Michael C. Dooling
1854, a young man named Aaron H. Wood from Swansea, Massachusetts left the
comfort of his family and farm and embarked on a lifetime journey. With
William R. Gardner as master of the new clipper ship Monarch
of the Sea, Aaron’s maiden voyage brought him to the Black Sea at the
height of the Crimean War. In his handwritten journal Aaron described life
aboard ship, the Crimean battlefields, and a naval assault that used shell guns
and iron-sided vessels for the first time.
Over the next thirty years, Aaron sailed from one port to the next, eventually
becoming master of his own sailing ships. As the ship’s captain, he was
accompanied by his wife Isabel and they raised their family at sea. Their son
Oscar sailed around Cape Horn fourteen times by the time he was eight years old.
Isabel’s letters describe in great detail what it was like living for months
at a time aboard an international merchant vessel.
The years that Aaron Wood spent traversing the world’s oceans coincided with
the decline of the sailing ship. His career began during the clipper ship era
and ended as steam dominated the oceans. Aaron’s story represents an entire
breed of men whose livelihood died as the age of sail blended into the darkness.
Michael is a museum archivist and former news librarian. He has researched the life of Aaron Wood since 1989, when he acquired Aaron’s journal from his first voyage on the Monarch of the Sea. He draws from the collections of Mystic Seaport for letters from Aaron's wife Isabel, the collection of Swansea Historical Society, and many other historical institutions. Michael has written two articles based on his research for The Log of Mystic Seaport and Naval History and has authored dozens of historical articles and five books.
soft cover, printed on 100# glossy paper, 193 pages, measures 6” x 9”
designed with over 50 images (many in sepia and full color)
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Michael C. Dooling
P. O. Box 1047
Middlebury, CT 06762
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