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Books and images are also throughout the site under various topics.

Books and Publications

The Famine Ships: The Irish Exodus to AmericaWomen at Sea.

Edward LaxtonWomen at Sea.
Liverpool. 1865. Seven million people are believed to have left Ireland for America over the last three centuries. This book tells of the courage and determination of those who crossed the Atlantic seeking a better life.

Now more than 40 million American citizens can claim Irish blood.

(Image: 5 ships at Liverpool. 1865.)

Between 1846 and 1851, more than one-million people the potato famine emigrants and families that fled British oppression sailed from Ireland to America. The lives of the Irish were so desperate that most sea captains would refuse to sail more than one or two immigrant ships.

The Captain's WifeWomen at Sea.

Douglas Kelley
This historical novel follows the true story of Mary Patten, wife of Joshua Patten, Captain of the extreme clipper Neptune's Car, and their dangerous trip from New York to San Francisco. Captain Patten took deathly ill enroute and his 19-year-old wife brought the ship through Cape Horn. She did so in the cumbersome clothing of the day and with a grace, bravado and determination unexpected of her age and sex in one of the most challenging seas in the world.

Selections from Joan Druett

Hen Frigates: Passion and Peril, Nineteenth-Century Women at Sea

Wives of Merchant Captains under sail.

Petticoat Whalers: Whaling Wives at Sea, 1820-1920Women at Sea.

She Captains: Heroines and Hellions of the Sea

Eleanor's Odyssey:
Journal of the Captain's Wife on the East Indiaman Friendship 1799-1801
A Captain's Wife at Sea.

French privateers lurked in the Atlantic and the Bay of Bengal. Yet Eleanor Reid, newly married and just twenty-one years old, made up her mind to sail with her husband, Captain Hugh Reid, to the Pacific, the Spice Islands and India. Danger threatened not just from the barely charted seas they would be sailing, but from the lowest deck of Captain Reid's East Indiaman Friendship, too from the cages of Irish rebels he was carrying to the penal colony of New South Wales. Yet, confident in her love and her husband's seamanship, Eleanor insisted on going along.

Seafaring Women:
Adventures of Pirate Queens, Female Stowaways, and Sailors' Wives
Women at Sea.

Seafaring Women.David Cordingly
For centuries, the sea has been regarded as a male domain, but in this illuminating historical narrative, maritime scholar David Cordingly shows that an astonishing number of women went to sea in the great age of sail. Some traveled as the wives or mistresses of captains; others were smuggled aboard by officers or seamen. And Cordingly has unearthed stories of a number of young women who dressed in men s clothes and worked alongside sailors for months, sometimes years, without ever revealing their gender. His tremendous research shows that there was indeed a thriving female population from pirates to the sirens of myth and legend on and around the high seas. A landmark work of women's history disguised as a spectacularly entertaining yarn.

The Journal of a Sea Captain's Wife, 1841-1845
During a Passage and Sojourn in Hawaii and of a Trading Voyage to Oregon and California
Women at Sea.

Lydia Rider Nye

The Sea Captain's Wife: A True Story of Love, Race, and War in the Nineteenth CenturyWomen at Sea.

Martha Elizabeth Hodes
The Sea Captain's Wife.Award-winning historian Martha Hodes brings us into the extraordinary world of Eunice Connolly. Born white and poor in New England, Eunice moved from countryside to factory city, worked in the mills, then followed her husband to the Deep South. When the Civil War came, Eunice's brothers joined the Union army while her husband fought and died for the Confederacy. Back in New England, a widow and the mother of two, Eunice barely got by as a washerwoman, struggling with crushing depression. Four years later, she fell in love with a black sea captain, married him, and moved to his home in the West Indies. Following every lead in a collection of 500 family letters, Hodes traced Eunice's footsteps and met descendants along the way. This story of misfortune and defiance takes up grand themes of American history opportunity and racism, war and freedom and illuminates the lives of ordinary people in the past. 47 illustrations

Iron Men, Wooden Women: Gender and Seafaring in the Atlantic World, 1700-1920 (Gender Relations in the American Experience)Women at Sea.

Captain McNeil and His Wife the Nishga Chief: 1803-1850; From Boston Fur Trader to Hudson's Bay Company TraderWomen at Sea.
Robin Percival Smith

Captain's Wife.

Captain's Wife (Seafarers Voices) Women at Sea.

Abby Jane Morrell
During the nineteenth century it became increasingly common for merchant service masters to take their wives to sea. Among the first, and most accomplished literature about this subject, is Abby Jane Morrell's account of a voyage between 1829 and 1831 that took her from New England to the South Pacific. Apart from the descriptions of exotic places, much of the interest in this book is the traditional, centuries-old world of the sailor.

A Seafaring Legacy: The Photographs, Diaries, Letters, and Memorabilia of a Maine Sea Captain and His Wife, 1859-1908Women at Sea.

Julianna Freehand

The Captain's Wife:
The South American Journals of Maria Graham 1821-23, Lady Maria Callcott
Women at Sea.

Elizabeth Mavor, Editor
On 11 August 1821, HMS Doris left Falmouth for Brazil. In command was Captain Thomas Graham, his mission to safeguard that exotic but unreliable coast. He was accompanied by his wife Maria. From the outset she kept a journal. Storms, earthquakes, intrepid horseback journeys, illness, revolution and death were to feature alongside her vivid and careful record of what was a highly critical period for Brazil and Chile as they reached the point of winning independence from the colonial rule of Portugal and Spain.

The Project

Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.

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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

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