Friday, March 27, 2009

Whales Today & Yesterday

A front page article in this morning's Boston Globe described the "magnificent marine spectacle" of 70 right whales feeding off Cape Cod, calling it "a heartening sign of the species' resiliency." The article continued: "For centuries, hunters harpooned the right whales because they were the 'right whale' to hunt from the 11th century into the 1900s." Whaling, and fascination with whales, has been a part of life in New England for a long time. The Lawrence library has a number of books about the whaling industry and the towns that thrived in a whaling economy. We hope you'll come in and look!

The book Whale Port, by Mark Foster -- describing the fictional village of Tuckanuket (yes, it could be New Bedford!) -- is bountifully illustrated by Gerald Foster. Life in a Whaling Town by Sally Senzell Isaacs is one of the series called Picture the Past and vividly conveys daily life in Massachusetts whaling towns from 1800 to 1860.

Gone A-Whaling by Jim Murphy is a rich book -- full of photos, period drawings, and anecdotes -- tracing the history of whaling from its early days when whales were plentiful to the near obliteration of whales in the early 20th century. Murphy vividly describes the adventure of boys who set out to sea, eventually finding their sea legs and becoming a team with more experienced sailors.

Other books in our collection include New England Whaler by Robert F. Baldwin and The Death of Evening Star : The Diary of A Young New England Whaler , a chapter book written and powerfully illustrated with woodcuts by Leonard Everett Fisher, purportedly the secret diary kept by Jeremiah Poole in the 1840s. Whaling Days, by Carol and Donald Carrick, is graced by woodcuts as strong as animals it celebrates.