“’She Was a Sister Sailor’: The Whaling Journals of Mary Brewster, 1845-1851.

This is apparently the first known journal of a whaleman’s wife aboard ship. Brewster obviously does a great deal of reading aboard ship but gives little detail or what she read or thought about it.

p. 36, Feb. 4 1846: Were it not for seasickness I should be very comfortable. I get up with it and night finds me with the same symptoms so it unfits me for work and but little of the time I feel like reading.

p. 40: Fri 20th: I am to sick to read think or do anything save roll from one side to the other.

p. 44: March 6: This evening we resumed our old employment that of reading…. [Similar references, without specifics, can be found on p. 46, 50, 54, 55, 83, 95, 247, 255, 261, 265, 280 290, etc.]

p. 47, ftnt, Betsy Morey in 1853: I am much Pleased to see them [seamen] pay so much respect to the Sabath they all wash themselves clean and Change there Clothes and then I can see them with there Books A reading and this seems very pleasant to me.

p. 95: …when being seasick I went to bed, took a book and attempted to loose my feelings in reading but that would not do…So I employed the time in vomiting and watching the time by the clock.

p. 97: account of a dead young sailor who’d been sent to sea with books from his mother. The books “had not been read”. Frank “intended to wait till a year out and then commence studying….”

p. 101, July 5: My thoughts and mind are taken up with the incidents of the day. I have read some in the Bible but not with the applying heart….

p. 246, June 26, 1846: This evening Mrs Whittlesey has read us a romantic story which our friend pronounced very good, who would think a woman of 50 would feel interested in love stories, when she pretends she prefers a single state of blessedness and occupies the same from choice.