Sailing Ships as Family Homes


In a fascinating collection of photographs of Yarmouth, NS, from the mid-1800s through the early 1900s, authors Ruff and Bradley remark on the rarity of photographs that depict family life at sea when a captain’s family was able to accompany him. [1, p. 86] In the album below are photographs from the collections of the Yarmouth County Museum and Archives that suggest how sailing ships would serve also as family homes. The examples concern Yarmouth ships or sailing masters; where possible I’ve included images of the sailing vessel, captain, family members, and family living quarters.

References and Notes

    [1] Eric Ruff and Laura H. Bradley, Historic Yarmouth: Town and Country. Nimbus Publishing Ltd, Halifax, and Yarmouth County Museum, Yarmouth, 1997. 118 pp.

    [2] George A. MacInnis, “In Days Gone By,” featuring the ship Celeste Burrill. The Vanguard, Yarmouth, NS, Wednesday, 12 September 1979, p. 16.

    [3] See Margaret Hilton MacIntyre’s recollections of her childhood in The Church of My Fathers.

    [4] I thank Director/Curator Nadine Gates and former Archivist Jamie Serran, of the Yarmouth County Museum and Archives, for providing access to these images.

    [5] Eric J. Ruff, Curator Emeritus at the Yarmouth County Museum and Archives, has recommended online sources of information and images concerning three of the captains mentioned below. Captain Evelyn E. Robbins was master of the ship Lillian L. Robbins, a painting of which is analyzed in “What Can We Learn from a Ship Portrait?” Captains Arthur W. Hilton and Frederick A. Ladd, and their families, are featured in “Families at Sea.”

William Day (1 May 2013)