James L. Nelson
Award Year: 2009
Rodney N. Houghton Award
The Rodney N. Houghton Award is presented for the best feature article in Sea History in the preceding year. The award is named after Rodney Houghton (1938–2007), a dedicated NMHS trustee and passionate advocate for advancing maritime history education.
Jim Nelson was born and raised in Lewiston, Maine and graduated from UCLA with a degree in motion picture/television production. Finding that despite being in Southern California, it was a damp, drizzly November in his soul, Jim took the cure Melville recommended and decided to sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. For six years he worked on board traditional sailing ships before turned thirty and realizing it would be easier to write about sailing rather than actually doing it. His career as a writer began in 1994 and he has since written twenty works of maritime fiction and history. He is the winner of the American Library Association/William Young Boyd Award and the Naval Order’s Samuel Eliot Morison Award. Nelson has lectured all over the country and appeared on the Discovery Channel, History Channel and BookTV. He currently lives in Harpswell, Maine, with his former shipmate, now wife Lisa and their four children.