Way Back Wednesday

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July 1963 Concert being held in the courtyard

Many people are familiar with our concerts by the lake series in the summer but, long before those, we would occasionally hold concerts like this in our courtyard.  This is from July of 1963.

Cerinda Evans was The Mariners’ Museum’s first librarian and also wrote a biography on Collis Potter Huntington, our founder’s father.  This photograph of her from February 23, 1968 is of her 92nd birthday party the museum threw for her.  On the wall behind her you can see an oil painting of her.  And look at that typewriter!!   Read more

Pirate Stories

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This is what a 286-year-old book looks like. If you take care of it. From The Mariners’ Museum Library collection.

Hello everyone, and welcome back to the Library blog. While perusing the Library stacks in search of an interesting volume on piracy, I discovered a khaki leather-bound book titled “History of the Pyrates” by Capt. Charles Johnston. Based on the condition of the volume, I expected it to date from the 1920s. Imagine my surprise when I opened the cover and discovered it was printed a full 200 years earlier, in 1726! This book tells the tales of all the traditional pirates of the Caribbean: Blackbeard, Calico Jack Rackam, Mary Read & Anne Bonny, and Black Bart Roberts. Written less than 10 years after the last of these great pirates was defeated, this book provides a remarkable firsthand glimpse at exactly how British society saw these famous buccaneers.

First and foremost, a noticeable difference between this book and more modern works is the use of the long “s” in some cases. While the language is otherwise perfectly readable, the long “s” usage can nevertheless be distracting. On the bright side, it is particularly invigorating to read an account of Blackbeard’s defeat less than a decade after it took place in the language of the time. Historically, Lt. Maynard and his sloop Jane engaged Blackbeard’s sloop Adventure in hand to hand combat off the coast of Ocracoke, North Carolina, during which Blackbeard was slain and the pirates killed or captured. In Johnston’s History, a fellow British sloop arrived as reinforcements after Blackbeard died and helped capture the remaining pirates. To quote Johnston, “The Sloop Ranger came up, and attack’d the Men that remain’d in Black-beard’s Sloop, with equal Bravery, till they likewise cry’d for Quarters.” (p. 84).   Read more