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Volume 1, Issue 2, June 5, 2016
I'm happy to announce that my book, The Unicorn Tree, is on the 2016 Summer Reading List of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), under the section for grades 9-12. This ghost and maritime story alternates between the past and present as it bridges the similarities of people separated by time. The schooner Ernestina and historic sites of New Bedford are featured in this issue.

Cynthia Collins
Cynthia Collins  
New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park
The New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park is a landmark district of preserved buildings and cobblestone streets from the late 18th and 19th centuries in New Bedford, MA. The district tells the story of the city that was known as the whaling capital of the world in the mid-1800s. Included are such notable buildings as the U.S. Custom House, completed in 1836; Seamen's Bethel, a house of worship built in 1832; and the Mariners' Home, originally a private home but donated to the New Bedford Port Society in 1850 for seamen who wanted a place to stay. 

New Bedford Whaling MuseumLife aboard whaling ships, combined with the growth and prosperity of New Bedford during that time, is further detailed in the exhibits and collections of the New Bedford Whaling Museum, located in the historic district. Since its founding in 1903, the museum has held an important role in preserving the history of the community. Documents, ships' logs, names of ships and crew members, artifacts, and artwork not only enhance the museum displays, but have created an extensive research library.

Since 1996, the whaling museum has sponsored an annual marathon reading of Herman Melville's 1851 masterpiece, Moby Dick, set partially in New Bedford. In addition to the reading, this event includes a variety of exhibits, lectures, and concerts for those who want to experience Melville's novel in the city that is as equally rich in maritime fiction as it is in history.
Schooner Ernestina (ex. Morrissey)
The 1894 schooner Ernestina (ex. Morrissey) has served in several capacities during her distinguished career and is the official sailing vessel of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She is currently undergoing extensive restoration at Boothbay Harbor Shipyard in Maine, but her home is New Bedford, MA.

Schooner Ernestina (1894)Effie M. Morrissey, as she was first known, was built by the James and Tarr shipyard in Essex, MA, to work out of Gloucester as a traditional Grand Banks fishing schooner. She was built to withstand the North Atlantic gales and successfully returned to port with a cargo of up to 320,000 pounds of salt cod. After almost twenty years as a fisher, she embarked on a new career as part of Captain Robert Abram Bartlett's Arctic expeditions for exploring native plants and animals, discovering ancient civilizations, and mapping ocean currents. When World War II broke out, the schooner continued going to the Arctic, but she was doing it on behalf of the U.S. Government, carrying supplies to Allied airbases in northern Russia. She also performed survey work for the military.

Schooner ErnestinaHer name was changed to Ernestina after WWII when Captain Enrique Mendes bought her to carry passengers and goods to and from his native Cape Verde to New Bedford (where he lived) and other New England ports. From 1948 to 1974, Ernestina brought families and friends together as visitors and immigrants. She was on her way to be part of the United States Bicentennial in 1976 but was dismasted in foul weather and had to return to Cape Verde. After six years of fundraising and restoration, she sailed to New Bedford without an engine with a crew of Americans and Cape Verdeans. Despite a few days of being becalmed, she made it safely across the Atlantic. Once in New Bedford, the Cape Verdean flag was lowered and the American flag raised. The schooner was a gift from Cape Verde to the United States.

Since her return, this floating museum has been used for sail training, tall ship parades, schooner races, and educational sails. She is a symbol of endurance, perseverance, and adaptability. To see pictures of her restoration and learn more about her history, please visit the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association website.

Recent Articles...

How a Children's Song Achieved Classical Music Success

Wolfgang Amadeus MozartChildren’s songs and folk music are often handed down through an oral tradition. They seem to spring up without any specific composer yet survive numerous arrangements and different sets of lyrics. This is the case of a folk melody that eventually became “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” Continue reading-->

Kazoo: An American Toy and Instrument
KazooThe familiar sound of pitched buzzing comes from a popular American toy and musical instrument called a kazoo. Children and adults alike hum into this small, handheld object that produces a buzzing quality through a vibrating membrane that is activated by the player’s voice. Pitch and volume are controlled by the person doing the humming. ...Continue reading-->

Beethoven's Fifth Symphony and Morse Code
Ludwig van BeethovenThere is a connection between Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and the Morse code. Although approximately 30 years separated the creation of this particular symphony and the telegraph code, the link played a role in Allied broadcasts during World War II. ... After a somewhat indifferent premiere in Vienna in 1808, it gradually became one of the most famous works in classical music ...  Continue reading-->
The Unicorn Tree
The Unicorn Tree by Cynthia Collins

A teenage girl whose brother is lost at sea –

The diary of a nineteenth-century woman –

And the special place that binds them…

For reviews, excerpts, and summary, see

Ghost story and maritime adventure...
Available at
The photos of the schooner Ernestina were used with permission, courtesy of Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association, Inc. All rights reserved.

All articles in this newsletter are by Cynthia Collins. The featured historic site section contains general information. The other articles may not be reprinted without written permission. Subscriber lists are not sold or given to any third parties and historic sites are not charged for being featured. To suggest historic sites for future issues, request article reprint permission, or any comments/questions regarding this newsletter, please contact:
Cynthia Collins at 

Copyright © 2016 Cynthia Collins, All rights reserved.

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