Identification of vessels depicted on scrimshaw, and occasionally those on paintings, can at times be difficult. Signal flags, when present, can be an aid in his endeavor. Books of signal flags for many ports were contemporaneously published, most notably the Taber Brothers signal books for the New Bedford Customs District, but none for Nantucket. This publication is a partial remediation of that lack and was published in 2004 by the New Bedford Whaling Museum.
About the Author
Donald Ridley, who conceived and shepherded this project from start to finish, is a marine engineer by trade. As volunteer Assistant Curator at the Kendell Whaling Museum and then at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, Ridley devoted his time and energy to the physical examination and connoisseurship of scrimshaw, pioneering and developing techniques in microscopy and the analysis of surface characteristics in macro-scale, and managing the Scrimshaw Forensics Laboratory, which still meets regularly at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.