From Whaler to Clipper Ship

Henry Gillespie, Down East Captain

978-1-64843-112-8 Hardcover (Printed Case)
7 x 10 x 0 in
456 pp. 46 b&w photos. 6 maps. 3 figures. Glossary. Bib. Index.
Pub Date: 07/20/2023


  • Hardcover (Printed Case) $80.00 s
Captain Henry Gillespie (1857–1937), of Portland, Maine, went to sea as a young man of 17, serving as “able-bodied seaman” on a New Bedford whaler. Over the next 47 years he would advance to deck officer, then master of sailing and steam ships. He was commissioned as an officer in the US Navy during World War I, commanding vessels operating in the war zone. Following the war, he returned to merchant marine service until his retirement in 1921.
Maritime historian Michael Jay Mjelde has chronicled the colorful life and career of this “down-east” man of the sea, mining available first-person accounts, interviews with family members, government records, and maritime archives on both coasts. The result is a narrative in clear, highly engaging prose that puts readers on the tilting decks and noisy wharfs frequented by Gillespie. Through Mjelde’s retelling of a remarkable life, the age of clipper ships, the Cape Horn trade, and oceangoing steamers comes into vivid relief, affording a richly embossed assessment of Captain Gillespie’s life and times.
From Whaler to Clipper Ship adds a layer of full-bodied context to our understanding of this pivotal era in American maritime history. The wealth of detail will appeal to scholars, students, and maritime history enthusiasts.

Ed Rachal Foundation Nautical Archaeology Series

Published by Texas A&M University Press