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Tied to Land, Still at Sea: 19th century African American Whalers and Households in Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island

Author(s): Jenna Wallace Coplin

Year: 2014

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Summary

By 1838, Cold Spring Harbor was home to a thriving whaling business. Operating nine vessels, including the largest to sail from Long Island, the Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Company owned docks, repair and processing units and supported a variety of industries to outfit and provision ships. Local households responded at an infrastructural level as families weighed profit sharing and wage labor against required agricultural tasks necessary for self-sufficiency in the local economy. However, whaling both disrupted and sustained households and little is known about the impact on local African American communities of men leaving home for work. The absence of men for long periods shifted the burden of tasks making household independence more difficult for the families of whalers and shifting interactions across race, class and gender. Interpreting entangled archaeological sites relies on a deeper exploration of the social relations that link people to regional labor markets in whaling communities.


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Cite this Record

Tied to Land, Still at Sea: 19th century African American Whalers and Households in Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island. Jenna Wallace Coplin. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437117)


Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-58,03

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America