WHALING – BOWLES, Resolvid W. "Log of the Whaling Ship Acushnet, Captain W. B. Rogers, out N[ew] B[edford] two years voyage." 18 July 1845-5 November 1847 [but later].

Manuscript account of a voyage of the whaler Acushnet, on which Melville had previously served. This log, taken by the ship’s cooper Resolvid Bowles, includes charming illustrations, with careful drawings of ships, whale species, and geographic views. The manuscript seems to have made after the voyage, perhaps copied later by a different individual; it is written on single sheets of paper adhered to a printed copy of Rowlett's Tables of Discount, and recounts the sometimes dramatic happenings on board the Acushnet, as well as descriptions of the places visited including the city of Lima, Peru and the Hawaiian islands, and several (possibly original?) poems or shanties. The Acushnet was the whaler onto whose crew Herman Melville had signed in 1840; the experiences and personalities he encountered there helped form the basis for Moby-Dick. The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum also holds a manuscript log of this voyage, with very striking watercolor illustrations, although of anonymous authorship (item 1234).

Folio. Hand-drawn frontispiece of ship with manuscript title, 40 handwritten numbered sheets mounted to each side of pages from a printed copy of Rowlett's Tables of Discount, or Interest, on Every Dollar, with an additional leaf laid in labeled IA and IB with drawings of whales (some leaves detached, dampstaining around edges and paper toned). Contemporary half sheep over marbled boards (spine perishing, sewing coming undone). Provenance: J.D. Sturtevant, New Bedford (signatures on flyleaves; perhaps a local businessman; a man of this name is recorded as the witness of several crew-mates of Melville on the same ship).
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