“The Adventures of a Westport Farmer Who Goes Whaling in 1837”
Presented by Richard Donnelly
7 PM, Thursday, June 18
Westport Public Library, 408 Old County Road, Westport
What was it like to live in Westport in the early 19th century? Why did young Westporters go a- whaling? A recently discovered journal provides a unique look into the life of Westport residents during the 1830s. Richard Donnelly will recount the story of Frederick Allen of Westport, MA, derived from daily entries Allen made in a journal from June 5, 1833, to March 1, 1838. From March through August 1835, the Allen family built a home to replace their original 1709 homestead. In 2014, an initial search for the house found it missing and likely destroyed, but further research found it moved to a new location five miles from the original site. The final year of the journal describes Allen’s life on a whaling voyage on the brig Mexico out of Westport Point to hunt for sperm whales.
Richard E. Donnelly retired from a 35-year career in advertising that included clients such as local icons Brown & Sharpe Manufacturing, the Pawtucket Red Sox, and Del’s Lemonade. He is presently an antiques dealer specializing in folk art, with special interest in 19th-century scrimshaw, whalecraft, and whaling journals and logbooks. While working as a volunteer at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, he recently collaborated with Dr. Stuart M. Frank on a comprehensive catalog of the museum’s scrimshaw collection. Mr. Donnelly took 700 photographs that appear in the book Ingenious Contrivances, Curiously Carved published in 2012.
Suggested donation $5