Sidelights and Details of California Shore-Whaling 1852-1901

Old Monterey Foundation to hold its second free lecture of 2019: “Sidelights and Details of California Shore-Whaling 1852-1901” presented by Dr. Stuart M. Frank on Tuesday, April 16th sponsored by The Marcia F. Devoe Fund of the Community Foundation


March, 2019, Monterey, CA. Old Monterey Foundation continues its popular season of free lecture events as part of its 2019 Lecture Series sponsored by The Marcia F. Devoe Fund of the Community Foundation for Monterey County with its second event.



What: “Sidelights and Details of California Shore-Whaling 1852-1901”

The general history of California shore-whaling, and many of the photographs that survive, have become fairly familiar over the past few years as historians have excavated some of the evidence with newfound enthusiasm. However, many compelling highlights and intriguing sidelights have been overlooked, including the origins and deepwater backgrounds of some of the principals, the concentration of crewmen from the Azores, Martha’s Vineyard, and Japan, their migrations and transfers among the whaling stations, and some hidden aspects of the methods and technology utilized in the hunt, as well as the unique scrimshaw and decorative arts produced by whalemen in Monterey and Carmel. The plan is to outline the history of California shore-whaling from beginning to end, and to provide some hints about further research, punctuated by attention to the participants, their methods, and the small but compelling legacy of artworks they left behind.

About Dr. Stuart M. Frank

Dr. Stuart M. Frank is senior curator emeritus at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, executive director emeritus of the Kendall Whaling Museum in Massachusetts, a collections consultant at Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut, an elected Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society, a research fellow at the Nantucket Historical Association, and the author of Herman Melville’s Picture Gallery; Ingenious Contrivances, Curiously Carved: Scrimshaw in the New Bedford Whaling Museum; Scrimshaw on Nantucket: The Collection of the Nantucket Historical Association; “Jolly Sailors Bold”: Ballads and Songs of the American Sailor; Classic Whaling Prints; Dutch and Flemish Old Master Paintings in the New Bedford Whaling Museum; The New Book of Pirate Songs; three biographical dictionaries of scrimshaw artists; and 75+ monographs and articles on maritime history, art, and traditional music, in popular magazines and scholarly journals.

Bill Wojtkowski, President of the Old Monterey Foundation Board of Directors, will also present a brief overview of recent improvements accomplished and planned for the Lower Presidio Historic Park. 

When: April 16, 2019 – 6:30 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.

Lecture: 6:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m. Q & A: 7:30 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. Reception: 7:45 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.

Where: Irvine Auditorium, McCone Building, MIIS; 499 Pierce Street, Monterey

Free Admission - Reception to follow with wine and cheese.

For more information about Old Monterey Foundation, call (831) 346-3030 or

The lectures are very popular so attendees are urged to come early to secure a seat.

This lecture is suitable for ages 9 and up.

The event is hosted by Old Monterey Foundation and is sponsored by the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.

About Old Monterey Foundation

The Old Monterey Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was formed on February 14, 2011, with the specific mission and purpose of promoting, supporting and enhancing the artistic, cultural and historic environment of historic Downtown Monterey, California.  The group is well known for their work with the Art-in-the-Adobes event that was held from 2011-2013 as well as other fundraisers, lectures and events.  Its private/public partnership with the City of Monterey heralds a new way of doing public business in a State strapped to find funds for park operations and expansions.

The Lower Presidio Historic Park, described as “The Most Historically Significant Site on the West Coast” and “One of the Most Beautiful Places in Monterey”, is becoming a true historic public park to be enjoyed by locals and visitors. Old Monterey Foundation, in cooperation with the City of Monterey, has raised initial funds to complete Phase One of the project to enhance and restore this historic 25.3-acre site. In 2017, it installed nine new interpretive signs, a white wooden perimeter fence, and two new ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible pathways of the Harbor Trail which extends to the Serra Monument and the Vista Trail that goes up the hill to the Sloat Monument.  

Old Monterey Foundation is continuing to seek public donations to help complete Phase One of the project, which is improving amenities around the Park with picnic tables, benches, directional signs, and a sidewalk connecting the two trails.  Plans for other improvements, including rebuilding the stables and incorporation of the adjacent Viscaino Park are in the works.

Old Monterey Foundation raised funds for new picnic tables and benches, recently installed at the park. There are now a total of eight convenient picnic tables and five benches on site at this beautiful park which is now a perfect picnic destination!

Many local organizations have played a role in the development of this project including Old Monterey Foundation, the Neighborhood Improvement Program, City of Monterey, Rotary Club of Monterey, Community Foundation for Monterey County, Monterey Peninsula Foundation, Presidio of Monterey and Granite Construction. The project is funded by the City of Monterey’s Neighborhood Improvement Program.

The Lower Presidio Historic Park is one of the least-visited historic parks in the area due to some confusion about whether the public is allowed in the area.   Situated in a “hidden in plain sight” location, the Park can be found above Pacific Street at the Lighthouse Curve in Downtown Monterey. The park features spectacular views of the Monterey Bay and Harbor and will become a jewel of the City of Monterey’s park system.      

Old Monterey Foundation invites everyone to become members of "Friends of the Lower Presidio" at and make tax-deductible donations to more quickly restore the park. 

The City of Monterey Outreach Office produced an informative short video about the Lower Presidio Historic Park and its significance to California and American history: