"Remembering Ellery Thompson" is dedicated to Marion Krepcio in recognition of her determination to preserve his legacy as reflected in the many unpublished typescripts and related archival material she saved from destruction many years ago. This exhibition would not have been possible without access to that archive so freely granted by Mrs. Krepcio and her husband, Bob.
---Brian Rogers, Online Exhibitions Curator
This exhibition has been drawn from a variety of sources: Ellery Thompson's two books, Draggerman's Haul and Come Aboard the Draggers; Stephen Jones's Afterword to the 2007 edition of Draggerman's Haul; the 1947 New Yorker profile by Joseph Mitchell; the Thompson archive preserved by Marion Krepcio; archival items in the Frank L. McGuire Maritime Library; and the Thompson paintings and artifacts at New London's Custom House Maritime Museum.
We extend thanks to The Day Publishing Co. for permission to reproduce images and articles that first appeared in the pages of The Day, Ellery's hometown newspaper.
Born in the last year of the 19th century, Ellery Franklin Thompson witnessed most of the tumultuous 20th, until his death in 1986. His mariner father acquainted Ellery with all things maritime, from fishing to weather forecasting to steamboat navigation. The son was receptive: his gift for observation and ability to write about what he observed was the wellspring of his later fame as author, artist, raconteur, and colorful local character.
Under his father's tutelage he became a skilled draggerman admired for his ability to discern the best places to drop trawl nets, whether off the mouth of the Thames River, in Long Island Sound, off Block Island, or the open Atlantic. But long before he became the subject of magazine articles, published author and popular artist, his childhood and early teen years were spent observing his father's other employment as a captain of local steamboats and the Groton-New London ferries.