The National Maritime Historical Society

In the Pages of Sea History 159

Sea History 159 is in the mail and on the newsstands. Just look at what’s in this issue:

At War Before the War—SS City of Flint’s Ordeal Under the Nazi Flag, by Dr. Donald E. Willett
In 1939, before the US joined WWII, the crew of SS City of Flint learned just how dangerous their jobs had become when their ship was stopped at sea and seized by a Nazi warship.

Probing the Mysteries of the Jones Act: Part 1, by Michael J. Rauworth
The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 is misunderstood even by those whose livelihoods it directly affects. Is it workers’ compensation? Cabotage restrictions? Maritime attorney and master mariner Mike Rauworth takes a look at the Jones Act in a two-part series, explaining what it means and why it matters.

Copper Bottomed—USS Constitution Restoration 2015–17, by Margherita M. Desy and Kate Monea
While USS Constitution is still in dry dock at the end of a three-year restoration effort, visitors can’t help but notice the bright copper plating tacked to the ship’s hull below the waterline. The practice is as old as the 1797 ship for protecting a wooden hull from damaging marine growth.

Tall Ships America: Maritime Heritage Calls On Boston this Summer, by Bert Rogers and Harold Burnham
Tall ships are coming to Boston! As you take in the fantastic spectacle of towering masts and billowing canvas, also appreciate the small fleet of Essex-built schooners dating from 1893 to 2011. These vessels, representing a centuries-old shipbuilding heritage, will be on hand for tours and sailing from Fan Pier.

Apprentice-Built Dories for Schooner Adventure, by Stefan Edick and Graham McKay
With her restoration completed, schooner Adventure is getting the last piece of her deck equipment delivered this summer—her iconic stacked dories. Built by teenaged apprentices at Lowell’s Boat Shop, these boats are authentically designed and built, making Adventure’s story not just about the big schooner, but about the artisans that equipped and maintained the fishing fleet.

One Last Ocean Crossing: The 1911 Barque Peking Returns to Germany,
by Gregory DL Morris
This summer, the barque Peking sails home to Germany—in a massive heavy-lift dock ship—to be restored and take center stage as the flagship of a new German maritime heritage center.

Plus, you’ll find the regular features you look forward to in every issue:

Deck Log
NMHS: A Cause in Motion
Marine Art News
Sea History for Kids
Ship Notes, Seaport & Museum News
Maritime History on the Internet
Book Reviews

On our cover this issue: photo by George Bekris.

Click here to learn more about Sea History magazine.

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June and July Seminar Series: Bannerman’s Island

Wednesday, 21 June
Bannerman’s Island—Seminar with Thom Johnson
LOCATION: Chappaqua Library, 195 South Greeley Avenue, Chappaqua, NY
Refreshments: 6:30 PM
Presentation: 7:00 PM

Is Bannerman’s Island haunted? Please join us in welcoming historian and guide Thom Johnson as he presents and recounts the history of Bannerman’s Island, with its castle-like structure looming in the Hudson River.  Originally built to resemble a Scottish castle and to store military goods for the government, Thom shares the fascinating story of this mysterious island and its abandoned arsenal.

The public is invited to attend. Suggested Donation: $5 to $10.
E-mail or call 914-737-7878, ext. 0 to reserve your place.

Saturday, 22 July
Bannerman’s Island – Visit and Tour with Thom Johnson
LOCATION: Beacon Station, 8 Long Dock Road, Beacon, NY

Thom Johnson will  take us on an excursion!  Meet us at Beacon Train Station, or join fellow members on Metro North departing from Peekskill station for a narrated trip up the Hudson. From the dock at Beacon Station we’ll board the Estuary Steward for a ride to Bannerman’s Island followed by a walking tour. Boxed lunches will be served aboard on the trip back to Beacon station.
Price: $70 per person. Seating is very limited and early reservations are suggested.

E-mail or call 914-737-7878, ext. 0 to reserve your place.

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Congratulations to the 2017 National History Day State Winners

The National Maritime Historical Society is honored to award special prizes for excellence on a maritime topic at the 2017 National History Day state competitions.

National History Day (NHD) is a highly regarded year-long educational program for middle- and high-school students that involves them in a competition to prepare a history project on a designated theme, culminating in state and national competitions. Each year, more than half a million students, encouraged by thousands of teachers nationwide, participate in the NHD contest. Students choose historical topics related to a theme and conduct extensive primary and secondary research through libraries, archives, museums, oral history interviews and historic sites. After analyzing and interpreting their sources and drawing conclusions about their topics’ significance in history, students present their work in original papers, websites, exhibits, performances and documentaries—either individually or in groups.

2017 Winning Projects

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Maine Maritime Museum is Seeking New Chief Curator

Photo: Ted Kerwin

Photo: Ted Kerwin

Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, Maine, is seeking a new chief curator, to succeed the current chief curator, who is retiring in April of next year. From the MMM website:

The Chief Curator will play a key role in the leadership team and help the museum continue to grow and excel. The Chief Curator leads a curatorial staff of two plus interns and volunteers, and provides the creative leadership and management of the museum’s historic object, library, and archival collections; changing and permanent exhibits; and publications program.

Interested parties can find the full job posting at the Maine Maritime Museum website.

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Special July Event: Launching the Andrea Doria Lifeboat

The Andrea Doria Lifeboat Launching—60 Years Later
Saturday, 30 July 2016
10:00 am–4:00 pm

Discovering, recovering, restoring and re-launching Andrea Doria’s Lifeboat #1, at the Maritime Academic Center, State University of New York Maritime College.


Photo courtesy Mark Koch

Mark Koch, a dive manager from the New Orleans area, has acquired the Andrea Doria’s Lifeboat #1 and had it restored to new quality at Scarano Boatbuilding in Albany, NY. The 28-foot boat looks great—shiny, bright white, and totally renewed, except for a few of its historic dents and mystifying bullet holes. Yes, bullet holes. All of its mechanical components have been reconditioned and the human-powered cranks that drive the big brass propeller operate perfectly.

On July 30—60 years from the sinking—this restored lifeboat will be launched from the waterfront at the SUNY Maritime College. All willing participants are invited to paddle the lifeboat out into Long Island Sound for a short excursion (the boat holds about 50 people).

Historians, divers, ship and boat preservationists LifeboatSMand others will discuss the Andrea Doria, her collision at sea with the Stockholm, and the significance of that collision to the merchant marine world. Discussions will focus on the repercussions of that accident, the evolution of lifeboat technology, and the effects of the sinking on the training of merchant mariners and on the evolution of SCUBA technology.

In addition, docents will lead tours of the Maritime Industry Museum at Fort Schuyler, which houses exhibits on the history of the United States maritime industry, including commercial shipping, the merchant marine, the port of New York, and history of Fort Schuyler.

  • 10:00 am: Registration, Coffee, Tea and Muffins (in Maritime Academic Center)
  • 10:30–11:30 am: Presentations
  • 11:30 am: Launch of the boat
  • 12:15 pm: Lunch ($15 per person at the cafeteria)
  • 1:30 pm: Presentations in the Luce Library (in Fort Schuyler)
  • 2:30–4:00 pm: Tour of the Maritime Industry Museum (in Fort Schuyler)
Photo courtesy Mark Koch

Photo courtesy Mark Koch

This event is free and open to the public.
Suggested Donation – $5 to $10.
Reservations required, 914 737-7878 x 0 or email

The event will take place at:
Maritime Academic Center, State University of New York Maritime College
6 Pennyfield Avenue
Bronx, NY  10465

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In the Pages of Sea History 155

Sea History 155 is in the mail and on the newsstands. Just look at what’s in this issue:


ToC PST Fair Winds, Peter (1927–2016), by Shelley Reid
The National Maritime Historical Society and the maritime heritage community at large remember our president emeritus and long-time editor of Sea History, Peter Stanford.
Find this article in Featured Articles from Sea History

The Cape Horn Road, Part II: How the Sails of the Square-rigged Ship Got their Names, by Peter Stanford
From 1994 to 2000, Peter Stanford captivated readers with tales of The Cape Horn Road, his 22-installment series about the sweeping history of seafaring. In installment II, reprinted here in honor of his countless contributions to Sea History, Peter discusses the story of how square sails were named, drawing inspiration from Wavertree, the ship Peter and Norma Stanford rescued from retirement as a sand barge to become the flagship of the South Street Seaport Museum.

Wavertree Restoration: News from the Shipyard, by Jonathan Boulware
South Street Seaport Museum’s executive director updates us on Wavertree’s progress, as the 1885 iron-hulled full rigged ship’s $13-million restoration continues.



So Close to Home: U-boats in the Gulf of Mexico, by Michael J. Tougias
Not many Americans realize how close German U-boats came to their shores. Best-selling author Michael Tougias puts us on board U-507 with Commander Harro Schacht as he sneaks into the Gulf of Mexico in the spring of 1942 and wreaks havoc on American shipping.

Congress Supports Maritime Heritage Amendments! by Dr. Timothy J. Runyan
The National Parks Service has announced the recipients of the 2015 Maritime Heritage Grants cycle, and the National Maritime Historical Society is on the list! The National Maritime Alliance’s Tim Runyan reports on the progress on Capitol Hill of efforts to restore more funding to the program, and outlines what you, our readers, can do to help.

ToC CudahyHell With the Lid Off!—Lt. Hobson and the Sinking of the Merrimac at Santiago, Cuba, 1898, by Patrick S. Grant
Faced with the task of keeping the Spanish fleet trapped in Santiago Harbor, Lt. Richmond Hobson, a naval constructor, and a crew of volunteers from the US fleet embarked on a risky mission to block the narrow channel by sinking their own ship.


ToC BowdoinBound for the Arctic and Beyond: Schooner Bowdoin Prepares for Her Second Century of Voyaging, by Michael W. Mahan
Designed to sail through the ice packs of the Arctic, the solidly built schooner Bowdoin, now a training ship for the Maine Maritime Academy, is being restored as she approaches her 100th birthday.

This issue’s cover: Wavertree at Caddell Dry Dock.

Plus, you’ll find the regular features you look forward to in every issue:

Deck Log
NMHS: A Cause in Motion
Marine Art News
Sea History for Kids
Ship Notes, Seaport & Museum News
Maritime History on the Internet
Book Reviews

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NMHS Aboard Clearwater!

Best Photo

hauling 4NMHS guests had a lovely day, a wonderful time and a lot of fun on our cruise aboard the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater!

Pete Seeger built the traditional sloop Clearwater with a mission to “build a boat to save the river”, sailing the Hudson River for decades, spreading the message of environmental stewardship. The cruise took advantage of Clearwater’s award-winning onboard environmental education programming, and we learned how to tie knots, how to identify fish, and much more! After leaving the dock, it was all hands to the halyards to help raise the mainsail to the rhythm of a traditional sea chantey, and then a three-hour sail on a traditional sloop while we became acquainted with the environment of the river.
3885235888_0b67fa246d_oIMG_0902We’d also like to share that Clearwater has a canoe for sale. Hand-crafted in Canada, this birch-bark canoe was gently used for six years, but Clearwater is no longer running the program that the canoe served and would like to see it find a good home. Proceeds from the sale will go to Clearwater’s education programs; the $5,000 asking price would pay for 2 classes to experience an onboard education program. The contact person for this is Education Director Dave Conover,  who can also be reached at 845-265-8080 ext. 7104.


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USS Slater (DE-766): The last Destroyer Escort Afloat

The Charles Point Council of the National Maritime Historical Society
presents the 2015 Richard Belliveau Seminar

USS Slater: History and Restoration of
the Last World War II Destroyer Escort Afloat in the US
with Destroyer Escort Historical Museum Executive Director Timothy C. Rizzuto

Photo courtesy Destroyer Escort Historical Museum

Photo courtesy Destroyer Escort Historical Museum

Wednesday, 24 June 2015 – Hendrick Hudson Free Library
185 Kings Ferry Road, Montrose, NY 10548
Refreshments at 6:00 PM. Presentation begins at 6:30 PM.

A total of 563 destroyer escorts, designed by Gibbs & Cox and inspired by the British HUNT class destroyer, were built for use during World War II. These ships escorted merchant marine convoys, navy supply vessels and troop transports, warding off enemy submarine and aircraft attacks. They also went on missions to seek out and destroy enemy submarines, and manned picket stations on the outer perimeter of fleet and landing operations to engage kamikazes and to warn inner perimeter vessels of their approach.

USS Slater (DE 766) is the last destroyer escort afloat. Commissioned in 1944, Slater served in both the Atlantic and the Pacific. She was transferred to Greece in 1951 as part of the Military Defense Assistance Program, where she served forty years. The American group Destroyer Escort Sailors Association raised the funds to return her to the United States, and created the Destroyer Escort Historical Museum to manage her. She has undergone a complete restoration in the intervening years, carried out with careful attention to detail and accuracy.

Tim Rizzuto, executive director of the Destroyer Escort Historical Museum, will tell us all about the destroyer escort program and Slater‘s journey to become the last representative of her kind, telling the destroyer escorts’ story to future generations.

The public is invited. Please contact the National Maritime Historical Society at 914-737-7878, ext. 0, or email if you plan to attend. A $5 to $10 donation is appreciated.

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National Maritime Heritage Grants

Applications are now being accepted for National Maritime Heritage Grants. Approximately $1,700,000 has been made available; education projects can request $25,000-$50,000, and preservation projects can request $50,000-$200,000. The application period runs from 23 June  to 23 September, 2014. The Maritime Heritage Program website has full details, including a history of the National Maritime Heritage Grants and links to begin the application process.

Past recipients of funding include the USS Hornet Museum, Mystic Seaport Museum, the Constellation Foundation, the USS Constitution Museum, the Mississippi River Museum,the Naval Historical Foundation, the City of Portland, Independence Seaport Museum, and the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP), to name just a few. Projects range from restoration projects on historic vessels to museum exhibits to educational programs.



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