The Logbook as Timekeeper

Kate Wersan

A Journal of a voyage from Salem to St. Helena, the Cape of Good Hope and Cape de Verd Islands in the Brig Augusta 1803 and 1804, Log 1067.

In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, captains and navigators, even those educated in the most cutting edge navigation practices, struggled to translate what they knew at their “finger ends” into generalizable maxims or—perhaps more crucially— accurate navigation.  The extensive collection of ships’ logs in the Phillip’s Library collection testify to the frequent sense of disorientation, frustration, anxiety, and uncertainty that plagued navigators as internal perceptions of space, time, and movement clashed with astronomical observations, soundings, or observations of the natural world. In these entries we can see mariners weighing what they know about their local environments and geographical and temporal locales, seeking reliable patterns, and trying to identify anomalies or outliers.  Read more

Wild Primeval Beauty: A Glimpse of Acadia National Park Through the Eyes of Its Forefather

 Amanda Ferrante

Photo courtesy of the author.

“The only thing constant is change,” a philosopher once observed.  We are reminded of this every day in trends, technology, and the general zeitgeist; regardless of whether we are receptive or resistant, we know that change is inevitably around the corner.  This adage characterized my work as a graduate intern in the Phillips Library, where I spent most of my time cataloging shipping manuscript material.  I am studying Library and Information Science with a concentration in Information Organization, and in the library I had the opportunity to combine what I’ve learned with my passion for rare and unique items. Read more