The Loss of the Whaling Brig William and Joseph


Elisha Dexter, Narrative of the Loss of Whaling Brig William and Joseph, of Martha’s Vineyard, and the Sufferings of Her Crew for Seven Days, a Part of the Time on a Raft in the Atlantic Ocean: with an appendix, containing some remarks on the whaling business, and descriptions of the mode of killing and taking care of whales: with plates descriptive of some of the principal scenes. 2nd ed. (Boston: Charles C. Mead, 1848). Graphic Arts GAX 2011- in process


According to Dexter, the whaling brig William and Joseph departed Holmes’ Hole on August 2, 1840 in search of sperm whales. They stopped briefly at the Azores and Capre Verde islands before sailing to the West Indies, where they stopped to restock the ship.

In September 1841, the William and Joseph set sail for Boston with 200 barrels of oil. A month later, they were caught in a storm and the ship first capsized and, ten minutes later, righted itself but with significant damage. Over the next week two sailors died and the cargo was lost.

Elisha Dexter had a financial interest in the ship and published this narrative to recoup his losses. OCLC notes only one institutional copy of Dexter’s first edition and ten of the second, enlarged and improved edition. This acquisition will make it eleven.