Maritime History Resource

800px-Bretagne_1859_7154Welcome to Manitou’s web pages on Maritime History. Below you will find ways that will help guide you in methods of conducting maritime history research. Also included are links to great books, magazines, and other print resources – as well as maritime history sites.

Conducting research


Marine Related Sites


Researching Ships

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When you’re looking for information on a specific vessel, there are generally two types of ships: famous ones, and not-famous ones. Here are some suggestions on dealing with each.

For famous ships, search for information in books, in magazine articles, and online. When searching for books about a ship in a library catalog, try the following approach. Do a subject search for the name of the vessel, followed by the word “ship,” “schooner,” “whaler,” or other term. For example, try searching for the subject heading Moshulu (Ship). USS Constitution has a subject heading of Constitution (Frigate). Another famous ship’s subject heading is Titanic (Steamship). The parentheses are sometimes omitted.

For less-famous ships that likely do not have books written solely about themselves, consider using the Index to Ships in Books. This index tells you if a ship is mentioned in the books in the index’s bibliography. This is useful because many books mention hundreds of ships, none of which will be included in a library catalog’s description of the book. Even if one had access to all of these books, it would take a long time to search through all the indexes. The index contains over 29,000 entries; it will grow as time allows.

See the ships section for lists of ships with a web presence.

For American naval vessels, try the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Much of it is available online at, and there is also a print version that you should be able to find at many public and academic libraries. The online version is not endorsed by the US Navy, who published the print version. The online version is not yet complete, and not without typographical errors. That said, this is a great resource and a very labor-intensive project.

For merchant ships that might have been listed in Lloyd’s Register, see one of the National Maritime Museum’s excellent online Research Guides. Six focus on various issues of Lloyd’s publications.

The online guides are accessible here; they are in section H, “Lloyd’s.”

For British merchant navy ships, see section C, “The Merchant Navy,” of the National Maritime Museum’s online guides.


Researching People

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The massive expansion of genealogical resources on the internet means that simple searches in search engines for an individual’s name may locate relevant information. (Put the name within quotes: results from a search for Marilyn Monroe without quotes will find Marilyn Monroe, Marilyn Manson, and James Monroe, among many others.) The search will also find information on a different individual with the same name, or even if you feel that the person is the same, it may provide misleading or incorrect genealogical information, and rarely indicates the source of the information. Nevertheless, a little information is better than no information, so it’s a good place to start.

Biography & Genealogy Master Index – One excellent resource for finding more than just a name, birth, and death date, is a product called the Biography and Genealogy Master Index, or BGMI. BGMI indexes hundreds and hundreds of biographical sources, and in one fell swoop, you can search all of the Who’s Who titles plus many, many other books, to find out if any of them mention your subject. BGMI also indexes a product called Biography Index, which covers magazines and some books not covered by BGMI. Neither of these products gives you the actual biographical information: they tell you where the information exists, so once you know it’s there you can track it down and expect to find something useful.

BGMI costs a fair bit of money (and is well worth it) so you’ll likely need to check with your local public library or college or university library to see if they have access to it. It is available in a CD-ROM format or a web format. Some places may have a print version; this is likely not as up-to-date as the electronic versions.

World Biographical Index – Another useful biographical resource is the World Biographical Index, published by K.G. Saur in Germany. The index to the collection is available on the web at (Versions are also available in German, French, Italian, and Spanish.) The resource indexes thousands of titles in many different geographical and subject areas. The index is available on the internet, but the biographical information is not included. Saur does sell all of this information, as well, but it’s extremely expensive, and only the largest research institutions can afford the microfilm product.

Don’t despair, however, as the index indicates the source of the text, and you can see if a local library has that specific title, or see if they can get it for you from another library. For example, the result of one search is as follows:

Name: Burnley, Hardin

aft. Burnley-Campbell

Dates: 1843-1920

References: Burnley-Campbell, Hardin; Cambell, Hardin Burnley-

Occupations: Major; J.P.; D.L

Groups: Army, Judges, Administrative Executives

Archive: British Biographical Archive

Fiche: II 1356,130

Title of Source: Walford [= Short title]

Walford’s County Families of the United Kingdom or, royal

manual of the titled and untitled aristocracy of England,

Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. – 49th ed. – London. – 1909

So, if your library has access to Saur’s British Biographical Archive, you’ll find all entries on this individual on fiche series II, number 1356, column 130. Or, if you don’t have access to the microfiche set, you can find this entry in the 1909 Walford’s County Families of the United Kingdom. As with BGMI, knowing where the information exists is about three-quarters of the battle.


Library catalogs and databases

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This section lists Internet-accessible library catalogs that will be of value to researchers in maritime history. It is divided into a list of maritime museum library catalogs and academic library catalogs, useful because of the size of their collections.

Maritime Museum Library Catalogs

G.W. Blunt White Library at Mystic Seaport, Mystic, Connecticut. The library contains some 60,000 volumes and a large manuscripts and maps collection. They also have a Union List of Logbooks and Journals, showing holdings across the country of logs and journals by ship name.

The Research Library at The Mariners’ Museum, Newport News, Virginia. The library contains about 78,000 volumes, over half a million photographs, over a million manuscript items, and a significant Chris-Craft collection.

The Nantucket Historical Association’s Library contains a collection of more than 5000 books, plus manuscript and image collections, related to Nantucket history and to whaling.

Royal Museums Greenwich is an online collection of electronic resources, gathered together by the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England. Port contains several specific research guides, which any maritime historian will find useful.

Academic Research Libraries

University of Washington Libraries, in Seattle, Washington. The Universities’ collection is extremely broad, and because of its location, has a strong collection on Pacific coast history.

You can access their catalog here.

The Maritime History Archive at Memorial University of Newfoundland has an extensive collection of resources available online.

Likewise, the California Digital Library, representing all of the UC libraries, is a great place to search for books on California and Pacific history.

East Carolina University’s Library is a good place to search, because they have a master’s program in maritime history, and collect more actively in maritime history than most other academic libraries. Unfortunately, the web version of their catalog is pretty tough to use.

For eastern US maritime history, try Harvard University Libraries. They are, after all, the largest academic library in the world.

You can access their catalog here.

Harvard’s library rival, Yale University Libraries, is another good place to look.

You can access their catalog here.

Of course, the Library of Congress is the largest library in the world.

You can access their catalog here.

For regional research, try the nearest academic or public library, large or small. They almost certainly make a special effort to collect resources about local and regional history.

National libraries are also an excellent place to look for information on a specific country. “A list of national libraries including those claiming this function but not having the actual title,” is available here.

Other Specialized Library Catalogs

Institute of Marine Engineers has a very specialized library collection of over 10,000 volumes.

Once you know a book exists you can ask your local library if they can get it for you through interlibrary loan, or you (or they) can check WorldCat to see if any libraries near you own a copy of the book. Remember that there are many other libraries that might be of use, but these will be a good place to start.

A lot of maritime museum libraries do not have their holdings in a web-accessible format. Regional maritime museum libraries, and local or regional history libraries, are also excellent places to look. (In Seattle, for example, the holdings of the Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society are held in the library of the local Museum of History and Industry.)

Some will do research for a fee, while others will not. Generally, access to their resources is, understandably, much more limited than in an academic or public library. It is important to plan ahead before going to a museum library to do research; their hours may be quite limited.

While few research libraries focus on maritime history, their collections are so broad that they often have useful items that maritime museum libraries may not have. Financial resources at research institutions also occasionally give them an enviable ability to add to their collections.

WorldCat is an enormous database of library holdings around the world. It has over 40 million records in it, and adds thousands more every day. WorldCat will tell you which of its subscribing libraries own a specific title; if your nearest library does not own the title, you can tell who else does. A lot of public or small libraries are not members of WorldCat, but more and more are added every day. WorldCat is very expensive, and not every library will have access to it. In some cases, you may be able to ask a librarian to “search OCLC” for you — this is the same as searching WorldCat, but a bit more technical, and sometimes access is limited to just library staff.

Searching WorldCat is different from nearly every other database. Read their ‘help‘ section closely.

General Maritime Information

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Maritime history, supported by Lars Bruzelius, is extensive and well-organized. It includes folders on subjects such as Museums and Museum Ships around the world, Biographies, pointers to many other sites, and much, much more.

John Kohnen’s list of Nautical Links has got just about all of them.

The New Zealand Internet Marine Resource is maintained by a different Peter McCracken.

This page on maritime history has a nice collection of links.

The Schoonerman pages have a lot of good links, including Naval History and a list of museums.

The National Maritime Historical Society is an important organization, and publishes Sea History magazine. offers a variety of marine-related resources.

OCEAN98 provides a growing wealth of information relating to the world’s oceans. The site is sponsored by UNESCO, and is available in English, Spanish, French, and Dutch.

Links to the Past, presented by the National Park Service, is an excellent collection of information on America’s national parks.

The maritime heritage of Salem, Massachusetts is documented in these pages.

Some Biographical Information

The Napoleon Series is a very impressive site based in Belgium.

Nelson in St. Kitts is the subject of this mini history lesson from the St. Kitts/Nevis Tourist Office. Antigua and Barbuda have their own site about Nelson history.


Maritime Museums

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The following lists of museums cover different parts of the world and vary in the amount of information provided about each museum.

World-wide museums – this list by Lars Bruzelius is organized by continent, then alphabetically by country, state or province (in the US and Canada), then by city.

Robert H. Smith’s Master Index to North American Maritime Museum Internet Resource provides an excellent guide to maritime museum internet sites. The museums are organized alphabetically by name, however, so finding museums in the places you’re headed can take a while.

Musée is an online directory of museums worldwide. Their list of maritime museums is available here, without the annoying frames that otherwise take up half the page.

The Evans-West Lists of Nautical Museums lists naval and maritime museums in Britain, Ireland, and their islands.

Many maritime museums have established sites on the Internet, and many others are in the process of doing so. The list below starts with the 24 “Great Maritime Museums of the World,” as listed in the book of that name (ed. by Peter Neill and Barbara Ehrenwald Krohn; New York: Balsam Press, 1991), and then follows with museums organized geographically.

Great Maritime Museums of the World


Australian National Maritime Museum, in Sydney, Australia.


Nova Scotia Maritime Museums, in Halifax (Maritime Museum of the Atlantic) and Lunenburg (Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic), Nova Scotia.

Vancouver Maritime Museum, in Vancouver, British Columbia.


Viking Ship Museum, in Roskilde.


Musée de la Marine, in Paris.

Musée de la Pêche, in Concarneau.


Deutsches Schiffahrtsmuseum, in Bremerhaven.


NYK Maritime, in Yokohama.


Nederlands Scheepvaart Museum, in Amsterdam.


Maritiem Museum Prins Hendrik, in Rotterdam.


Norsk Sjøfartsmuseum, in Oslo.


Museu de Marinha, in Lisbon.


Museu Marítim de Barcelona, in Barcelona. In native language only.


The National Maritime Museums, consisting of the National Maritime Museum and the Vasa Museum, in Stockholm.

United Kingdom

Iron Screw Steamship Great Britain, in Bristol.

Merseyside Maritime Museum, in Liverpool. The interesting exhibits here highlight the dramatic role played by Liverpool’s revolutionary dock system in the city’s development as a major trading site.

National Maritime Museum, in Greenwich. This is truly one of the world’s great maritime museums, and every exhibit they present is fascinating. When visiting the museum, take the Docklands Light Rail to the Greenwich stop and walk through the tunnel under the Thames, then take a boat on the Thames back to the Houses of Parliament, or vice versa.

United States

Hawai’i Maritime Center, in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Mariners’ Museum, in Newport News, Virginia.

Mystic Seaport Museum, in Mystic, Connecticut. This is a wonderful museum; anyone with half an interest in maritime history should spend a day or two every year visiting the museum.

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, in San Francisco, California. This is an interesting museum by the Bay. The San Francisco National Maritime Park Association supports the SFMNHP, and has created another home page for the San Francisco park.

Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, D.C. There are maritime collections with online exhibitions in the National Museum of American History.

South Street Seaport, in New York City. South Street Seaport is home to the massive Peking.

A general list of other maritime museums follows: United States

The San Diego Maritime Museum, home of the Star of India, has a nice web site.

The Catalina Island Museum on Catalina Island, off Los Angeles.

The Maritime Museum of Monterey, in Monterey, California.

The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum is a new museum on the bay in Santa Barbara. The complete museum is scheduled to be done by 2002.

plans to open in the summer of 1999, but its virtual version is already open here.

The Connecticut River Museum, in Essex, Connecticut.

The Maritime Museum of the Pacific is currently under construction in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

The Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport, Maine, has a very nice and informative site.

Chesapeake Bay Museum in St. Michaels, Maryland.

The Kendall Whaling Museum in Sharon, Massachusetts, has a nice home page, with a variety of sources and bibliographies on whaling.

The United States Naval and Shipbuilding Museum in Quincy, Massachusetts, is home of USSSalem (CA 139), the world’s only preserved heavy cruiser.

The Nantucket Lifesaving Museum on Nantucket Island, Massachussets, off Cape Cod, is another lifesaving museum, with a number of valuable artifacts.

The Hart Nautical Collections at the MIT Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts, focus on “the technical history of New England ship and small craft design and construction from the 19th through mid 20th centuries.”

The Maritime Arts and History Collection is one of the strongest parts of The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.

Tuckerton Seaport is a brand-new museum in Tuckerton, New Jersey, “dedicated to preserving, presenting and interpreting the environment and maritime history of the Jersey Shore and the unique contributions of the Baymen.”

Maritime Industry Museum at Fort Schuyler, at the SUNY Maritime College in The Bronx, New York.

The H. Lee White Marine Museum in Oswego, New York.

Long Island Maritime Museum in West Sayville, New York.

Southport Maritime Museum, in Southport, NC.

The Steamer William G. Mather Museum includes information on this 1925 Great Lakes Bulk freighter, plus links to the Association for Great Lakes Maritime History, based in Bowling Green, Ohio.

The Columbia River Maritime Museum, in Astoria, Oregon.

The Center for Wooden Boats in Seattle, Washington, is a great resource for wooden boat builders and afficionados.

Odyssey, the Maritime Discovery Center, on the waterfront in Seattle, Washington, is a new approach to telling the maritime story.

Shore Village Museum, Maine’s lighthouse museum, in Rockland, Maine.

The Rest of the World!

Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and the Fisherman’s Life Museum are both members of theNova Scotia Museum and are located in Nova Scotia.

The Yarmouth County Museum & Archives, located in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, explores Yarmouth’s past, particularly its shipping industry.

Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic, in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, is also a member of the Nova Scotia Museum group. This is another fascinating museum in a great small town.

Maritime Museum of British Columbia in Victoria, British Columbia.

The Marine Museum of the Great Lakes in Kingston, Ontario.

The Naval Museum of Alberta in Calgary, Alberta.

The Mary Rose Virtual Maritime Museum describes Henry VIII’s warship Mary Rose, lost in 1545 and raised in 1982. This is a remarkable web site.

The Royal Greenwich Observatory is not strictly a maritime history museum, but nevertheless has fascinating exhibits which focus on the importance of timekeeping and accurate observation to mariners. And, of course, it’s just up the hill from Britain’s National Maritime Museum.Greenwich 2000 promotes the area, and has some interesting travel and tourist information.

The Maritime Museum (Sheepvaart museum), of Amsterdam.

The Vasa Museum, in Stockholm, presents the recovered remains of the 1628 royal warshipVasa, which sank on its maiden voyage and was discovered in 1956.

The Viking Ship Museum, in Oslo, Norway, has a very nice web site describing the finds in their collection.

The Hellenic Maritime Museum, in Piraeus, Greece.

Western Australia Maritime Museum in Fremantle, Australia. Access to this site varies. Keep trying.

The Sydney Heritage Fleet is Sydney’s oldest maritime museum.

The Windermere Steamboat Museum in England’s Lake District – ranks among the best maritime museums in the world.

The Owen Sound Marine – Rail Museums, in Owen Sound, Ontario.

The Navy Museum, in Brest, France.

South African Maritime Museum, in Cape Town, South Africa.


Historic Vessels

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Museum list – minimal information on vessels at various museums around the world is available from this list. It is organized alphabetically by continent, then by country, state or province, city, and institution, as appropriate.

Historic Ships to Visit is a list by name, type, and location, of historic ships in the United States, compiled by the Maritime Heritage Program, part of the American National Park Service. They also have a listing of large preserved vessels and shipwrecks, many with hyperlinks.

The NavShips History Ring is a collection of over two hundred web pages on naval ships around the world. It’s not in any particular order, and remember that the first page just shows the first 20 sites. Try using your browser’s ‘find’ command to locate a term (like a ship’s name) among the sites listed here.

The Steamboat Society in Gothenburg, Sweden, has information about the collection of boats they maintain.

Historic ships

The following web pages describe individual ships that no longer exist, except in peoples’ minds and memories.

RMS Caronia (II) Timeline charts the day-to-day position of Cunard’s world famous “Green Goddess” – the RMS Caronia (II).

The Halsewell, and East Indiaman, was launched in 1778, and sank in 1786, near Swanage, England. The wreck is now being mapped and explored, and artifacts are being recovered.

TEV Princess Marguerite sailed between Seattle and Victoria for years; ”Take a Princess to sea, take a Princess to sea, Have some crumpets and tea, have some crumpets and tea, Hey, hey, hey, Let’s all go to Vic-tor-i-a, On the Princess Marguerite…” {If you know the tune to this ditty then you know you’re a true Northwesterner!}

RMS Republic was a White Star Line ocean liner that sank in 1909, perhaps with many riches aboard. This site tells the story.

Floating ships

To find a ship to sail on, visit the sites of several of those listed below, including Alvei, US Brig Niagara, ‘HMS’Rose, and others, or visit The Float Plan, to find large or small boats for sale or for sail.

Various vessels in alphabetical order, with information and some photos, include the following:

Alvei is 1920 former Scottish Herring Drifter, which is currently in the South Pacific and is actively seeking crew and passengers for its anticipated five to six year circumnavigation.

The great Nova Scotian schooner Bluenose II is represented in an excellent collection of web pages which present the history of Bluenose II and the original Bluenose fishing and racing schooner.

Bowdoin is a classic Arctic Schooner with a fascinating history.

S.S. Canadiana is a 1910 Great Lakes steamer which is under restoration. The vessel should return to Buffalo, NY, when restoration is complete.

USS Constellation is not as old as Constitution, but is still an important historic ship. She is currently being restored; information on the project is available here.

USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned naval ship still afloat, is about to celebrate her 200th anniversary. Several pages are devoted to her; the link above is to the primary web site, and includes a variety of resources of interest to many.

This Constitution page is maintained by an expert on the ship, and is a good source for reliable information about “Old Ironsides.”

The tall ship Elissa, of Galveston, Texas.

Endeavour is a reconstruction of Captain James Cook’s vessel from 1768 to 1771. The ship’s home port is Sydney, Australia, but it travels extensively, as well.

Several pages describe the schooner Ernestina (ex-Effie M. Morrissey), including an older siteon the unofficial web pages of the Republic of Cape Verde.

Flash II is a Star Class sloop, owned by John Kennedy from 1934 to 1942.

Gazela is a century-old barkentine based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Harvey Gamage is a beautiful 131′ gaff-rigged schooner, built in 1973, and sailing as a sailing school vessel between New England and the Caribbean.

The Hawaiian Chieftain, a tall ship in San Francisco bay, has a web site here.

The Wreck of the Hornby describes the January 1824 disaster that wrecked the Hornby off the coast of Wales.

The J. & E. Riggin is a Maine windjammer based in Rockland, Maine.

The first L’Invincible is highlighted through the Maritime Archaeology Trust, and they describe the history of the ship from her construction to the discovery of her remains in 1979.

Tugboat Luna is an historic tugboat being restored in downtown Boston.

M/V Kalakala is a real sight. Built in the 1930s as the first streamlined passenger ferry, her futuristic teardrop shape has always intrigued people, and now a crew in the Northwest are hoping to bring her back from Alaska, where she is on land being used as a fish processing plant, and return her to her Seattle home.

Maryland Dove, a replica of Lord Baltimore’s supply pinnace, is based in St. Mary’s City, Maryland.

Matthew is a reconstruction of John Cabot’s ship, currently being built in Bonavista, Newfoundland.

USS Monitor, on the National Register of Historic Places since 1974, is protected within a National Marine Sanctuary. A short page describes the current position and condition of this historic vessel.

US Brig Niagara calls Erie, Pennsylvania, home, but sails all around the East Coast.

SS Nobska is America’s last coastal steamship, and is based in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Pamir is a German four-masted bark currently in Lübeck. This page has a ‘memorial’ to the ship; it’s not directly associated with Pamir. These pages are available in English, French, and German.

Picton Castle is a 178′ barque circumnavigating the globe. These pages contain the captain’s running log and hundreds of photos of the ship at work.

Baltimore’s Pride of Baltimore II, built in 1988, is reflected in these beautiful web pages, with access to pages on the history of the original Pride of Baltimore, the more recent Pride of Baltimore II, and their predecessors, the Baltimore Clippers.

Romance is a brigantine run by Arthur and Gloria Kimberly.

‘HMS’ Rose, a 500-ton full-rigged frigate based on the Royal Navy 6th-rate frigate of the same name, sails out of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Photographs, her current itinerary, and information on joining her at sea are all available here. Mark Rosenstein has a collection of pages about ‘HMS’ Rose.

Søren Larsen, a 1948 Denmark-built, 145′ brigantine now in New Zealand, offers charters and Pacific Ocean voyages. Søren Larsen rounded Cape Horn in 1991.

S.S. Styrbjörn, in Oslo, Norway, is the last coal-fired seagoing steam tug in Norway. This site also offers the home page of the Norwegian Veteran Ship Club.

Steamboat Ticonderoga is a 1906 220-ft side paddlewheel passenger steamer at the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont.

SS Virginia V is another great Northwestern ship; she’s still in Seattle, and can be seen on the lakes or the Sound all the time. A beautiful classic steam ship.

Future ships

The Batavia Yard in Lelystad, the Netherlands, recently completed a reconstruction of a 1628 East-Indiaman, the Batavia, and is now building a 17th century ship, the Seven Provinces. They share information about their shipyard here.

Denis Sullivan is a 125-foot three-masted schooner being built on Milwaukee’s waterfront by the Wisconsin Lake Schooner Education Association.

Duyfken is a reconstruction of a 1606 Dutch ship of exploration. The new Duyfken is being built in Fremantle, Western Australia.

France II Renaissance is building a reconstruction of the 1911 five-masted barque France II. The ship will be built in the French port city of Caen. A French version of the text is also available.

Friendship is a project to build a vessel based on a 1797 Salem East Indiaman, which will then be berthed at the Salem National Maritime Historical Site.

Jeanie Johnston is a reconstruction of a three-masted barque that carried thousands of immigrants from Ireland to North America. The vessel is docked at Custom House Quay in Dublin’s city center. Tours are available.

Ranger will be a reconstruction of John Paul Jones’ 1777 vessel, and will be constructed in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Stad Amsterdam is a three-masted square-rigger being built at the Netherlands Maritime Museum in Amsterdam.


Books & Magazines

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This section lists information on notable books, including links to maritime publishers and booksellers.


“Heart of Oak Sea Classics” is a new series of naval and maritime fiction classics, reprinted with introductions by prominent maritime historians. The reintroduction of these titles should be a boon to those unable to find some of these classics in the local super-mega-bookstore.

Patrick O’Brian is the author of books described by Richard Snow in The New York Times Book Review as the “best historical fiction ever written.” O’Brian has enthralled readers over the past few decades with his stories of Captain Jack Aubrey and physician Stephen Maturin. Other O’Brian-related sites include:

The Hundred Days is the nineteenth book in the series.

A Gunroom Guide to Patrick O’Brian Web Resources compiles links to numerous web sites about O’Brian.

The Patrick O’Brian page appears courtesy of his American publishers, W.W. Norton.

Searoom is the name of a listserv that has developed around O’Brian’s works.

McBooks Press’s Historical Fiction series has works by Forester, Kent, Lambdin, Marryat, etc.

Here’s a small collection of Horatio Hornblower links:

The Horatio Hornblower Series Minibibliography from the Library of Congress is useful because it includes a chronological guide to the books – useful since they were not written in chronological order, and are not numbered like O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin series.

The Horatio Hornblower Fanfiction Archive has lots more stuff.

The Definitive Horatio Hornblower Webpage covers just the A&E film series, not the books.

Herman Melville is of course one of the best-known authors of maritime literature, and with very good reason. These pages describe Melville’s life and work, and are presented by the Herman Melville Internet Society.


An Encyclopedia of Naval History, by Anthony Bruce & William Cogar (New York: Checkmark Books, 1999). A very nice collection of entries on navies around the world. Not surprisingly, it focuses most on Western naval power, but has many good entries on historical figures, plus a lot of coverage of the Japanese navy.

Hospital Ships of World War II: An Illustrated Reference, by Emory A. Massman (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 1999).

Across the Top of the World: The Quest for the Northwest Passage, by James P. Delgado, director of the Vancouver Maritime Museum (New York: Checkmark Books, 1999). A very nicely illustrated history of exploration of the Northwest Passage, with particular attention to the Franklin expedition of the 1840s. The maps and color illustrations complement the text particularly well.

Shipwrecks: An Encyclopedia of the World’s Worst Disasters at Sea, by David Ritchie (New York: Checkmark Books, 1996). This is a fairly exhaustive collection of hundreds and hundreds of disasters at sea, caused by innumerable hazards and occasional spurts of stupidity.

A Coastal Schooner Life on Southern New England Waters: Captain Claude S. Tucker, the “Coral,” and the End of an Era, by Donald. F. Tucker, Robert Demanche, and Caroline B. Tucker (Fairhaven, MA: Coral Press, 1998).

Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea, by Gary Kinder (Thorndike, ME: G.K. Hall, 1998), tells the fascinating story of the loss and recovery of the Central America, a steamer coming back from the California Gold Rush and filled with gold, only to sink off Cape Hatteras, in 1857.

Every Man Will Do His Duty, compiled by Dean King and John Hattendorf, is a great collection of firsthand accounts of life at sea in the age of Nelson, from 1793 to 1815. King and Hattendorf worked together to create two books directly related to the works of Patrick O’Brian: A Sea of Words and Harbors and High Seas, and have now added this work, which is not directly related to O’Brian’s works, but rather stands on its own as a useful collection of stories.

The Wooden World: An Anatomy of the Georgian Navy, is an exhaustive and authoritative, if Panglossian, view of the British Navy.

Portions of the Dictionary of Naval Fighting Ships are available online, though it is not quite complete.

The Universe Below: Discovering the Secrets of the Deep, by William J. Broad, “describes how the end of the cold war is speeding deep-sea exploration as former military personnel and technologies enter the civil sector.”

Thad Koza’s beautiful books and calendars can now be ordered over the internet. His annual OpSail calendars highlight a dozen remarkable ships every year.

Travel Narratives

Voyage of the Forest Dream and Other Sea Adventures: A Memoir, by Captain Niels Peter Thomsen (Vancouver, WA: Rose Wind Press, 1997). This memoir describes the author’s fourteen month voyage on the five-masted barkentine Forest Dream, from the Pacific Northwest to the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. The book includes wonderful photographs from the era.

Men of the Menkar: U.S. Coast Guard World War Two Naval Exploits: A Memoir, also by Captain Thomsen (Edmonds, WA: Von Buchholdt Press, [1999]), is a compilation of memoirs of his time on board the USS Menkar (AK-123), where he was promoted to C.O. The volume also contains photographs, journals, and reprints of numerous primary documents surrounding Capt. Thomsen’s time in naval service, including an interesting set of letters and responses questioning Capt. Thomsen’s fitness as an officer while working in Alaskan waters.

The Hawaiian Voyages of the Ono Jimmy, by Steve Dixon (Hilo, HI: Hawaii Trade Winds Publishing, 1998). This memoir recounts, in words and photos, the author’s travels on a Morgan 27 sloop through the Hawaiian islands, from 1994 through 1998.


Naval Institute Press, a part of the US Naval Institute, is the foremost publisher of maritime history titles in the US.

Publications of the Marine Historical Society of Detroit focus on the history of the Great Lakes.

Howell Press is a small publisher who specializes in various fields, including history and transportation. They recently published Passage East, about the first shipments of Indian cotton in 1814.

Avid Publications specializes in maritime titles, particularly relating to the Mersey and the Liverpool region.

The Exeter Maritime Series from the University of Exeter Press, has several interesting publications on maritime history.

References & Bibliographies

The Nautical Fiction List, by John Kohnen, contains a wealth of bibliographic information.

Bibliographie des Dictionnaires de Marine offers an alphabetical bibliography of 18th, 19th, and 20th century nautical dictionaries. Lars Bruzelius offers a chronological list of 17th, 18th, and 19th century maritime and naval dictionaries.

Terminologie maritime Terminology focuses on a series of confereces that examine aspects of maritime terminology.

An admiralty law bibliography, from the University of Houston Law Center, provides a long list of resources in admiralty law. The original list was completed in November, 1995; a new acquisitions list dates from September, 1998.

Sources for new books is an aptly-named site.

The Nautical Mind, a nautical bookstore on Toronto’s waterfront, has an impressive web page and information on new books, in many subjects, including history.

Warsash Nautical Books offers new and used books from their store in Warsash, Southampton, England.

Navy and Naval History CD-ROMs can be purchased through WAE.

The Sea Tales Book Store offers a modest selection of new maritime titles, with links from each title to

Sources for used books

Bookfinder is a great place to start searching for specific titles or topics; from there you’ll find many bookstores with maritime holdings. MX Bookfinder searches multiple used-book databases all at once.

John Kohnen’s list of dealers is far more extensive than mine. He lists tons of used book dealers: some with web pages, some without.

Columbia Trading Co., on Cape Cod, a great mail-order maritime bookstore.

Edward J. Lefkowicz, Inc. has a knockout web site and a better inventory. His pages are up-to-date and nicely organized by broad subject. His list of reference books is a particularly valuable resource, not only for used and rare book buyers, but also for those seeking a helpful bibliography.

Ten Pound Island Book Co., of Gloucester, MA, is another great source.

Indian Ocean Books, Maps, and Prints specializes in used and antiquarian materials from and about Indian Ocean islands and the countries of the Indian Ocean Rim.

Jean-Louis Boglio, of Currumbin, Queensland, Australia, has his recent catalogs available online.

Almark & Co., booksellers, in Thornill, Ontario, lists some representative titles they sell.

Popular magazines

Marine Log magazine now has an internet version of this long-established marine monthly.

Naval History is a popular bi-monthly journal covering all eras of naval history. It is published by the US Naval Institute.

SpinSheet is “The Chesapeake’s Own Sailing Magazine,” and offers here an introduction to the print version.

WoodenBoat magazine also has a presence on the Internet, and provides information and photos on the magazine, the history of and care for wooden boats, and guides to upcoming conferences.

Scholarly journals

American Neptune is America’s premier journal in primarily American maritime history.

The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology (IJNA) is the primary journal for all aspects of nautical archaeological research.

The Journal for Maritime Research (JMR) is a new electronic journal in maritime research, published by Britain’s National Maritime Museum.

The internet has a lot of great resources, but to do comprehensive research, you’ll need to turn to books. Of course, many valuable books were written long before the advent of the computer, much less the internet, and they won’t be digitized and put on the web any time soon. But the nature of current economics and scholarly publishing models clearly shows that printed resources will remain a vital source for research.

If you disagree, think of it this way: say you’re writing a nonfiction book or journal article and you’ve spent several years researching, writing, and editing the book. While you’ll likely never earn enough money from the sale of your book to make it financially worth writing, you do want to see at least some return on your investment of time and energy. Simply putting it up on the web, with no financial return, makes no fiscal sense at all. In addition, the current scholarly publishing paradigm rightly places greater value on a work published by a reputable press than on something someone throws up on the web. Remember, you can always put it on the internet after every publisher under the sun has rejected it.


Music, Art and Images

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Life at sea has long given sailors much time to explore various creative exercises, particularly music. This page highlights a few examples of these projects.


The Digital Tradition Folk Song Database contains lyrics to many songs that have a root in the maritime tradition and the lore and history of the sea. Much of the music that has come from sailors and their work at sea has been incorporated into folk music. Their influence continues to be felt today.

The Traditional Ballad Index provides a nice collection of traditional songs. Unfortunately, the editors indicate the document should be downloaded before accessing; it’s just a bit too big to work with through an internet browser.

Smithsonian Folkways recordings offers an opportunity to search their database, which might help one locate recordings of specific songs or artists.

Shanties and Sea Songs highlights a lot of information about various performers and composers in this list compiled by Andrew Draskoy.

Individual Musicians and Associations

The International Shanty and Seasong Association is a gathering spot for information about shantying. It’s useful for finding information about various groups, plus information on shantying in general. It’s got English, Dutch, and German-language versions.

Lee Murdock, a Great Lakes and Maritime Musician, has information about his recordings online.

Tom Lewis is a great singer now living in British Columbia.

Sources for sea shanties

Wooden Ships Music sells sea music, has samples of the music, and has information on the history of sea shanties.

Camsco Music offers a small selection of Sea Songs & Shanties for sale on its web site.

Maritime Arts

Maritime Art Greenwich ”is a learning resource combining subject expertise and the National Maritime Museum’s oil painting collection. The website offers a searchable database of selected paintings plus in-depth content on some of the major themes of maritime art.” As usual, Britain’s National Maritime Museum leads the way in using technology to share its collection far beyond its physical walls.

NMM Collections Online is the National Maritime Museum’s project to share information about all of their collections (not just art) with virtual visitors.

American Society of Marine Artists

Sea Dragon Marine Art Studio, in Troy, Montana.

Martin Jeffery, a ship carver, ship restorer, figurehead carver, etc., displays his wares and his abilities in this very nice set of pages.

Maidhof Brothers offers a wide variety of nautical treasures and gifts from its store in San Diego, and also offers a 45 minute long tape of various sea sounds.



Thad Koza is a photographer of tall ships who reminds the rest of us what makes great photography so great. His photographs of tall ships are superior to all others — a look at his annual calendar should quickly convince you why this is the calendar to get.

Armada de la Liberté contains a collection of images of tallships that visited Normandy, France, during the 50th anniversary of the Allied invasion there. Each photograph was taken while the vessels were visiting Rouen. Some images here, like those from the site in Poland, can take a long time to load.

Canadian Lighthouses are highlighted here, and have a brief history and several images.

The Lighthouse Society of Great Britain has information on UK lighthouses, and a list oflighthouse web sites.


Maritime Education

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This section lists a variety of programs in maritime history and maritime skills.

Undergraduate programs

The Williams College/Mystic Seaport Program in American Maritime Studies offers an opportunity like no other – spend an undergraduate semester living, studying, and working at one of the world’s greatest maritime museums, Mystic Seaport. Speaking from personal experience, it is an unrivalled semester.

Sea Education Association (SEA) offers several programs on their ships, Corwith Cramer, andRobert C. Seamans, which was launched in the summer of 2001.

Ocean Classroom is based out of Cornwall, NY, and now sails three vessels: Westward,Harvey Gamage, and Spirit of Massachusetts. They offer a variety of programs.

The Evergreen State College, in Olympia, Washington, offers a Maritime Studies Program, and maintains two vessels, Seawulff and Resolute.

Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland offers a Bachelor of Maritime Studies.

Sea-mester, Argo Academy, and ActionQuest are three affiliated programs with courses for high school students and teenagers. Each program has a slightly different focus.

The Warsash Maritime Academy, at Southampton Institute in the UK offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Graduate and postgraduate programs

The Munson Institute Summer Program in Museum Studies, also at Mystic Seaport, provides individuals with experience in working in a major maritime museum.

The Program in Maritime Studies at East Carolina University, in Greenville, North Carolina, offers one of the only masters programs in Maritime History available in the country.

The Marine Option Program at the University of Hawaii offers a variety of courses in marine studies.

Texas A&M University at Galveston offers a Master’s in Maritime Transportation, in addition to many other marine-related programs on campus. The Texas Maritime Academy is also located on this campus.

The Master of Marine Management at Dalhousie University is one of the very few programs of its type in the world.

Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland offers a Master of Marine Studies.

The Greenwich Maritime Institute, located within the University of Greenwich, offers Masters degrees in Maritime Policy and Maritime History.

The School of Maritime and Coastal Studies, at Southampton Institute in the UK offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Merchant Marine Academies

United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY.

California Maritime Academy provides bachelor’s degrees for interested students, with training aboard the Training Ship Golden Bear. Continuing Maritime Education courses are also available.

Maine Maritime Academy in Castine provides Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degrees, in addition to individual courses on a wide variety of subjects.

Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay also shares information about its programs.

SUNY Maritime College, part of the SUNY system, at Fort Schuyler in New York City.

Texas Maritime Academy is in Galveston, Texas.

Great Lakes Maritime Academy, in Traverse City, Michigan, is the only freshwater academy in the nation.

Sail training organizations

The following organizations coordinate sail training projects around the world. For individual ships that offer sail training, see the ships section.

Sail Training International is an umbrella organization of various national sail training groups. They offer a list of international Member Organizations.

American Sail Training Association

Jubilee Sailing Trust, UK.

Square Sail, UK.

Tall Ship Friends, Germany.

List of various tall ship sail training forums.

Other education

Salish Sea Expeditions is a “non-profit organization dedicated to teaching the scientific process using inquiry-based methods while increasing awareness of the unique Puget Sound marine ecosystem.”

The Inland Seas Education Association runs a floating classroom on the Great Lakes, and also has a nice list of Great Lakes careers.

The Arques School of Traditional Boatbuilding is in Sausalito, CA.

The Canadian Coast Guard College offers training in many maritime-related fields.

Houston Marine Training Services provides exam preparation for US Coast Guard license examinations.

Warsash Maritime Centre in southern England provides comprehensive training programs relevant to the maritime industry.

Don Nugent’s list of Maritime Companies highlights companies that hire recent graduates of the maritime academies. His list of Maritime Schools provides links to many international programs that prepare people for the maritime industry.


Nautical Archaeology

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DiveWeb provides extensive and regularly updated information on many aspects of diving.

The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology (IJNA) is the primary journal for all aspects of nautical archeological research.

The Institute of Nautical Archaeology and the Texas A&M Nautical Archaeology Program offer information on their joint pages.

The Society for Underwater Exploration has an impressive site with lots of information about their various projects and research.

The Institute of Maritime History focuses on maritime history in New England, and is working on a “New England Shipwreck Survey Initiative.”

Underwater Archaeology at Florida State University is described here.

NOAA supports nautical archaeology through its Sanctuary and Reserves Division. In addition to the USS Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, NOAA supports and protects Sanctuaries in the Florida Keys and the Channel Islands.

Florida’s Underwater Archaeological Preserves are presented on these pages, with information about each site and how to visit them.

Minnesota’s Historical Shipwrecks – apparently Minnesota’s cold fresh water lakes hold quite a few well-preserved shipwrecks.

The Emanuel Point Shipwreck, in Pensacola Bay, is one of Florida’s nautical archaeology projects, and they’ve created a nice site to tell the world about it.

La Belle, a 6-gun bark lost in Matagorda Bay, Texas, in 1686.. The Texas Historical Commission has a great page on the excavation of the La Belle.

The Centre for Research in Maritime Archaeology and History at the University of Bristol provides an introduction to the field. Bristol also offers a Master’s program in Marine Archaeology.

Nordic Underwater Archaeology covers the subject in more depth. It is available in at least eleven languages.

National Underwater Marine Agency, located in Austin, Texas.

UK Diving lists all sorts of resources for diving.

The Northern Shipwrecks Database contains more than 65,000 records and can be purchased on CD-ROM.

The Historical Diving Society is an English group that works to preserve the heritage of diving.

Nordic Underwater Archaeology describes archaeological work going on in Northern Europe.

The Poseidon Project is a multinational project aiming to “outline the major events involved in the development of Hellas (Greece) as a prominent maritime nation from the ancient to modern times.” It is currently seeking volunteers in a variety of areas.

The French Ministry of Culture has created a collection of pages highlighting their work; a French version is also available.

The Maritime Archaeology Program, at the Australian National Maritime Museum, is another site providing valuable information on nautical archaeology.


Modern Sailing

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General resources for modern sailors include some of the following. Since most of these sites are commercial ones, they are able to support a wide selection of other sites, and keep them up-to-date.

West Marine offers a ton of information for boaters.

The Float Plan, a/k/a ‘The Cruisers’ Companion,’ provides information on where your cruising buddies are, and who’s looking for crew.

Cruiser News has all sorts of interesting stuff for modern sailors.

Ken Hellewell’s Let’s Go Cruising offers help in finding cruising spots.

Many resources exist on the Internet for users and followers of all sorts of modern fore-and-aft rigged sailing vessels. A sampling of resources for single-handed sailboats include:


Big Boat Racing Resources

America’s Cup 95, in San Diego. Even though the races are over, and the Kiwis have taken the Cup away with them, race organizers have kept their Web pages open, and will leave them there for some time. These pages include press releases, race results, and all the latest on bickering among teams over legal and technical issues.

The Sailing Page describes modern sailing to a greater extent than Bruzelius’ site.

Yahoo’s Recreation: Outdoors: Boating: Sailing listing also offers maritime resources. Like many lists, this one also focuses on yachting and racing, rather than on maritime history.

SailWeb provides access to many of the resources previously listed, but also includes many other modern sailing sites. Doug Kern has included a selection of sailing images, a sailing quote of the month, and report on the weather at the Austin (Texas) Yacht Club.

AboarD Nauti-links maintains a large collection of links to modern sailing sites.


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