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Captain Cook by Walter Besant

'Captain Cook' is an excellent book about the life and voyages of Captain James Cook (1728–1779, the great 18th-century explorer (CLICK HERE for more about him). It was written by the English novelist and historian, Sir Walter Besant (1836–1901). This edition was published in 1894. (4 MiB, PDF, 198 pages)


 1 file(s)  9 downloadsCategory: Maritime History and CultureDownload

Ferdinand Magellan by E.F. Benson

'Ferdinand Magellan' is an oustanding book about the great Portuguese explorer. It was written by E.F. Benson (1867 – 1940), a British writer of fiction, reminiscences, and biographies. In his preface, the author underscores Magellan's place in history: "He was the first person in the world who demonstrated not by theory, but in terms of ships actually sailing on the sea, that this world is round (or thereabouts), and that by sailing out beyond the known ultimate of the West, a voyager will arrive at the known ultimate of the East." This book is from the library of York University in Canada and was digitised by the Internet Archive.(15 MiB, PDF, 282 pages)


 1 file(s)  16 downloadsCategory: Maritime History and CultureDownload

‘Surfin’ USA’ by Christopher John Stephens (MP3)

This is an interesting adaptation of 'Surfin' USA', the 1963 hit song of the American rock band, The Beach Boys. The performer is Christopher John Stephens, an American writer and musician. His version has the laid-back atmosphere of the tropics. This recording, believed to be from 2015, has been publicly shared by Stephens via the Internet Archive. (3.1 MiB, MP3, 3:20 minutes)


 1 file(s)  24 downloadsCategory: Maritime History and CultureDownload

A Sailor’s Life: Long Distance Love (pamphlet)

This pamphlet from the English Folk Dance and Song Society spotlights long distance love involving the sailors of yore with focus on two traditional songs -- 'Adieu, sweet lovely Nancy' and 'Bold Riley'. An excerpt: "For the wives of low ranking sailors, they lived difficult lives at home in Britain. The sailors were only paid once their ship returned to Britain. Therefore, the wives and children often had to find work to earn money for food and shelter. Sometimes the wives and children would even resort to begging in the streets" The English Folk Dance and Song Society has allowed the copying of this copyrighted material for non-commercial educational purposes. (736 KiB, PDF, 11 pages)


 1 file(s)  9 downloadsCategory: Maritime History and Culture, Maritime Songs & Sea ShantiesDownload

Lighthouse Construction Types (illustrated article in PDF)

This illustrated article describes the various types of U.S. lighthouses based on material and construction -- from the stone, brick and wood towers of the 1700s to the Texas Tower, aluminum-clad and fiberglass varieties introduced in the 1960s. It forms part of The Historic Lighthouse Preservation Handbook. The latter was the result of a cooperative effort between the National Park Service, U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Defense. (833 KiB, PDF, 8 pages)


 1 file(s)  21 downloadsCategory: Maritime History and CultureDownload

Historically Famous Lighthouses (illustrated booklet, for smartphones & tablets)

This United States Coast Guard booklet features 56 lighthouses located in 20 states. Backstories are provided with black & white photos to explain the historical significance of each lighthouse. (3.5 MiB, EPUB format) NOTE: You will need an e-book reader to open the file on your smartphone or tablet. One of the most popular is FBReader, a multi-platform e-book reader. Click here to get it. FBReader for iPhone and iPad is downloadable on the AppStore.


 1 file(s)  8 downloadsCategory: Maritime History and CultureDownload

Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain

'Life on the Mississippi' was written by Mark Twain, one of America's most beloved writers. Published in 1883 with more than 300 illustrations, it is the author's memoir of the steamboat era on the Mississippi River before the American Civil War. Mark Twain was a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi (read his short biography here). His familiarity with the river and navigation and his skills as a raconteur make this book a must-read for literature and American history buffs. (40.6 MiB, PDF, 623 pages) NOTE: The scanned book is courtesy of the Boston Public Library. For the convenience of readers, the file was compressed by Marine Café Blog minus unnecessary blank pages and the front and back covers.


 1 file(s)  20 downloadsCategory: Literary Works, Maritime History and CultureDownload

‘Recollections of a Sea Wanderer’s Life: An Autobiography of an Old-time Seaman…’ by George Davis

Don't be put off by the book's lengthy title: 'Recollections of a Sea Wanderer's Life: An Autobiography of an Old-time Seaman Who has Sailed in Almost Every Capacity Before and Abaft the Mast, in Nearly Every Quarter of the Globe, and Under the Flags of Four of the Principal Maritime Nations'. Published in 1887, this autobiography is worth reading from beginning to end. It is not only about the life of an old salt but about a bygone age -- when, as author George Davis puts it in his Dedication, "wooden ships were manned and sailed by MEN of iron, and not as now, when iron ships are run by wooden men". Numerous illustrations and a glossary of nautical terms add richness to what is an engaging narrative. (27.6 MiB, PDF, 432 pages)


 1 file(s)  45 downloadsCategory: Maritime History and Culture, Seafaring and ManningDownload

Island Stories Retold from St. Nicholas (collection of stories, PDF)

Published in 1907, 'Island Stories Retold from St. Nicholas' makes for light and entertaining reading. It is a collection of non-fictional stories reprinted from St. Nicholas Magazine, a popular American monthly for young readers which ran from 1873 to 1943. The articles include Robinson Crusoe's Island (Two hundred years later), Impressions of the Hawaiian Islands' and A Tale of the Cannibal Islands (a true story). (30.9 MiB, PDF, 195 pages)


 1 file(s)  15 downloadsCategory: Maritime History and CultureDownload

Coast Guard History (magazine about the United States Coast Guard, PDF)

'Coast Guard History' is a slim magazine that opens a window to the glorious past of the United States Coast Guard. Published in 1958 by the USCG Public Information Division, it features several articles starting with how the first cutter fleet was launched. The succeeding articles examine the role of the Coast Guard in peacetime and war (War of 1812, American Civil War and World Wars I and II). 'Coast Guard History' is courtesy of The Biodiversity Heritage Library. (3.6 MiB, PDF, 36 pages)


 1 file(s)  12 downloadsCategory: Maritime History and CultureDownload

Lighthouses by David Stevenson

'Lighthouses' was written by David Stevenson (1815–1886), a Scottish civil engineer and lighthouse designer, and published in 1864. Stevenson describes in detail the construction, illumination and management of the early lighthouses. In the Introduction, he pays tribute to their beauty: "Tall and graceful as the minar of an Eastern mosque, they possess far more solidity and beauty of construction; and, in addition to this, their form is as appropriate to the purpose for which it was designed as anythinig ever done by the Greeks..." (1.4 MiB, PDF, 127 pages)


 1 file(s)  18 downloadsCategory: Maritime History and CultureDownload

“Sung With Gusto by the Men”: A Unique Recording of “The Leaving of Liverpool” (article by Stephen D. Winick)

American folklorist Stephen D. Winick tracks the history and various recordings of the traditional folk song, 'The Leaving of Liverpool'. His highly informative article appeared in the Summer/Fall 2008 edition of the Folklife Center News, edited by Winick and published by The American Folklife Center, Library of Congress. (1.1 MiB, PDF, 12 pages)


 1 file(s)  8 downloadsCategory: Maritime History and Culture, Maritime Songs & Sea ShantiesDownload

Drunken Sailor (ringtone for iPhones)

Enjoy hearing one of the most popular sea shanties every time your iPhone rings. The ringtone is based on a Glamrock Brothers remix in rock style of Drunken Sailor. (457.2 KiB, M4R, 28 seconds)


 1 file(s)  27 downloadsCategory: Maritime History and Culture, Maritime Songs & Sea ShantiesDownload

Columbus Day by Charles Hervey Townshend

'Columbus Day' throws light on the real origin of the name 'America'. Published in 1893, the paper was authored by Captain Charles H. Townshend (1833–1904), an American merchant ship officer. He boldly states: "The whole world has been led into the error that America was named for Vesputius, a Florentine map-maker, who enlightened Europe on the discoveries of Columbus." (544.6 KiB, PDF, 6 pages)


 1 file(s)  29 downloadsCategory: Maritime History and CultureDownload

Patterson’s Illustrated Nautical Dictionary, Unabridged

This dictionary written by American maritime author and educator Captain Howard Patterson (1856-1916) can be rightly called a gem of nautical literature. First published in 1891, it contains at least 5,000 nautical terms and hundreds of engravings. (21.6 MiB, PDF, 391 pages)


 1 file(s)  58 downloadsCategory: Maritime Education and Training, Maritime History and CultureDownload

Tale of Two Female Pirates: Mary Read and Anne Bonny

Mary Read and Anne Bonny broke the social and even sexual conventions of the 18th century. Both were pirates who rivalled their male counterparts in courage and ruthlessness. This monograph contains two chapters about Mary and Anne, respectively, which were extracted from Captain Charles Johnson's 1724 book, A General History of the Pyrates, from their First Rise and Settlement in the Island of Providence, to the Present Time. (509 KiB, PDF, 13 pages)


 1 file(s)  11 downloadsCategory: Maritime History and CultureDownload

Ships & Ways of Other Days by E. Keble Chatterton

In the Introduction to Ships & Ways of Other Days, British maritime writer Edward Keble Chatterton (1878 – 1944) writes: "I can promise the reader that if he loves ships, if he has a sympathetic interest in that curious composite creature the seaman—who throughout history has been compelled to endure the greatest hardships and deprivations for the benefit of those whose happy fortune it is to live on shore—he will find in the ensuing pages much that will both surprise him and entertain him." Chatterton delivers big time on that promise. The book is well-reserarched and well-written. More than a historical account, it gives an intimate picture of the life lived on the sailing ships of yore. (22.1 MiB, PDF, 420 pages) See also Chatterton's Sailing Ships: The Story of their Development from the Earliest Times to the Present Day


 1 file(s)  86 downloadsCategory: Maritime History and CultureDownload

Small Guide of Venice: Sites Not to Miss and Unconventional Ones

This small, 10-page guide from the La Porta d'Oriente hotel is a handy reference for those visiting Venice. It includes pointers on how visitors should conduct themselves; the main tourist sites to visit; a restaurant guide; and curiosities and legends about Venice. (2.5 MiB, PDF, 10 pages)


 1 file(s)  9 downloadsCategory: Maritime History and Culture, TravelDownload

Venice by Gustav Pauli

This is a must-read book for anyone who has fallen in love with the famed city. Published in 1904, Venice was written by Gustav Pauli (1866 – 1938), a German art historian who served as museum director of Kunsthalle Bremen and Kunsthalle Hamburg. Pauli starts off with a history of Venice and then zooms in on its rich heritage of architecture, sculpture and painting. Photos fill the pages to take the reader on a wonderful voyage through time. (14.6 MiB, PDF, 170 pages)


 1 file(s)  17 downloadsCategory: Maritime History and Culture, TravelDownload

Singing Histories – Plymouth

Singing Histories - Plymouth is an illustrated booklet featuring 10 songs, mostly with a sea theme, which are part of the history and culture of the English port city of Plymouth. It contains the lyrics and a brief note for each of the songs. This is part of the Singing Histories project of Sing London, the arts organisation whose mission is to unite the nation in song. (1.3 MiB , PDF, 15 pages)


 1 file(s)  12 downloadsCategory: Maritime History and Culture, Maritime Songs & Sea ShantiesDownload

Sailing Ships: The Story of their Development from the Earliest Times to the Present Day

Sailing Ships: The Story of their Development from the Earliest Times to the Present Day was first published in 1909 but it remains one of the most comprehensive and well-researched books on the subject. British maritime writer Edward Keble Chatterton (1878 – 1944) provides a huge trove of information plus 130 illustrations.. He concludes the book with a beautiful tribute to the sailing ship: "Now that we have shown...her noble and illustrious pedigree, her ancestry reaching back through the centuries into the first blush of the dawn of the world's creation, perhaps we shall regard her with an interest, a respect and affection at once greater and deepper because we have become better acquainted with the reaons that have caused each of these developments." (13.6 MiB, PDF, 438 pages)


 1 file(s)  92 downloadsCategory: Maritime History and CultureDownload

The Shanty Book Part I: Sailor Shanties (EPUB format for smartphones and tablets)

First published in 1921, The Shanty Book Part I: Sailor Shanties is a great read for those who want to increase their understanding and appreciation of shanties (old sailors' work songs). The 30 shanties in this book were collected by Sir Richard Runciman Terry (1865 – 1938), English organist, choir director and music scholar. They are accompanied by sheet music for piano and some interesting notes on each shanty. (1.4 MiB, EPUB)


 1 file(s)  28 downloadsCategory: Maritime History and Culture, Maritime Songs & Sea ShantiesDownload

The Shanty Book Part I: Sailor Shanties (PDF)

First published in 1921, The Shanty Book Part I: Sailor Shanties is a great read for those who want to increase their understanding and appreciation of shanties (old sailors' work songs). The 30 shanties in this book were collected by Sir Richard Runciman Terry (1865 – 1938), English organist, choir director and music scholar. They are accompanied by sheet music for piano and some interesting notes on each shanty. (7.1 MiB, PDF, 75 pages) See also the EPUB edition of this book (for smartphones and tablets)


 1 file(s)  157 downloadsCategory: Maritime History and CultureDownload

Principal Parts and Sails of 19th-Century Sailing Ships

This is a valuable reference material for sailing enthusiasts, maritime historians, writers and teachers. It describes the principal parts of a sailing ship in the British or American fleets of the 19th century, as well as the locations and naming protocol of masts, yards, gaffs, stays and booms and the sails they spread. (942 KiB, PDF, 8 pages) See also Introduction to Sail and Rigging Types by Martin Hendry (illustrated)


 1 file(s)  142 downloadsCategory: Maritime History and CultureDownload

Lost Ships and Lonely Seas

Enjoy these 17 true stories of shipwrecks and other unfortunate incidents at sea. Published in 1921, Lost Ships and Lonely Seas reads like an adventure book. The author, American journalist Ralph Delahaye Paine, throws light on the perils of 19th century seafaring. An excerpt from Chapter 1: The wild gale smote them in the darkness of night. They tried to heave the vessel to, but she was battered and wrenched without mercy. Stout canvas was whirled away in fragments. The seams of the hull opened as she labored, and six feet of water flooded the hold. Leaking like a sieve, the Polly would never see port again. (9.3 MiB, PDF, 450 pages)


 1 file(s)  26 downloadsCategory: Literary Works, Maritime History and CultureDownload

The Old Merchant Marine: A Chronicle of American Ships and Sailors

Published in 1919, The Old Merchant Marine: A Chronicle of American Ships and Sailors describes the glory days of American merchant shipping. It was written by the noted American journalist and author, Ralph Delahaye Paine (1871 – 1925). The first two sentences will make you want to continue reading till the end of the book: The story of American ships and sailors is an epic of blue water which seems regularly remote, almost unreal, to the later generations. A people with a native genius for seafaring won and held a brilliant supremacy through two centuries and then forsook this heritage of theirs. (6.8 MiB, PDF, 230 pages)


 1 file(s)  34 downloadsCategory: Maritime History and CultureDownload

The Buccaneers and Marooners of America: Being an Account of the Famous Adventures and Daring Deeds of Certain Notorious Freebooters of the Spanish Main (edited by Howard Pyle)

This book chronicles the exploits of several 17th-century pirates, including the infamous Blackbeard. It should appeal to anyone who is fascinated with pirates.As American illustrator and author Howard Pyle (1853 –1911) notes in the Introduction: Courage and daring, no matter how mad and ungodly, have always a redundancy of vim and life to recommend them to the nether man that lies within us, and no doubt his desperate courage, his battle against the tremendous odds of all the civilized world of law and order had had much to do in making a popular hero of our friend of the black flag. (20.7 MiB, PDF, 400 pages)


 1 file(s)  15 downloadsCategory: Literary Works, Maritime History and CultureDownload

Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates (PDF)

Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates is a collection of eight classic pirate stories written by the American illustrator, painter and author, Howard Pyle (1853–1911). It has been enriched by Pyle's wonderful illustrations, making it a great read for art lovers as well as pirate fans and students of history. Merle Johnson, who compiled the stories, wrote in his Foreword: Pirates, Buccaneers, Marooners, those cruel but picturesque sea wolves who once infested the Spanish Main, all live in present-day conceptions in great degree as drawn by the pen and pencil of Howard Pyle…It is improbable that anyone else will ever bring his combination of interest and talent to the depiction of these old-time Pirates, any more than there could be a second Remington to paint the now extinct Indians and gun-fighters of the Great West. (16.6 MiB, PDF, 335 pages)


 1 file(s)  116 downloadsCategory: Literary Works, Maritime History and CultureDownload

Two Years Before the Mast (an American classic for smartphones and tablets)

Two Years Before the Mast is a memoir by American lawyer Richard Henry Dana Jr. of his two-year voyage from Boston to California as a common sailor on board a merchant ship. The term "before the mast" refers to the sailors' quarters located in the forecastle (the ship's bow). This book was first published in 1840 when Dana was still a law student at Harvard Universiy. In his Introduction, Prof. Homer Eaton Keyes explains why it is an American classic: We read it to-day not merely for its simple, unpretentious style; but for its clear picture of sea life previous to the era of steam navigation, and for its graphic description of conditions in California before visions of gold sent the long lines of "prairie schooners" drifting across the plains to unfold the hidden destiny of the West. (381.3 KiB, EPUB format)


 1 file(s)  19 downloadsCategory: Literary Works, Maritime History and Culture, Seafaring and ManningDownload

The Lusitania’s Last Voyage

The 31,550-tonne RMS Lusitania, an ocean liner owned by Cunard Line, was sunk by a German U-boat on 7th May 1915. This book is a first-hand account of her last fateful voyage by Charles E. Lauriat, Jr., one of the survivors. (4.9 MiB, PDF, 175 pages including cover)


 1 file(s)  18 downloadsCategory: Maritime History and CultureDownload

The Truth About the Titanic by Colonel Archibald Gracie

The Truth About the Titanic is considered one of the most accurate firsthand accounts of the tragedy. It was written by Colonel Archibald Gracie, a passenger on the RMS Titanic who was part of the heroic efforts to put other passengers onto the lifeboats. Published posthumously in 1913, the book sets the record straight on what really happened. Gracie describes, for instance, the moment immediately after the iceberg struck: It was now that the band began to play, and continued while the boats were being lowered.We considered this a wise provision tending to allay excitement. I did not recognize any of the tunes, but I know they were cheerful and were not hymns. If, as has been reported, ''Nearer My God to Thee'' was one of the selections, I assuredly should have noticed it and regarded it as a tactless warning of immediate death to us all and one likely to create a panic that our special efforts were directed towards avoiding... (File size: 13 MiB, PDF, 366 pages)


 1 file(s)  89 downloadsCategory: Maritime History and CultureDownload

The Wreck of the Titan: Or, Futility (a novella, for smartphones)

The Wreck of the Titan: Or, Futility by American author Morgan Robertson is said by some to have foretold the RMS Titanic disaster. The similarities between fiction and reality are eerie indeed. The ocean liner in Roberton's novella was named Titan. It also sank in the North Atlantic after hitting an iceberg in the same month of April. And to think that this book was published in 1898 — 14 years before the RMS Titanic met its doom. (File size: 119.6 KiB, EPUB format)


 1 file(s)  21 downloadsCategory: Literary Works, Maritime History and CultureDownload

SHIPS, SEA SONGS AND SHANTIES

First published in 1910, Ships, Sea Songs and Shanties is a real treasure trove. This 1913 edition contains some 80 songs compiled and annotated by an English master mariner, William Boultbee Whall (1847–1917). The illustrations by his niece, stainglass artist Veronica Whall (1887–1967), are in themselves a prize art collection. Anyone who wants to learn more about shanties and sea songs should have a copy of this book. (File size: 8.3 MiB, PDF, 143 pages)  


 1 file(s)  72 downloadsCategory: Maritime History and CultureDownload

The Story of Titanic

The Story of Titanic provides essential facts about the ship, its technical features, and the characteristics of icebergs like the one that sank the ocean liner. It explains, amongst other things, why not more lives were saved during the rescue. This illustrated reference material was published by The Maryland Science Center in Baltimore, Maryland, as an activity guide for teachers and has some suggested science exercises for students to try out. However, the information is so well presented that this guide should interest all Titanic history buffs. (File size: 1.1 MiB ,PDF, 48 pages)  


 1 file(s)  20 downloadsCategory: Maritime History and CultureDownload

Introduction to Sail and Rigging Types by Martin Hendry (illustrated)

Introduction to Sail and Rigging Types is a 28-page iillustrated guide to the world of sailing vessels courtesy of National Historic Ships UK. It provides a brief description for each sail and rig type and some colour photos. This is a useful reference for sailing enthusiasts and those who love marine art and photography but don't know the difference between a sloop and a catboat. (File size: 2.2 MiB, PDF, 28 pages) See also Principal Parts and Sails of 19th-Century Sailing Ships.


 1 file(s)  96 downloadsCategory: Maritime History and CultureDownload

The First Voyage Round the World, by Magellan

This is a must-read for all maritime history aficionados. The First Voyage Round the World, by Magellan is about the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan's westward voyage from Spain in 1519 round South America to the East Indies. Although Magellan was killed in Cebu, the Philippines, one of his ships sailed back to Spain to complete the first circumnavigation of the Earth. This book was translated by Lord Stanley of Alderley from the accounts of the Italian chronicler, Antonio Pigafetta, and other contemporary writers. (File size: 13.6 MiB, PDF, 361 pages) See also 'Ferdinand Magellan' by E.F. Benson .

   


 1 file(s)  841 downloadsCategory: Maritime History and CultureDownload

Sinking of the Titanic by Thomas H. Russell

This is a gem of a book. Published in 1912 shortly after the RMS Titanic sank, it is a riveting account of what really happened. The horror the survivors went through is described in chilling detail, as in this excerpt from the book: The women in the lifeboats saw their loved ones plunge to death. The survivors' boats were bobbing along in the waves all within a radius of half a mile of the great Titanic, when, with a roar and burst of spray, it settled and passed out of sight for the last time. (File size: 26.8 MiB, PDF, 353 pages)


 1 file(s)  197 downloadsCategory: Maritime History and CultureDownload

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