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Chesapeake Sailing Craft: Recollections of Robert H. Burgess

Robert H. Burgess. Edited by William A. Fox

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Thirty years have passed since the 1975 publication of Robert H. Burgess's classic Chesapeake Sailing Craft, and while the original edition of this book has been out of print for many years, this new expanded edition brings alive the author's photographs and recollections for a new generation of readers. Within these pages, Burgess presents a rare photographic record of the period 1925â€"1975, depicting the bay sailing craft from log canoe to four-masted schooner. Robert H. Burgess's photographs show the vessels in all phases of their activities on these waters, including loading and unloading cargoes, under sail and in port, in shipyards, details of rigging, fittings, and decks, interior views, as powerboats, and abandoned hulks. No one has so thoroughly photographed the Chesapeake sailing vessels as Burgess. He applied himself to the task as though he were getting paid for it. But it was purely through a feeling for the history of the bay and its craft, an awareness that a change was taking place, that he pursued his subject so persistently. If he had not undertaken this labor of love, most of the sailing vessels in this volume would have passed on with no photographic record of their ever having existed. This edition showcases the original text, photos, and captions and adds 150 new photos with captions by William A. Fox. The result is Chesapeake Sailing Craft: Recollections of Robert H. Burgess, a new and expanded edition of the original volume for bay enthusiasts to enjoy. As in the original edition, all the photos in this book were taken by Robert Burgess. They appear as he saw them through the viewfinder of his camera and as he printed them in the darkroom, uncropped and unretouched.

Size: 8 1/2" x 11" | 463 b/w photos | Index | 324 pp
ISBN13: 9780870335723

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There is scarcely a river, creek, or slough in the Chesapeake Bay Country that Robert H. Burgess (1913–2003) did not explore with his camera. Known to many as Dean of the Chesapeake, Robert “Bob” Burgess knew the Chesapeake Bay in its older, more primitive, and pleasant way of life. He saw the era of commercial sail and steam fading and undertook to document and preserve bay watercraft through photography. Without this labor of love, most of the sailing vessels in his book would have passed on with no photographic record of their existence.Baltimore-born, Burgess joined the staff of the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News in 1941, where he became curator of exhibits and was later named curator of publications. He was a member of the Steamship Historical Society of America, on the Board of Governors of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, and a trustee of the Calvert Marine Museum and Chesapeake Bay Foundation. In 2000, The Chesapeake Maritime Museum presented Robert H. Burgess the coveted Chesapeake Bay Heritage Award in recognition of “his significant contributions to the preservation of the cultural and maritime heritage of the Chesapeake Bay.” Among his legacies are the many articles and books about the Chesapeake Bay and its craft, illustrated with his photographs. His photos are widely recognized for their documentary and artistic quality.Naval architect William A. Fox was born in Newport News, Virginia, at the height of the World War II shipbuilding program. He grew up in Newport News and owes his interest in maritime history to his mother, Katherine Johnson Fox, who worked at the Mariners’ Museum library, and to his father, Erwin A. Fox, Jr., who was a merchant mariner, shipbuilder, and boater. William A. Fox graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1965 and received his master’s degree in Urban Studies from Old Dominion University in 1979. He has worked for Newport News Shipbuilding; for Esso (Exxon) International in New York, Italy, and Spain; and for Stanwick International in Iran. Since 1979 he has been associated with John J. McMullen Associates in Newport News.He began his writing career with a book chapter on ship modeling in 1975, and a history of the tug Dorothy (Newport News Hull No. 1) in 1976. In 1986 he researched and wrote Always Good Ships, a comprehensive history of all of the ships built at the Newport News shipyard since its founding in 1886. He has contributed many articles on maritime history to magazines and newspapers, and has edited several books including Chesapeake Sailing Craft.