Alone at Sea: Gloucester in the Age of the Dorymen

Overview


Author John Morris is the grandson of a Gloucester dory fisherman who was lost at sea in the 1930s, at the very end of the great age of sail. Haunted by his grandfather's death, Morris spent more than ten years researching the lives of these hardy souls who set off from schooners in sturdy rowboats to fish the banks off the New England coast. This detailed narrative boils down to the finest, most complete chronicle of the lives of Gloucester fishermen in the time of sail. It begins at a time when men stood side ...
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Overview


Author John Morris is the grandson of a Gloucester dory fisherman who was lost at sea in the 1930s, at the very end of the great age of sail. Haunted by his grandfather's death, Morris spent more than ten years researching the lives of these hardy souls who set off from schooners in sturdy rowboats to fish the banks off the New England coast. This detailed narrative boils down to the finest, most complete chronicle of the lives of Gloucester fishermen in the time of sail. It begins at a time when men stood side by side along a schooner's rail dropping baited hand lines to the seabed below. Then, in the middle of the 19th century, came dory fishing, and the skipper of a schooner could disperse upwards of a dozen one- and two-man dories over many miles of open ocean. Each dory could lay as much as a mile of baited line across the seabed below, and with this change in technology the catch increased and Gloucester emerged as North America's premier fishing port. Countless millions of fish were caught; over five thousand men were lost. One of Gloucester's greatest maritime historians, Joseph E. Garland, writes in his foreward that Morris's work is ""absolutely authoritative"" and ""a masterpiece that's been waiting for generations to be told.""
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Anyone interested in the history of Gloucester, the commercial fishing industry on which it was founded and the lives of those who engaged in the trade will want to get a copy of John Morris's Alone At Sea: Gloucester in the Age of the Dorymen. The book covers the rise of Gloucester as one of the world's biggest and richest fishing ports from the 1700s up to the 1940s."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780981943077
  • Publisher: Commonwealth Editions
  • Publication date: 7/1/2010
  • Series: Maritime Series
  • Pages: 464
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

A native of Gloucester, John N. Morris, PhD, is Director Emeritus of the Institute for Aging Research (IFAR) at Hebrew Senior Life in Boston, a Harvard-affiliated hospital and research program. He has published widely in his field. Morris’s ancestors have been fishermen going back to the seventeenth century. His father was a Gloucester fish cutter and his mother a fish packer. His grandfather, Stephen Olsson, spent four decades as a Gloucester doryman, until he drowned on the Grand Banks off Newfoundland in 1935. Morris’s book opens and closes with stories handed down from Grandpa. Morris is a board member of the group preserving one of the last of the surviving Gloucester schooners, the Adventure. He lives in northern Massachusetts, in the small town of Tyngsboro.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Joseph E. Garland v

Preface vii

Acknowledgments xi

Book I Climb to Greatness (1623-1869) 1

Chapter 1 A Time Before the Dorymen 3

Chapter 2 A New Future? 9

Chapter 3 The Arrival of the Mackerel 13

Chapter 4 Period of Expansion 19

Chapter 5 The Mackerel Prosperity of the 1850s 23

Chapter 6 Civil War 30

Chapter 7 Dory Fishing Comes to Gloucester 41

Chapter 8 To Be a Dory Fisherman 46

Book II The Time of the Master Mariners (1870-1899) 59

Chapter 9 Reciprocity and the Bay 62

Chapter 10 Disaster on the Banks 74

Chapter 11 Immigrant Fishermen Come to Gloucester 83

Chapter 12 A Scarcity of Fish 100

Chapter 13 Fishing for Halibut Off Iceland 105

Chapter 14 Gloucester's Move into the Fresh-Haddock Fishery 119

Book III A Time of Transition (1900-1910) 129

Chapter 15 Stabilization of the Fleet and the Coming of the Auxiliaries 134

Chapter 16 An End of Innocence 143

Chapter 17 The Changing Fleet and the Changing Gloucester Fisheries 152

Chapter 18 Gloucester's Thriving Fresh-Fish Fleet 163

Book IV The War Years (1911-1919) 179

Chapter 19 Cheap, Duty-Free Fish Enters Gloucester 183

Chapter 20 Gloucester on the Verge of War 187

Chapter 21 The World Changes: War Comes to Europe 194

Chapter 22 1915-An Altered Landscape 199

Chapter 23 1916-The Lull Before the Storm 203

Chapter 24 Winds of War in Early 1917 213

Chapter 25 1918-The War Comes to America 231

Chapter 26 1919-An Uncertain Transition 255

Book V "In a Breeze-of-Wind" (1920-1939) 261

Chapter 27 Economic Decline and the First of the International Fishermen's Races: Esperanto versus Delawana 263

Chapter 28 The Coming of the Racing Fishermen: Mayflower and Bluenose 275

Chapter 29 1922-"The Worst Has Passed" and the Races Go On: Puritan and Henry Ford 290

Chapter 30 1923-Yet Another Great Gloucester Racing Schooner: "Piney's" Columbia 303

Chapter 31 The Fisheries in the Mid- to Late 1920s, Beginning with the 1924 Turnaround 319

Chapter 32 The Great Depression 331

Chapter 33 The Mackerel Fishery in the Depression 339

Chapter 34 The Halibut Fishery in the Depression 346

Chapter 35 The End of an Era 362

Epilogue 372

Notes 383

Appendix A Glossary of Terms 386

Appendix B Fish Landings 398

Appendix C The Gloucester Fleet, Vessels Lost, Men Lost at Sea 403

Photo Credits 431

Index 432

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