Captain Ahab Had A Wife: New England Women And The Whalefishery, 1720-1870: New England Women and…

Paperback | October 1, 2000

byLisa Norling

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During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the whaling industry in New England sent hundreds of ships and thousands of men to distant seas on voyages lasting up to five years. In Captain Ahab Had a Wife, Lisa Norling taps a rich vein of sources—including women's and men's letters and diaries, shipowners' records, Quaker meeting minutes and other church records, newspapers and magazines, censuses, and city directories—to reconstruct the lives of the Cape Horn widows left behind onshore.

Norling begins with the emergence of colonial whalefishery on the island of Nantucket and then follows the industry to mainland New Bedford in the nineteenth century, tracking the parallel shift from a patriarchal world to a more ambiguous Victorian culture of domesticity. Through the sea-wives' compelling and often poignant stories, Norling exposes the painful discrepancies between gender ideals and the reality of maritime life and documents the power of gender to shape both economic development and individual experience.

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From the Publisher

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the whaling industry in New England sent hundreds of ships and thousands of men to distant seas on voyages lasting up to five years. In Captain Ahab Had a Wife, Lisa Norling taps a rich vein of sources—including women's and men's letters and diaries, shipowners' records, Quaker meeting mi...

From the Jacket

A social history that uncovers the lives of maritime women in New England villages whose men were whalers during the 18th and 19th centuries. Norling draws from a variety of sources—including women's and men's letters and diaries, shipowners' records, church records, newspapers and magazines, censuses, and city directories to uncover ...

Lisa Norling, associate professor of history at the University of Minnesota, is coeditor of Iron Men, Wooden Women: Gender and Seafaring in the Atlantic World, 1700-1920.

other books by Lisa Norling

Captain Ahab Had a Wife: New England Women and the Whalefishery, 1720-1870
Captain Ahab Had a Wife: New England Women and the Whal...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:392 pages, 9.26 × 6.22 × 0.92 inPublished:October 1, 2000Publisher:University of North Carolina PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0807848700

ISBN - 13:9780807848708

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This book is required reading . . . for anyone interested in maritime gender systems.

International Journal of Maritime History