The Maritime World of Marblehead, 1815-1865
by John R.H. Kimball
A fascinating portrait of a unique seaport
Illustrated with survey maps and photographs
Full bibliography, index, and chapter endnotes
A portrait of the Grand Banks fishery and the clipper ship era
Includes 19th century documents; vessels built in Marblehead,
ship itineraries, and more
Marblehead, Massachusetts, was for two centuries the principal codfishing port of the new world, and at the same time raised large numbers of ship captains who set standards of competence and perseverance throughout the world's oceans. Yet, little was known of this insular town by outsiders during the 18th and 19th centuries -- a town that, in our day, has became a famous yachting center. Those outsiders that did visit Marblehead briefly and commented on it, criticized it for being backward, dirty, and immoral.
Disasters etc. describes what Marblehead seafarers were really like, and how the pervasive maritime life of the town created a class of fishermen and shipmasters with unique character, ability, and success. The fishermen were more productive than any other town's; the seamanship standards of the town are exemplified by the Marblehead captain of the clipper ship Flying Cloud and his Marblehead navigator wife, who set records of speed under sail that only recently were exceeded; and Joseph Story as a Supreme Court Justice established maritime law in the United States based on his experience growing up in Marblehead.
The book uses 19th century sources and the careers of individuals to describe Marbleheaders' "peculiar" character: their "indifference to the show and splendor of wealth," their generosity, bravery, and hardihood. It explains the workings of the codfishery and the shipping industry through business practices and legal decisions. The story is set against the backdrop of the final rise and fall of the town's fishing industry between the War of 1812 and the Civil War, and the explosive rise and fall of the shipping business known as the clipper ship era.
About the Author
John R.H. Kimball is a descendant of Marbleheaders and a lifelong pleasure sailor. To this background he adds a career as a financial lawyer. He lives in Lincoln, Massachusetts, when not on a boat.
Visit the Web site at www.disastersetc.com
$25.00, illust., 208 pgs, clothbound, 7" x 10" ISBN 1-931807-36-1
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