So what’s that banner pic about?

You can imagine my surprise yesterday morning when, mired in 1830’s marine salvage research, I found out the day’s post had been Freshly Pressed. Sweet — over the next hour this blog had more hits than it has in an average week! In fact, it would be impossible to exaggerate how much being Freshly Pressed has bumped up my stats. It’s actually absurd — check out this graph of ‘daily clicks’ and you’ll get the picture:

So I want to truly thank everyone who took a few seconds to click, a minute or two to read, or five to comment on yesterday’s post. I hope you check back from time to time. All this traffic has its benefits–I’ve found dozens of new blogs from everyone who has left a comment or liked a post. It’s inspiring to see so many fantastic blogs out there.

But on to today’s post. A friend recently asked me about the banner pic heading this blog. Here’s the story:

The full image, shown above, is from the January 27, 1877 edition of Harper’s Weekly. The caption reads:

THE STRANDED  STEAM-SHIP “L’AMERIQUE.”–Drawn by Granville Perkins[See Page 66]

The article on page 66 explained that the transatlantic steamer had run aground in the middle of the night trying to enter the fog-bound entrance to the port of New York (a surprisingly common occurrence). The wind and waves were calm and crews from the nearby Life-Saving Stations rescued all the passengers, mail and “specie” using a life-car. Wreckers, or marine salvors, would eventually refloat the L’Amerique in one of the most celebrated salvage efforts of the nineteenth century.

The article praised “Mr. Perkin’s admirable drawing” and for good reason–he vividly captures the complexity of the late-nineteenth century American littoral in a beautiful full-page engraving. Indeed, I chose this image for the blog’s banner because it portrays the many connections (literal and figurative) and between shipwrecks and the shore. Some of my favorite details:

Local constable overseeing the rescue and recovery

Life-saving crew and rescued boisterous with spirits, warming themselves by the fire

The local old salt taking it all in

Two of the thousands of spectators who flocked to the scene

Passenger being rescued while local boatman looks on

Here is another fascinating historic image described in an earlier post.



Filed under Shipwreck culture, Source of the Week, Where'd it come from?

8 responses to “So what’s that banner pic about?

  1. Marianne Wells

    Its great to hear how your choice of banner came to be, Jamin. Isolating the details from the engraving really helped to draw attention to the fact that so many different people are affected in some way by a single event.

  2. Historic photos are interesting in how they reveal how little things have changed.

  3. Im obliged for the article post.Thanks Again. Great.

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