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"Journal of a Whaling Voyage to the Pacific Ocean on Board the Eliza L. B. Jenney. FairHaven, John Church Master, 1842."
Folio, 131 pages of manuscript entries. Pioneer oceanographer Matthew Fontaine Maury based much of his work on information gleaned from ship's logs. There was a huge cache of them at the Navy's Depot of Charts and Instruments where he worked while forming his theories. He supplemented this knowledge by distributing, then collecting, pre-printed journals from ship captains and, supposedly, by transcribing information from journals of American whaling captains, who were by far the most traveled sailors on the planet. I've seen examples of the pre-printed journals, but I've never seen any evidence of Maury working with whaling journals... Until now. Written twice on the front blanks of this journal are the words, "Copied for M. F. Maury." Reading through the journal we can see why it was of use to Maury. Position and weather conditions are meticulously recorded, often with ocean conditions noted as well. The "Eliza L. B. Jenney" was a 381 ton ship built in Fairhaven in 1842. This was her maiden voyage, and it was a successful one, returning 2400 sperm (The tabulation at the back of this journal shows a total of 2491 bbl. It also notes the amount of oil each whale yielded, and where and when it was caught. This sort of information must have been especially valuable to Maury as he compiled his famous "Whale Chart.") The journal keeper was probably Hiram Luther, 1st mate, who identifies himself by writing, on October 28, 1843, "This day I am 38 years of age. May the lord in mercy preserve me through this voyage and return me to my native home." The journal keeper occasionally skips a day, but this is a complete account of a four-year whaling cruise on the west coast of South America. Maury's "Wind and Current Chart of the North Atlantic" was published in 1847, and "Physical Geography of the Sea" in 1855. So the journal fits well within that time frame. Aside from the Maury connection this journal also has the advantage of being accompanied by scholarly notes, genealogy, and a complete transcription made in 2003. The writing is something of a scrawl, but is legible, and the book is in excellent condition, securely bound in original half calf over marbled boards with "Journal Whaling Voyage" in gold lettering on the backstrip.
      [Bookseller: Ten Pound Island Book Co.]
Last Found On: 2017-07-18           Check availability:      Biblio    

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