Chestertown, MD, March 28, 2003 — Washington College's C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, the Center for the Environment and Society, and Sultana Projects, Inc., present Nathaniel Philbrick, author of the bestseller In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex, speaking on his forthcoming book, Sea of Glory: The United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842, on Tuesday, April 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the College's Tawes Theatre. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.
Philbrick's talk will present his research on the historic United States Exploring Expedition, an unprecedented voyage of discovery by the American Navy that would do for the Pacific Ocean what Lewis and Clark had done for the American West. Led by the colorful and controversial Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, the man who likely served as the prototype for Herman Melville's Captain Ahab, the expedition charted the South and Central Pacific and Antarctica, and artists on board provided Americans with early glimpses of the flora and fauna of the Pacific islands and American Northwest. The maps produced during the expedition were so accurate that some were still used by Allied forces during World War II. The estimated 40 tons of artifacts and specimens brought back by the expedition became part of the Smithsonian Institution.
Philbrick is Director of the Egan Institute of Maritime Studies on Nantucket Island. His bestselling history, In the Heart of the Sea, was winner of the 2000 National Book Award. His recently released Revenge of the Whale, an account of the Essex disaster for young readers, was named a Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association. A former intercollegiate All-American sailor and North American Sunfish champion, Philbrick has also written extensively about sailing, including The Passionate Sailor (1986), Yachting, A Parody (1984), for which he was editor-in-chief; and Second Wind: A Sunfish Sailor's Odyssey (1999). His other books include Away Off Shore: Nantucket Island and Its People (1994) andAbram's Eyes: The Native American Legacy of Nantucket Island (1998). He has begun work on a new book about the voyage of the Mayflower and the settlement of Plymouth Colony. Philbrick's writing has appeared in Vanity Fair, New York Times Book Review, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and Boston Globe. He has been on NBC Dateline, the Today Show, Today Weekend, The Early Show, The Lehrer News Hour, C-SPAN, the History Channel, A&E's “Biography” series, and National Public Radio. In 2002 he was named the Nathaniel Bowditch Maritime Scholar of the Year by the American Merchant Marine Museum. He has lived on Nantucket with his wife and two children since 1986.
Philbrick's lecture is sponsored by Washington College's C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, the Center for the Environment, and Sultana Projects, Inc., an organization that provides unique, hands-on educational experiences in colonial history and environmental science on board Chestertown's reproduction 18th century schooner Sultana.
For more information about C. V. Starr Center events and programs, visit the Center online athttp://starrcenter.washcoll.edu, or call 410-810-7156.