Project Gallery

    American Whaling Mapped

    An animated visualization of Matthew Maury’s collection of data from logbooks of American whaling voyages. From Data narratives and structural histories: Melville, Maury, and American whaling by Ben Schmidt: "Data visualizations are like narratives: they suggest interpretations, but don’t require them. A good data visualization, in fact, lets you see things the interpreter might have missed. This should make data visualization especially appealing to historians."

    Scottish Vessels Lost in the Arctic Bowhead Whale Fishery (1750–WWI)

    Scotland's century and a half involvement in Arctic whaling was initially characterized by a lengthy period of occasional losses interrupted by a two-decade surge after 1817 followed by two lesser peaks in the 1860s and '80s.
    Voyage of the Whaler Merrimac

    The Merrimac Journal Transcription Project

    The New London Maritime Society has crowdsourced the transcription of a whaling journal from the 1840s and 1850s then built a rich online exhibit. Visitors can view the original Journal of the Ship Merrimac, read transcripts (annotated with links to, and learn more about the ship, the author and the history of the whaling industry.

    Mattapoisett Data Stories

    Mattapoisett Data Stories

    Integrating map, census, and American Offshore Whaling Voyages data, Mattapoisett Data Stories invites exploration of life in the shipbuilding village of Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, in the late 1700s and mid-1800s through interactive maps and visualizations.

    Voyage of the Neptune 1840-1842

    This active map, from Mystic Seaport Museum for Educators, represents the journey of the whaler Neptune of New London, Connecticut, from October 1840 to April 1842. The map, created from the original logbook, provides insight into the monotonous and sometimes exciting life on a whaling vessel, while chronicling the weather patterns and the process of hunting whales that determine a voyage’s success.

    Oil & Bone: American Ports in the Golden Age of Yankee Whaling

    This interactive map uses AOWV data to illustrate the economic impact of whale products returned to America’s port cities from 1804 to 1876. Data visualizations and contextual narratives combine to tell the story of the industry’s ebbs and flows.

    Spatial and Seasonal Distribution of American Whaling and Whales in the Age of Sail

    This map showing the spatial distribution of American Whaling and Whales in the 17th to 19th century was created using the AOWL data.

    Townsend’s Whaling Charts

    From Townsend CH (1935) The distribution of certain whales as shown by logbook records of American whaleships. 19. Zoologica (NY): : 1–50+6 Charts. For a dataset that corresponds in part to these charts, visit Townsend’s Logbook Data → For more information and chart scans, visit WCS Canada →

    Honolulu, Nov 2nd 1859

    When my older brother died last month, his widow sent me a box of family papers, much of which I was totally ignorant of. Among them was a letter dated Nov 2nd 1859, from Honolulu, Sandwich Islands.