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    Digitized history of navigation resources
    From: Frank Reed CT
    Date: 2004 Sep 14, 17:16 EDT
    George H wrote:
    "Gordon Talge has told us he likes to consult the original manuals, but few
    of us have easy access to that sort of library. "

    Ah, but we do all have easy access to at least one example of the original manuals! I know you personally are aware of it, but since people come and go on lists like these on a regular basis, I'll point out again that the COMPLETE text of Norie's Epitome of Navigation from 1828 is available on the Mystic Seaport Blunt White Library web site (go to mysticseaport.org and follow the links to the library's digital collection). In addition there is a complete copy of the Nautical Almanac from 1804 and numerous log books from the era many of which include actual navigational calculations.

    And just a reminder: when you read Bowditch or Norie, you're not really studying the history of navigation. You're studying the history of navigational instruction. Just because the manual says to do a task one way, it does not follow that navigators at sea really did so. That's the best reason to look at old log books. It's as close as we're likely to get to looking over the navigator's shoulder. On August 5th I posted a link to a lunars calculation from 1825. It's all there... a complete lunar worked by Bowditch's First Method and the corresponding time sight worked out on an empty back page in a log book, just the way that navigator left it almost 200 years ago...

    I'm also working on digitizing a number of other navigational texts, manuals, almanacs, and I'll post details as they become available. Ironically, I've got a digital copy of Cotter's "History of Nautical Astronomy" (which started this discussion), but that's still under copyright, so it's just for me.

    Frank R
    [ ] Mystic, Connecticut
    [X] Chicago, Illinois
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