The Blog

Jack London, Writer, Photographer

i Feb 26th No Comments by

Jack London Novels and Stories

Jack London (1876-1916) is an author of stories about the frontiers of the American West, Alaska, and the peoples of the Pacific Islands. He was also a photographer and journalist who was featured in a travelling exhibit at the Museum. His best known works described the Alaskan Gold Rush: Call of the Wild, White Fang, and Sea Wolf. Equally compelling but lesser known are his Pacific Island stories which they grew out of his experiences sailing the Ocean between 1908-1916.

Jack London's Novels and Social Writings.

Titles by and about Jack London in the Library include stories and novels:

The Cruise of the Snark. / Jack London. Published by Mills and Boon, Limited, 1911.

Jack London, photographer. / Jeanne Campbell Reesman, Sara S. Hodson, and Philip Adam. Published by University of Georgia Press, 2010.

Selections Novels and Stories. / Jack London. Published by Library of America, 1982.

Selections. Novels and Social Writings. / Jack London. Published by Library of America, 1982.

Stories of Hawaii. / Jack London. Edited by A. Grove Day. Published by Mutual Publishing, 1986, c1965.

Tales of the Pacific. / Jack London. Published by Penguin Books, 1989.

Jack London in Aloha-land. / Charmian Kittredge London. Author of “Voyaging in Wild Seas”. Published by Kegan Paul, Distributed by Columbia University Press, New York, 2002.

Jack London, Sailor on Horseback; A Biographical Novel by Irving Stone. Published by doubleday and Company, Inc., 1937.

Jack London’s Tales of Cannibals and Headhunters : Nine South Seas Stories by America’s Master of Adventure. / Jack London. Edited and annotated by Gary Riedl and Thomas R. Tietze. Published by University of New Mexico Press, 2006.

A powerfully-engaged man, London traveled to Asia as a war correspondent in the Russo-Japanese War, photographing people and conditions there. He also appeared in England where he posed homeless along London’s quays so he could study the struggles of poverty and wrote “The People of the Abyss”, an acknowledged and socially-charged statement of the times (early 1900).

See the Library’s blog posts on Jack London here.

New books in the Library are featured titles on this website. In our collections more titles on the same subject may be seen at the Library’s online catalog at

New in the Library! February 2014

i Feb 18th No Comments by

New Books increase the Library’s collections on the 19th history of slave ships and the 20th century history of African Americans in the military:

Book cover Captain "Hell Roaring" Mike Healy

Captain “Hell Roaring” Mike Healy… / Dennis Nobel and Truman Strobridge

Captain “Hell Roaring” Mike Healy: From American Slave to Artic Hero / Dennis Noble and Truman Strobridge. Published by University Press of Florida, 2009.

Book cover of The Empire of Necessity by Greg Grandin

The Empire of Necessity by Greg Grandin

The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom and Decpetion in the New World / Greg Grandin. Published by Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt, 2014.

More new books in the Library.

Library Collections on the Merchant Marine

i Jan 23rd No Comments by
Cover of Merchant Vessels of the United States 1887

Merchant Vessels of the United States 1887

List of Merchant Vessels of the United States (title is from the cover), was published at various times by the United States Treasury Department, the United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of Navigation, and the United States Department of Transportation and the United States Coast Guard. The Library has volumes published 1884, 1886-1887; 1891-1989 (with some years missing).

The List of Merchant Vessels of the United States, updated each year, is a ship’s register with offical numbers and scantlings (measurements of the structural parts) for ships. This means a researcher can consult this reference for a ship’s length and breadth, tonnage, crew size, type of ship, propulsion, date and location of construction and home port, and owner’s name. Prior to consulting the reference, all that is needed is a date and ship’s name. Of the appendices, “Former Names Showing Present Names” and “Vessels Lost” help to historically define a particular ship or it’s demise. The series is in constant use for reference. Contact us for a request by filing in the form on this page.

Merchant Marine is a term defined in the Random House Dictionary of the English Language as “…1. the vessels of a nation that are engaged in commerce…”, and “… 2. the officers and crews of such vessels…”. The concept of merchant ships in the service of the military developed during and after the Civil War, yet the American history of merchant shipping dates back to the early 1600s (see John Spears, The Story of the American Merchant Marine.).

Ocean-going commerce expanded up until the 1850s, due to the highly-valued craftsmanship of wooden ships (see Benjamin Labaree, America and the Sea: A Maritime History.), which later could not compete with new technologies of steam and industrial shipbuilding enjoyed by other maritime nations. The 20th century witnessed the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 and the later recognition of the United States Merchant Marine veterans by President Reagan in 1988 for service in World War II.

The Library collection includes: Bibliographies and Periodicals, Histories, Labor Law, Navigation, Seamanship, Ship Registers and Yearbooks, and Shipbuilding Histories. hosts our Library collection online which includes material on topics such as merchant ships and merchant seamen and crews: ship registers, histories and periodicals. The Merchant Marine in the World Wars is also represented.

Maritime History in Art

i Jan 22nd No Comments by
Souvenir Postcard Los Angeles Harbor.

Postcard from Souvenir Folder of Los Angeles Harbor, San Pedro and Wilmington. Published by A. Kashower Co., Los Angeles, Calif.

Art from postcard issued circa 1912, is labelled “California Yacht Club and Harbor, Wilmington, Calif.”

The term Marine Art, alternatively ships in art, refers to paintings, prints and objects created well before the photographic image captured maritime history. Marine art is represented in both the Library’s and the Museum’s Collections of artists who depicted ships, sailors, masters, crew, and objects of maritime significance primarily of the Victorian Era through the 20th century (1830s to 1999).

For a definition of the history of portraying the sea and ships in pictures, see Peter Kemp, in the Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea, 1976, page 521, who recounts: “… the earliest known pictures of ships and boats are those which decorate Egyptian pottery… around 3200 B.C.”, and further, that “… representations of the sea and ships appear in many paintings of the early Renaissance…” and, further, that “… the true birth of marine painting… occurred in Holland in the late 16th century.”.

Later in his entry on Marine painting, on page 524, Kemp discloses, “… world wars of the 20th century produced a plethora of marine artists… a result of naval appointments of painters as official artists to record scenes of naval activity.” A sample of this interest in illustrating the Navy in action can be found in the Museum’s Current Exhibit.

Locating illustrations of maritime history

Paintings of ships and maritime views may be found in many works that are not about art, but have used paintings as illustrations of a historical text.

Searching for artists or painters by name is facilitated by dictionaries or encyclopedias. Two such works available at the Los Angeles Maritime Museum research Library are selected here:

Book cover for Marine Paintings and Drawings in the Peabody Museum

The Marine Paintings and Drawings in the Peabody Museum by M.V. and Dorothy Brewington.

The Marine Paintings and Drawings in the Peabody Museum by M.V. and Dorothy Brewington. Published by The Peabody Museum of Salem, 1981. 535 pages, index, illustrations, color and black and white.

The Marine Painting and Drawings in the Peabody Museum is a catalog of visual images of the nineteenth century, especially of the merchant marine vessels of any type; not Navy vessels, but ships used in trade and transport of goods across oceans and on inland waterways. To find an artist or ship, look alphabetically for an artist’s name, or look by port name or vessel name by consulting the Index. The text is rich with information; this is not a book to read but to glean information and data from.

Image of painting by Antonio Jacobsen.

“The Forteviot”, 1896, by Antonio Jacobsen.

Paintings you will find in this book are exemplified by this image, found on Wikipedia, of the Forteviot. The ship is shown in rough seas, with full sun illuminating the sails and careful delineation of the rigging, sails, hull, flags, and other details, a hallmark of the artist, Antonio Nicolo Gasparo, 1850-1921. His style, from the late 1880s to 1920, was extremely popular and is stylistically indicative of the era of sail and early days of steam.


Cover of Dictionary

Dictionary of Sea Painters by E. H. H. Archibald

Dictionary of Sea Painters by E.H.H. Archibald. Published by The Antique Collector’s Club, Ltd., 1989. 575 pages, index, illustrations.

Dictionary of Sea Painters is a resource with an international focus, that identifies artists and their works beginning with Dutch painters of the 1600s and, including painters from all countries, extending through the middle of the twentieth century. The preliminary chapter consists of “Sea Paintings–Identification and Dating” which outlines and illustrates the aspects of marine illustration: flags(shown in full color), ship profiles, picture content, and coastal craft (dated). The dictionary of names follows and finally a chapter of plates, consisting of 932 black and white paintings. Over 30 color plates are interspersed throughout the text.

The Los Angeles Maritime Museum’s collections of paintings and other works of art may be consulted separately: please call the Museum for more information at 310-548-7618.

The Library’s collection on maritime history in art is represented at If you do not see what you are looking for please call the Library for more information at 310-548-7618 x 215.