NHA Digitizes Historic Whaling Logbooks

The Nantucket Historical Association (NHA) is pleased to announce the completion of the first phase in a multi-year project to digitize its whaling logbooks and journals collection. Funded by a $40,000 Community Preservation Committee grant, 41 logbooks in fragile condition were digitized by the Northeast Document Conservation Center in Andover, Mass., and are now  available online to the public, at no charge, through the Research Library’s online manuscripts catalog.

“Support from the Community Preservation Committee has allowed the NHA to take an active role in preserving Nantucket’s fragile primary-source heritage and providing greater access to researchers around the world,” said Amelia Holmes, Library and Archives Manager at the Research Library.

This first round of logbooks was selected for imaging due to their fragile condition. Offering researchers access to digital surrogates also helps to preserve the originals by reducing handling. Diverse audiences will benefit from having digital access to these unique research materials, from children in Nantucket’s classrooms, scholars around the world, and members of the general public pursuing individual areas of interest.

The work begun by this grant will continue in-house. As a result of a generous private donation, the NHA has recently purchased an overhead planetary scanner, which will allow fragile volumes to be digitized without leaving the Research Library.


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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