|Creator:||Benson, Charles A., 1830-1881|
|Type of Resource:|
Charles Benson (1830-1881) was an African American sailor serving as steward on the bark Glide, a merchant ship carrying bales of cotton goods to Madagascar and Zanzibar, and picking up rubber there. For further information on Benson and his diaries see Michael Sokolow, Charles Benson: mariner of color in the age of sail ( 2003).
Purchased from Bray Books on the Edwin J. Beinecke Book Fund, 2007.
Bound manuscript diary ( pages) which begins on March 18, 1879, as Benson leaves Boston for Madagascar and Zanzibar. He arrives in Tamature (Toamasina), Madagascar, in mid-June 1879, spends a month in port, and then two weeks in Zanzibar. After stopping at Saint Helena, the Glide returns to Boston on December 5, and sails again for Zanzibar on December 29. Benson is still at sea when he ends the volume on June 19, 1880, writing that he "shall continue the journal in another book Called The 'Homeward Bound.'" Benson routinely notes the vessel's coordinates and number of days away from home; the weather conditions; all shipboard tasks, activities, and visitors; and the physical ailments suffered by crewmembers, to whom he administers medical treatments. He is also highly introspective and records his personal thoughts and feelings, including those about his wife Margaret Jenny Benson (d. 1921). The diary contains images of women and children which were clipped from periodicals and glued and tipped-in inside covers and on pages throughout; several pieces of paper with manuscript notes are laid in. The final pages of the volume hold lists of items and payments received from the ship's captain, and of provisions on board and to be acquired at ports on route.
Accompanied by a folder of newspaper clippings, drawings, labels, and other ephemeral items dating between 1858 and 1897, which were received with the diary.
0.21 linear feet (1 box)
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|Curatorial Area:||Beinecke Library|
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