Logbook of the whaling ship William Wirt
SC 100.1

Summary Information

McConnell Library Archives and Special Collections
Logbook of the whaling ship William Wirt
SC 100.1
Date [bulk]
Bulk, 1850-1852
Date [inclusive]
1.0 Linear feet
Physical Description
Contains logbook and one letter.
Located in locked compact shelving, level 1, shelf 12B.
English, Middle (1100-1500)
Materials are in English.
In 1841, the William Wirt encountered a whaling boat, the Acushnet, which counted Herman Melville as a crewman. Melville scholars have used early logbooks of the William Wirt (part of Harvard Library's collections) to help reconstruct Melville's life on a whaling ship. The research of these scholars is documented in Herman Melville's Whaling Years, written by Wilson Lumpkin Heflin, Mary K. Bercaw Edwards, and Thomas Farel Hefferman (Vanderbilt University Press, 2004). McConnell Library’s collection of William Wirt material includes a logbook of the William Wirt beginning in 1850-1851, while the ship was under the command of Captain Owen Fisher. In addition to the voyages of the William Wirt, this logbook also logs the voyages of the Anadie from 1851-1852. These nautical logbook entries take up the first half of this volume (a number of pages have been removed from the center of the book.) The second half of this volume consists of a diary starting in March 1858, documenting daily life, the arrival and departure of ships, letters from ships' captains, and other incidents surrounding sea life. The diary continues through 1861 and picks up again in the period from 1864-1893. Following the diary entries are a number of recipes and a few home remedies, along with some accounts (possibly from a sailing ship). The author(s) of the diary entries is unknown. Several of the pages toward the end of the book are written in pencil and are very faded.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Special Collections, McConnell Library, Radford University, Radford, VA.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

McConnell Library Archives and Special Collections

McConnell Library
PO Box 6881
Radford, Virginia

Custodial History

The logbook was purchased by Clarence P. Smith or Radford, VA, from J.F. Connelly, who obtained it from a dealer in New England in the fall of 1944. The enclosed letter outlines the details of the transaction. The logbook and letter were donated to Radford College.

Accruals Note.

No additional accruals are expected.

Processing Information

Processed by Gene Hyde, June 2009.

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Collection Inventory

Folder 1: Logbook of the William Wirt, plus additional writings in the same notebook 

Folder 2: Letter from J.F. Connolly to Clarence P. Smith, describing the acquisition of the logbook from a New England dealer, dated November 13, 1944