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Scrimshaw on Nantucket

SKU: 21743


Scrimshaw on Nantucket: The Collection of the Nantucket Historical Association features more than 800 scrimshaw artifacts from the NHA’s world-class collection, newly photographed in stunning detail by island photographer Jeff Allen.

Scrimshaw is an occupational folk art that has an important place in American history.  Scrimshaw is the occupational folk art of America’s historic whale fishery and includes practical, utilitarian, and purely decorative objects and artworks created by whalemen during their leisure hours at sea using the bones and teeth of sperm whales, baleen from other whales, and walrus tusks.  The NHA collection contains about 1,400 examples of scrimshaw.

The NHA is thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase its unique scrimshaw collection. The book is written by Dr. Stuart M. Frank, one of the world’s foremost scholars on the subject. Dr. Frank is executive director emeritus of the Kendall Whaling Museum, senior curator emeritus of the New Bedford Whaling Museum, a collections consultant and former research associate at Mystic Seaport, and founder and director of the Scrimshaw Forensics Laboratory. He has been a research fellow of the NHA since 2012.

By Dr. Stuart M. Frank

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 12.5 x 1.5 inches
  • Product Weight: 6 pounds
  • Publisher: Nantucket Historical Association (2019)


“Stuart is the leading authority on scrimshaw and as such we could think of none other to write this seminal book. Working closely with Michael Harrison, the NHA Obed Macy Director of Research and Collections, and photographer Jeff Allen, Stuart provides great insight into the extensive and important NHA collection. We believe this publication will be the definitive source for Nantucket scrimshaw for decades to come.” - James Russell, Gosnell Executive Director.