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SAVE THE DATE – NMHS Annual Meeting in Charleston, SC

The NMHS Annual Conference will take place 15–17 May, 2017 in Charleston, SC, in conjunction with the North American Society for Oceanic History (NASOH) annual conference and the annual meeting of the Society for the History of Navy Medicine.

We will be joined by maritime historians, professors, underwater archaeologists, authors, captains, crew, students and leaders from the maritime heritage community. Enjoy three days of presentations, panels, scholarly papers, plus tours and receptions.

The conference will be hosted by the College of Charleston and will explore a wide range of maritime connections and cultural landscapes—and an interweaving of both—to examine the meaning and processes of our maritime heritage. The college is downtown, within easy walking distance of Marion Square and other historic sites (there also will be plenty of nearby parking available).


Monday, 15 May – Evening reception off-campus at Tommy Condon’s Irish Pub and Seafood Restaurant

Tuesday, 16 May – Enjoy an afternoon harbor cruise to see Fort Sumner and then join the fun in a “dine-around,” an opportunity to better get to know other conference attendees in smaller groups at local restaurants

Wednesday, 17 May – Private tour of the Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley and conclude the three-day event with an evening banquet


You can register for the full three days, or by the day.
Click here for the registration and sponsorship form.

Full Conference: $245 per person (if reserved by March 31), then will increase to $265 per person – includes all continental breakfasts & lunches, sessions, breaks, reception, banquet and field trips

Single Day:
Monday: $125 per person—includes continental breakfast & lunch, all lectures,
reception at Tommy Condon’s Restaurant.

Tuesday: $125 per person—includes continental breakfast & lunch, harbor cruise to
Fort Sumter and all lectures.

Wednesday: $145 per person—includes continental breakfast & lunch, tour of H. L.
Hunley and banquet.

Cancellation Policy: All cancellations must be in writing; email is acceptable. Substitutions are accepted at any time, but must also be requested in writing. Cancellations will be refunded up until 5:00 PM EST May 1, 2017 minus a $50 cancellation fee. After 1 May 2017 no refunds will be issued.

Charleston International Airport is served by American, Delta, Jet Blue, Southwest, and United Airlines. There is a downtown shuttle service that costs $14 each way and leaves every fifteen minutes. A taxi to the Francis Marion hotel is about $30 each way. The driver may not charge extra for two passengers, but there is a $14 per passenger supplement for more than two people.


facadeNASOH has reserved a room block at the Francis Marion Hotel located at 387 King Street. The website is:

The conference rate is $179/night for a single or double traditional room. Attendees must make their own room reservations by calling (843) 772-0600 or (877) 756-2121 by Friday, 31 March 2017; you must identify yourself as attending the NASOH conference to receive this rate. The Francis Marion hotel is on Marion Square, and is within easy walking distance of the College of Charleston.

DAYS INN Charleston Historic District
NASOH also has a room block at the Days Inn Charleston Historic District, located at 155 Meeting Street. The website is  The conference rate is $135/night. Attendees must make their own room reservations by calling (844) 609-7616 by Friday, 31 March 31 2017; you must mention the group code CGNASO to receive this rate.


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January Lecture: Revolution on the Hudson with George Daughan

28 January, 2017
“Revolution on the Hudson: New York City and the Hudson River Valley in the American War of Independence” with George Daughan


The public is invited to attend the National Maritime Historical Society’s Charles Point Council Lecture Series on Saturday, January 28, 2017 at Peekskill Presbyterian Church in Peekskill, New York. The lecture “Revolution on the Hudson: New York City and the Hudson River Valley in the American War of Independence” will be presented by award-winning Author George C. Daughan.

Mr. Daughan will discuss the overriding importance of New York and the Hudson River Valley in the American War of Independence. He will show that King George III based his war strategy on the assumption that he could easily crush the American insurgents by seizing the sea-land corridor linking Manhattan with Canada, an idea shared by George Washington and his leadership. Daughan will show that, despite the prowess of their navy and army, the British never had the capacity to control the Hudson River Valley or the passage to Canada, and that fixating on this strategy led to their defeats at Saratoga and Yorktown. He will also discuss the intriguing question of whether they could ever have won the war.

Prof.essor Daughan is also the author of If by Sea, 1812: the Navy’s War and The Shining Sea and is the recipient of the Naval Order of New York’s Samuel Eliot Morison award and the USS Constitution Museum’s Samuel Eliot Morison award.

Booking signing to follow.

What: Presentation: “Revolution on the Hudson: New York City and the Hudson River Valley in the American War of Independence” by award-winning Author George C. Daughan.

When: Saturday January 28, 2017
Where: Peekskill Presbyterian Church, 705 South Street, Peekskill, NY 10566
Time: Coffee & Registration at 10:30 AM; Lecture at 11:00 AM
Cost: Lecture – $5 to $10 suggested donation; After the lecture, NMHS will host a luncheon with the author at a local restaurant $25 prepaid and cash bar. Reservations required, 914 737-7878 x 0 or email
Sponsor: The National Maritime Historical Society

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SAVE THE DATE: National Maritime Awards Dinner

The National Maritime Historical Society, in association with the Naval Historical Foundation, invites you to the gala National Maritime Awards Dinner in our nation’s capital.


The National Maritime Historical Society (NMHS) and the Naval Historical Foundation (NHF) will honor three distinguished individuals and organizations at their National Maritime Awards Dinner on Tuesday, 4 April 2017, at the elegant, historic and iconic Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.

This illustrious event brings together those who love and serve the sea—leaders of the military sea services, merchant marine and maritime industry; maritime authors and artists; oceanographers, sea explorers and scientists; competitive yachtsmen; philanthropists and government officials who have supported America’s maritime heritage; industrial and pleasure boat designers and builders; cruise lines operators; aquaculturalists; maritime educators; and maritime educational institutions and museums.

Join us the maritime community gathers to honor Conservation Internaci_42483771tional, an American non-profit environmental organization, and its chairman and founder Peter Seligmann, on the occasion of its 30th anniversary. Conservation International has had a major impact on the health of the world’s oceans and shorelines with scientists, policy workers, and conservationists on the ground in more than 30 countries. The NMHS Distinguished Service Award will be presented by Thomas L. Friedman, the distinguished three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist.

The NMHS Distinguished Service Award will also be given to the National Geographic Society for its extraordinary achievements in chronicling mankind’s relationship with the water and educating tens of millions of readers and viewers about our global maritime heritage. Since its first issue, National Geographic magazine has introduced generation after generation to maritime cultures around the globe and how they have contributed to our civilization. National Geographic magazine is currently published in 40 local-language editions in many countries around the world. Combined English and other language circulation is around 6.8 million monthly. Gary Knell, president and CEO of the National Geographic Society, will accept the award, which will be presented by internationally-recognized underwater explorer Dr. Robert Ballard, discoverer of the wreck of the Titanic.

The Naval Historical Foundation Distinguished Service Award will be presented to Dr. J. Phillip London, executive chairman and former CEO of CACI International for 23 jacklondoncaciphotoyears until 2007. Under Dr. London’s leadership, CACI has become a trendsetter in offering IT solutions and consulting services across markets throughout North America and Western Europe. Dr. London served 12 years as an officer during the Cold War, as a naval aviator and carrier pilot from 1959 to 1971, and in the US Naval Reserve until 1983. He has made extensive contributions to naval heritage projects and has served on many boards, including the Naval Historical Foundation, the United States Naval Institute and the Navy Memorial Foundation. The NHF Distinguished Service Award will be presented to Dr. London by Admiral William J. Fallon, USN (Ret.), chairman of the Naval Historical Foundation.


Tickets to the dinner are $275 and sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information to order tickets, please call 914 737-7878 x 0.

This affair is traditionally sold out and seating is limited, so early responses are recommended.

1127 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20036

The Mayflower Hotel is a historic venue that you will want to experience. President Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote his famous “We have nothing to fear but fear itself” speech there, and this is just one of the many historic events that have taken place in that iconic hotel. While an enjoyable and fulfilling evening will be had by all, it is all in support of our maritime heritage.

HOTEL RESERVATIONS:mayflower-hotel-courtesy-marriott-intntl
Reservations can be made online or by calling 877 212-5752. Rooms for the NMHS block are $379/night plus taxes, and available until the block is sold, or  March 17, 2017 at 5 pm.

If you would prefer to make your reservation by phone, please call 877 212-5752 and let them know that you are in the NMHS room block.


CAPT Jim Noone, USN (Ret.) Dinner Co-Chair
Dr. Timothy J. Runyan, Dinner Co-Chair
Philip Webster, Founding Chair

Charles B. Anderson; John Brady; Walter R. Brown; CAPT Patrick Burns, USN (Ret.); RADM Joseph F. Callo, USN (Ret.); Dr. William Cogar; CAPT Charles Creekman, USN (Ret.); Vice Admiral Dirk J. Debbink, USNR (Ret.); Donna Dudley; Dr. William Dudley; David S. Fowler; Burchenal Green; Kristen Greenaway; Karen Helmerson; Dana Hewson; Howard Hoege; Gary Jobson; Dr. Paul F. Johnston; Vice Admiral Al Konetzni, USN (Ret.); Denise Krepp; Richardo Lopes; Guy E. C. Maitland; Ginger Martus; LCDR Jim Mathieu, USCG (Ret.); CAPT Sally Chin McElwreath, USN (Ret.); Drew McMullen; Captain James J. McNamara; RADM John Mitchell USN (Ret.); Captain Eric Nielsen; Ronald L. Oswald; Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr., USCG (Ret.); The Honorable S. Jay Plager; Bert Rogers; Christopher Rowsom; Kristen Sarri; Clair Sassin; Richard Scarano; Philip Shapiro; Howard Slotnick; Duncan Smith III, Esq; Dr. Joshua Smith; Captain Cesare Sorio; Irmy Webster; Dr. David Winkler; Jean Wort


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Success! Maritime Heritage Grant Program Restored

We’re happy to bring you this letter from Tim Runyan, chair of the National Maritime Alliance

Good News!

Language to amend the National Maritime Heritage Act was included in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017 (the Defense bill) that was favorably voted on today by the US House of Representatives (375 to 34). Members of the House and Senate reached agreement on the bill last week after a summer of tough negotiating. The Senate will consider it next week. Once passed, the president is expected to sign the bill.

The maritime heritage grant program will be restored. Funding for the program was diverted by an amendment to the National Maritime Heritage Act in 2010, initiated by the US Maritime Administration. Advocacy by the maritime heritage community and the support of members of Congress resulted in that agency’s commitment of $7M to the grant program over the past few years.

The new legislation mandates that 18.75% of all ship scrapping proceeds will be committed to the maritime heritage grant program (my goal was 25%, so we have some more work to do). The funds will be transferred to the Department of the Interior where the National Park Service will continue to administer the competitive grant program. The grants fund maritime heritage education and preservation projects.

Additional amendments to the Defense bill require greater transparency in the Maritime Administration’s ship scrapping operations, including timely reporting on the funds available, and the use of funds for the preservation and presentation to the public of the Maritime Administration’s maritime heritage property.

These changes are all beneficial to the maritime heritage grant program.

My thanks to all who have supported this effort.

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NMHS Secretary Jean Wort Honored by Clearwater

clrwtrjw1We’re thrilled that Jean Wort was honored by Clearwater at their 2nd annual gala on 13 November. NMHS chairman Ronald Oswald, NMHS president Burchenal Green and trustees Walter Brown and Howard Slotnick were on hand to join in recognizing NMHS secretary Jean Wort, who received the Spirit of the Hudson award.

Captain Wort has worked to preserve the Hudson River’s natural beauty as a trustee or honorary director of the Hudson Highlands Land Trust, the Orange County Land Trust, the Nature Museum of the Hudson Highlands, the Orange County Citizens Foundation, the Fort Montgomery Battle Site and the Constitution Island Association. She has served on the Town of Highlands Planning Board and was appointed commissioner for Orange County for the Hudson Fulton Champlain Quadricentennial from 2002 to 2010.

This year’s gala also hosted the largest number of Clearwater captains ever assembled. They have a unique position as environmental leaders on the Hudson River. In addition to piloting the sloop, the captain and crew share a mission to educate and inspire all passengers who sail on Clearwater, as well as the Clearwater members who serve as weekly volunteer crew.


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Tall Ships America Annual Conference – February 8-10, 2017

TALL SHIPS AMERICA is pleased to announce that the 44th Annual Conference on Sail Training and Tall Ships will take place in Boston, Massachusetts on February 9 & 10, 2017.  The conference will be preceded by the Safety Under Sail Forum, the Educators and Administrators Forum and the Host Ports Seminar on February 8.

talls-ships-am-conf-graphic-6in-2The Theme for the conference is The Way of a Ship: Linking our History, Heritage and Future.

The Conference will be organized around six main topic areas:

  • Crew Training, Development, Retention
  • Ship’s Operations & Safety, Navigation, Marine Weather
  • Educational Programming, Maritime History and Marine Science, Training for Careers at Sea
  • Tall Ships events and Host Port Organizers
  • Administration, Organizational Sustainability, Marketing, Fund Development
  • Historic ship preservation and utilization

National Maritime Historical Society trustee, Timothy J. Runyon, PhD , will be a featured speaker. Dr. Runyon is chairman of the National Maritime Alliance, professor of maritime history at East Carolina University, a distinguished historian and author.

NMHS members and Sea History readers are invited to attend and meet sail trainers, ship operators, preservationists and supporters from across North America and the world.

Registration is open; for more information visit the Tall Ships America website.

The mission of Tall Ships America is to encourage character building through sail training, promote sail training to the North American public and support education under sail.

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Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum Receives $80K Grant

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Maryland, has received an $80,000 grant from the Maryland Historical Trust’s Maryland Heritage Areas Authority program. The grant will help fund a new Small Craft Heritage Center project, projected to begin in 2017.

CBMM_MDHeritageGrant_SmallCraftCtr.-300x300The Small Craft Heritage Center will preserve and house the majority of CBMM’s smaller historic vessels currently stored in locations not accessible to CBMM members and guests. The museum preserves the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of the region’s watercraft, approximately 90 boats ranging in size from small gunning boats to the 65-foot 1920 buyboat Winnie Estelle.

“With the largest collection of Chesapeake Bay water craft, CBMM is responsible for the maintenance and physical status of these crafts,” said CBMM Chief Curator Pete Lesher. “This Center will bring more of CBMM’s collections to the public while expanding our educational programming opportunities and additional exhibition space.”

CBMM_SmallCraft-300x200“We are beyond thrilled to have this opportunity to share the majority of our Chesapeake Bay vessels with our guests and visitors, as only 45% of our watercraft collection is currently accessible to the public,” commented CBMM President Kristen Greenaway. “The Small Craft Heritage Center will allow us to tell a more authentic and complete story of Chesapeake heritage.”


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Time Running Out for Historic Falls of Clyde


photo: Alexandre via Wikimedia Commons

The historic ship Falls of Clyde, long a fixture of the Honolulu waterfront, is awaiting a miracle. The ship, the world’s only surviving four-masted, full-rigged ship and the only surviving sailing oil tanker afloat, has been impounded by the Hawaii Department of Transportation Harbors Division. The ship has been berthed in Honolulu Harbor for the past seven years, but 2015 brought new urgency. The state announced plans to terminate the permit that allowed the Falls to be docked for free in its present location. Friends of the Falls of Clyde, the group that formed in 2008 to take ownership of the ship when the Bishop Museum announced that it would be unable to meet the daunting price tag of further maintenance and restoration work, stepped up its fundraising efforts, including initiating an Indiegogo campaign, which was unable to raise sufficient funds to get the ship into drydock that season.

This summer, the state gave the group the month of July to present a plan for getting the ship into drydock for restoration work; however, the plan was subsequently rejected, and the state revoked the dock permit, leading to the impound action, when access to the ship was closed off. A hearing followed on 25 August, when Friends of the Falls of Clyde appealed the state’s position and asked, again, to be allowed to work on the ship and resume fundraising efforts. The state’s decision is expected later this month.

We encourage all who are interested and want to lend their support to go to the website of the Friend of the Falls of Clyde, as well as its Facebook page, and the petition to save the ship. Learn more about her history here.


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Save the Date! NYC Pickle Night is 11 November

The event is held each year to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar and the death of Admiral Lord Nelson. It is named for HMS Pickle, which participated in the battle and was the messenger ship that carried the news of the victory and of Nelson’s death back to England. This year’s honorary chair woman of the dinner is Antonia Romeo, British Consul General in New York. Commodore Jerry Kyd, Commanding Officer of the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and Commander Carrier Strike Group, will be the main speaker.
Friday, 11 November 2016
New York Yacht Club
37 W 44th Street
New York, NY 10036
Space is limited. For reservations contact Sally McElwreath Callo at or by phone at 917 536-1077.
Ticket price is $295 per person. Dress is black tie or military equivalent. The event is sponsored by the American Friends of the National Museum of the Royal Navy, with additional support from The Nelson Society, The 1805 Club, and the National Maritime Historical Society.
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Griffiths Headstone Unveiled



On 23 July the headstone for the grave of legendary naval architect John W. Griffiths (October 6, 1809–March 30, 1882), designer of steamships, war vessels, and the record-setting clippers Sea Witch and Rainbow, at Linden Hill United Methodist Cemetery in Ridgewood, Queens. The monument was designed by NMHS Advisory Committee Chair Melbourne Smith. Capt. Matt Carmel offered these remarks:

Welcome everyone. I am Captain Matt Carmel and was volunteered to give today’s weekly shipboard sermon from the quarterdeck, often known as “a few words from the holy book and get back to work.” I hope Rabbi Singer is watching from above because based on my expulsion from Hebrew school 45 years ago, he must be thinking nes gadol haya sham: “a great miracle happened there.”

No one likes a long speech, so I will keep it brief. But before I begin, I would like to say a few words.


No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

These famous lines are by John Donne, a metaphysical poet and cleric in the Church of England. The passage is taken from his 1624 Meditation 17, Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions. Its meaning can be distilled to a common truth. Human beings necessarily depend on each other.

The idea for honoring John Willis Griffiths was born out of a “friendly” political difference between myself and Melbourne Smith, alternately of esteemed and dubious repute, depending on whether or not the “sun is below the yard”. And not “yard arm” as he often corrects the uninitiated.

So one day I hazarded a discussion on current political matters and affairs of state. One thing lead to another, it came to blows and we were knocked on our beam ends. But time heals all wounds.

As a gesture of reconciliation, I conspired with my sister, a fellow traveler, to take a gravestone rubbing of his adopted patron ship designer and mentor. My first task was to find where Griffiths was buried which was a task in and of itself. Undaunted, I ultimately came to this hallowed ground. And what to my surprise should I find? Melbourne’s patron had no headstone at all. Why this was so remains shrouded in mystery.

Not one to pass up an opportunity to make a nuisance of myself, I convinced several friends and new found acquaintances to join me in my quest to raise sufficient funds for erecting a proper headstone on Griffiths final resting place.

And succeed we did. by finding our real life patron Bruce Johnson, director of business development of the Brooklin Boat Yard, whose non-profit foundation footed the bulk of the cost. The fruits of his generosity, and others, will be unveiled here today.

In addition to Bruce, our indebtedness extends to fellow shipmates and hardy tars, in alphabetical order:

Adam Brodsky, Deputy Editorial Page Editor of the NY Post
Dr. Larrie Ferreiro, Adjunct Professor of System Engineering at Catholic University
Steve Gorelick, Executive Director of the NJ Motion Picture & Television Commission
Burchenal Green, President of the National Maritime Historical Society
Charles Lauber, Superintendent of the Linden Hill United Methodist Cemetery
Michael Lewis, President of the Lewis Monument Co.
Ron Oswald, Chairman of the National Maritime Historical Society
Charles Ricciardi, Operations & Creative Director of the NJ Motion Picture & Television Commission
Lewis Brett Smiler, research consultant to The Thomas Edison Papers
And lastly, Melbourne Smith, President of the International Historical Watercraft Society

Theologian John of Salisbury, wrote a Latin treatise on logic in 1159 called Metalogicon, in which he said:

“We are like dwarfs sitting on the shoulders of giants. We see more, and things that are more distant, than they did, not because our sight is superior or because we are taller than they, but because they raise us up, and by their great stature add to ours.”

So now we come to the brief part. To my fellow clods of earth who one day will be washed away by the sea, let’s cheer our codependency and America’s great maritime achievements. Huzzah!


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