Nautical Works from the Columbia Trading Co.
Catalog 147 from the Columbia Trading Co.
By Michael Stillman
The Columbia Trading Company of West Barnstable, Massachusetts, has issued Catalog 147 of Nautical Books & Artifacts. If it travels on, or is related to, a sea, lake, or river, it will probably be found in this catalogue. There are over 650 items here, with most priced for almost any budget. Once in a while you will find something not connected to the sea. For example, the section on lost treasures to be found on ships that went down at sea includes some books on attempting to find Arizona's Lost Dutchman mine. Water is not to be found in Arizona. Nonetheless, 600+ of the books offered are clearly related to water, so this definitely qualifies as a nautical catalogue. Let's take a look inside.
No ship is closer associated with America than the U.S.S. Constitution, affectionately nicknamed "Old Ironsides." It was one of the first six vessels constructed for the U.S. Navy in 1797. She was first involved in the Quasi War with France at the turn of the century, and more seriously engaged in the fight against the Barbary Pirates a bit later. She would then most notably make her mark during the War of 1812. Her defeat of the British ship Guerriere was a matter of enormous national pride. After that war, her days as a fighting ship were numbered, but the Constitution continued to be used in various diplomatic missions, ferrying important persons to various ports overseas. After the Civil War, her missions became more for show, and by the 20th century her status became that of a museum ship. Natural deterioration struck her wood hull, and by the 1920s her continued survival was in doubt. At that point, an enormous national fundraising effort was launched to save her. The drive was successful, and it was determined that in 1930, with the work completed, the Constitution would embark on a national tour to thank the American people for their support. She toured the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, then crossed through the Panama Canal to tour the west coast before returning to Boston. Item 53 recounts a part of that tour, along with information about stamps issued in her honor: The East Coast Cruise of the U.S. Frigate Constitution. The author was Charles Albright and the work was published in 1934. Priced at $45.
Here is another item related to "Old Ironsides," Mad Jack Percival. Legend of the Old Navy, written by James H. Ellis and published in 2002. Percival was a naval official responsible for capturing numerous ships during the War of 1812. He earned his nickname from his intense style of command. In 1841 he was promoted to captain and placed in charge of restoring the U.S.S. Constitution. In 1844, he captained the ship on a three-year world tour, the only time the Constitution accomplished a circumnavigation. Item 104. $18.
Item 590 is a menu of last meals: Last Dinner on the Titanic. Menus and recipes from the Legendary Liner. Not all cruises end well, but for a short time, life on the Titanic was grand. This 1997 book by Rick Archbold and Dana McCauley provides information on life on board a luxury liner, including menus offered to first, second and third class passengers. $20.
Nautical Works from the Columbia Trading Co.
The U.S.S. Constitution.
Item 516 is one of those exciting travelogues from Annie Brassey, a woman who lived the good life. Married to a Member of Parliament, and with five bonny children (only the British have "bonny" children), she spent most of her time traveling the seas on her yacht the Sunbeam, husband, children, crew and servants in tow, or doing charitable works. The public loved to hear of her adventures, so her books sold well. This one is A Voyage in the Sunbeam. Our Home on the Ocean for Eleven Months, published in 1879. Sadly, Annie's last voyage, in 1886, did not turn out as well. She came down with malaria off the coast of Australia, died, and was buried at sea. Lord Brassey had to finish the book. $45.
Item 73 is one of those wonderful old books where the title says it all: Sea and Land. An Illustrated History of the Wonderful and Curious Things of Nature Existing before and since the Deluge Embodying Descriptions of the Mighty World of Waters and of Marvelous Creatures... to which is Appended a Description of the Cannibals and Wild Races of the World. It appears author James Buel got his geologic eras a bit confused as he depicts ancient men fighting dinosaur-like sea monsters. Nevertheless, a little sensationalism never hurt sales. Buel provides 800 pages of fact and fiction in this 1887 book. $95.
We said that there were a few exceptions to the nautical theme. Item 631 is A Practical Treatise on Rail-Roads. This is the 1832 first American edition of this British book by Nicholas Wood. As that publication date will attest, this is a very early book on this new technology in transportation that would soon change the world. $375.
The Great Lakes have swallowed their share of ships over the years. Dana T. Bowen brings back some of these long ago disasters in Shipwrecks of the Lakes. However, don't look for an account of the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, in prose or song. This book was published in 1953. The Fitzgerald sank in 1975. Item 231. $20.
The Columbia Trading Company may be reached at 508-362-1500 or email@example.com. Their website is found at www.columbiatrading.com