Table of Contents
Walter Everett Channing was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, in 1901. He worked for forty years as a mechanical and plant engineer for several of the large industrial companies in New Bedford. His employers included Pairpoint Glass Works, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Revere Copper & Brass, Inc. and Tibbetts Engineering Corp. where he worked until his retirement in 1968. Channing, having lived in this area all his life, became interested in the whaling vessels which sailed from local ports. He selected several vessels to research and applied his experience as a draftsman to create ship's plans for each vessel. These plans and his drawings of whaleboats and whaleship fittings helped model makers achieve accurate and detailed renderings of whalers. After his retirement, he spent time further researching and revising many of his ships' plans in the 1970's up until his death in 1980.
Papers of Walter Channing consist of correspondence, research materials, ship model plans and miscellaneous papers spanning the years 1917-1978.
The majority of Channing's papers are his research materials and ship model plans. Channing extensively researched each vessel in order to render an accurate representation in his plans. His research materials, 1910-ca. 1978, include visual representations of the vessels along with historical data. The plans, 1933-1936, 1963-1978, include lines, deck plans, spar, sail and rigging plans, as well as historical notes on the vessels, and details of use to model builders on painting schedules and details of the leading and dimensions of rigging, etc. The vessels from which Channing drew plans are the bark Andrew Hicks, ship Charles W. Morgan, schooner John R. Manta, bark Josephine, bark Lagoda, bark Sunbeam, ship Two Brothers, brig Viola and bark Wanderer. Other plans Channing executed were for a Beetle whaleboat, Friendship sloop, belaying points of New Bedford whalers, details of masts and yards, and of hulls and whaling gear. Channing drew the majority of these plans in the 1930's and revised them in the 1970's.
Correspondence for Channing, 1939-1957, 1975-1978, discusses his ships' plans with various model builders and representatives from model making magazines as well as sales of these plans. The majority of this material is incoming correspondence but also contains copies of or notes on Channing's responses. The miscellaneous materials, 1917-1924, 1955-1973, consist of a volume of mechanical drawings completed while at high school and later, the published plans of the brig Viola, New Bedford Port Society by-laws listing Channing as a member of the Society, and general sketches and a newspaper clipping regarding his ships' plans for the Whaling Museum.
Arrangement of Collection
Access to Collections
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New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 90, [sub-group, series, sub-series, folder/volume as appropriate], [item]
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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.
Removed to Photographs Collection
- A group of 14 glass plate negatives and all copies of other photos of the Charles W. Morgan at a New Bedford dock, showing details of construction, deck layout, rigging and the like, apparently used as references for the plans.
Removed to Printed Collection
- Ashley, Clifford W. The Yankee Whaler, 1926 -- autographed by Ashley, New Bedford, Dec. 17, 1930 inscribed to Henry B. Williams.
- Rossell, Henry B. and Chapman, Lawrence B. Principles of Naval Architecture, 1942. Vol. 1 and 2.
The materials in this collection were donated to the Old Dartmouth Historical Society by Walter E. Channing prior to 1970 and by Mrs. Marion L. Channing on 5 August 1983 and 30 January 1984.
Processed by: Judith Downey, 27 October 1988
Encoded by: Kermit Dewey, 8 April 2012; box list appended by Mark Procknik, 11 April 2012
Masts and rigging
Models and modelmaking
Sailing ships--Mass.--New Bedford--Models
Andrew Hicks (Bark)
Charles W. Morgan (Ship)
John R. Manta (Schooner)
Two Brothers (Ship)
- Discovery Center
- The Grand Panorama
- Herman Melville
- Captain Paul Cuffe
- Joshua Slocum
- Lighting the Way: Historic Women of the SouthCoast