Whaling Intelligence: Paper Technologies of U.S.-American Exploration in the Pacific

This abstract has open access
Abstract Summary
The United States Exploring Expedition (1838-1842) owed much of its realisation to the advocacy of Jeremiah Reynolds, a former newspaper man and public lecturer. His strongest case for the necessity of Pacific exploration were New England whalers who were said to cruise unexplored parts of the oceans and whose discoveries of uncharted islands were reported in the local press. The document that stood at the core of Reynolds’s lobbying for an expedition, however, was a table he had compiled after interviewing whaling captains in the country’s principal whaling ports. By presenting the whalers’ experience in tabular and synoptic form, Reynolds’s table helped forge the frontier figure of the ‘intelligent whaler’, a mariner who had better geographical knowledge than other seafarers. In my talk, I will discuss the paper technologies that produced the ‘intelligent whaler’ and investigate how Reynolds’s translation of ‘whaling intelligence’ from news into facts marks the beginning of the intelligent whaler’s long career in U.S.-American debates about expansionism, exploration, and science.
Abstract ID :
Submission Type
Chronological Classification :
19th century
Self-Designated Keywords :
exploration, paper technologies, tables, whaling

Associated Sessions

Similar Abstracts by Type

Abstract ID
Abstract Title
Abstract Topic
Submission Type
Primary Author
"Measuring Instruments" for Language History: Rhetoric and Reality of a Nineteenth-Century Latinist
Thematic Approaches to the Study of Science
Contributed Paper
Christian Flow
"More French Than the French": John Herschel and Musical Standardization in Nineteenth-Century France and Britain
Physical Sciences
Contributed Paper
Dr. Edward Gillin
"Science is the Antichrist": Popular Science, Radicalism, and Irreligion in Early Nineteenth-Century Britain
Thematic Approaches to the Study of Science
Contributed Paper
Mr. Eoin Carter
"The Easy Transmutableness of Water": The Alchemy of Seed Steeps and "Fructifying Waters" in Seventeenth-Century English Agriculture
Contributed Paper
Dr. Justin Niermeier-Dohoney
A Global Rumor and the History of Science: The Case of a Fake Snakebite Prize That Connected Brazil, the French, and the British Empires (1880-1914)
Medicine and Health
Contributed Paper
Mr. Matheus Alves Duarte Da Silva
A Musical Story of Time ♬
Tools for Historians of Science
Contributed Paper
Susanna Bloem
A Science without Nature in China: Heaven (Tian), Morality, and Darwinian Competition from 1890 to 1923
Thematic Approaches to the Study of Science
Contributed Paper
Dr. Sean Hsiang-lin Lei
A Variety of Futurologists: "Feminist" Speculative Fictions in the Wake of the Pill
Thematic Approaches to the Study of Science
Contributed Paper
Jiemin Tina Wei
A Web of One’s Own: Female Entomologists' Scientific Networks in Late 19th Century and Early 20th Century Britain
Contributed Paper
Ms. L. Joanne Green