|Reviews of Books on Whaling & Scrimshaw|
|Petticoat Whalers: Whaling Wives at Sea 1820 - 1920
by Joan Druett is a fascinating account of whaling voyages, incidents, & adventures, from the point-of-view of the women who accompanied their captain-husbands. Most accounts of whaling cruises are told by crew members, or professional authors posing as crew members. These views are nearly always romantic & adventurous, never discussing the mundane, such as food storage & preparation, seasickness, shipboard sanitation, moldy clothing, stinking whale remnants sloshing on deck, more seasickness, the bitter cold, foreign ports, cramped quarters, bathing, privies, etc. This book is a compilation of wives’ journals, letters sent home, family histories, and memoirs. The communications of most of these women compare their new conditions with home life left behind; the loss of civilization; meeting missionary families & wild tribes in the South Pacific; ice encrusted ships; purchasing fresh fruits & live animals in the tropics, and all of the day-to-day living situations that sailors considered as normal, but we consider as extraordinary. Well illustrated with formal portraits, professional artwork, and candid life-at-sea photographs.
|Gone A-Whaling: Lure of the Sea & Hunt for the Great Whale
by Jim Murphy is a well-written, and lavishly illustrated, historical account of whaling from neolithic times to modern factory whaling. Luckily, most of the book is dedicated to the New England whaling industry of the 19th Century. SCRIMSHANDERS take note! This book has many, many illustrations & paintings that lend themselves nicely to scrimwork. Should be in every collector’s library.
|Greasy Luck: A Whaling Sketchbook by Gordon Grant
An eloquent, accurate portrayal of the American whaling industry as it existed for almost two centuries, this superb account of a whaling voyage and its adventures is dramatically captured by 64 of the author's full-page drawings. All the excitement, tedium, exhaustion, and joy of catching these mammoths of the sea is depicted -- from the thrill of a whale breaching and a "Nantucket Sleigh Ride" to examples of scrimshaw art and views of the foc's'le, galley, and deck. The book's title comes from the cheering crowds at dockside, seeing a whaling crew off and wishing them "Greasy Luck."
A must-own for both collector & scrimshander.
|Incidents of a Whaling Voyage by Francis Allyn Olmstead
“...Olmstead took to the sea for reasons of health. He boarded the North America at New London... The ship hunted whales in the Atlantic, rounded Cape Horn, and headed for the Hawaiian Islands. His account of the region resulted in ‘one of the wittiest pictures of Hawaii created prior to the visit of Mark Twain.’ The ship also visited Tahiti and the South Pacific, suffered various adventures and disasters, and made a fair catch of whales.” The plates are after his own drawings, and feature dramatic whaling scenes, as well as an early depiction of surf boarding. One of the most important books on 19th century American whaling. Originally published 1840.
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