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    Re: Moonlit nights before Stellwagen...
    From: UNK
    Date: 2014 Jul 11, 10:47 -0400

    Dear Jason:


    Actually, it’s the other way around – we have several logbooks that New Bedford masters transcribed for Matthew Fontaine Maury. Likewise, Maury interviewed Daniel McKenzie and Francis Post for his whaling related section of the Wind and Current book. Wilkes, hmmm. We have quite a good collection of Wilkes charts and I can’t remember whether any of them have the voyage tracks of whaling vessels or other notations indicating use. I’ll look into that – or you can if you wish – you’re certainly welcome to research our collections for your work. Yankee masters, being Yankee masters, had a tendency to use and re-use charts and other aids to navigation for a long time after their publication. So that we see 1830s charts still in use in the 1860s and later. I believe that this was a technique used more for whaling reference than navigation per se. Many charts have notations of where whales were taken. There’s a very fine one on exhibit in the Bourne Building second floor showing tracks and whales taken on the coast of Patagonia. We do not have a large enough collection of Wilkes or Maury to know whether whalemen carried these books on shipboard. We have been collecting them for the title, not as objects, unlike many of our other published aids to navigation that are chock full of whalemen’s notations.


    Best regards, MPD


    Michael P. Dyer

    Senior Maritime Historian

    New Bedford Whaling Museum

    18 Johnny Cake Hill

    New Bedford, MA 02740


    (508) 717-6837

    Office located at 791 Purchase St.


    From: 38Talk@fer3.com [mailto:38Talk@fer3.com] On Behalf Of Jason Smith
    Sent: Friday, July 11, 2014 9:26 AM
    To: Michael Dyer
    Subject: [38Talk] Re: Moonlit nights before Stellwagen...


    Michael or Frank,

    I'm wondering if you've ever come across any mention of either Matthew Fontaine Maury's charts or navigation manual or the use of charts made by Charles Wilkes' US Exploring Expedition in any antebellum logbooks or mariner's journals. My dissertation, which I am turning into a book, in part, examines the ways in which American mariners used naval science in the antebellum era to inform their understandings of natural processes at sea. It's a project completely different from my 38th Voyager Project, but your discussion of lunars and their mention in logbooks made me think of my other project. I'd appreciate your insight if you have a chance.

    Many thanks!


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