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Journal of a whaling voiage [sic] in the Atlantic ocean on Board Schr Antarctic


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Whaler Georg [George] S. Johnson served on the schooner Antarctic based in Provincetown, Massachusetts. He kept the ship's log for two whaling voyages between 1881 and 1884.

The first whaling voyage into the Atlantic lasted from November 10, 1881, to July 27, 1883, under the shipmaster Newton P. West. The second voyage lasted from October 31, 1883, to July 11, 1884, under shipmaster John [Jno] Bell. Some day's entries are headed in bold letters "SPERM WHALE" which denotes the importance of this type of whale to the crew. The sperm whale was the most sought after type of whale because its head contained spermaceti, a white waxy substance that was worth significantly more than any other whale oil.

It is not known how long the Antarctic served, however there are several historical registries where the schooner is listed: The New Bedford Public Library Whaling Collection Archives has a registry entry for the vessel dated 1852, while Mystic Seaport's G. W. Blunt White Library has journals covering 1828-1831 as well as registries with data on the ship from 1861 to 1894.

"Antarctic (Schooner)." Mystic Seaport Library. (accessed January 12, 2007)."New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Logbooks and Journals." New Bedford Free Public Library Whaling Collection Archives. (accessed January 12, 2007)."Overview of American Whaling: How Whales Were Processed." New Bedford Whaling Museum. (accessed January 21, 2007).Additional information derived from the collection.

This logbook documents two Atlantic Ocean whaling voyages aboard the schooner Antarctic occurring between November 10, 1881, and July 11, 1884. The log primarily contains navigational data, weather reports, and notes about the health of the crew.

The log is a bound volume, circa 150 pages, filled with ink entries and pencil drawings of whales and parts of whales. There are many small illustrations of whales or parts of whales. According to the author, an illustration of an entire whale next to a day's entry indicates that a whale had been caught, while an illustration of only a fin indicates that a whale has been sighted or a whale already on board had been butchered. The account of the second journey begins on p. 110 of the volume. In the back of the volume, lists of provisions for the journey are recorded.

  1. Item 0044: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0097 oversize

A digitized copy of the journal is available at the University of Delaware Digital Institutional Repository.

Purchase, November 1956.

Processed by Asher Jackson and Norieta Hagerty, January 2007. Encoded by Norieta Hagerty, January 2007.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2007 January 9
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

Journal of a whaling voiage [sic] in the Atlantic ocean on Board Schr Antarctic, 1881 November 10-1884 July 11.
Item 0044
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