I’m delighted to announce that someone actually reads this blog. I mean, I think he does, because he supplied the correct answer to last week’s puzzler. If you recall, the puzzle concerned the “Memoranda” pages of an 1849 Boston Almanac. On each of these pages the owner made multiple entries of ship’s names, along with indications of time, such as “all day.” A few other details found their way into his notes. His name was Arnold Freeman. He visited Duxbury (Mass.) but returned to “the City.” He had a sister Lucy, who died. The mystery to be solved was – What was Freeman doing recording the names of all these ships?
The answer, supplied by Mr. David Chesanow, is that Arnold Freeman was a ship’s caulker. The names of the vessels and the times noted were records of his labor, for which, of course he received payment.
I solved the puzzle by locating several likely Arnold Freemans on Ancestry.com, then finding the one who had the sister who died, then looking for that particular Freeman in Boston City Directories for 1849 and 1850. Turned out Freeman moved to Auburn St. at the end of 1849, and this new address appears in the City Directory, along with his occupation – “Caulker.”
Mr. Chesanow got there faster than I did, simply by noting that Freeman had roots in Duxbury, MA, then searching Duxbury historical records until he found a listing for Freeman – a caulker.
Excellent work! And worthy of the prize… a copy of my next book, “Mooney’s Manifesto” – a horror story being published by Spuyten Duyvil press in Brooklyn. I doubt it’ll be out in time for Halloween, but soon, my dears, soon.
Meanwhile, as many of my colleagues were exhibiting at, or shopping, the Southern New England Antiquarian Book and Ephemera fair, I was in New Bedford, set up at the tenth annual New Bedford Whaling Museum Scrimshaw Weekend Nautical Antiques Show.
Scrimshaw weekend is a big deal. The collectors are well heeled and well informed, and the New Bedford scrim event, biggest of its kind, is redolent with the aura of money, casually dressed.
Originally, the Nautical Antiques show took place in the museum itself, but this iteration, after the typical two-year Covid hiatus, was moved to a conference center at the nearby Fairfield Inn.
And I have to say, it didn’t look promising at first. A poorly lit space with only 18 dealers (this show seems to be struggling to find its way, just like all the other live events in the past year or so) crammed together amidst a sea of tables.
Happily, I was wrong. The lights went on, the space was transformed, and the scrim-heads flocked in. Of course, I didn’t sell much. These folks are clearly too busy to read, but the buying was excellent – and it saved my bacon once again.
Ten Pound Island Booth – No Scrimshaw!
Here are my results:
Sales = $460
Purchases = $3000
And here are a couple of my purchases:
Mathews, Gregory M. The Birds of Norfolk and Lord Howe Islands and the Australasian South Polar Quadrant, with Additions to “The Birds of Australia”. London: H.F. & G. Witherby, 1928. 34.5 cm., xii, (4) 139 pp. Hand-colored lithographs and b/w halftone plates.
With half-title, title page in red and black, errata slip, 38 hand-colored lithographic plates after Grönvold and others, and 7 b/w halftone plates. Limited to 225 copies, of which this is #34. See Nissen IVB 606. Original printed wrappers bound in, the whole rebound in half green morocco over marbled boards. With raised bands and gold spine lettering and decoration. Wear to corners and joints. Tape repair to top of backstrip. A beautiful copy internally. $1750
(British Navy.) Regulations and Instructions Relating to His Majesty’s Service at Sea. London: 1757. 25 cm., 232 pp. b/w engraved head and tail piece and initials.
These regulations and instructions guided the British navy throughout the 18th century, and during the American Revolution. They include the duties of the commander-in-chief, the captain or commander, the lieutenant, the master, the carpenter, the surgeon, the cook, et al. The regulations also include rules for discipline and good government, for courts martial, for observing proper respect and ceremony, for the daily allowance of beef or pork and beer or wine, for convoying merchant ships, and the wages to be paid to officers and seamen. According to Adams & Waters, p. 366 these “Regulations” were published frequently from 1731 until at least the War of 1812. This 1757 copy is the 9th edition. Bound in full calf with raised bands and spine label. A very nice copy internally, with engraved title vignettes and tail pieces. It bears the ownership signature of Thomas Lewis, probably the same who joined the navy in 1756, made Lieutenant in 1761, Captain in 1782, and died in 1796. More information can be found at https://threedecks.org/index.php?display_type=show_crewman&id=9583 $1250