Can you imagine sailing with your "Captain" husband aboard a whaling ship in the 1800s? What would it be like to go to sea and raise a family on a deep-water merchant ship? If this idea intrigues you, check out the current exhibit "The Sailing Circle: 19th Century Seafaring Women from New York," on display at the Three Village Historical Society in Setauket.
Only the wives of Captains were allowed to sail on a sea-going vessel, and they could choose to leave home and raise families aboard ship - or remain behind for long lonely years.
"Wives who chose to go to sea attempted to create domesticity amid an intensely male workplace. It's no wonder upon meeting a "sister sailor" - either in a distant port or even mid-ocean - these women formed a "sailing circle" akin to the "sewing circle" they had left on shore. The "sailing circle" offered a customary female network to an otherwise isolated existence on board ship."
The exhibit includes photos, memorabilia and stories about women who lead lives very different from our own, in a less modern time and place.
The Sailing Circle: 19th Century Seafaring Women From New York, is collaborative exhibit produced by the Three Village Historical Society and the Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum. The Sailing Circle features wives who went to sea with their captain husbands on deep-water merchant, whaling ships and coasting vessels. The Sailing Circle was on exhibit at Mystic Seaport, America's leading maritime museum located in Mystic, CT, and at the Castle Gallery at the College of New Rochelle.
About the Society
The Society's collections include 300 historical artifacts, 3,000 archaeological artifacts, 1,200 photographs, and 1,200 cubic feet of manuscripts, the largest and most important collection is the Rhodes Collection of Local History, which includes manuscripts, books, maps, pamphlets, and photographs. Although weighted towards the 18th century, the collection covers the history of the community from early settlers of the 17th century to the 20th century's League of Women Voters, and includes information about the extensive charitable and patronage activities of the Frank and Ward Melville Family. The Rhodes Collection of Local History collection contains a wealth of local information, which can be used by researchers interested in 19th and 20th century topics, particularly maritime and women's histories.
Three Village Historical Society programs are open to the public. Monthly programs are held at the Setauket Neighborhood House, 93 Main Street, Setauket, New York, which has ample parking, and is accessible to people in wheelchairs.
The Society offers a number of special events each year, such as Candlelight House Tours, and a Walk Through History. Visit the Three Village Historical Society's website at www.threevillagehistoricalsociety.org/