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!
I’d like to take a minute to encourage you to view a great item that has just been posted on our Library website. It is a full-text, PDF version of a spec book from 1862! This item is usually restricted from public view due to its fragility, but, since we like you so much, we’ve made it accessible here!Read more
Hello everyone, and welcome once more to the Library blog. Sadly, today is my last day writing for you fine readers, and I want you to know what an honor it has been. When I arrived at the Library in June, I knew nothing about the SS United States, but with some guidance and access to the Library’s archives I was able to discover her very real and very poignant story. In my mind’s eye, she is not only AN ocean liner – she is now THE ocean liner, and still fastest in the world. I likewise new little about piracy, save that it was a problem off of Somalia. Through investigation of the Library’s resources and rare book collection, I found out where our modern conception of pirates came from and how much of a problem it still is even in the modern day. For the past six months, these topics have been the focus of my blog posts, but there in truth they only scratch the surface of what the Library has to offer.
For every photograph, book or document featured in my posts, dozens more exist in the archive. I could spend a lifetime documenting, organizing and analyzing the sources available here – nevertheless, I’m grateful for the six months I HAVE had. It has truly been a pleasure to work on the Library blog. The staff members have been universally kind and helpful, and I am still surprised at how much I learned. My deepest thanks go out to Jay, Jenn, Tom, Bill, Patti, and all the rest of The Mariners’ Museum Library family that made me feel welcome and helped me discover a whole new world hidden in the archives. Thanks for reading, and farewell.Read more
Like many of you, I have been fascinated with the story of RMS Titanic for as long as I can remember. I’m not sure why, exactly. I wasn’t a particularly sympathetic child, grieving over the story of hundreds of lives lost. That was a characteristic I developed in adulthood. I also don’t think that I had some mysterious connection to the gentility of the Edwardian past. I think I was attracted, as many boys are, to the utter grandeur of the ship itself and to the spectacle of the ship dying, as it were. Despite its many flaws, the Leo DeCaprio / Kate Winslet film put me very much in touch with the awe I experienced as a boy reading about and imagining this engineering miracle as it succumbed to the icy Atlantic. Some boys loved cars; I loved massive ocean liners. Go figure.
Anyway, thanks to my friends in Photographic Services, I am bringing you an engineering (sort of) document from our Steamship Ephemera collection: a deck plan of Titanic, sans chairs. In memory of all those who graced that magnificent ship a hundred years ago today.Read more