Torrance R. Parker is the founder of Parker Diving Service, Inc., the oldest continuously operating commercial diving company in California. From 1947 to 1985, Parker participated in all aspects of deep diving work, including commercial diving, salvage, maintenance, repair, and inspection of underwater engineered structures primarily in the Port of Los Angeles.
Parker sold the company in 1985, but continued working as a consultant and diver with Parker Diving Service until 1995. Upon retirement, he authored 20,000 Jobs under the Sea: A History of Diving and Underwater Engineering (1997). He subsequently designed and curated the “20,000 Jobs Under the Sea” exhibit for the Los Angeles Maritime Museum in San Pedro; the exhibit depicts the history of both commercial and fishery diving and includes that of Southern California’s earliest divers.
Beginning in 1997, Parker (who learned his trade from Greek sponge divers in Tarpon Springs, Florida) conducted a survey of the Gulf of Mexico’s pre-World War II deep-water sponge grounds unworked since 1939. In 2013, Parker published his second book: 20,000 Divers under the Sea: A History of the Mediterranean and Western Atlantic Sponge Trades with an Account of Early Deep Diving, that chronicles sponge diving from ancient Greece to its current epicenter in Tarpon Springs, Florida.
For more on the Museum’s exhibit on Deep Diving, see our Current Exhibit here.
Discover a selection of books on the history of Los Angeles Harbor at the Sea Chest Gift Shop! To purchase, please visit the Museum during open hours from Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. You may also call the Museum at 310-548-7618.
Titles shown above are:
Terminal Island : Lost Communities of Los Angeles Harbor by Naomi Hirahara and Geraldine Knatz.
1550 California Place Names: Their Origins and Meanings by William Bright.
The History of Tattooing by Wilfred Payson Hambly.
West Coast Seafood Recipes by Blaine Freer.
An Ocean of Inspiration : The John Olguin Story by Stefan E. Harzen, Barbara J. Brunnick, and Mike Schaadt.
Dogs in the Sun A Tropical Odyssey by Janice L. Convery.
Divine Providence: The Wreck and Rescue of the JULIA ANN by Fred E. Woods.
Surfing in Cold Water: A New Englander’s Off-Season Obsession by Glen S. Gordiner.
The Sea Chest Gift Shop has more new and used books on maritime history–ideas for gifts and your browsing pleasure. Call the Museum at 310-548-7618 for more information.
The Alabama, British Neutrality, and the American Civil War / Frank J. Merli ; edited by David M. Fahey. Published by Indiana University Press, 2004.
Drake : for God, queen, and plunder / Wade G. Dudley. Published by Potomac Books, 2003.
Drake : the Life and Legend of an Elizabethan hero. / Stephen Coote. Published by Pocket Books, Simon & Schuster, 2003.
Great Britain and the Confederate Navy, 1861-1865, by Frank J. Merli. Published by Indiana University Press, 2004.
The USS Essex and the Birth of the American Navy. / Frances Diane Robotti and James Vescovi. Published by Adams Media, 1999.
War at Sea in the Ironclad Age / Richard Hill. Published by HarperCollins, N.Y., 2003. A title in the Smithsonian History of Warfare Series.
Richard Joseph Fellows, (Joe Fellows, Jr.)
Known as “Rusty”, Richard Fellows learned to sail and build boats as a boy. He graduated from the University of Michigan’s School of Engineering in 1929 as a naval architect, then later became an accomplished businessman, eventually heading the firm as President of Fellows & Stewart after his father’s death in 1942. Rusty’s career witnessed the popularity of pleasure boats overtaken by the demands of World War II military boatbuilding and the war-time production of military contracts.
When he died at age 57 his wife, Lois Fellows, took charge of the company until it was sold to Harbor Boat in 1967.
Joseph “Joe” Fellows, Sr. was born in Barth, England in 1865. He and his family immigrated to the Midwest of the United States, and in the 1890s he learned the craft of boat building on large fishing vessels in Seattle and San Francisco. Fellows moved to Southern California and took advantage of the new demand for recreational boats. In 1896, he opened the Joe Fellows Boat Shop and began building yachts, speed-boats, and sailboats. As a tribute to his successful career, California Shipbuilding Corporation built and named the Liberty Ship JOE FELLOWS in his honor in 1944.
Of all the boats built by Joe Fellows, his prototypical racing sailboats, motor cruisers and speedboats are now classic designs.
Read more about Joe Fellows in the series “Your Right of Passage” appearing in the Library’s blog.
The Fellows & Stewart shipyard operated in Los Angeles Harbor for over 70 years. From its founding in 1896 until its closure in 1967, the company designed, built, and repaired yachts, (both sail and power), workboats, and military vessels. The company’s founder, Joe Fellows, designed boats, while his business partner Victor Baldwin Stewart focused on marketing, advertising, and public relations. The combination of Joe Fellow’s design talent with Victor Stewart’s marketing expertise resulted in national recognition for the company. Joe Fellows’ son Richard Joseph Fellows (1905-1962), known as Rusty or Joe, lead the corporation after his father’s retirement in 1937. His wife, Lois Fellows became President after Rusty’s death until the firm was sold in 1967.
Of the boats designed by Joe Fellows, his prototypical racing sailboats, motor cruisers and speedboats are now classic designs.
Los Angeles Maritime Museum Research Library Collection 3
The collection is entitled Papers of Fellows and Stewart, Inc., 1900-1967
The collection size is approximately 50 cu. ft. of correspondence, documents, photographic prints and negatives, plus ships lines or naval architectural drawings
Read the full description or finding aid at Online Archive of California.
Description: The collection contains papers of the corporation: accounts, sales transactions, letters of agreement, ships plans, photographic prints, inquiries and day to day correspondence, stock certificates and legal documents, correspondence, naval architectural drawings and photographs of the shipyard located in Los Angeles Harbor between early 1900 and 1967. Also contains professional photographic portraits and snapshots of the shipyard and Fellows family members dating from the late 19th to the middle of the 20th century.
Copyright Notice: Copyright restrictions may apply. See the copyright notice here.
See collection images posted to tumblr.com.
Request Library Appointment:
To view the collection in person, please make an appointment online.
Shopping for pre-owned maritime history books? Check here monthly for updates on new additions to our Used Book Shelves. The Sea Chest Gift Shop sells duplicates from the Library which are in good to very good condition. See the label for each book and a description below the images. Come into the Shop Tuesday through Sunday during Museum Open Hours or fill out your request to the Sea Chest Gift Shop using our online request form.
American Caesar Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964 by William Manchester. $20.00
American Naval History by Jack Sweetman. $25.00
Anti-Submarine Warfare by J.R. Hill. $15.00
Boat Building with Plywood by Glen L. Witt. $10.00
The Decorative Arts of the Mariner by Gervis Frere-Cook. $60.00
Disaster Log of Ships by Jim Gibbs. $25.00
The 32-Gun Frigate Essex by Portia Takakjian $48.00
International Register of Historic Ships by Norman Brouwer. Second edition. $26.00
Monsoon Seas by Alan Villiers $32.00
The National Watercraft Collection by Howard I. Chapelle. $35.00
The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea by Peter Kemp $47.00
A Panorama of Gaff Rig by John Leather and Roger M. Smith. $15.00
Patrick O’Brian’s Navy. $45.00
Sailing All Seas in the Idle Hour by Dwight Long $17.00
Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea by Gary Kinder $21.00
Sons of Sinbad by Alan Villiers $13.00
Supership by Noel Mostert $22.00
The Sway of the Grand Saloon by John Malcolm Brinnin $43.00
Souvenir program 1997-98. The Whitbread. Round the World Race for the Volvo Trophy. $5.00
U.S. Warships of World War I by Paul Silverstone. $35.00
If you’d like to purchase any of the above books, fill out your request to the Sea Chest Gift Shop using our online request form.
The subject of Fishing and Fisheries is depicted in middle to late 20th century literature at a time when governmental regulation of maritime borders was the means of controlling international fishing of coastal waters. Interest by the public in historical fishing, whaling, fishing techniques of other countries, the lives of fishermen, fishing vessels and equipment is notable beginning in the 1930s, with most technical works and conference proceedings published between the 1960s and 1980s. Books from the Library’s collections on Fishing and Fisheries are only partially represented here. If you do not see what you are looking for, please call the Library for more information at 310-548-7618 x 215.
Reference Works for Fisheries and Fishing
Industrial Fishery technology : a survey of methods for domestic harvesting, preservation, and processing of fish used for food and for industrial products. / by Maurice Stanby, 1963.
Industrial Fishery Technology introduces industrial fisheries and their products: tuna, salmon, herring, menhaden, and shellfish (shrimp, oyster, clam, scallop and abalone, crab and lobster). The books was published was 1976, and includes a brief discussion of world fisheries and production. At that time, Peru ranked highest of all nations in domestic production (see table, page 27). Among states in the U. S., Alaska, California, Louisiana, Mississippi and Virginia produced the highest volumes of fishery products and consequently the highest values, with California at number one in 1971 for tuna. In early 2000, California was still in the number one slot, but the fishery had changed from tuna to much smaller fish. Historical comparisons can be made against today’s statistics on the Internet.
Fish catching methods of the world. / Andres Von Brand, 1978.
Fish catching methods of the world is a “… thesaurus of fishing gear and catching methods”, as described in the Preface. The book is a review of known fishing catching methods used world-wide in smaller villages and coast-side towns where methods besides trawling and purse seining brought home the fish catch. The thirty chapters are illustrated with photographic images of fishermen, boats and equipment at some point in the process of preparing to catch or catching fish, or preparing equipment. Other images show the variety of equipment used in each geographic area.
Fishing Boats of the World. / Jan Olof Traung.
Fishing Boats of the World features the Design, Engines, Propellers, Deck Gear, Factory Ships, Safety of fishing boats and provides a reference for the design and equipment on a fishing boat in short distance fishing boats to bottom-fishers, tuna clippers and trawlers. Included are fishing boats operated by one or two fishermen; boats with sails, different kinds of motors, vessel engineering, their equipment and operation and a discussion of factory ships. The book’s 650 pages are illustrated with 600 photographs. Besides a very detailed Table of Contents, the book includes references and an index.
American fishing schooners 1825-1935. / by Howard I. Chapelle, 1973.
American fishing schooners 1825-1935 offers a historical review and technical description of fishing schooners from 1825 to 1935. The chapters are organized chronologically and provide line illustrations of the plan and profiles views of the ships, as well as sheer plans, perspective views, rigging details and drawings of cast iron fittings. The book, and others produced by the author, are authorities on the subject of vessel design, and especially helpful to model builders.
Fishing and Fisheries on the West Coast
Fishing Barges of California 1921-1998. / by Ed Ries, 2000.
Fishing Barges of California is the story of sportfishing by the public in California for about two decades beginning in 1921. For the cost of the “scrap value of the ships”, sailing ships no longer needed were sold and converted to fishing barges. They had formerly been schooners, barkentines and scows. In the beginning, fishing for the big and game fish could be had, along with restaurant food, bathrooms, and fresh water for comfort for 50c a day. Ries chronicles the people aspiring to catch the big one as well as the captains who became businessmen. Biographies of well-known sailing and steam barges are included, as well as a bibliography and index. Most of the story takes place between 1921 and 1939, the momentum of sportfishing from barges didn’t really slow to a stop until 1998.
Hunters, Seamen and Entrepreneurs the Tuna Seinermen of San Diego./ by Michael Orbach, 1977.
Hunters, Seamen and Entrepreneurs is a book describing the technique and technical aspects of fishing for tuna through the experiences of the Portuguese and Italian fishermen in an area termed as the Eastern Tropical Pacific off the shores of San Diego, California between 1973-1975. The author was at the time a graduate student of anthropology who used his beginner’s experience as a sailor to help land a job on a tuna seiner and to learn first-hand of the processes involved in going to sea, preparing to catch and capturing the tuna fish, and bringing the catch back to port to sell and process.
Tales of the Golden Years of California Ocean Fishing 1900-1950. / by Ed Ries, 1995.
The author’s abundance of knowledge about sportfishing is organized by theme and laid out in thirteen chapters. Illustrations as photographs or line drawings provide a view into the aspects of sportfishing, such as prized fishes, fish for the market and canning industries, tackle and equipment, and personalities in sportfishing as a challenge.
The Portuguese Shore Whalers of California, 1854 – 1904. / by David E. Bertao, 2006.
The Portuguese Shore Whalers of California is a well-illustrated history of shore whalers, including coverage of sea-side counties from northern to southern California. The third section of the book is a biographical listing of shore whalers; 262 of Portuguese descent and 64 of non- Portuguese descent. Section one and two cover the business of shore whaling and the counties, and are illustrated with maps and photographs of cities or ships, captains, and whales. A bibliography and index are included which make the book a good source for quick reference on whalers and Portuguese settlers in California beginning around the time of the Gold Rush.
Men and Whales. / by Richard Ellis, 1991.
Men and Whales is a history of world-wide whaling beginning with the Basque peoples of France and Spain, about 900 C.E. and continuing through most of the twentieth century and the end of whaling enforced by governmental controls and environmental groups against the killing of the large mammals. In between is the story of how whaling supplied countries with oil, bone, and by-products of oil and blubber, a kind of whale fat sometimes used in cooking, but more often representing the bulk of fat harvested from a dead whale to supplement the amber-colored whale oil that was most prized for its purity. The connection for almost 1000 years of the great mammals of the sea with those on land quickly became a tale of human bravery against the size and might of the whale, animals which are now close to extinction due to human exploitation and greed. The author examines every aspect of whaling, from the methods of catching and beaching whales to the utilization of the animal’s carcass for items made of oil and wax such as candles and soaps, medicines, food delicacies, and bone fittings for undergarments and scrimshaw as souvenirs. A marine artist, the author has included some of his paintings of whales alongside photographs or posters from the history of whaling in recent times.
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