Massachusetts’ Whaling History in Vintage Photographs
The popular novel Moby-Dick first spurred young and old alike to romanticize the whaling industry. Author Herman Melville wrote his story based on the exploits of the Essex whaleship, and he documented his travels aboard the Acushnet, which departed from a Massachusetts whaling port. In the early 1700s, Massachusetts residents caught whales from the shore before embarking on offshore voyages for several weeks. Later, these trips would extend over many years, bringing home an average of 1,500 barrels of whale oil and thousands of pounds of whalebone in the 1800s. New Bedford and Nantucket were the founding towns for the whaling industry, but little known are the other Massachusetts towns that sent out whalers, built the ships, and outfitted them. Essex, Mattapoisett, and Falmouth were shipbuilding communities; Fairhaven began as a whaling town but quickly took to outfitting whalers; Gloucester made the yellow slickers that were rubbed with sperm whale oil to waterproof them; and Provincetown and Boston were among the many ports that sent out whaling ships.
Our July lectures sponsored by Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank
- Wednesday, September 18th, 7:00 pm: Lecture: John Galluzzo, author of “Half an Hour a Day Across Massachusetts”
In 2009, Massachusetts naturalist and historian John J. Galluzzo set out to take a half an hour walk every single day in a different place, no matter what the weather was like, no matter what state his health was in. In 2011, he took things 351 steps further. Staring down classic New England snowstorms he set out in January on a new project, determined to walk for a half an hour in every town and city in Massachusetts on protected open space. He stormed the beaches of Cape Cod with the same ferocity with which he scaled the mountains of BerkshireCounty. Through rain, heat, mud and mosquitoes, he checked off towns and counties as he took note of wildlife sightings, all the while wearing his way through numerous pairs of shoes. Along the way, personal tragedy struck, within sight of his goal. The debate raged in his head – continue to the end, or drop the project to start again another year? Join John as he marches his way through the BayState, proving once and for all that a nature trail, or at least a nature experience, is never that far away for residents of Massachusetts.