The impetus for this book came from my interest in maritime history and a desire to learn more about the documents I work with as Curator of Manuscripts at Mystic Seaport Museum. Its publication, however, is the result of several individuals, organizations, and groups that provided support and encouragement along the way.
I take great pleasure in acknowledging my sincere thanks to Mystic Seaport Museum for allowing me the time to research and put together this book under what our Director of Publications is fond of calling a “research without guilt” program. I must also thank the Fellows of the G.W. Blunt White Library, a dedicated group of individuals whose active interest in, and financial support of, this publication was so important.
Viginia Coope and Dorothy Tower have worked with me for many years as volunteers in the Manuscript Collection. They played a valuable role in the description and identification of many documents found in this book. So have several research assistants, provided through both the Williams College-Mystic Seaport Maritime Studies Program, and the Munson Institute Summer Internship in Museum Studies. I offer particular thanks to Amy Butler and Mary Ellen Knapka. The many hours they spent examining reference materials and writing up drafts of document descriptions really moved the project out of the research phase and into production. The quality of their work was superb.
The Peabody Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, and the Rhode Island Historical Society in Providence permitted the use of important documents from their collections. I offer my thanks particularly to John Koza at the Peabody and Cynthia Bendroth at Rhode Island Historical. This book has been made better by their involvement with it.
Of great assistance also have been my colleagues at other institutions, especially the members of our Maritime Librarians group: Virginia Adams and Judith Downey of the New Bedford Whaling Museum; Ann Wilcox from the Philadelphia Maritime Museum; Ben Trask and Tom Crew at Mariner’s Museum, Newport News, Virginia; David Hull, San Francisco Maritime Museum, and Mr. L. Bryne Waterman. Their interest in this project, as well as their advice and suggestions, have helped make this book possible.
Here at Mystic, Paul O’Pecko, our Reference Librarian, was instrumental in tracking down essential sources for the accurate identification of particular documents. Gerald Morris, Director of Publications, believed in the project from the beginning, and never lacked ways to encourage me to continue on whenever my enthusiasm waned. Mary Anne Stets and the Photo Lab staff produced the quality photographs so important to this book, and Andy German, Publications Dept. Editor, picked up several loose ends and got the whole thing done. And finally, I must thank Connie Stein, Publications Assistant, for hours of proofing copy, creating revised drafts, checking sources, etc. Yes, I am Connie’s husband, even after all those hours of proofing copy, etc.