Monday, January 2, 2017

Stephen Crane's boat to Cuba sank in rough seas off Florida's coast on this day in 1897

On this day in 1897, Stephen Crane, a young reporter for the New York Press, was on his way to Cuba to cover the Cuban battle for independence from Spain. Crane made a deal with the captain of the SS Commodore, former harbor tugboat serving as a gun-runner to aid the Cuban rebels.

Crane hired on as an able-bodied seaman to get to Cuba. Unfortunately for Crane, the steamboat sank in heavy seas 12 miles off the coast of Florida. The crew and Cuban rebel passengers boarded lifeboats but didn't fare well in the storm. Crane joined the captain and a couple of crew members in a 10-foot dinghy. Crane's harrowing account of the 30-hour ordeal at sea was widely published at the time and became the short story The Open Boat, that remains a favorite in American literature.

Crane was already well known for his war novel, The Red Badge of Courage, that had been published a couple of years before. Readers marveled at how real his story seemed – chock-full as it was of astonishing detail – but Crane never experienced war first-hand. With The Open Boat, Crane had plenty of first-hand experience.

Fast-forward almost 100 years, and a Jacksonville University English professor, who was also a diver, set into motion a search for the wreck of the SS Commodore. That effort eventually led to three seasons of professional archaeological field work in 2002-2004 that established the location of the wreck and positive identification of artifacts from the steamboat.

We have an extensive collection of Florida history both online and in our store in St. Petersburg. Visit our website and come see us in the store. Subscribe to our blog to get email alerts about new articles. LIKE us on Facebook and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel to get alerts about new videos we've published.

Our specialties

Our specialties include Floridiana (Florida History, Florida Authors, Florida Related Ephemera), American History, Literature of the South, Military History (including, but not limited to, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Vietnam, Korean War), Children’s Literature, Maps, Leather Bindings and Rare & Unusual items.

We also have a wide variety of general stock, including a large Landscape/Gardening section, a great selection of Christian/Church History/Bible Study titles, Beat Literature, and much more. Please browse our extensive category list.

Appraisal service

Michael F. Slicker, is one of about 450 qualified members of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America, Inc., and its affiliate the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers.

Condition of the book, demand for it and history of comparable sales are among the factors considered in evaluating the value of a book. Other factors may apply as well.

Please contact us for more information regarding our certified appraisal services. We encourage you to visit our website, Lighthouse Books, ABAA

Florida Antiquarian Book Fair

Michael Slicker was the founding president of the Florida Antiquarian Booksellers Association and has served as chairman of its annual Florida Antiquarian Book Fair since its inception.

The 36th annual book fair is set for April 21-23, 2017 at The Coliseum in St. Petersburg.

The fair is the oldest and largest antiquarian book fair in the Southeast. Learn more about the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair and the Florida Antiquarian Booksellers Association.

  © Blogger templates Newspaper II by 2008

Back to TOP