Logbooks, kept either by the captain or his mate, documented events that he considered important, including mutinies, sickness, and death. As with so much of history, there is little documentation of the experiences of seamen who did not leave written accounts. Historians struggle to tell the stories of sailors of color and those who did not originate from the United States.

We begin this story of whaling in the 1860s as Laura Jernegan was about to board the bark Roman with her family. Her adventure began in New Bedford, Massachusetts, the busiest whaling port in the world, The town was bustling with activity.

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Martha's Vineyard Museum