Thu 10 Nov 2011
This great picture book is a Mystic Seaport publication from this summer (2011), subtitled Coasting Schooner Photographs by Robert H. I. Goddard. Bob Goddard was an extremely tall gentleman who frequently attended this Museum’s annual Maritime History Symposium. It turns out he took sailing vessel photographs for all of his long life, and this book contains 180 of his pictures of coasting schooners from the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.
The authors are given as two of Bob’s children, Thomas P.I. Goddard and Caroline Hazard Goddard, who wrote the foreword and the introduction, describing their father’s early life and the opportunities he had to take these pictures. They also talked about their own painstaking work digitizing their father’s original negatives and reproducing them for publication.
The photographs are wonderful, showing the daily lives of these working schooners, carrying lumber and granite and coal up and down the coast. They are accompanied by lengthy interpretive captions by Captains Douglas K. and Linda J. Lee. These wonderful pieces of text bring the images to life for folks who are not sure what they are looking at, and enhance the reading experience of even experienced mariners. Doug and Linda are the builders-owners-operators of the big windjammer schooner Heritage sailing out of Rockland, Maine, and their personal experience on the water is obvious in reading their text. They have also been studying the history of coasting schooners for a lifetime, so these are not the first old pictures they have cast an eye at. The result is a book which will advance our understanding of the early 20th century coasting trade in a way that few books have. I heartily recommend it.
Nathan R. Lipfert, Senior Curator 11/10/2011