MANUSCRIPT LOG OF A MID NINETEENTH-CENTURY AMERICAN WHALING SHIP

Original manuscript, c.150pp. completed in ink in two different hands (plus a relatively small number of blank pages towards the centre). Contemporary half calf over marbled boards. The first half of the book completed in English by Cpt. Henry Collier, the second half completed in German by crew member H.F. Wulff. Two pages with additional ink stamps of whales, serving to indicate the number of whales killed on that day of the voyage. Condition is good with rubbing and wear to the binding and chipping to the spine ends. The contents with numerous pages excised or irregularly clipped, marking to the central blank pages where botanical[?] specimens had once been laid in, and a little water staining to the top corner of the rear section of the work, are otherwise in very good order.

An uncommon 1840s log book documenting the voyage of the American whaling ship 'Elizabeth Starbuck'. Setting out from Nantucket in January 1846, the log records the ship's journey to the Pacific Ocean, carefully documenting the vessel's progress, the sailing conditions, the fish caught, and the whales spotted, chased, killed and processed on board (on two such occasions, the writer, Cpt. Collier, uses a charmingly naive hand-made whale stamp to represent the number of whales his ship has successfully caught). The book also provides a record of the ship's crew and their personal provisions (predominantly clothing and tobacco). The 'Elizabeth Starbuck' was one of several ships belonging to the well-known Starbuck family, a group of whalers based in Nantucket, Massachusetts, from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries. In addition to their extensive whaling activities, several members of the family gained broader fame due to their discovery of various islands in the Pacific Ocean. Here, after cruising through that same region, the Elizabeth Starbuck is documented as having journeyed as far south as Hobart, Tasmania.

Stock code: 21370

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Published:

Original manuscript.
1846

Category

Non-fiction
Manuscripts
Recent Acquisitions
Travel / Exploration
History / Military
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