Woods Hole Historical Museum’s Biennial Auction on July 14!

"Remembering the Islander" by Daniel Waters

“Remembering the Islander” by Daniel Waters

The Woods Hole Museum Biennial Auction was on July 14, 2018.

Atlantis Stories Is Back in Print

Cooper on deck.

Bill Cooper sitting on deck.

Atlantis Stories is the memoir of a young man who signed on as an Ordinary Seaman aboard the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s 143-foot sailing vessel, the ketch Atlantis, when she was conducting early research on antisubmarine warfare. His words bring to life the excitement and hardship of serving before the mast on the world’s largest ketch. Cooper’s teachers aboard were mainly Scandinavian seamen from a past maritime age—the old-time seamen who had been trained on the hard road to Cape Horn and the North Atlantic in winter, who sailed in the big schooners and the large racing yachts of the past, including the magnificent J-boats of the 1930s. They teach him seamanship, the shipboard ethic of the professional sailor, and their patient acceptance of hardship before the mast. Set in the global convulsion of World War II, Cooper’s seagoing education is punctuated by many of the milestones of that era: D-Day; U-boat actions; the bombing of Hiroshima; the death of President Roosevelt; and the ultimate surrender of Germany. Though lacking formal education, Cooper displays wonderful prose and story-telling skills. His book forms a compelling story, filled with nautical fact and lore, adventure, the sailor’s humor, and Cooper’s own sense of fair play and justice.

Atlantis under sail

The Atlantis under sail

Cooper’s interest and inspiration was captured by the graceful and sea-kindly whaleboats carried as lifeboats aboard the Atlantis, and by other small boats encountered in far ports around the world. In the end, this defined his life’s work as a builder and designer of wooden boats. After his days aboard Atlantis in the 1940s, Bill Cooper worked in or operated wooden boat shops while he and his wife, Judy, raised their five children in Falmouth, Massachusetts. In the course of his life he mentored many young men and women in boat building and repair. He also served for 20 years in local government as a Member of Town Meeting. He was outraged by injustice and was sometimes known, when aroused, to take contrary positions. In one instance he filed a case with the U.S. Supreme Court (which declined to hear it). Bill spent much of his last decade of life instructing wooden boat-building and restoration in the boat shop operated by the Woods Hole Historical Museum.

Bill Cooper and others at the anchor windlass

Bill Cooper and others at the anchor windlass

The principal editor of this volume is Arthur G. Gaines, Jr. who holds a doctorate in Oceanography and presently carries the title of Oceanographer Emeritus at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He has spent about one year aboard research vessels at sea, including six cruises as Chief Scientist aboard R/V Westward, a 125-foot staysail schooner operated by the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole. He currently sails an 18-foot catboat with his wife, Jennifer, among the Elizabeth Islands of Cape Cod. Jay Burnett, also editor, spent 28 years as a fisheries biologist with NOAA Fisheries, including over two years aboard fisheries vessels conducting research at sea.  He and his wife, Susan, also a sea-going scientist, make their home near Woods Hole.  Both have gained a profound respect for those who served aboard the ships.

Atlantis Stories: Before the Mast on a Sailing Research Vessel, 1944-1948, by William B. Cooper (2014). Woods Hole Historical Museum, Woods Hole, Massachusetts. 294 pp. Edited by Arthur G. Gaines, Jr. and Jay Burnett. $42.50 including tax. Available for purchase at the Woods Hole Historical Museum, 579 Woods Hole Road, Woods Hole, or by phone (508 548-7270), email (whhmdirector@gmail.com), or mail (P.O.Box 185, Woods Hole, MA 02543). Shipping and Handling (book rate, continental US) $ 7.00. For an order form for Atlantis Stories, click here.

Atlantis at sea

The Atlantis at sea

Staff & Steering Committee

Deborah Griffin Scanlon, Executive Director

Colleen Hurter, Archivist and Assistant Director

Steering Committee
Laura M. Reckford, chair
Christopher Polloni, vice chair
Kathy Denham, secretary
Donald Aukamp, treasurer

Board of Directors
Becky Sue Epstein
Jacob Fricke
Robert Leary
Beth Ready Liles
Charlotte Emans Moore
Maureen Nolan
Martha Speirs
Chuck Verbeck

In addition, a member of the Board of the Woods Hole Public Library represents the Library on the Museum Board.

Mission and History of the Museum

Mission Statement

The Woods Hole Historical Museum is dedicated to the collection, preservation and celebration of the area’s unique and colorful past and present, beginning with its farming and fishing roots and wending through centuries of adventurous maritime enterprise, world-renowned scientific exploration and achievement, and the parallel history of summertime recreation that has transformed Cape Cod. This history is brought to life throughout the year with a roster of exhibits, talks, multimedia presentations, special publications, archival resources, as well as with the hands-on living history of our wooden boat-building and restoration programs.

A Brief History of the Museum

The Woods Hole Historical Collection was founded in 1973 as a sub-committee of the Woods Hole Library. In 1976 it moved into its own building, Bradley House, next door to the Library. By 1995-1996, two more buildings had been moved to the site: the Yale Workshop and the Swift Barn housing the Small Boat Museum, and the name of the organization was changed to the Woods Hole Historical Museum.

The Woods Hole Historical Collection continues as the Archive portion of the Museum, as well as in the publishing of books and the journal Spritsail.

Maritime Records, Ship & Whaling Logs

The collection includes three types of records: Maritime Account Ledgers, Whaling Logs and accounts of voyages on other ships. The following are in the collection:

1. Bar Neck Wharf Company ledgers (facsimile) 1827-1840
2. Bar Neck Wharf Company ledgers 1853-1867
3. E. Swift & Co. ledger 1857, 1858, 1859
4. J. & E. Swift Co. ledger, Live Oak and Cedar, 1856-1860


1. Log books of Amulet* and Hippogriffe 1847-1849
2. Abstract log of Hippogriffe 1858
3. Abstract log of Kit Carson 1861-1862

1. Log book of the Hobomok* August 12, 1848-April 27, 1853
2. Log book of the Hobomok* 1853-1855
3. Log book of the Hobomok* 1856
* indicates volume has been digitized

Journal of the Voyage of the Schooner Louisa A., 1880