Ellery and the Yale Fishery Biologists


Stonington docks in the early Thirties 

The unannounced arrival of some Yale researchers on the Stonington docks in 1943 marked the start of their long friendship with Ellery. They wanted a reliable navigator who could take them out into Long Island Sound from time to time for a study of the Connecticut trawl fishery.  Ellery and his boat, Eleanor, had been recommended by Capt. Bacchiocchi of Noank, and after an awkward exchange, amusingly described in Draggerman's Haul, they reached an agreement.

It proved to be a mutually satisfying endeavor after Ellery overcame his skepticism -- even as World War II raged in Europe and the Pacific. He reminisced about it in the last pages of Haul:

   "How many trips we have made in the years which followed the first one...I wouldn't attempt to estimate, but I do know that I soon came to look forward to the companionship of two of the finest fellows I have known. [Daniel Merriman and Herbert E. Warfel]  I was soon having as much fun as they had, helping them pin little identification disks on fish and turning them loose again...helping measure the temperature and currents at sea bottom with their delicate instruments, and swapping yarns over a meal in the cabin."  (p. 262)

Another researcher who went out on the Eleanor was Bernard Gordon, who was studying zoology at the University of Rhode Island in the early 1950s, later doing graduate work in Massachusetts in oceanography and the marine fishery of Rhode Island. As with the Yale researchers, Ellery developed a close friendship with "Bernie" and viewers will see more of him later in this exhibition.

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Two pages from the 1944 preliminary report of the Yale biologists follow. A footnote on the second acknowledges Ellery's invaluable help.

Merriman report 1 Merriman report 2
Below:  Pages 1 and 8 of a 1973 letter from Daniel Merriman: "Happy Dan Fish"
Merriman letter 1
Merriman letter 2
Below:  Christmas greeting, 1971
Merriman Xmas
Below: Daniel Merriman's stellar academic career led him to Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1974 where he delivered a paper for the centenary of the 70,000-mile scientific expedition conducted on the world's oceans from the deck of HMS Challenger. According to Wikipedia the expedition "made many discoveries to lay the foundation of oceanography."
It is satisfying to think that this eminent Yale biologist and historian of oceanography may have sent this to the captain of the Eleanor in grateful recollection of their own scientific expeditions thirty years before.
Merriman Edinburgh
Below:  Forty years after their first expedition aboard the Eleanor, Daniel Merriman attended Ellery's birthday party in 1983. It was their last meeting.
Ellery and the Yale Fishery Biologists