Monday, 12 December 2011
19C women aboard Cornish ships
Selina Smith (above) went to sea with her husband, the master of the Gem, in 1887, along with their son Percy. They went to Malta, Greece, Curacao, and Galveston.
Fortunately - and unusually - she left a log. Joanna Thomas uses it and some fascinating census data to paint a very new picture of the extent to which women, in Cornwall at least, were aboard ships.
They were there - and maybe sailed - as wives and daughters of mates, seamen, boatswains, carpenters, shipkeepers, gunners, lieutenants and bargemen, as well as nurses, servants and stewardesses in their own right.
See her article 'Women aboard vessels in late nineteenth-century Cornwall' in Troze, the online journal of the National Maritime Museum, Cornwall, Vol 3, no 1, August 2011, pp.1-11.
I particularly value the way she discusses the problems of how the census recorded and omitted women on ships.