New Whaling Exhibit at East Hampton Library

Logbooks of the Columbia and Roanoke, open to the page where a flying fish fin is preserved. Courtesy East Hampton Library.

The East Hampton Library’s Long Island Collection has unveiled a new exhibition exploring the collection’s whaling logs in the four display cases in the library’s front lobby. Each of the cases has a specific theme: “Whaling 101,” “Art of the Whalers,” “Drama on the High Seas” and “International Travel.”

Included in the displays are exciting stories, accounts, letters and writings; images, drawings and sketches found in the logs; whale teeth, scrimshaw, stamps, and whale oil lamps; the 19th century sextant of Philetus Pierson; a map and information showing how far the whalers traveled (including voyages to Brazil, Africa, Antarctica, Arctic Circle), a whaling log from the first voyage to Antarctica — and much more.

Scrimshaw on whale bone (pan bone). Courtesy East Hampton Library.

“The inspiration for the new exhibit came from the recently completed project of scanning and digitizing all of the historic whaling logs in the Long Island Collection. During the scanning process, we were intrigued and amazed by all of the interesting details we discovered,” said Andrea Meyer, the Long Island Collection’s department head.

The East Hampton Library’s Whaling Log Collection ( is the largest of its kind, in one place, on Long Island. The collection encompasses 63 individual volumes, detailing at least 70 voyages (some logs cover multiple voyages), from the years 1783 through 1865.

Philetus Pierson’s sextant, 19th century. Courtesy East Hampton Library.

The new exhibits will be on display through the spring and are viewable during the library’s hours of operation, Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Everyone over the age of two is required to wear a face mask at all times when in the library. For more information call 631-324-0222.