MSS 33:  Albert Cook Church Papers, 1878-1976 - New Bedford Whaling Museum

Inventory of the Albert Cook Church Papers In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research LibraryProcessed by: Barbara E. Austen, with assistance from Helen Frasier; machine-readable finding aid created by: Kermit DeweyFunds for processing this collection were provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.Inventory of the Albert Cook Church Papers In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library

Table of Contents

Biographical Note

Scope and Content Note

Information for Researchers

Separations List

Administrative Information


Subject Headings

Inventory of the Albert Cook Church Papers

In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library

Albert Cook Church Papers
Date Span:
Albert Cook Church, 1880-1965
Mss Number:
Mss 33
8 inches
Correspondence, promotional and research material of a New Bedford and Fairhaven, Massachusetts, marine photographer and author, 1878-1976.
New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library
Phone: (508) 997-0046

Biographical Note

Albert Cook Church was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, in 1880, the son of a tugboat captain. His hobby of photography developed into a vocation and as a result of his early exposure to the sea and New Bedford harbor, he concentrated on photographing whalers and whaling, thus documenting the final days of New Bedford's most important industry. Other subjects that Church photographed were fishing operations, fish processing, fishing schooner races, and schooner construction. His ability as a photographer led to his being given special assignments for the New Bedford Standard Times.

In conjunction with his photography, Church also developed skills as a writer. His first article, Whaling, Past And Present, was published in 1908 in New England Magazine. He wrote several more articles for this magazine as well as for Yachting and then published his first book, Whale Ships and Whaling (1938). His other book credit is American Fishermen (1940), which he did not author but which is profusely illustrated with his photographs.

During the first World War, Church left New Bedford for several years, and on his return after the war, he offered illustrated lectures on "Submarines in Their Application to Modern Warfare." He also served as president of the Submarine Writers' Association.

From 1936 until his death in 1965, Church maintained a darkroom and exhibit studio at the Pierce & Kilburn marine yard in Fairhaven. Although his photograph production slowed considerably, he was kept active reproducing prints. At his death, maritime museums engaged in an extensive search for Church's 65,000 negatives, few of which have yet been recovered.

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Scope and Content Note

Materials in this collection reflect the literary and photographic activities of Albert Cook Church at New Bedford and Fairhaven, Mass., between 1900-1965. His business and personal correspondence, 1916-1941, includes several letters from former New Bedford residents whose relatives were active in whaling, written in response to Church's book Whale Ships and Whaling, as well as a letter from Howard I. Chapelle concerning line drawings for illustrating one of Church's books. A diary, 1909, reflects Church's experiences on a seining voyage. Typescripts, promotional literature, clippings, drawings, research notes, and similar items, 1901-1960, relate to several of Church's books and articles, including American Fishermen, Whale Ships and Whaling, and Whaling, Past and Present. This material is supplemented by financial records, 1911-1938, including a photograph records book; a list, poem, notebook, and miscellany, ca. 1909-1940; newspaper clippings, 1909-1976; and Smith family papers, 1878-1889, including a "Family Record" and genealogical notes.

A published work which may provide additional information on Albert Cook Church is Old Dartmouth Historical Sketch, No. 76, 1969, by Philip F. Purrington.

Arrangement of Collection

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Access to the Collection

Unrestricted. Consult librarian for an appointment.

Preferred Citation

New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 33 [sub-group, series, sub-series, folder/volume as appropriate], [item]

Copyright Notice

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials. The Privacy Act of 1974 (5 United States Code 552a) governs the use of materials that document private individuals, groups, and corporations.

Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a reproduction if the document does not infringe the privacy rights of an individual, group, or corporation. These specified conditions of authorized use include:

- non-commercial and non-profit study, scholarship, research, or teaching
- criticism or commentary
- as a NBWM archives preservation or security copy for research use
- as a research copy for deposit in another institution

If the researcher later uses a copy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," the researcher is personally liable for copyright. privacy, or publicity infringement and agrees to indemnify the New Bedford Whaling Museum from any legal action as a result of the error. Permission to obtain a photographic, xerographic, digital, or other copy of a document does not indicate permission to publish, exhibit, perform, reproduce, sell, distribute, or prepare derivative works from the document without permission from the copyright holder and from any private individual, group, or corporation shown or otherwise recorded.

Permission to publish, exhibit, perform, reproduce, prepare derivative works from, sell, or otherwise distribute the item must be obtained separately in writing from the holder of the original copyright (or if the creator is dead, from his/her heirs) as well as from any individual(s), groups, or corporations whose name, image, recorded words, or private information (e.g. employment information) may be reproduced in the source material. The holder of the original copyright is not necessarily the New Bedford Whaling Museum. The New Bedford Whaling Museum is not legally liable for copyright, privacy, or publicity infringement when materials are wrongfully used after being provided to researchers for "fair use."

This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if fulfillment of the order is judged in violation of copyright or federal or state privacy law. This institution also places restrictions on the use of cameras, photocopiers, and scanners in the research room.

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Removed to Photographs Collection

- Reprint of Albert Cook Church photograph, ca. 1917.
- Photographs of landscape by Ethel Hicks, 1937. 2 items.
- Negatives of landscape by Ethel Hicks, 1937. 2 items.

Removed to Printed Collection

- Outfitting book, ca. 1850.

Removed to Objects Collection

- Watercolors of three types of whales and of whaling equipment, probably painted by Albert Cook Church to illustrate the article Whaling, Past and Presentpublished in New England Magazine, June 1908. 2 items.
- Advertising cards, ca. 1920-1940. 4 items.

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A portion of this collection was probably acquired by the Old Dartmouth Historical Society from Albert Cook Church's office in 1965, while the remainder was a gift from Mrs. James T. Hodgson Jr., 15 October 1979.

Processing Information

Processed by: Barbara E. Austen, with assistance from Helen Frasier, ca. 1982

Encoded by: Kermit Dewey, 5 October 2011

Funds for processing this collection were provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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Series A: Correspondence, 1916-1941 [46 items]
Series A consists of incoming and outgoing business and personal correspondence.
Sub-series 1: Incoming, 1916-1941
Box 1
Folder 1
Folder 2
Folder 3-4
Folder 5
Folder 6
Sub-series 2: Outgoing, ca. 1940
Folder 1
ca. 1940
Series B: Diaries, 1909 [1 item]
Volume 1
Series C: Typescripts, Promotional Literature, Clippings, Drawings, and Research Notes, 1901-1960 [39 items]
Sub-series 1: American Fisherman, 1901-1940
Folder 1
Research notes, ca. 1935
Volume 1
Notebook on fish processing, ca. 1935
Includes lists of paintings and drawings, probably done by Church
Folder 2-3
Line drawings of vessels used to illustrate book, 1901-1939
Folder 4
Promotional literature, 1940
Folder 5
Portfolio of photographs used to illustrate book, 1940
Folder 6
Cover examples, 1940
Title alternatives, 1940
Folder 7
Clippings, 1940
Sub-series 2: Whale Ships and Whaling, ca. 1935-1960
Folder 1
Research note, ca. 1935
Folder 2
Promotional material, 1938
Volume 1
Scrapbook, 1938-1940
Folder 3
Clippings, 1938, 1960
Sub-series 3: Whaling, Past and Present, 1908
Folder 1
Typescript with annotations, 1908
Series D: Financial Records, 1911-1938 [11 items]
Series D consists of bills and receipts along with an order book.
Box 2
Folder 1
Bills and receipts, 1911-1938
Volume 1
Order book, ca. 1938
Series E: Lists, Poems, Notebooks, and Miscellany, ca.1909, 1916, ca.1920, 1940 [5 items]
Folder 1
List, ca. 1940
Poem, 1916
Calling card, ca. 1920
Certificate of honorary membership, 1940
Folder 2
Notebook of memoranda, ca. 1909
Series F: Clippings, 1909-1976 [15 items]
Folder 1-2
Includes obituaries and submarine lecture accounts
Series G: Smith Family Papers, 1878, ca.1880, 1887, 1889 [6 items]
Series G consists of personal correspondence, a memorial and calling card, a "Family Record," and a genealogical note all pertaining to the Smith Family.
Folder 1
Correspondence, 1878, 1887
Folder 2
Memorial card, 1889
Calling card, ca. 1880
Folder 3
"Family Record", ca. 1889
Genealogical note, ca. 1880

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Subject Headings

Architects--Mass.--Ipswich--Correspondence, reminiscences, etc.
Authors and publishers--Mass.--New Bedford
Authors, American--Mass.--New Bedford
Chase, Frederick B., b. 1795
Chronometer Club, New Bedford, Mass.
Church Papers
Church, Albert Cook, 1880-1965
Diaries--New Bedford, Mass.--1909
Kelley, James S., 1821-ca. 1895
Nautical instruments
Naval architects--Mass.--Ipswich
New Bedford, Mass.--Authors
New Bedford, Mass.--Clubs
New Bedford, Mass.--Societies
Photographers--Mass.--New Bedford
Photographers--Mass.--New Bedford--Correspondence, reminiscences, etc.
Photography, Marine
Shipwrecks--Mass.--New Bedford
Smith family
Whaling--Mass.--New Bedford

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Vessel Names

Kathleen (Bark)

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