1988 Projected End of Worldwide Operations
Herman Melville shipped out on the whaling vessel Acushnet early in 1841 from New Bedford, Mass., bound for Cape Horn and the South Pacific. The 22-year-old was between jobs during a period of hard times. But it was a boom time for the New England whaling industry. More than 700 American ships prowled the seas in search of whales during the 1840s. New Bedford was the busiest whaling port in the world. Crewing on a whaler was difficult and dangerous, and Melville left his ship in mid-voyage after 18 months. But his adventures were the fodder for Moby Dick, which many believe is the quintessential American novel.
Commercial whaling changed radically just a few years after the 1851 publication ...