Monday, November 19, 2012

The Sailing Wives of Sea Captains


That's me standing next to whale jaw bones.  They are in front of a successful whaling captain's home from the 1850's on Cape Cod.  Captain Penniman built his beautiful home after his 4th whaling trip.
His wife "Gustie" often went with him on the long journeys, as well as his children!  Gustie was infamous because she wore... trousers, gasp!  You can read more about Cpt. Penniman on this website here:  Cpt. Penniman House .

My photos from my "Big Sky" post a few posts back were taken on the same day and show the view.


I have read several excellent books about sea captain wives, plus have gone to museums and various sites.  I started this post this morning and I wanted to reference a particular book and could not find it anywhere on the internet.  Hummm.  I know exactly where the book is at my own home - being on the move all the time can be frustrating.  So tonight, I asked my sister about it and - she has the exact same book as I wanted. It often happens between my sisters and myself that we have the same things, it is too funny!  I love this book.  It is called "Sail Away Ladies, Stories of Cape Cod Women in the Age of Sail" by Jim Coogan.  I noticed that my sister's copy is autographed by the author.  I just love local history and this book brings it to life so vividly.  Don't miss the story about poor Viola Fish Cook of Provincetown who went nuts after NINE years on a whaling boat, overwintering in the arctic because the boat kept getting stuck in the ice (can you imagine?).  Understandably, she went nuts and that was just the way it was.  The book is filled with other short stories too and many photographs, illustrations and maps that bring it all to life.
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Another great, great book (this one a historical fiction novel) is by Beth Powning, is called "The Sea Captain's Wife".  Beth went to museums and spent a long time getting the period details accurate.  She led a writer's workshop that I was fortunate enough to attend several years ago before the book came out and she was telling us a little bit about it, so of course, as soon as it came out I snatched it right up and was not disappointed!  It is a lengthy novel and easy to loose yourself in a totally different time period.
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If you have read either book - feel free to leave a comment telling everyone else how you liked it!

1 comment:

bidtl said...

I just stumbled on to your blog indirectly from a pinterest photo. The sea captain wives topic caught my eye. You may be interested in the book "Ahab's Wife: Or, The Star Gazer" by Sena Jeter Naslund.
Tracy