New Digital Collection Open

The Phillips Library is pleased to announce the opening of a third digital collection – The American Neptune Collection.  The quarterly journal of maritime history and arts, founded by a group of maritime enthusiasts, which included Samuel Eliot Morison and Walter Muir Whitehill, is available for your perusal and research.

From its inception in 1941 until publication ceased in 2002, The American Neptune has been considered America’s premier maritime journal.  Scholarly articles are of interest to readers who enjoy accounts of ships, the seas, and those who have sailed them, whether for mercantile gain, defending their nation’s interest, or for the love of sea voyages and exploration.  The articles cover a wide range of subjects, geographical areas other than America, and historical eras.

Drawing, China Side-wheeler

Side-wheel Steamer, China, part of the Pacific Mail Steamship Co., reproduced by William Henry Webb, 1897. Volume II. No. 1 January 1942, inserted between p. 8 and 9.

The American Neptune was well illustrated with diagrams, photographic reproductions, scale drawings of vessels, and maps and/or tracks of historic ships’ journeys.  Issues typically include five or six main articles plus additional sections identified as News, Documents, Queries, Answers, and/or Book Reviews.  The last issue for a particular year also includes the Index for that year.  The journal was published quarterly, in January, April, July, and October of each year.

Several articles are published in parts over two issues, such as “Columbus and Polaris” by Samuel Eliot Morison, which discusses Columbus’ methods of navigation (Part I: Volume I. No. 1 January 1941 and Part II: Volume I. No. 2 April 1941).

Quadrant Used on 'Weimar-Spanish' Map of 1527

From "Columbus and Polaris" by Samuel Eliot Morison, Volume I. No. 1 January 1941, p. 21

Other articles discuss life at sea, such as Joanna Colcord’s reporting on “Domestic Life on American Sailing Ships” (Volume II. No. 3 July 1942).

From "Domestic Life On Ships," Plate 26

From "Domestic Life on Ships" by Joanna Colcord, Volume II. No. 3 July 1942, Plate 26

Articles are also presented as a series of related topics, such as “The Piscataqua River Gundalow” by D. Foster Tailor (Volume II. No. 2 April 1942) and “The Gundalow Fanny M.” by the same author (Volume II. No. 3 July 1942).  Several articles provide insight into non-American cultures, such as “Pre-Spanish Navigation off the Andean Coast” by Philip Ainsworth Means, which discussed the Andeans lack of navigational skills along the Andean coast of South America during the mid-1500s (Volume II. No. 2 April 1942).  Documented with footnotes, as are many of the articles in the collection, this article also illustrates aspects of a culture that many readers may not have been aware of.

Chimu Pottery, from "Pre-Spanish Navigation"

Illustration from "Pre-Spanish Navigation Off the Andean Coast by Philip Ainsworth Means, Volume II. No. 2 April 1942, p. 114

The text for the collection is fully searchable within each issue and across all issues.  To ensure that names of ships are locatable, the search term in the Browse All selection screen has been designed to use the exact phrase since many ship names include more than one word.

The collection initially opens in a grid view, displaying the thumbnail for each issue on the left and three columns of metadata detailing the articles in each issue, the subjects relevant to the content, and the date of the issue.

Browse All Screen, Grid View

Browse All Screen, Grid View

Users can change the display to a thumbnail-only view, which removes the additional content.  When the issue is opened, the metadata for that issue and each page in the issue are available.

Thumbnail Only Display

Thumbnail-Only Display

Once readers have selected the issue they want, they may select either a Thumbnail and/or Contents view to scroll through each page in the issue, with only the PDF page displayed, or they may view the PDF and text simultaneously.

Thumbnail/Contents View

Thumbnail/Contents tab view in Firefox - User Manual available delineates Browser differences

 PDF & Text View

PDF & Text view in Firefox

Since different browsers may provide slightly different options, a user manual is available online showing how to navigate the collection; it can be accessed via the User Manual button on the navigation bar at the top of the screen.

To access the collection, select The American Neptune link on the library home page.  Or, users may bookmark their browsers with the following URL, which will provide access to all current digital collections at the Phillips Library:  http://phillipslibrarycollections.pem.org/.

Currently, eight issues comprising Volumes 1 and 2, 1941 and 1942, have been uploaded into The American Neptune Collection.  As new issues are scanned, they will be added to the collection.  An RSS feed allows readers to keep abreast of new issues.  This digitization project was sponsored by the Salem Marine Society.

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