The staff of the East Hampton Library’s Long Island Collection recently completed a large project — scanning all of the historic whaling logs in the collection, in full. The collection encompasses 63 individual volumes, detailing at least 70 voyages, with some logs covering multiple voyages, from the years 1783 through 1865.
The majority of the logs were carried on whaling vessels that sailed out of Sag Harbor, with local East End workers aboard, to destinations as far away as Hawaii, Patagonia, the South Seas, the Arctic Circle and Indonesia — illustrating the global nature of the East End’s whaling business. Several logs in the collection detail voyages from Greenport, Cold Spring Harbor and Connecticut. The logs served as the official business and legal record of each voyage, providing insight into a ship’s daily activities and what life on board was like, as well as geographical location, weather, whale sightings, catch, and more. In addition to being fully scanned, several of the logs in the collection are also transcribed.
“The East Hampton Library’s Whaling Log Collection is the largest of its kind, in one place, on Long Island. Acquiring the logs has long been a priority for the Library’s Long Island Collection and an interest that dates to the collection’s beginnings in 1930. Digitizing the whaling logs is a process that not only aids in their preservation but provides remote access to patrons who are unable to visit the library’s Long Island Collection in person,” said Library Director Dennis Fabiszak.
Andrea Meyer, the Long Island Collection’s department head, said, “Our para-professional scanning assistants Tina Ambrosecchia and Julia Tyson were essential in helping to complete this project and we’re delighted to now make this significant historic resource more accessible to the public.”
The Long Island Collection’s Whaling Logs are viewable online via the library’s website, easthamptonlibrary.org, under the “Long Island History” tab and “Digital Long Island” subcategory. For more information contact Andrea Meyer, librarian/archivist and head of collection, at firstname.lastname@example.org.