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Maritime and Sailor
Nineteenth Century American Midshipman’s Workbook, USS Java, Frigate
Mediterranean Squadron Voyage, Anonymous Author Date/Period: 1827
Measurement: 10.25" x 8"
Material: Lined composition/journal notebook paper, marbled boards, green
leather spine binding; white board corner-pieces
Condition: Three losses to cover paper as depicted, else fine
Additional Information: Manuscript…midshipman’s workbook prepared by an
unidentified author on board the frigate “Java” during her 1827 cruise with the
Mediterranean Squadron…she protected American citizens and commerce and
performed diplomatic duties. The journal was penned by a midshipman in preparation
for his promotion examination-establishing eligibility for promotion to lieutenant.
Included are two pages entitled: Size of Standing Rigging of the U.S. Ship Java;” seven
pages listing the Size and Dimensions of Rigging & Spars of U.S. Ships Washington,
Constitution, Guerriere, Constellation & Erie;” 53 pages of 123 questions and answers
concerning seamanship and gunnery, and headed Bay of Gibraltar, June 1st, 1827; two
pages in a different hand describing gun exercises; eleven pages of dimensions of
masts, spars, etc., for all classes of ships in the United States Navy; and another 26
pages of questions and answers on seamanship, tactics, gunnery, etc., in yet a third
Whaleboat Compass, James S. Kelley, New Bedford, Inscribed “WB” [Waist Boat]
Gimbaled Dry Card Compass, Painted Machine Dovetail Joined Box
Material: Brass bowl and frame, wood case
Condition: The inside is untouched and shows salt buildup and verdigris. The case
retains one of two cleats…it is all about “WB”.
Additional Information: Scarcely encountered compass from an actual whaleboat;
case is inscribed “WB” for waist boat…a boat carried in the waist of a whaling vessel on
the port side and usually commanded by the second mate. The compass box retaining
one cleat was mounted to underside of stern seat so it could easily be accessed and
seen by the captain or mate who stood on a narrow piece of wood across the
stern…from that position the handled the steering oar and commanded the boat.
The New Bedford City Directories provide an excellent source for tracking James S.
Kelley’s life and career in New Bedford, as the location of his business and residence
changed several times over the course of almost 30 years in the city. He first appears in
the directories in 1865 and is listed as a chronometer and watchmaker. His business is
listed at 51 Union Street (at the corner of Union and North Water Streets), and his
residence is listed at 59 Fifth Street. An advertisement also appears in the 1865
directory. In 1867, his business description changes to watchmaker, and his house is
listed at 159 County Street. In 1869, his business is listed at 83 Union Street, and his
residence is 188 Middle Street. In 1875, his residence changes again to 11 Lincoln
Street. In 1881, his business is listed at 39 William Street, and it appears that his son
(James Jr.) is either working with him or apprenticing with him during this time. The
1891 directory shows that he and his son have gone into business together, forming J.
S. Kelley & Son at 15 Purchase Street. His final appearance in the directories is in
1893, where J. S. Kelley and Son is listed at 79 William Street. We have scans of the
directories if wanted.
Federal Mirror, Commodore O.H. Perry, Carved Dolphins, Eglomise Tablet, Rare Form Date/Period: Circa 1812-1820
Measurement: 41" x 15.5"
Material: Mahogany, parcel gilt, reverse painting on glass
Condition: Good, water damage to eglomise as depicted, tiny loss to gilded flag canton
at 9-o’clock. Two small sections of backboard are missing from top section.
Additional Information: A most unusual, early Sheraton example. The lower frame is
surmounted by a reeded and dental molded top section flanked by a pair of carved and
gilt dolphins. Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry’s portrait is within a most magnificent
wreath; at the bottom is a panoply of arms interwoven with ribbon banner reading, “WE
HAVE MET THE ENEMY AND THEY ARE OURS”. Perry is flanked by two pair of
American flags above which is a spreading eagle clutching a ribbon. The vignette is
festooned by a wreath.
Fid with Sailor Knotwork, A Working Ropework & Rigging Tool Date/Period: 19th Century
Measurement: Length: 9.5"
Additional Information: A large, tapered pin continuing to belted-turning and
compressed ball pommel centering braided Turk’s head knot featuring twisted two-ply
green cord ornament. The Turk’s head incorporates a hanging loop.
Carved Bamboo Whistle, Sailor’s Turk Head Knot, Bosun Whistle Date/Period: 1850-1920?
Measurement: Length: 5"
Material: Bamboo, natural fiber two-ply cord
Condition: Fine, dark patina, scatter spatters of gray paint, displays well
Material: Wood, lead; appears to be flax or hemp twine
Condition: Very good save for a very few scattered losses of wrap
Additional Information: Nicely made, and extremely rare; a good example of a deadly
weapon in trained hands; lead weight covered in finely woven twine.
Receipt, 28 Gallons of Winter Whale Oil for Bristol County House of Correction
Bought of W.A. Robinson & Co., New Bedford, Mass. & Providence, R.I. Date/Period: November 16, 1865
Measurement: 7.75" x 5.25"
Material: Ink on paper, two cent stamp
Additional Information: Includes a print of “Capturing a Sperm Whale”
measuring 8.5 by 14-inches.
Embroidered Wall Pocket, US Navy, Eagle, Shields, Flags, and Anchor
Circa 1810 to 1830
Silk floss on brushed cotton, printed cotton back
(Overall good condition consistent with age; 7.5 by 4")
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