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whalship log

ship illustration

whaling log book

"Starboard Boat Struck a Whale"
and Other Tales Preserved

Whaling Logbooks Conserved and Digitized for the Martha's Vineyard Museum

The Martha's Vineyard Museum in Edgartown, Massachusetts is well-known for its maritime collection and traces the island's nautical history through maps and charts, diaries, ship’s papers and documents, rare customs records, whaling account books, and whaling logbooks.

During the mid-19th century, whaling ships often ventured far into the Atlantic and the Pacific. The logbooks provide a rare glimpse into the daily lives of whaleship crews who faced extremely hard work, the discomforts of rough weather, and long months and years away from home -- and who also experienced the thrill of hunting the giants of the deep.

Recently the museum sent five of its whaling logbooks to NEDCC for conservation treatment and digital imaging. The vessels' names are worthy of their own sea ballad: The Iris, The Erie, The Rose Pool, The Independence, and The Adeline Gibbs.

The museum’s goals for the project were to prevent further deterioration and to make the logbooks more accessible to researchers. The volumes presented a unique set of challenges for NEDCC conservators and photographers.

The conservation treatment was funded through Edgartown’s Community Preservation Act program, and the logbooks were digitized with funding provided by the family of Joan Rosé Thomas, great-granddaughter of Richard E. Norton, the keeper of the ship Iris logbook, 1843-1847.

Learn about the collaboration by NEDCC's Book Conservation Lab and Imaging Studios to conserve and digitize these rare volumes, including a bit of UV magic in digitally recovering some missing text from the logbook of the ErieREAD MORE HERE . . .

 


NEDCC is grateful for support from:

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