The International Whaling Commission

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Museum, Hart Nautical Collection

Mystic Seaport, THe Museum of America and the Sea

Nantucket Historical Association Research Library

New Bedford Whaling Museum

Peabody Essex Museum, Maritime Art and History Collection

Smithsonian, On the Water Exhibition

University of Washington, American Indians in the Pacific Northwest Collection

Laura Jernigan: Girl on a Whaleship

Illustrations for every page of Moby-Dick, by Matt Kish (2009-2011)


Barron, William. Old Whaling Days. The Hull Press: Hull, 1895.

Beale, Thomas. The Natural History of the Sperm Whale. London, 1839.

Bennett, F.D. Narrative of a Whaling Voyage Round the Globe. London, 1840.

Braginton-Smith, John, Duncan Oliver. Cape Cod Shore Whaling: America's First Whaleman. The History Press, 2008.

Brown, James Templeman. The Whale Fishery and its Appliances. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1883.

Burnett, D. Graham. Trying Leviathan: The Nineteenth-Century New York Court Case that Put the Whale on Trial and Challenged the Order of Nature. Princeton University Press, 2007.

Burns, W.N. A Year with a Whaler. New York, 1923.

Cheever, Henry T. The Whale and His Captors. New York, 1850.

Creighton, Margaret S. Rites and Passages: The Experience of American Whaling, 1830-1870. Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Currie, Stephen. Thar She Blows: American Whaling in the Nineteenth Century (People's History). Lerner Publications, 2001.

Dana, Richard Henry, Jr. Two Years Before the Mast. Allan Ferguson Westcott, ed. Scott, Foresman and Company, 1914.

Darby, Andrew. Harpoon: Into the Heart of Whaling. Allen & Unwin, 2007.

Davis, William M. Nimrod of the Sea; or, the American Whaleman. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1874.

Dolin, Eric Jay. Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America. New York: W.W. Norton, 2007.

Dow, George Francis. Whale Ships and Whaling: A Pictorial History of Whaling During Three Centuries. Salem, Massachusetts: Marine Research Society, 1925.

Drake, Samuel Adams. Nooks and Corners of the New England Coast. Harper & Brothers, 1875.

Druett, Ron. Petticoat Whalers: Whaling Wives at Sea, 1820-1920. UPNE, 2001.

Edwards, Everett Joshua, Jeannette Edwards Rattray. Whale Off! The Story of American Shore Whaling. Coward-McCann, 1956.

Estes, James A. Whales, Whaling, and Ocean Ecosystems. University of California Press, 2006.

Hagelund, William. Whalers No More: A History of Whaling on the West Coast. Harbour Publishers, 1987.

Heffernan, Thomas Farel. Stove by a Whale: Owen Chase and the Essex. Wesleyan University Press, 1990.

Heflin, Wilson Lumpkin, Mary K. Bercaw Edwards, Thomas Farel Heffernan. Herman Melville's Whaling Years. Vandervilt University Press, 2004.

Hohman, Elmo P. The American Whaleman. New York: Longmans, Green and Company, 1928.

Gibson, Gregory. Demon of the Waters: The True Story of the Mutiny on the Whaleship Globe. Back Bay, 2003.

Macy, Obed. History of Nantucket. Boston, 1835.

Melville, Herman. Mardi and a Voyage Thither. Tyrus Hillway, ed. Rowman & Littlefield, 1973.

Melville, Herman. Moby Dick, or, The Whale. Penguin Classics, 2003.

Melville, Herman. Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas. Issued for the St. Botolph Society by L.C. Page & Company, 1892.

Melville, Herman. Typee. J. Murray, 1847.

Mulvaney, Kieran. The Whaling Season: An Inside Account of the Struggle to Stop Commercial Whaling. Island Press, 2003.

Murphy, Jim. Gone A-Whaling: The Lure of the Sea and the Hunt for the Great Whale. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2004.

Nickerson, Thomas, Nathaniel Philbrick, Thomas Philbrick. The Loss of the Ship Essex, Sunk by a Whale. Penguin Classics, 2000.

Philbrick, Nathaniel. In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex. Penguin, 2001.

Spears, John R. The Story of the New England Whalers. New York, 1910.

Starbuck, Alexander. History of the American Whale Fishery from its Earliest Inception to the Year 1876. Waltham, Massachusetts: Published by the author, 1878.

Sullivan, Robert. A Whale Hunt. Simon and Schuster, 2000.

Tonnessen, Johan Nicolay and Arne Odd Johnsen. The History of Modern Whaling. University of California Press, 1982.

Waterman, Thomas Talbot. The Whaling Equipment of the Makah Indians. The University, 1920. Digitized by University of California, February 25, 2009. Google books.

My American Experience

My American Experience photos

Share Your Story

What impact do you think the whaling industry had on America and its economy? How do you think it shaped us as a nation? What do you believe is currently the industry that epitomizes the identity of America?

  • Additional funding for this program was provided by

  • Rosalind P. Walter
  • NEH