atlantic. In April he writes, accounts have been receivd here giving the final proceedings of Congress from which it appears all commercial connexions with this country have ceasd it is reported that this government will shortly issue a decree prohibiting the importation of American produce except in British Bottoms. Subsequently, he also has to deal with the fact that American vessels arriving in France after the alteration of the Act were sequestered an order that the French reversed in April 1811. These political variables, of course, affected the flow of goods and money, and the delays occasioned further expenses that had to be accounted for. (His letter of 17 Jan 1811 itemizes Particulars of Debenture & Bounty.) So, in addition to documenting an important moment in international politics, the main content of these letters reveals the effects of the global situation on a single merchant. He returns to Boston in August 1811 and sets about collecting debts, an activity that meets with little success. In October he describes himself as being in haste & having little to communicate on business it being in a state of stagnation. The last letter is written from Boston in March, 1812, just months before the beginning of hostilities. I have now concluded to sail as soon as restrictions on trade are removd As it turned out, hed have years to wait And I thought the book business was difficult! This is accompanied by a 70 page book book of invoices itemizing goods shipped aboard named vessels from England to Boston in 1811 (which shipments correspond to those mentioned in the letters), and by a second 24 page book of invoices, itemizing goods shipped from Manchester in 1814. So it seems as if our man was able to return to business in Manchester afterall. Bound in half calf over marbled boards. Handwriting quite legible.
New York: Burgess, Stringer & Co., 1845. vii, 232 pp. Scarce second American edition of Cooper's informative novel about War of 1812 in the Great Lakes, and an excellent source of factual information about that aspect of the war. This one bears the additional (inaccurate, since he was sole author) line in the title, "Edited by J. Fenimore Cooper." See BAL 3908. Worldcat shows only AAS holding a copy of this edition. Scattered foxing, tanning to margins of front and back pages. Bound in original full calf, rebacked, with original spine label.
NY: Dell Movie Classics, 1956. 4to. Unpaginated Color ills. and wraps. This was released to coincide with the Warner Brothers movie starring Gregory Peck. It is signed on the cover by John Huston, the director, and Gregory Peck, who played Ahab. Light wear, very good condition.
Mattapoisett, MA: Atlantic Publishing Company, 1877. 39 pp. 14 b/w cover and title page engravings. This work is notable for its recounting of the rescue of survivors from the whaleship Essex (which had been sunk by a whale) and for its unusual form. The cover title is Thrilling Whaling Voyage Journal... in Poetry and indeed the entire account is given in rhymed quatrains. Dauphin, Captain Zimri Coffin, sailed on 4 Sept. 1820, returning in July 1823. Voyage included Galapagos and Hawaiian Islands (1822) Poem recounts the finding of boat from the Essex with two survivors aboard. An officer list also provided. - Forster. At least two editions of this work exist, but copies in the original pictorial wrappers are scarce. The wood engraved cover illustration depicts a whaleboat being upset by a whale. See Forbes 3193 who mentions that the poem records visits to Lahaina and Honolulu. Forster 71. Jenkins p. 129. A somewhat rough copy of an uncommon whaling book in its original illustrated wraps. Unfortunately some shark has taken a chunk out of the front wrapper, with loss of two words. Or maybe it was one of the starving survivors of the whaleship Essex. Text is clean.