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Guide to the Corvo/Enterprise Logbook

MSN/EA 4703-01-B


Collection Summary

Title: Corvo/Enterprise logbook
Dates: 1840-1841
Collection No.: MSN/EA 4701-01-B
Creator: Unidentified
Extent: 1 volume
Language: Collection material in English
Repository: University of Notre Dame. Hesburgh Libraries, Department of Special Collections. 102 Hesburgh Library, Notre Dame, IN 46556
Abstract: A manuscript logbook documenting voyages of the American whalers Corvo and Enterprise, from 6 October 1840 to 17 May 1841.

Selected Search Terms

Whaling -- Chile
Whaling -- Falkland Islands
Whaling -- United States -- History -- Sources
Corvo (Ship)
Enterprise (Brig)

Administrative Information

Restrictions: There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Preferred Citation: Corvo/Enterprise Logbook, Department of Special Collections, Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame.

Acquisition and Processing Note: The Corvo/Enterprise logbook was purchased by the Hesburgh Libraries in March 2009, from Walnut's Antiques of Brewster, Massachusetts. Arranged and described 2009, by George Rugg and Jacob Baska. Finding aid 2009, by Jacob Baska.

Biographical Note

The keeper of this logbook is unidentified.

Scope and Content Note

The Corvo/Enterprise logbook is a single volume (34 cm.) of 20 leaves, bound in canvas. It contains 37 pages of manuscript, 35 of which are log entries, written in a single, unidentified hand. The entries were made aboard two American whalers, the ship Corvo (349 tons; Jonathan Pendleton, master) and the brig Enterprise (95 tons; John Green, master), in waters off Chile and in and around the Falkland Islands, between 6 October 1840 and 17 May 1841. Both vessels hailed from Stonington, Connecticut; their agent (or agents) for these particular voyages are unidentified. The log records only a small segment of the ships' voyages. Corvo left Stonington in December 1839, and returned in February 1842 with 300 barrels of sperm oil and 1700 barrels of whale oil. Enterprise left Stonington in September 1840. A number of leaves have been removed from the book, probably in the nineteenth century. Entries begin aboard Corvo, with the ship off the coast of southern Chile, in latitude 43 degrees south. Around the turn of the year Corvo made for the Falklands, arriving in late January 1841. She proceeded to hunt the Falklands ground until late February, when the log's keeper (and perhaps others among the crew) went aboard the smaller Enterprise. Enterprise hunted off the Falklands until April, typically seeking refuge in the islands' harbors at night. The author then went back to Corvo for a month, only to return to Enterprise until the log's abrupt termination on 17 May 1841.

Log entries are typically between 40 and 50 words. Their content may include descriptions of the wind and weather, the ship's location, actions of the crew, and whales sighted or killed. The author also mentions elements of the chase, and provides cursory accounts of the processing of killed whales. The entry for 6 November 1840 reads: "Comes In With Strong Brezes from the SW and plesant Wether[.] [A]t 4 pm board the Boates and Struck a Whale and parted from him[.] [A]t 6 am board the Boates and got a Whale and took him a longside and Commenc Cuting[.] [T]he later part Calmes[.] Latt by obs 43-51 S[.] On days when a whale was killed, the author marked the occasion by drawing an image of a baleen whale in the entry's margin. During the period covered by the log, Corvo appears to have taken thirteen whales, Enterprise two.

The final two surviving pages of the log were used as a copybook. Under what appear to be navigation exercises are repeated lines of script reading "Stonington Dec 5th 1829 Hannah Palmer." It is possible that Hannah Palmer, presumably born on the date indicated, was related to the keeper of the log.

Container List

  • Corvo-Enterprise logbook, 1840 to 1841. (MSN/EA 4703-01-B).