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Behind-the-scenes we’ve been adding to the Kids Ahoy display.

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New, above, is a hand-sewn cloth toy, ca. 1882, depicting ‘Sailor’ a character by Palmer Cox. Sold as a lithographed piece of fabric, you cut the pieces out and sewed them together, yourself.
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From Google: Palmer Cox (April 28, 1840 – July 24, 1924) was a Canadian illustrator and author, best known for The Brownies, his series of humorous verse books and comic strips about the mischievous but kindhearted fairy-like sprites.
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New, too, this girl’s swimsuit, ca. 1910, below left, is similar to those in the New London postcard, below right — there are bloomers under there!
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February is Black History Month.

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Above, Freedom Trail plaque on the Custom House.
The Connecticut Freedom Trial will be posting state-wide events for Black History Month on their Facebook page. Our main event is on February 28, below.
Sunday, February 28th, 2 PM

Seamen of Color: Living and

Sailing from the Port of New London, 1640-1880

a zoom talk with historian Sandi Brewster Walker

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Sandi Brewster-Walker, chair and acting executive director of the Long Island Indigenous People Museum & Research Institute, and NLMS trustee, will give a talk on the people of color whaling captains and crew on all sides of the Long Island Sound.
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She will concentrate on New London County. However her talk will include seamen of color who came to New London from other parts of Connecticut to sail from its harbor.
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Ms Brewster-Walker will highlight the genealogies and experiences of these men, who hunted the whale during the years (1790-1860), their boarding houses, churches, and lives on shore. She also will discuss the types of whaling vessels, the journey destinations, shipwrecks, and desertions.
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Zoom details will be posted soon.
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Sandi Brewster-Walker will begin her talk with new information about the seamen of color onboard the NL whaling ship/bark Merrimac(k)during her 5th thru 10th voyages to hunt the whale!
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Painting by Marek Ruzyk
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Merrimac Journal Update

Early on a fine morning in July of 1844, the ship Merrimac left New London harbor to begin a voyage that would last many months and take its crew halfway around the world in pursuit of whales. But, owing to a lack of wind, the Merrimac had to start its journey by being towed out to sea by a steam boat. So begins the 155 page manuscript that was given to the New London Maritime Society in 2020. It chronicles the travels of the Merrimac from 1844 to 1847, and then continues on another whaler, the General Williams, in 1852.
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And what an exciting story it is! There are the frantic whale chases followed by the tedious task of cutting and boiling. The unidentified author observes the USS Constitution in the harbor in Hawaii and walks the streets of Sydney, Australia. There are stops at exotic ports of call such as Pitcairn Island, some fifty years after its settlement by the mutineers of the Bounty. But there also were long, boring stretches at sea occasionally enlivened with welcome breaks to “gam” with other whaling ships, as well as moments of tension and threatened violence among the crew. And, throughout the narrative, he longs to be with his beloved wife.
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Nearly all of the transcribed text of the manuscript can now be read online thanks to the efforts of our many volunteer scriveners. As more of the text is revealed, we are learning more about life aboard a whaler. We have found many clues to the probable identity of the writer, and there is more to be discovered. Stay tuned for more revelations!
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–Laurie Deredita, NLMS librarian
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NLMS is a nonprofit and relies on the generosity of supporters who share our passion for the maritime world.
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At this challenging time, your support is needed more than ever. Please give today.
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The best link for donating online can be found on the HOME page of our website: nlmaritimesociety.org. Many thanks!
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Cabinet photo of child in a sailor suit, from the Kids Ahoy exhibition.
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What’s Up at the Custom House – February 7, 2021

New London Maritime Society – local friendly authentic

Telling the stories of New London’s waterfront

& preserving four historic maritime sites

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AAQ / Resource: Riverhead Bay Motors

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