About NHA Research Fellows
Research Fellows are individuals selected for their significant contributions and service to the Nantucket Historical Association in fields of research directly relating to the historical collections and properties of the NHA, or through independent research that substantially augments the understanding of the history of Nantucket.
Margaret Moore Booker
Booker is an independent historian and the author of numerous books on Nantucket history, including Among the Stars: The Life of Maria Mitchell (2007), Nantucket Spirit: The Art and Life of Elizabeth Rebecca Coffin (2001), and Sea Captain’s Houses and Rose Covered Cottages (2003). In 2014, the NHA published her book, Edward Fitch Underhill: Renaissance Man of Siasconset.
- Edward Fitch Underhill: Renaissance Man of Siasconset (2014)
- Among the Stars: The Life of Maria Mitchell (2007)
- Sea Captains’ Houses and Rose-Covered Cottages: The Architectural Heritage of Nantucket Island, with Rose Gonnella (2003)
- Nantucket Spirit: The Art and Life of Elizabeth Rebecca Coffin (2001)
- The Admiral’s Academy: Nantucket Island’s Historic Coffin School (1998)
Seth C. Bruggeman
Bruggeman is a public historian and Associate Professor of History at Temple University, with research focusing on material culture studies, memory studies, and public history. In 2015, he published an article, “‘A Most Complete Whaling Museum’: Profiting from the Past on Nantucket Island,” in the Museum History Journal (Vol. 8, no. 2). Other publications include Born in the U.S.A.: Birth and Commemoration in American Public Memory (2012), and Here, George Washington Was Born: Memory, Material Culture, and the Public History of a National Monument (2008). His most recent book, Commemoration: The American Association for State and Local History Guide, was released in 2017.
- Born in the U.S.A.: Birth and Commemoration in American Public Memory (2012)
- Here, George Washington Was Born: Memory, Material Culture, and the Public History of a National Monument (2008)
Eric Jay Dolin
Dolin is a best-selling author and historian whose books often focus on maritime topics, wildlife, and the environment. He is perhaps best known for his best-selling book, Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America (2007). His newest work, Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America’s Most Notorious Pirates, will be published in September 2018. Dolin will be speaking at the Whaling Museum on Thursday, October 4, 2018.
- Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse (2016)
- When America First Met China: An Exotic History of Tea, Drugs, and Money in the Age of Sail (2012)
- Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America (2010)
- Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America (2007) At the Museum Shop!
Druett is a New Zealand¬-based historian and author of both fiction and non-fiction books. She is perhaps best known for her groundbreaking work on the history of seafaring women, on which she has published numerous books, including Petticoat Whalers (1991), Hen Frigates (1998), and She Captains (2000).
- Petticoat Whalers: Whaling Wives at Sea, 1820–1920 (1991)
- She Was a Sister Sailor: The Whaling Journals of Mary Brewster, 1845–1851 (1992)
- Hen Frigate: Wives of Merchant Captains Under Sail (1998)
- She Captains: Heroines and Hellions of the Sea (2000)
- Rough Medicine: Surgeons at Sea in the Age of Sail (2001)
Mary K. Bercaw Edwards
Edwards is an Associate Professor of English and Maritime Studies at the University of Connecticut. A Melville scholar, she is the author of Cannibal Old Me: Spoken Sources in Melville’s Early Works (2009), co-editor of Ungraspable Phantoms: Essays on Moby-Dick, and editor of other Melville works. She has also written numerous articles on Melville and maritime literature and is a frequent lecturer.
- Cannibal Old Me: Spoken Sources in Melville’s Early Works (2009)
Lindo Ferguson (1923–2014)
Although Lindo Ferguson was trained as an ophthalmologist, he was extremely active in heritage initiatives in New Zealand. In 1970, he and his wife, Laetitia, purchased a shorefront property at Mangonui Harbour in Northland, which included the historic house of William Butler, a cemetery, and a pa (Maori hillfort). Butler operated a whaling supply depot at the site in the nineteenth century. The Fergusons restored the house and opened the privately owned Butler Point Whaling Museum. The museum complex includes the house of William Butler, which is recognized as a nationally significant heritage building by Heritage New Zealand.
Mark Foster is a museum exhibit designer committed to making history accessible to the general public. Foster has provided research for various exhibits displayed in the NHA’s Hadwen & Barney Oil and Candle Factory. He is also the author of Whale Port: A History of Tuckanucket, a children’s non-fiction book on the history of the whale-oil industry, illustrated by his father, Gerald Foster.
- Whale Port: A History of Tuckanucket (2007)
Stuart M. Frank
Scrimshaw authority Dr. Stuart M. Frank currently serves as the Senior Curator at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, Executive Director Emeritus of the Kendall Whaling Museum, and Founder/Director of the Scrimshaw Forensics Laboratory. He is the author of several books on scrimshaw, the art of whaling, and maritime songs. Dr. Frank is currently working on a book on the NHA’s scrimshaw collection, to be published by the NHA in 2019.
- Scrimshaw and Provenance: A Third Dictionary of Scrimshaw Artists (2013)
- Ingenious Contrivances, Curiously Carved: Scrimshaw in the New Bedford Whaling Museum (2012)
- The New Book of Pirate Songs (2012)
- Jolly Sailors Bold: Ballads and Songs of the American Sailor (2010)
- Sea Chanteys and Sailors Songs (2000)
- More Scrimshaw Artists (1998)
- Fakeshaw: A Checklist of Plastic “Scrimshaw” (1993)
- Dictionary of Scrimshaw Artists (1991)
Kelly Gleason Keogh
Dr. Kelly Gleason Keogh is a maritime archaeologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Maritime Heritage Coordinator at NOAA’s Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in Hawaii.
In 2008, she and her team discovered the wreck of the Two Brothers, a whaling ship that sailed from Nantucket in the 1820s, the fifth whaleship to be found and the first from Nantucket. Artifacts recovered from the Two Brothers wreck were exhibited at the NHA’s Whaling Museum in 2012–15 as part of the exhibition Lost on a Reef.
Robert E. Hellman (1930–2018)
NHA Interpreter; special interest in Nantucket blacksmiths and whalecraft, contributor to Historic Nantucket.
Robert, with his wife Nina, was a leading collector and dealer in Nantucket historic artifacts for five decades, amassing the largest private collection of whalecraft in existence. In 2017, the Hellmans secured the legacy of the collection by arranging for it to be divided among a consortium of maritime museums including the Nantucket Historical Association, the New Bedford Whaling Museum, Mystic Seaport, and the Peabody Essex Museum, through a combination of gift and purchase.
British landscape architect historian.
Frances Ruley Karttunen
12th-generation Nantucketer Frances Karttunen retired as Senior University Research Scientist from the Linguistics Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin.
- The Other Islanders: People Who Pulled Nantucket’s Oars (2005) At the Museum Shop!
- Law and Disorder in Old Nantucket (2007) At the Museum Shop!
- Nantucket Places and People 1-4 (2009-10) At the Museum Shop!
- Good Things from Nantucket’s North Shore: A Culinary Memoir (2011)
- Moses Tapped the Washing Pond (2012)
- Ways Off Shore: A History of the Roads and Ways in Nantucket County (2013)
- Nantucket’s North Shore: A Neighborhood History (2014) At the Museum Shop!
- Something Should Be Done: A History of the Nantucket Civic League (2015)
Professor, MIT; Melville scholar: Author of Herman Melville: an Introduction; Melville’s City.
- Herman Melville: an Introduction (2008)
- Melville’s City (1996)
Pauline Maier (1938-2013)
Professor of American History, MIT; author of Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution 1787-1788 and other books as well as numerous scholarly articles, book chapters, and reviews.
- The People Debate the Constitution 1787-1788 (2010)
Edward D. Melillo
Assistant Professor of History and Environmental Studies, Amherst College; Strangers on Familiar Soil: Rediscovering the Chile-California Connection, 1786-2008.
- Strangers on Familiar Soil: Rediscovering the Chile-California Connection, 1786-2008 (2015)
Robert F. Mooney (1931-2016)
Former attorney, author and local historian. Elected to the Massachusetts Legislature at the age of 25 and served three terms as Nantucket’s state representative, retiring in 1962. Tales of Nantucket; More Tales of Nantucket; The Nantucket Way; The Civil War: the Nantucket Experience
- Tales of Nantucket: Chronicles and Characters of American’s Favorite Island (1990)
- More Tales of Nantucket (2005)
- The Civil War: the Nantucket Experience (1994)
- Nantucket Only Yesterday: An Island View of the Twentieth Century (2000)
- The Nantucket Way (1980)
Professor, University of Minnesota: Captain Ahab Had a Wife
- Captain Ahab Had a Wife (2000)
Elizabeth Oldham (1927-2018)
In 2018, Libby retired from the Nantucket Historical Association, after serving more than two decades as a Research Associate and the Copy Editor of Historic Nantucket magazine, books, and numerous other publications.
From her desk at the Research Library, Libby was an invaluable resource on Nantucket history to all—from renowned writers and filmmakers, to genealogists tracing their island roots, to school children wanting to hear “everything you know about whaling” for a class project. Hence, she became known as “the seat of all wisdom.” Inquiries came from around the world and around the corner. Libby particularly enjoyed a challenge that would send her deep into the library’s resources and archives for the answer.
In recognizing her remarkable knowledge of Nantucket history and dedication to the NHA mission, Libby was posthumously named a Research Fellow at the 124th NHA Annual Meeting on July 6, 2018.
Many of Libby’s responses to research questions can be found here.
Professor emeritus, University of Delaware, Melville scholar: Melville: A Biography
- Melville: A Biography (1996)
National Book Award winning author: In the Heart of the Sea; Away off Shore; Abram’s Eyes; Sea of Glory; Mayflower; the Last Stand; Why Read Moby Dick
- Away Off Shore: Nantucket Island and Its People, 1602–1890 (1993) At the Museum Shop!
- In the Heart of the Sea (2001) At the Museum Shop!
- In the Heart of the Sea (Young Readers Edition) (2015) At the Museum Shop!
- Thomas Nickerson, Owen Chase, and Others: The Loss of the Ship Essex, Sunk by a Whale (2000) At the Museum Shop!
- Why Read Moby-Dick? (1999) At the Museum Shop!
Patty Jo Rice
PhD in Historic Preservation from University of Florida, former PI:N student, author of articles for Historic Nantucket.
Former advertising executive and current contributor to Historic Nantucket, author of The King of Madison Avenue: David Ogilvy and the Making of Modern Advertising
Former museum director: Montpelier; the General Knox Museum and Maine Maritime Museum.
Betsy Tyler served as the NHA’s inaugural Obed Macy Research Chair and Director of the Research Library from 2012-2016. She currently works as an independent researcher, focusing on Nantucket house histories and neighborhood guides. Betsy has authored three books for the NHA, as well as more than three dozen additional books on Nantucket history. An expanded edition of her out-of-print book, “Sometimes Think of Me”: Notable Nantucket Women through the Centuries, which features embroidered narratives by island needlework artist Susan Boardman, will be reprinted in hardcover by the NHA summer 2018.
- Nantucket Historical Association Properties Guide (2015) At the Museum Shop!
- Main Street, ‘Sconset: The Houses and Their Histories (2012)
- Off Centre: The Wesco Acre Lots, with Elizabeth Oldham (2012)
- The ‘Sconset Actor’s Colony: Broadway Offshore 1895–1925 (2011) At the Museum Shop!
- “Sometimes Think of Me”: Notable Nantucket Women through the Centuries, with Susan Boardman (2010)
- ‘Sconset: A History, with Ben Simons (2008) At the Museum Shop!
- Greater Light: A House History (2007) At the Museum Shop!
- A Walk Down Main Street: The Houses and Their Histories (2006)
- The Unitarian Meeting House, Nantucket: A History (1993) At the Museum Shop!
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich is the 300th Anniversary University Professor in Harvard University’s History Department. She is known for her books on the social history of women and gender in early New England, including Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History (2007), A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard Based on Her Diary, 1785–1812 (1990, winner of the 1991 Pulitzer Prize for history), and Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 1650–1750 (2010). She published her most recent book, A House Full of Females: Mormon Diaries, 1830–1870, in 2017.
- Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 1650–1750 (2010)
- Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History (2007)
- A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard Based on Her Diary, 1785–1812 (1990)
Professor, University of British Columbia, maritime historian: Maritime Labor in Colonial Massachusetts: A Case Study of the Essex County Cod Fishery and the Whaling Industry of Nantucket, 1630-1775 (dissertation)
Retired Nantucket history teacher, author of A Line in the Sand: The Battle to Integrate Nantucket Public Schools 1825-1847
- A Line in the Sand: The Battle to Integrate Nantucket Public Schools 1825-1847 (2009) At the Museum Shop!
- Hidden History of Nantucket, with Frank Morral (2010)