The Literary Life of the Whaleman

If you’re wondering what kept whalers occupied when they weren’t busy whaling, Robin Davis of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has part of the answer: reading the works of American women authors. In a recent blog post Robin describes hunting through logbooks from our Nicholson Whaling Collection for lists of the books read on board. She offers transcriptions of the relevant passages, and she’s even linked the titles to records available via OpenLibrary, which means you can re-enact the whalemen’s reading yourself. Here are links to the lists:

Books on board the James Andrews (1851-55)

Books on board the Hopewell (1849-50)

Read Robin’s fascinating post here.

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