Boston: Damrell & Moore, printers, 1855. 96pp., including five wood-engraved illustrations (three full-page). 12mo. Original pictorial front wrapper, with the rear wrapper and backstrip supplied in matching modern paper. Expert repairs to closed tear in margin of final leaf and two other text leaves. Good. Item #WRCAM55164
The first edition of this very rare work describing an 1851 Atlantic whaling voyage as a whaleman on the 250-ton bark Aerial, Charles G. Pettey, captain. Bronson relates the voyage in the form of daily journal entries, and he includes much on the rudiments of whaling, as well as shipboard life, including the flogging of a sailor. Starting from Mount Hope Bay, the Aerial touched on Bristol and New Bedford, before passing the Montauk light and heading out into the North Atlantic in search of fin- back, sperm, and right whales. The Aerial visited the whaling grounds of the Azores, the Cape Verde Islands, and Tristan de Acunha, taking time to call in at St. Helena where a journey was made to Napoleon's tomb. The return voyage was via the east coast of South America, the Lesser Antilles, St. Thomas, and Puerto Rico. One full-page illustration shows a whale staving the deck of a ship and another shows a group of frightened whalers in a small boat battling a massive whale with their harpoons. Goodspeed's described this work as "scarce" in 1937. It does not seem to have been noted by any of the standard bibliographies. OCLC locates just four copies, at the American Antiquarian Society, New Bedford Whaling Museum, the SAILS Library Network, and Princeton University. A truly rare American whaling title.