Rosanne Cash, South Street Seaport Museum
Ms. Cash lives in New York City with her husband, producer and guitarist John Leventhal. She is the mother of five children.
Built in 1893 at Essex, MA, in the yard of Arthur D. Story, Lettie G. Howard is a type of fishing schooner once widely used along the Atlantic seaboard from Maine to Texas. Her deep wooden hull, subtly curved from a faintly hollowed bow and fine entrance to a long powerful run, is a good model of what was known the world over as the "Gloucesterman." Today, she is one of the last of her kind.
Named for the daughter of her first captain, Frederick Howard, Lettie fished out of Gloucester, MA, for her first eight years. In 1901, she was purchased by owners in Pensacola, FL, for use in the red snapper fishery off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. After surviving two major hurricanes, she was thoroughly rebuilt in 1923 by a new owner-Thomas Welles of Mystic, CT-who installed her first auxiliary engine and renamed her Mystic C. She continued to fish under sail for the Welles Company for 43 years, until it disbanded in 1966.
That year, she was sold to the Historic Ships Association in Gloucester, and in 1968 she was purchased by the year-old South Street Seaport Museum. She traveled from Gloucester to the Museum's pier at South Street largely under sail. By then, she had been renamed twice, and her long working life had obscured her origins; research into her background led to a docking book that confirmed her identity as Lettie G. Howard.
Since 1968, Lettie has been a proud and beloved resident of South Street, where scores of fishing schooners like her used to dock to bring their catches to the Fulton Fish Market. She was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989, and between 1991 and 1993 she was completely restored to her 1893 appearance.
Lettie has operated as a certified sail training vessel since 1994, taking student crews on trips in New York Harbor and waters further afield-teaching history and ecology along with the skills and crafts of sailing, and celebrating the legacy of the North Atlantic fisheries and the Gloucester fleets.
Created in 1967, the South Street Seaport Museum's mission was to celebrate New York's maritime past through its collections, including vessels, and through exhibitions and school and public programs. Financial issues forced the Seaport Museum to close in early 2011, but the Seaport Museum was re-opened in January 2012 under the management of the Museum of the City of New York, which has sought to make use of the Seaport Museum's assets to pave the way for a stable future. The Museum is open seven days a week from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Admission is $10 and free for children under 9. Visit http://www.southstreetseaportmuseum.org for more information.
The Seaport Museum seeks support for this repair project so that Lettie can again take students to sea. Anyone wishing to make contributions to help the Lettie G. Howard can visit http://www.southstreetseaportmuseum.org/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=Gift-1.