Voyages: Personal Accounts, High School/Adult Level

Albee, Parker Bishop. Letters from Sea, 1882-1901: Joanna and Lincoln Colcord’s Seafaring Childhood. Gardiner, Maine: Tilbury House, 1999. The story of two Searsport children who were born at sea and spent a great deal of their childhood on their father’s vessel.

 Balano, James W. The Log of the Skipper’s Wife. Camden, Maine: Down East Books, 1979. Excerpts from the unabashed diaries kept from 1910-1913 by Dorothea Moulton Balano, a literate and liberated ship captain’s wife from Port Clyde, Maine. Many parts fictionalized from the original diaries.

Black, Col. Frederick Frasier. Searsport Sea Captains. Searsport, Maine: Penobscot Marine Museum, 1989. Biographical information on the many sea captains who came from Searsport, their vessels, and their families.

Briggs, L. Vernon. Around Cape Horn to Honolulu on the Bark Amy Turner, 1880. Boston: C.E. Lauriat, 1926.

Candage, Captain R.F.G. At Home Around The World. Blue Hill, Maine: Blue Hill Historical Society, 2000. A sailing master’s autobiographical journal.

Chapman, Angie. Windjammer Bride: The Journal of Angie H. Chapman’s Voyages on the Maine-Built Sailing Ship Leading Wind. Rockland, Maine: Courier-Gazette, 1979.

Coffin, Robert P. Tristram. Captain Abby and Captain John. New York: Macmillan Co., 1939. Logs and accounts of John D. Pennell, master of the Benjamin Sewall (Brunswick, 1874) and the journals and letters of Abby Reed, his wife.

Cogill, Burgess. When God Was an Atheist Sailor: Memoirs of a Childhood at Sea, 1902-1910. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1990. Reminiscences of a woman born at sea, on the five-masted schooner Snow & Burgess, about the first eight years of her life. Fascinating perspective of life on the Pacific and in San Francisco after the great fire.

Cordingly, David. Women Sailors and Sailor’s Women. New York: Random House, 2001. Different views of women at sea.

Dana, Richard Henry. The Seaman’s Friend: A Treatise on Practical Seamanship. Reprinted from 1879 edition. Delmar, New York: Scholar’s Facsimiles and Reprints, 1979.

Dana, Richard Henry. Two Years before the Mast. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1895. A story about life at sea in the early 19th century. A young man’s adventure sailing from Boston, around Cape Horn to the California coast.

Dempsey, Deborah Doane and Joanne Reckler Foster. The Captain’s a Woman: Tales of a Merchant Mariner. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1998. A contemporary account of a woman captain in the Merchant Marine.

De Pauw, Linda Grant. Seafaring Women. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1982. A depiction of women at sea throughout history in the roles of pirate, warrior, whaler, and trader.

Dow, Scott J. The Story of Captain Jonathan Dow. Unpublished manuscript. Pasadena, California: 1948. Scott Dow typed this manuscript in 1948, as an elderly man. He recounts his early life on board his father’s ships, using his own recollections and diary entries written by his mother. The Dows were a Searsport family, with many sea captains. A summary of this account appears in Special Features on this website. For access to the full manuscript, contact Penobscot Marine Museum.

Druett, Joan. Hen Frigates: Wives of Merchant Captains Under Sail. Thorndike, Maine: G.K. Hall, 1999.

Druett, Joan. Petticoat Whalers: Whaling Wives at Sea, 1820-1920. Auckland: Collins, 1991.

Druett, Joan. Rough Medicine: Surgeons at Sea in the Age of Sail. New York: Routledge, 2000.

Dunton, Dorothy Magune. All This Day Fine: Mellie’s Life at Sea with Cap’n Frank. Penobscot Press, 1998. An easy-to-read book about a Rockport captain and his wife, drawn from diaries.

FreeHand, Julianna. The Only Woman on Board: The Photographs, Diaries, Letters, And Memorabilia of a Maine Sea Captain and His Wife: 1859-1908. Camden, Maine: Picton Press, 1994. Previously published in 1981 under the title A Seafaring Legacy. Excerpts from the papers, etc, of Alice and Sumner Drinkwater of Yarmouth, Maine, during their life together at sea and apart. Many photographs of and by Alice of home, vessels, and foreign places.

Goodell, W.H. Captain Daniel Smith Goodell, 1853-1912. Searsport, Maine: W.H. Goodell, Jr. with Penobscot Marine Museum, 1994. A biography of a Maine sea captain.

Gould, Annah Maud. A Tempestuous Voyage: The Diary of Annah Maud Gould's Trip Abroad the Ship Berlin. Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, 1987. Account of a journey from Maine to San Francisco in 1887 on the Berlin (Phippsburg, 1882).

Griffin, Ralph H. Jr. (ed.). Letters of a New England Coaster, 1868-1872. [No publisher], 1968. The correspondence of Captain Joseph Griffin of Stockton, Maine, much of it between himself and his wife. There is a very interesting segment from a period when he was in a Cuban jail and she was alone on board his schooner.

Harland, John H. Seamanship in the Age of Sail: An Account of the Shiphandling of the Sailing Man-of-War, 1600-1860. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, c1984. Though it addresses the sailing man-of-war, much is applicable to sailing merchant ships.

Harlow, Frederick Pease. The Making of a Sailor; or, Sea Life Aboard a Yankee Square-Rigger. Salem, Massachusetts.: Marine Research Society, 1928. Includes traditions of sea life.

Hibberd, Isaac Norris. Sixteen Times Round Cape Horn: The Reminiscences of Captain Isaac Norris Hibberd. Mystic, Connecticut: Mystic Seaport Museum, 1980. Account of voyages made in the late 19th century by Captain Hibberd, many in vessels built by Samuel Watts of Thomaston, Maine.

Humiston, Fred. Blue Water Men and Women. Portland: Gannett Co., 1965. Tales of the men and women who sailed tall ships on all seven seas during the 19th century.

Johnson, Irving. The Peking Battles Cape Horn. Peekskill, New York: Sea History Press, 1995. True account of a voyage around Cape Horn in the bark Peking in 1929-30. Good photos. See also the DVD by the same author, Around Cape Horn.

Lamson, Joseph. Round Cape Horn: Voyage of the Passenger-Ship James W. Paige, from Maine to California in the Year 1852. Bangor, Maine: Press of O.F. & W.H. Knowles, 1878.

Mortland, Donald F. Dear Ones at Home and at Sea: The Pendleton-Park Papers. Searsport, Maine: Penobscot Marine Museum, 2007. This compilation includes letters to and from many members of these two families. It includes a letter from Emma Pendleton Blanchard, who was lost in the waterspout disaster, as well as the waterspout story contained in the chapter Stories of the Sea: The Searsport Sea Captains.

Nash, Ruth S. High Seas to High Stakes, or, Around Cape Horn to the Gold Rush. Bloomington, Indiana: 1stBooks, 2000. The letters and diaries of Jared Coffin Nash, who spent 6 months on a 104 foot bark in 1848, traveling from Maine to California.

Nichols, Edward P. The Ocean Chronicle: Published by Captain E.P. Nichols on Board the Bark Clara and the Ship Frank Pendleton, 1878-91. Searsport, Maine: Published for Penobscot Marine Museum; New York: Richard R. Smith, 1941. Captain Nichols wrote and printed on his own press at sea this small paper, which he then distributed to his friends, on each of his voyages.

Oliver, Sandra L. Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and their Food, at Sea and Ashore, in the Nineteenth Century. Mystic, Connecticut: Mystic Seaport Museum, 1995. A history of food in coastal New England, including acquisition, preservation and preparation traditions and recipes.

Perry, Frederick. Fair Winds and Foul: A Narrative of Daily Life Aboard an American Clipper Ship, by Frederick Perry who Made the Voyage. Boston: Charles E. Lauriat Co., 1925. New York to San Francisco aboard the Continental (Bath, 1875.)

Petroski, Catherine. A Bride’s Passage: Susan Hathorn’s Year under Sail. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1997.

Riesenberg, Felix: Under Sail: A Boy’s Voyage around Cape Horn. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1924. The author served aboard the A.J. Fuller (Bath, 1881) on a voyage from New York to Honolulu. The A.J. Fuller was commanded over time by four different Searsport captains. 

Snow, Edward Rowe. Women of the Sea. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1962. An exposition of the wide range of experiences of women who went to sea between the late 18th century and the early 20th. The recollections of Joanna Colcord are especially noteworthy.

Stevenson, Paul Eve. By Way of Cape Horn: Four Months in a Yankee Clipper. Philadelphia: JB Lippincott Co., 1899. An account of the author’s 1897 voyage with his wife aboard the Cyrus Wakefield (Thomaston 1882) from New York to San Francisco.

Villiers, Alan. The Way of a Ship: Being Some Account of the Ultimate Development of the Ocean-Going Square-Rigged Sailing Vessel, and the Manner of her Handling, her Voyage-Making, her Personnel, her Economics, her Performance, and her End. New York: Scribner, 1953. A good guide to sailing the large steel ships of the Leitz Line of Germany, including the Peking, Passat, and Pommern.