Autumn (Barque) abstract log book (1845-1849)

Collection processed and finding aid created by Ellen Gleason, October 2019
Manuscripts Division, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan

Summary Information

Title: Autumn (Barque) abstract log book
Creator: Anonymous
Inclusive dates: 1845-1849
Extent: 1 volume
This volume contains extracted log entries from the Barque Autumn 's whaling voyage from Stonington, Connecticut, to the Indian Ocean and South Pacific between 1845 and 1849. Captain Edwin Augustus Perry commanded the vessel. This abstract log provides a condensed version of the official log, only documenting days the crew saw or captured whales. The volume contains 48 pencil drawings of whales and whaling scenes.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use

Acquisition Information

2019. M-7113.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Preferred Citation

Autumn (Barque) Abstract Log Book, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is a single bound volume.


Barque Autumn (1827-1849)

The Barque Autumn was built in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1827, with a 181-ton cargo capacity. The Autumn made at least three whaling voyages in its career as a whaling vessel between 1841 and 1849. By February 1850, the vessel was sold in California.

Captain Edwin A. Perry (1809-1865)

Captain Edwin Augustus Perry was born in Fairhaven, Massachusetts on July 12, 1809. Edwin had a varied career in whaling beginning as a boat steerer on the Izette in 1832 working his way up to first mate aboard the Junius (1842-1845), and Canada (1851-1855). In addition to sailing the Autumn (1845-1849), Captain Perry served as master of other whaling expeditions including the San Francisco (1857-1859) and the Hopeton (1860-1861). Captain Perry died on December 22, 1865, at the age of 56.

Collection Scope and Content Note

This volume contains extracted log entries from the Barque Autumn 's whaling voyage from Stonington, Connecticut, to the Indian Ocean and South Pacific between 1845 and 1849. Captain Edwin Augustus Perry commanded the vessel. This abstract log provides a condensed version of the official log, only documenting days the crew saw or captured whales. The coverless volume contains 24 handwritten pages with 48 pencil drawings depicting whales and whaling scenes. The author of the log is unidentified, but a laid-in slip of paper contains a written statement of recommendation for promotion of second officer Zelotes Leonard Almy from Master Edwin A. Perry. The bottom half of the last page contains financial records and notes from Mr. Almy dated 1866.

Leaving from Stonington, Connecticut on November 12, 1845, the Barque Autumn sailed south around the eastern coast of South America. After making port in Rio de Janerio in March 1846, they sailed east toward the Indian Ocean reaching the Cape of Good Hope toward the end of April 1846. By November 1846 the Autumn had sailed off the southern coast of Australia and toward New Zealand. In 1847 and 1848, the Autumn sailed across the Pacific Ocean along the equator. The log concludes off the coast of Chile.

The top of each right hand page begins with the header "Remarks on board the Barque Autumn "; later in the log this header is supplemented by " E. A. Perry Master." A typical entry appears in the following format:

[Day of the Week]

[Month, Day, Year]

[These twenty-four hours commences with…]

[…So ends the day. Latitude and Longitude coordinates]

[Sketch if applicable]

The abstract's entries follow the standard content for whaling logs, documenting wind direction, weather conditions, ship location, and crew activities. The entries include type of whales spotted, number of whales, number of whaleboats lowered, and whether or not the crew succeeded in capturing whales. The whales tended to evade capture on account of adverse weather conditions or lack of daylight. Entries made note of where and when they made port or dropped anchor. The Autumn encountered other whaling vessels and recorded their point of origin, destination, and the amount of whale products onboard. Toward the end of the expedition, the vessel stopped to trade and replenish supplies.

Besides the inherent challenges of whaling, Captain Perry faced setbacks, such as steering into a coral reef in Matavai Bay and dealing with a fire in the cargo hold set by two crewmembers during repairs (entry dated February 27, 1847). Desertions were a recurring issue, two crewmembers deserted on August 31, 1846, and by January 7, 1848, the entire crew had deserted.

The volume contains 62 entries from November 1845 to May 1849, and are broken down as follows:

1845 (1 entry)
  • November 12
1846 (19 entries)
  • January 3 and 28
  • March 1
  • April 14
  • May 30
  • June 5, 6, and 15
  • July 1 and 15
  • August 1, 6, and 31
  • October 25
  • November 18
  • December 1, 11, 24, and 29
1847 (26 entries)
  • February 27
  • April 22
  • May 2, 7, 12-14, 23, 25, 28, 29, and 31
  • July 11, 17, and 26
  • August 8
  • September 1, 19, and 21
  • October 4, 6, 7, 10, and 26
  • November 15
  • December one undated entry
1848 (11 entries)
  • January 7 and 27
  • March 29
  • April 15
  • May 6
  • June 27
  • July 29
  • August 8
  • September 10
  • December 4 and 8
1849 (5 entries)
  • January 6 and 16
  • February 14
  • March 24
  • May 2

The 48 pencil drawings illustrate the success or failure to capture whales. The illustrations depicting a whale belly up with the head and tail above water meant that a whale was spotted or pursued, but evaded capture. Entries accompanied by a drawing showing the whale's entire body meant that a whale was captured and killed. The sketches demonstrate artistic skill in the shading of the whales and ocean waves and in panoramic whaling scenes. One illustration of interest, on page 20, depicts a whale's tail slamming down upon a whaleboat, capsizing the vessel and sending six crewmen into the ocean. The crewmembers shirts are spot colored in brown ink.

Vessels mentioned by name include:

  • Spoke with Ship Ansel Gibbs (December 1, 1846).
  • Spoke with Ship from New Bedford (May 7, 1847).
  • Spoke with the Ship Marialah of Fairhaven (March 1, 1846).

Other entries of interest include:

  • "saw plenty of wright whales but we did not lower for we did not want them" (November 18, 1846)
  • "not liking the harbour we took our anchor put to sea we ware bound to pitcairns island to get potatoes when on the night of the 28th the land about 60 miles off our lee quarter six tahitian natives stole a boat and runaway it being dark they where soon out of sight we stood on diferant tacks until morning the boat not being in sight and thinking it a wild goose chase to follow them we hauled our wind to the northward" (October 26, 1847).

Subject Terms

  • Autumn (Barque: 1827-1849)
  • Autumn (Bark)
  • Logbooks--19th century.
  • Sperm whaling.
  • Whaling--Connecticut--Stonington.
  • Whaling--History--19th century.
  • Whaling--Pacific Ocean.
  • Whaling ships--United States.
Subjects - Visual Materials:
  • Whaleboats.
  • Whales.
  • Whaling.
Genre Terms:
  • Logs (records)
  • Sketches.

Contents List (Request Materials)

Request materials for use in the Clements Library
Container / Location Title
Volume   1  
Autumn (Barque) Abstract Log Book,  1845-1849 [series]

Additional Descriptive Data

Related Materials

Nantucket Historical Association Research Library and Archives, 220 Ships' Log Collection, Log 101, Logs of the ship William Hamilton, the bark Junius, and the bark Autumn .

New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library, NBW #1245 [ Autumn (bark) of Stonington, Conn. mastered by Edwin A. Perry kept by Zelotes Leonard Almy, 2nd mate on voyage from November 13, 1845- May 2, 1849.


New Bedford Whaling Museum and Mystic Seaport Museum (2019). American Offshore Whaling Database (AOWV) [database]. Retrieved from:

Rosbe, Judith Westlund. Maritime Marion, Massachusetts . [Charleston, S.C.]: Arcadia Publishing, 2002: 57