Sunday 11 October ~ Second Sunday Program

Come to the Shaw Mansion on Sunday 11 October for the unveiling of the new Whaling Office exhibit on the second floor. Furniture from the Williams & Haven Company office and the Perkins & Smith firm, combined with ships portraits, signal flags, scrimshaw, shells and curios from distant lands and seas, give life to a recreated office from New London’s history as the second largest whaling port in the world.

Ships traveled to all of the seven seas in search of whales and elephant seals. Managing the distant vessels was the work of whaling agents and firms such as Benjamin Brown, Stoddard & Learned, Williams & Barns, Frink Chew & Co., and Lyman Allyn, as well as the Perkins & Smith and Williams & Haven firms. Working from their wharf-side offices along Bank Street they outfitted the vessels, purchased supplies, sold the oil and paid the crews and the owners their share of the profits. These are the men who started the banks and the ships’ biscuit companies. Their wives and daughters are the ones who started the reformed-minded Seamen’s Friend Society, the children’s aid society and the hospital.

President Obama at the RESOLUTE desk

One of the Perkins & Smith firm’s ships, the GEORGE HENRY, returned from a cruise to Davis Straits north of Newfoundland not with whale oil but with an abandoned British Navy ship, the RESOLUTE; a vessel that had been frozen in the Arctic ice for three years. Through an unusual set of circumstances involving politics and diplomacy, that ship was transformed into the desk used in the Oval Office by the President of the United States. Many other artifacts from the RESOLUTE now decorate the Whaling Office exhibit in the Shaw Mansion. Come to hear Edward Baker, executive director of the historical society, share the rest of the story, and you’ll learn how New London and the New London County Historical Society share a seat of power with the President.

Sunday 11 October, beginning at 2 pm

At the Shaw Mansion, 11 Blinman Street, near the intersection of Bank and Tilley Streets, New London.

Free for members, $5 for others

Refreshments will be served after the presentation

Call to make reservations 860.443.1209

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