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View of the city of New Bedford, Massachusetts

Date: 1876
Overall: 602 x 907 mm, 350 g
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Maps, charts and plans
Object Name: Lithograph
Object No: 00005652
Place Manufactured:Milwaukee

User Terms

    This colour lithograph shows an aerial plan of the whaling port of New Bedford, Massachusetts. Dozens of wharves, stations, yards and buildings can be seen at the waterfront, along with sailing and steam ships both large and small. Forty public buildings - including manufacturers, general businesses and newspaper publishers - are noted and numbered on the plan, and listed in a table.

    At the base of the map are illustrations of six individual buildings including Snell's Patent Bakery, Tucker & Co Soap Manufactory, I F Parsons Agt, Hathaway & Soule Boot & Shoe manufactury, J & W R Wing & Co Clothing House, and Wamsutta Mills.
    SignificanceThis lithograph is an important record of the whaling port of New Bedford during the latter half of the 19th century. Many whaling ships from New Bedford travelled to the Pacific and visited the port's of the Australian colonies, stopping for repairs, supplies and to trade.
    HistoryWhaling played an essential part in 19th century life. Industry and households depended on whale products for which there was no substitute. Whale oil was used for lighting and lubrication until 1860 when kerosene and petroleum started to gain popularity. The pure clean oil from sperm whales was a superior source of lighting and the finest candles were made from the whale's wax-like spermaceti. Light and flexible, baleen - the bristle-fringed plates found in the jaws of baleen whales - had many uses in objects which today would be made out of plastic.

    American whaling centred on the north-east coastal town of New Bedford in Massachusetts - a town synonymous with whaling. In the mid 19th century, it was America's richest and most superior whaling port - its vast fleet voyaging the rich whaling grounds of the Atlantic, Arctic, Indian and Pacific waters. At its peak in the mid 1850s New Bedford’s fleet numbered 329 vessels, more than half of all US whalers. The whaling industry of New Bedford had become key player in the economy of Massachusetts - indeed the United States - representing an investment of $20 million and a yearly catch of $10 million.

    During the 19th century, hundreds of ships regularly sailed from New Bedford south to the rich Pacific whaling grounds in search of sperm and right whales. During the 1840s several hundred ships pursued whales off the coast of Australia. Many called into Australian ports for repairs or supplies after a voyage half-way around the world. Meeting a whaler was the first contact many colonists had with an American.

    Additional Titles

    Primary title: View of the city of New Bedford, Mass 1876

    Web title: View of the city of New Bedford, Massachusetts

    Related People
    Lithographer: C H Vogt

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