THIS is the second volume to be published by the Colonial Society of Massachusetts since the death of Walter Muir Whitehill, the Society’s Editor of Publications from 1946 to 1978. Like its predecessor, Architecture in Colonial Massachusetts, this volume bears Walter’s imprint, even though he did not live to see it through its final stages of preparation. The idea of holding conferences on various aspects of the history and culture of colonial Massachusetts and then publishing the papers delivered was Walter’s. This publication is the fourth conference volume to be published by the Society, with three more—two on colonial music and one on colonial medicine—to appear soon. Taken together, these seven volumes will stand as a fitting memorial to Walter’s genius as an editor.

This volume, Seafaring in Colonial Massachusetts, the fifty-second to be published by the Colonial Society, must certainly have been a favorite of Walter’s. During the course of a long and extraordinarily productive career, he devoted a substantial amount of time to maritime history and made a number of important contributions to the field. From 1937 to 1946 he was Assistant Director of the Peabody Museum of Salem, probably the most distinguished maritime museum in the country, and in 1949 he wrote a history of that institution. For nine years, starting in 1941, Walter was Managing Editor of The American Neptune and continued as one of its editors for the rest of his life. In 1952, Fleet Admiral King was published, a biography of the commander of the United States Naval Forces in World War II, on which the Admiral and Walter had collaborated. And there were, as well, numerous other ventures in maritime history to which Walter lent his support.

His enthusiasm for this volume undoubtedly would have been matched by that of Rear Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison, a former President of the Colonial Society and for years one of its strongest supporters. Although no one writing on Massachusetts seafaring can ever hope to equal Admiral Morison’s A Maritime History of Massachusetts, there are still, as this volume demonstrates, important contributions to be made in this field, and Admiral Morison was among the first to encourage fresh research into his favorite subject.

The conference on colonial seafaring in Massachusetts was held at the Society’s house, 87 Mount Vernon Street, Boston, and at the Peabody Museum of Salem on 21 and 22 November 1975.

To plan and organize the conference and to edit this volume containing the papers read, the Society was most fortunate in enlisting the aid of Philip Chadwick Foster Smith, until very recently Curator of Maritime History at the Peabody Museum of Salem and now Curator of the Philadelphia Maritime Museum. Readers of the Colonial Society publications will remember the impeccable job that Chad Smith did in editing the two volumes of The Journals of Ashley Bowen (Volumes 44 and 45) for the Society. Since 1969, he had been Managing Editor of The American Neptune, and he has, as well, published many articles and books on seafaring subjects. Without question, he is one of the most distinguished maritime historians writing today. This volume is simply further proof of his editorial and scholarly skill.

Frederick S. Allis, Jr.

Editor of Publications

87 Mount Vernon Street

Boston, Massachusetts

March 1980