Scrimshaw Bibliography

The following is a partial annotated bibliography of our sources on scrimshaw, including books, chapters in books and periodical articles.

Ashley, Clifford W. The Yankee Whaler. Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1926. (chapter 11, “Scrimshaw”) SH381, A8 The first treatment of scrimshaw as a folk art.

Banks, Steven. The Handicrafts of the Sailor. London: David & Charles, 1974. (Chapter 5, “Bone, Ivory, Horn and Shells”) TT149, B3.6 Includes a discussion of modern fakes.

Barbeau, Charles M. “All Hands Aboard Scrimshawing.” The American Neptune 12 (April 1952): 99-122.A good survey of the art of scrimshawing, with numerous quotes from ships’ logs.

Barbeau, Charles M. Pathfinders in the North-Pacific. Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton Printers, 1958. (Chapter 6, “All Hands Scrimshawing,” a less complete version of his American Neptune article.) F851, B2.4

Barbeau, Marius. “Seafaring Folk Art.” Antiques 66 (July 1954): 47-49. A look at native scrimshaw and its relation to New England scrimshaw.

Barnes, Clare. John F. Kennedy: Scrimshaw Collector. Boston, Mass.: Little Brown Company, 1969. NK6022, B3.7

Burrows, Frederika A. The Yankee Scrimshanders. Taunton, Mass.: W. S. Sullwold, 1973. NK6022, B8

Carpenter, Charles H., Jr. “Early Dated Scrimshaw.” Antiques 102 (Sept. 1972): 414-419. A list of known scrimshaw dated 1825 or earlier.

Comstock, Helen, ed. The Concise Encyclopedia of American Antiques. New York: Hawthorn Books, 1958. (v. 2, p. 453-454) Ref, NK805, C6.5

Crosby, Everett U. Susan’s Teeth and Much About Scrimshaw. Nantucket, Mass.: Tetaukimo Press, 1955. Rare Books, NK6022, C7 Crosby discusses scrimshaw in general and the famous “Susan’s teeth” in particular. The book also includes reprints of scrimshaw articles by Frank Wood, Arthur C. Watson and Marius Barbeau.

Daland, Edward L. “Engraved Types of Scrimshaw.” Antiques 28 (Oct. 1935): 153-155.

Earle, Walter K. Scrimshaw: Folk Art of the Whalers. Cold Spring Harbor, New York: Whaling Museum Society, 1957.NK6022, E3

Fawcett, Waldon. “The Secrets of Scrimshaw.” Fair Winds 1 (Summer 1938):18-19.

Flayderman, E. Norman. Scrimshaw and Scrimshanders: Whales and Whalemen. New Milford, Connecticut: N. Flayderman, 1972. Ref, NK6022, F5.5. One of the best sources on the subject, including not only scrimshaw but the allied arts of sailor’s valentines, Nantucket Lightship baskets,
etc.

Frere-Cook, Gervis, ed. The Decorative Arts of the Mariner. Boston, Mass.: Little Brown, 1966. (Chapter 14, “Scrimshaw” VM307, F7 Mainly pictorial.

Gilkerson, William. The Scrimshander. Rev. ed. San Francisco: Troubador Press, 1978. NK6022, G5.5, 1978 An excellent treatment of scrimshaw both old and new by one of its finest modern practioners. The appendix “Scrimshaw and the Law” surveys the current legislation concerning whale products.

Haley, Paul C. “Scrimshaw and the Yankee Whaler.” Sea Frontiers 22 (May 1976): 150-153.

Hammack, Bob. “Scrimshaw: A Whale of an Art.” American Antiques 6 (July 1978): 14-16.

Hansen, Hans Jurgen, ed. Art and the Seafarer. New York: Viking Press, 1968. (Chapter titled “Seamen’s Crafts”) VM307, H3.7, 1968 A good general survey.

Haze, Wellington. “Jagging Wheels.” Antiques 1 (June 1922): 260-262. Superficial.

Huster, H. Harrison. “Scrimshaw: One Part Whalebone, Two Parts Nostalgia.” Antiques 81 (August 1961): 122-125. Mainly photographs from the author’s collection.

Linsley, Leslie. Scrimshaw: A Traditional Folk Art, a Contemporary Craft. New York: Hawthorn Books, 1976. TT288, L5.6, 1976 A “how-to” book for the modern scrimshander, with excellent photographs illustrating the process.

Malley, Richard C. “False Teeth; New Problems with Plastic Scrimshaw.” The Log of Mystic Seaport 32 (Fall 1980): 83-89. An examination of the modern problem of faked scrimshaw. See also Janet West’s article, below.

Malley, Richard C. “Plastic Scrimshaw: Some New Problems.” Maine Antiques Digest 8 (May 1980): 28B-30B. A shortened version of the “False Teeth” article.

The Mariners Museum. Scrimshaw. Newport News, Virginia: The Mariners Museum, n.d. NK6020, M3 Mainly photographs of scrimshaw in the Museum’s collection.

McClinton, Katharine M. “Scrimshaw.” Hobbies 83 (Oct. 1978): 152-153.

Meyer, Charles R. Whaling and the Art of Scrimshaw. New York: Henry Z. Walck, 1976. SH383, M4.8 A rather badly organized survey of whaling and scrimshaw, with some questionable theories.

Petley-Jones, Evan William. “Scrimshaw.” Antiques 98 (August 1970):256- 262.

Prince, Daniel. “Scrimshaw: Art of the Yankee Whaler.” Art & Antiques 4 (May-June 1981): 108-113. Contains numerous inaccuracies.

Reale, Paul J. “Frank B. James–Indian Scrimshaw Teacher.” National Antiques Review 1 (Feb. 1970): 38-40. Teaching of modern-day scrimshaw on Cape Cod.

Ritchie, Carson I. A. Modern Ivory Carving. New York A S Barnes 1972. (Chapter 2, “American Ivory Carving: Scrimshaw”) Argues that the art of scrimshaw originated in Europe and that most scrimshaw was intended for sale. NK5890, R5

Ritchie, Carson I. A. Scrimshaw. New York: Sterling Pub. Co., 1972. TT288, R5.7, 1972. Another “how-to” book for the modern craftsman.

Salak, Joseph C. “Marine Art Bonanza.” The Lookout 63 (May 1972): 3-5.

“Scrimshaw by Barry O’Neil.” The Sea Breeze 83 (Fall 1971): 4-7.

Sheppard, T. “Whaling Relics.” The Mariner’s Mirror 6 (May 920):142-149. Description and illustration of several pieces of scrimshaw in the collection of the Hull Museum in England.

Slate, Mary Ellen. “Do-It-Yourself Scrimshaw.” Motor Boating & Sailing 130 (Nov. 1972): 71.

Slate, Mary Ellen. “Nautical Memorabilia, an Investment.” Motor Boating Sailing 128 (Dec. 1971): 62-65, 108-110. Current (as of 1971) market and prices for scrimshaw.

Tavares, M. A. “Scrimshaw: The Art of the Whaleman.” National Antiques Review 3 (Feb. 1972): 24-27.

Updike, Richard W. “The Walrus and the Commodore–A Puzzle in Scrimshaw.” Antiques 98 (August 1970): 263-265. Story of the identification of the artist who produced two scrimshawed walrus tusks while a member of Commodore Perry’s expedition to Japan.

Watson, Arthur C. The Long Harpoon: A Collection of Whaling Anecdotes. New Bedford, Mass.: Reynolds, 1929. (Chapter 13, “The Omnipotent Jack- Knife”) G545, W3, 1930

West, Janet. “Scrimshaw: Recent Forgeries in Plastic.” The Mariner’s Mirror 66 (Nov. 1980): 328-330. Details the chemical composition of the plastic used in fake scrimshaw and suggests some ways of detection. See also Richard Malley’s article, “False Teeth.”

Wilson, Claggett. “Scrimshaw, the Whaleman’s Art.” Antiques 46 (Nov. 1944): 278-281. Good survey.

Winslow, Helen L. “The Folk Art of the American Whaleman.” Historic Nantucket 2 (July 1954): 16-23.


Compiled by Lisa Halttunen, Readers Services Librarian, with the help of Richard Malley, Assistant Registrar.