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During these unprecedented times, the Nantucket Historical Association is sharing digital resources weekly to enrich the lives of our members and friends at home through video lectures, kids activity kits, our transcription program, history articles and more! All the information in our newsletters is being gleaned from the resources presented below. We hope you’ll dive in, enjoy, and give your mind a rest from thinking about today’s challenges.

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With this weather today, we all need a little spring reminder!

Titled The Seasons: Spring, this watercolor painted by C. Robert Perrin (1915-1999), is one of a series of four.

Bob Perrin first painted on Nantucket in 1946 and is well known for his creative talent and whimsical scenes, including sea and landscapes, murals, and illustrations. For many years he drove about town in a VW bus with a bumper sticker that read “Think Fog”. In this painting he has illustrated some island history, as well as the joy of Spring.

For more information about this artist and his work please visit NHA.org to search the collection.
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Pictured here is the Thomas Macy House at 99 Main Street, circa 1920s.

The original house on this property was built by Valentine Swain sometime between 1799 and 1804. It was a small three-bay house with the door on the left and two windows on the right.

Thomas Macy and his wife Eunice remodeled the house in 1832. Macy added 14 feet to the west end, converting it to a 2-chimney house with a central transverse stair hall. It is a Federal-style home with a roofwalk, balustrade, louvered shutters, sidelights, ship’s rail fence, elliptical blind fan and clapboard façade. The house remained in the Macy family for more than 100 years.

Jacqueline Harris purchased the house in 1947, always planning to bequeath it to the NHA. Her daughter and son-in-law, Sallie Gail and Oswald Tupancy, made her wishes a reality in 1987. Oswald set up the Tupancy-Harris Foundation in 1986, which provides funds for the permanent maintenance of the house.

Today, the house and everything you see in the home is left just as it was when Jacqueline lived here. She was meticulous about interpreting the house as it would have been in Thomas Macy’s time, stewarding this island treasure in the spirit of the whaling era.

Join us this evening for a FREE webinar at 5:30pm EDT for a more in-depth history of the Thomas Macy House, link in bio to tune in!
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Happy National Gardening Day! The sun is out and it’s a great day to continue your spring yardwork in prep for a blooming summer season.

With enough hard work you might get just as many blooms in your Hydrangeas as this garden on Lincoln Avenue in the 1920s.
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Did you know that logbooks were sometimes used for other purposes? Because paper was expensive until the mid to late 19th century when it could be made cheaper with fibers from wood pulp, logbooks were sometimes used before, during, or after a voyage for different reasons.

The log of the ship Rose, 1842-1845, contains newspaper articles, stories, poetry, and even marriage and death notices that were pasted in after the voyage and cover up some of the original entries. There are also pencil drawings of marching soldiers. It is unknown who used this logbook after the Rose’s voyage.

You can view the log of the ship Rose and other digitized logbooks by swiping up in our story!
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Seen here is a model of the whaling bark Lagoda.

The Lagoda was built in Scituate, MA by shipbuilder Ezra Weston of Maine. The first phase of its life was spent in the coastal trading business. Later it was purchased by whaling agent Jonathan Bourne of New Bedford in 1841, and refitted for whaling purposes with the help of part owner Captain James Townsend, an experienced whaling master. The Lagoda would become one of the most profitable whaling ships in Bourne’s fleet, which included the whaler Northern Light, purchased in 1861. On its first whaling trip, the Lagoda returned to New Bedford with 2,000 barrels of oil and 19,000 pounds of whalebone. In 1864, Capt. Townsend changed the Lagoda’s rigging to make it into a bark, which could be handled by a smaller (and cheaper) crew.

Several trips to the northern Pacific and Japan were especially profitable, with the ship helping Commodore Matthew Perry to open the Japanese markets to Westerners when the U.S. fleet visited in 1864 to force trade agreements. In 1871 the crew of the Lagoda helped rescue the crews of 32 whaling vessels trapped in the ice off Alaska, transporting hundreds of survivors of the wrecked ships to Hawaii and San Francisco. The Lagoda was sold in 1886, as the whaling industry was declining; it became part of the San Francisco bone fleet. The final voyage of the Lagoda was in 1889. After it hit a reef and was condemned in Yokahama, Japan, the ship was repaired and refitted as a coal carrier, ending its career as a collier whose new name is lost to history.

Want to learn more about Western Whaling? Join us tonight for an NHA University webinar at 5:30pm EDT for Western Whalers in 1860s Hakodate: How the Nantucket of the North Pacific Linked Japan to the World with Noell Wilson – link in story to sign up!

Content credit: [Mike Dyer, Presentation at the Fairhaven Historical Society, July 15, 2016].
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Transcription Project Update: Follow along on the steamer Mayflower (link in story to access!)

This practice cruise in 1876 contains detailed descriptions of engines, war products, and other machinery used on board ships. Information was taken from displays at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia and working foundries in and around New York City, Providence, Rhode Island, Cold Spring, New York and Newburgh, New York.

Progress Update: Thank you to all our volunteers who have been transcribing our crowdsourced projects! The logs of the ship Constitution, the ship Herald, and the vessel Light have been transcribed and are now available through our catalog.

Interested in joining our team of volunteers to help transcribe the collection? Please reach out to Kelli Yakabu, assistant archivist, at kyakabu@nha.org with any questions.
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Festive Main Street fountain, festooned with flowers and a large furry rabbit, decorated by the Nantucket Garden Club in the 1970s, for Easter.

For fountain history scroll back a few posts!

Whatever occasion you celebrate at this time of year, enjoy it. Happy spring to all. And please, drive around the fountain 😉
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Happy opening day to all our baseball fans! The debate continues, who really was the inventor of modern baseball?

In 1971, the NHA received a letter from Harold Peterson of Sports Illustrated, who wrote: “I am writing a history involving the Nantucket Cartwrights. If I could ask your help in finding out more about these particular Cartwrights while they lived on the island, that would be a great kindness on your part. As you may know, Alexander Joy Cartwright Jr. was to a considerable degree the inventor of modern baseball.”

Edouard Stackpole responded, writing, “I can understand why the Cartwrights appeal to you as they are a most interesting family. There is little known about Alexander Cartwright on the island, although his part in developing the game of baseball is well known to the older generation.”

Perhaps. But, as Hobson Woodward wrote in an article for the 1998 Early Summer edition of Nantucket Magazine:

“Any fan will tell you that Abner Doubleday was the inventor of baseball. But few know that if it hadn’t been for the son of a Nantucketer, America’s ball game would not be what it is today. Alexander Joy Cartwright Jr.—the son of a Nantucket mariner—was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, in 1938. There, his portrait is captioned with the words ‘Father of Baseball.’ A more fitting tribute is not possible for a man who literally created the game as we know it.”

Hobson cites Peterson’s book, The Man Who Invented Baseball, in which he states that turn-of-the-century baseball owners wanted to mask the game’s origin as an English sport, so they created a story saying that Abner Doubleday invented the game in a Cooperstown field. The story is wholly false, and, according to Peterson, “one of the most amusingly fraudulent pieces of manufactured history extant.”

The issue of Nantucket Magazine that includes Hobson’s article is available in the NHA Research Library and check out our story forfor more Nantucket baseball history!
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Today we are excited to announce the Nantucket Lightship Basket Museum will be formally affiliated with us here at the NHA.

Over the past five months, the NHA has been in discussion with the Nantucket Lightship Basket Museum (NLBM) regarding a formal Affiliation that will join the two entities. On March 29, at a special meeting of the NLBM Membership, that body voted overwhelmingly to proceed with the Affiliation.

The Boards are excited that joining forces will provide a larger platform to promote the story of Nantucket lightship baskets. In a joint statement from Daryl Westbrook, NLBM President, and Calvin “Chip” Carver, President NHA: “The NLBM history, tradition and craft will be preserved in a new home at the NHA. We are excited by the possibilities presented by this Affiliation and will be guided by how it can best benefit the community. The lightship basket craft is unique to this Island. The craft is very much alive and must be honored, nurtured and treasured.” Further to this, Carver notes: “We are humbled by the trust that the NLBM has placed in us to carry forward their mission of preserving Nantucket's rich history of basket making. Significantly, the NHA family welcomes the NLBM founding-members, members, docents and demonstrators as together we weave a new chapter on the Nantucket lightship basket story.”

A key part of the Affiliation will be the establishment of a new gallery dedicated to Nantucket crafts to be called the Nantucket Lightship Basket Museum Gallery, located at the NHA’s Broad Street campus. Once the existing location of the NLBM at 49 Union is vacated and sold, the proceeds will be directed in large part to the creation of this new gallery. This will place the lightship basket story in the heart of NHA’s primary facility. Until this gallery is built, impressive displays will be exhibited at Hadwen House and at the Whaling Museum.

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The Nantucket Historical Association preserves and interprets the history of Nantucket through its programs, collections, and properties, in order to promote the island’s significance and foster an appreciation of it among all audiences.

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