Shipwreck Survivors

Posted on
SS Norman Prince

It is no surprise that many ships were torpedoed during WWII and that many soldiers passed away as the ships went down. Today, however, I came across a few photographs of groups of men who managed to survive. Thankfully, the notes on the back of the prints are detailed and told their stories:

These dapper seaman were on the English ship SS Norman Prince which was torpedoed on May 28, 1942 off St. Lucia. They were rescued by the French ship SS Angouleme, but kept as prisoners in Martinique for over four months. They were finally released in an exchange of prisoners and came aboard this ship, the SS Goethals. Uboats.net adds that all but one survivor drifted on the lifeboat for 26 hours, 40 miles before they were able to get the attention of the SS Angouleme.   Read more

Way Back Wednesday

Posted on
Melissa standing in front of the boxes of photographs
Melissa standing in front of the boxes of photographs

For those who follow the Way Back Wednesday posts, they get an interesting peek into The Mariners’ Museum’s history.  Many people, including our staff, don’t realize that there is a whole treasure trove of these photos kept in the back of the museum in storage.  Part of the reason for this is that there has never been a complete inventory done for them, so no one is completely sure what all we have.  We have been working on fixing that problem with the tremendous help of our volunteer Melissa, a CNU student.

Melissa has been spending her time sorting the photographs into different categories, arranging the photograph folders by date, replacing old acidic materials with newer archival materials, and putting the photographs into an excel database that will allow us to do word searches to find images showing particular subjects.  The importance of these photos in regard to the history of the museum and our collection is immeasurable, and it has been great fun going through them.   Read more

10,000 Items Catalogued (Cont.)

Posted on
Virginia's ram
Virginia‘s ram

In my last post, I said that the Library had just completed a massive cataloguing project of items related to the U.S. Steam Battery Monitor and the C.S. Ironclad Virginia. These items came from 59 different archival and research collections. Among them are extremely rare photographs collected by an early Monitor “groupie” in the 1880s by the name of Frank Pierce, letters from sailors aboard Monitor and from witnesses to the Battle of Hampton Roads, both Union and Confederate, unique plans and drawings of Monitor, and receipts from vendors for materials used in her construction. There are also research notes of people who did important historical work on the two ironclads and genealogical work on their officers and crew. Here, then, is an annotated summary of some of the collections we have catalogued. Enjoy!

   Read more

Charles W. Morgan sails again!

Posted on
Charles W. Morgan
An engraving of the Charles W. Morgan by Charles Wilson, in the collections of The Mariners’ Museum

While we are on the subject of important Number 2’s (see our July 2 post here), I’ve been watching with fascination the re-launch of the Charles W. Morgan, the second oldest ship in America, and her 38th voyage around ports in the Northeast. Built in 1841, the whaler Morgan is the last of her kind and is only junior to the USS Constitution in terms of age. She is the oldest commercial ship afloat in the US. See her itinerary here.

   Read more

Between the States – New temporary exhibition

Posted on
DSCF7673

Across from the entrance to our Ironclad Revolution gallery a temporary exhibition opened up this past Saturday.  It’s titled Between the States:  Photographs of the American Civil War and was put together (and owned by) the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY.  As stated on their website, this exhibition “presents a selection of facsimile photographs of historical Civil War sites and circumstances by photographers including George Barnard, Mathew Brady, and Alexander Gardner.”

You enter through a doorway meant to give you the feeling of entering one of the tents in the picture displayed ahead of you.  This opens up to the rest of the gallery, showcasing photos of generals as well as the everyday soldier, giving an interesting perspective.  Warning for those who might get a little queasy, there are some images with deceased soldiers.  The Civil War was the first war where photography was available to display the horrors of war, and people were obsessed by it, even though a lot of the images (including those with deceased soldiers) were staged.   Read more