Nautical Works from the Columbia Trading Co.
By Michael Stillman
The Columbia Trading Company of West Barnstable, Massachusetts, has issued Catalog 147 of Nautical Books & Artifacts. If it travels on, or is related to, a sea, lake, or river, it will probably be found in this catalogue. There are over 650 items here, with most priced for almost any budget. Once in a while you will find something not connected to the sea. For example, the section on lost treasures to be found on ships that went down at sea includes some books on attempting to find Arizona's Lost Dutchman mine. Water is not to be found in Arizona. Nonetheless, 600+ of the books offered are clearly related to water, so this definitely qualifies as a nautical catalogue. Let's take a look inside.
No ship is closer associated with America than the U.S.S. Constitution, affectionately nicknamed "Old Ironsides." It was one of the first six vessels constructed for the U.S. Navy in 1797. She was first involved in the Quasi War with France at the turn of the century, and more seriously engaged in the fight against the Barbary Pirates a bit later. She would then most notably make her mark during the War of 1812. Her defeat of the British ship Guerriere was a matter of enormous national pride. After that war, her days as a fighting ship were numbered, but the Constitution continued to be used in various diplomatic missions, ferrying important persons to various ports overseas. After the Civil War, her missions became more for show, and by the 20th century her status became that of a museum ship. Natural deterioration struck her wood hull, and by the 1920s her continued survival was in doubt. At that point, an enormous national fundraising effort was launched to save her. The drive was successful, and it was determined that in 1930, with the work completed, the Constitution would embark on a national tour to thank the American people for their support. She toured the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, then crossed through the Panama Canal to tour the west coast before returning to Boston. Item 53 recounts a part of that tour, along with information about stamps issued in her honor: The East Coast Cruise of the U.S. Frigate Constitution. The author was Charles Albright and the work was published in 1934. Priced at $45.
Here is another item related to "Old Ironsides," Mad Jack Percival. Legend of the Old Navy, written by James H. Ellis and published in 2002. Percival was a naval official responsible for capturing numerous ships during the War of 1812. He earned his nickname from his intense style of command. In 1841 he was promoted to captain and placed in charge of restoring the U.S.S. Constitution. In 1844, he captained the ship on a three-year world tour, the only time the Constitution accomplished a circumnavigation. Item 104. $18.
Item 590 is a menu of last meals: Last Dinner on the Titanic. Menus and recipes from the Legendary Liner. Not all cruises end well, but for a short time, life on the Titanic was grand. This 1997 book by Rick Archbold and Dana McCauley provides information on life on board a luxury liner, including menus offered to first, second and third class passengers. $20.