To learn more about USS Constitution, seamanship, shipbuilding, and life at sea, please consult the selection of resources below. This reading list was developed by the USS Constitution Museum, and is reproduced here with permission.
First Person Accounts
A number of these hard-to-find titles are available through digital collections like Google Books or Hathi Trust [links]
- Brooks, George S., ed. James Durand: An Able Seaman of 1812. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1926.
- Evans, Amos. Journal Kept on Board the Frigate Constitution. Lincoln, MA: William D. Sawtell, 1967.
- Hawes, Lilla M., ed. “Letters of Henry Gilliam, 1809-1817.” Georgia Historical Quarterly 38 (March, 1954): 46-66.
- Jones, George. Sketches of Naval Life, with Notices of Men, Manners and Scenery, on the Shores of the Mediterranean, in a Series of Letters From the Brandywine and Constitution Frigates. 2 vols. New Haven, CT: Hezekiah Howe, 1829.
- Leech, Samuel. A Voice From the Main Deck: Being A Record of the Thirty Years’ Adventure of Samuel Leech. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1999.
- Martin, Tyrone G. ed. The USS Constitution’s Finest Fight, 1815: The Journal of Acting Chaplin Assheton Humphreys, US Navy. Mount Pleasant, SC: The Nautical & Aviation Publishing Company of America, 2000.
- Nordhoff, Charles. Man-of-War Life: A Boy’s Experience in the United States Navy, During a Voyage Around the World in a Ship-of-the-Line. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1985.
- Price, Norma Adams. Letters from Old Ironsides 1813-1815, written by Pardon Mawney Whipple, USN. Tempe, AZ: Beverly-Merriam Press, 1984.
- Smith, Moses. Naval Scenes in the Last War, Or, Three Years Aboard the Frigates Constitution and Adams, Including the Capture of the Guerrière. Boston: Gleason’s Publishing House, 1846.
- Wines, Enoch Cobb. Two Years and a Half in the Navy: Or, Journal of a Cruise on the Mediterranean and Levant on Board of the U.S. Frigate Constellation in the Years 1829, 1830, and 1831. Philadelphia: Carey and Lea, 1832.
General Histories of USS Constitution and War of 1812
- Eckert, Edward K. The Navy Department in the War of 1812. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Press, 1973.
- Fowler, William M. Jack Tars & Commodores: The American Navy 1783-1815. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1984.
- Gardiner, Robert. The Naval War of 1812. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1999.
- Hickey, Donald R. The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1989.
- James, William. A Full and Correct Account of the Chief Naval Occurrences of the Late War Between Great Britain and the United States of America. London: T. Egerton, Whitehall, 1817.
- Martin, Tyrone G. A Most Fortunate Ship: A Narrative History of Old Ironsides. Revised Edition. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2003.
- _____. Undefeated: “Old Ironsides” in the War of 1812. Chapel Hill, NC: Tryon Publishing Co., 1996.
- McKee, Christopher. A Gentlemanly and Honorable Profession: The Creation of the U.S. Naval Officer Corps, 1794-1815. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1991.
Life at Sea
- Blake, Nicholas. Steering to Glory, A Day in the Life of a Ship of the Line. London: Chatham Publishing, 2005.
- Bolster, W. Jeffrey. Black Jacks: African American Seamen in the Age of Sail. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997.
- Cordingly, David. Women Sailors and Sailor’s Women. New York: Random House, 2001.
- Dye, Ira. “Seafarers of 1812 – A Profile.” Prologue 5, no. 1 (1973): 2-13. _____. “The Tattoos of Early American Seafarers, 1796-1818.” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. 133, no. 4 (1989): 520-554.
- Estes, J. Worth. Naval Surgeon: Life and Death at Sea in the Age of Sail. Canton, MA: Science History Publications, 1998.
- Lewis, Jon E. Life Before the Mast: Sailors’ Eyewitness Accounts From the Age of Fighting Ships. Edison, NJ: Castle Books, 2002.
- MacDonald, Janet. Feeding Nelson’s Navy: The True Story of Food at Sea in the Georgian Era. London: Chatham Publishing, 2004.
Shipbuilding and Seamanship
- Caruana, Adrian B. The History of English Sea Ordnance 1523-1875: The Age of the System, 1715-1815. Rotherfield, East Sussex, England: Jean Boudriot Publications, 1997.
- Harland, John. Seamanship in the Age of Sail. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1996.
- Lavery, Brian. The Arming and Fitting of English Ships of War, 1600-1815. London: Conway Maritime Press, 1987.
- Martin, Tyrone G. Creating a Legend. Chapel Hill, NC: Tryon Publishing Company, 1997.
- Tucker, Spencer. Arming the Fleet: US Navy Ordnance in the Muzzle-Loading Era. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1989.
- All Hands on Deck: Learning Adventures Aboard "Old Ironsides" - a 1997 thematic unit designed for educators which uses USS Constitution as a vehicle to explore a variety of disciplines, including science, history, math, language arts, reading, and art. Developed by the USS Constitution Museum and Penny Parsekian, at that time a freelance writer, curriculum developer, and consultant. (see next page)