Records of the Jibboom Club

Manuscripts Collection 206

Overview of the Records

Repository: G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport
Creator: Jibboom Club No. 1 (New London, Conn.)
Title: Records of the Jibboom Club
Dates: 1891-1919
Extent: 7 volumes
Abstract: The collection contains minute books, account books, and a visitor register
Identification: Coll. 206

History of Jibboom Club No. 1 (New London, Conn.)

The Jibboom Club No.1 of New London was founded in the 1870’s by officers of whaling vessels. The Club took its name from the jibboom which was “a spar extending the bowsprit, and taking a forward stay and the foot of the forward jib,” (Visual Encyclopedia of Nautical Terms under Sail, Basil W. Bathe, et al, Section 01.01, 1879, Crown Publishers Inc., NY).

In the early days there was no formal organization; the men met in the rigging loft of John Haynes on the New London waterfront. On January 29, 1891 the Club was formally organized, and a Commodore, Captain and a full complement of officers were elected. Membership included deep water sailors and those they chose to invite. An 1891 roster of members shows Captains and seamen from the area around New London and as far away as New York and Maine. The Bylaws, Section 1, Article I, declared that “This Club is formed for the purpose of social enjoyment and the promotion of good fellowship amongst its members.” Section 2 said that “no one who has not seen sea service for at least two years shall be eligible to membership.” No intoxicating liquors or gambling of any kind was allowed on the premises, and no games of cards, dominoes, etc., could be played in the rooms on Sunday. Meetings, or ‘voyages’, took place twice a month, and a strict ritual was followed that continued until the close of each voyage and the dropping of the anchor. The initiation of candidates for membership followed a ceremony that conformed to the details of life on square-rigged sailing vessels. Each December a traditional plum duff, a doughy steamed pudding with a sauce liberally laced with brandy, was served.

The Annual Meeting and election of officers was held on the first meeting night in February. George Washington was the patron saint (after all, “he crossed the Delaware in a boat, and he was a surveyor who knew how to lay his course!”), and his birthday on February 22nd was when the Club staged its annual parade and chowder dinner. The parades were replete with floats which often depicted Father Neptune or a whaling vessel, and one year there was a ‘whale’ spouting red liquid when struck with a harpoon by the ‘bosum’ in a pursuing whaleboat. The night before was the only time when ladies were allowed to set foot in the clubrooms. In later years, the Annual Dinner, complete with speeches, songs and dancing with the ladies, was held in the Mohegan Hotel after the parade.

A museum of sorts developed at the Club’s quarters, and tools and implements were contributed by members over the years. During World War I members offered their collection of spyglasses to the Navy.

Early membership rose from 200 to over 300, but the decline of shipping at the port of New London meant a similar decline of members in the twentieth century. The old guard had died and young men ceased to follow the sea, so membership was opened to any male over 21 who has some interest in seafaring. But further reductions in membership occurred after World War II until there were only ten members left. The end came on December 31, 1959 when the Club closed its doors and disposed of its artifacts.

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Restrictions on Access

Available for use in the Manuscripts Division.

Restrictions on Use

Various copying restriction apply. Guidelines are available from the Manuscripts Division.

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Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the catalog of the G. W. Blunt White Library. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.


New London (Conn.)–Social life and customs


Clubs–Connecticut–New London
Merchant mariners–Connecticut–New London–Societies, etc
Shipmasters–Connecticut–New London–Societies, etc.

Document Types:

Account books
Guest registers
Minute books

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Coll. 206, Manuscripts Collection, G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc.

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Detailed Description of the Records

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.


Minute Books; 1895-1917
1 Minute Book; 1895-1899
2 Minute Book; 1899-1908
3 Minute Book; 1909-1917
Note: The Club’s first minute book can be found in our Manuscript Collection, cataloged as Misc. Vol # 595 1891-1895
Membership dues accounts; 1891-1916
4 Membership dues accounts; 1891-1900
5 Membership dues accounts; 1901-1916
Miscellaneous Volumes; 1891-1952
6 General Club accounts; 1900-1919
7 Visitor Register; 1902
8 “List of Relics Presented to the Jibboom Club No. 1,” containing descriptions of nearly 300 gifts of marine artifacts donated; 1891-1952

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