SCHOONER ERNESTINA, Ex. Effie M.Morrissey, was built in 1894 at the James and Tarr Shipyard for the Gloucester fishing fleet. Under Captain Bob Bartlett she sailed to within 600 miles of the North Pole, and later brought immigrants to the U.S. under the power of sail. Returned to the US in 1982 as a gift from the newly independent Cape Verdean people, she sailed as an educator until 2005.

All Sewn Up at 120!

Despite less than welcoming weather, friends of Ernestina stopped by to celebrate her 120th birthday.

Volunteer Marty Casey and SEMA Director Capt. Willi Bank demonstrated rope and sewing skills to visitors

Annie McDowell helped everyone make rope bracelets and served up the birthday cake

6:30 pm There will be a demonstration of how you can get “All Sewn Up” on Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey.

Steve Kirk, Marty Casey (center) and SEMA director Willi Bank Reeving the starboard foremast lanyards last May when the mast were raised.

Sewing skills and ropework are essential to ship-board life.  Come check it out demonstrations of these skills at the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park Visitors’ Center. 33 William St. in “The Link” , make a rope bracelet and then share some cake with us as we celebrate Ernestina’s 120th birthday!

YES! There will be cake!

Bringing the Ernestina-Morrissey Story to the Pioneer Valley

Ernestina Commissioner Fred Sterner, SEMA director Mary Anne McQuillan and Norcross WS's Jennifer Ohop by a display of Norcross memorabilia, some showing his voyages with Bartlett.

Thank You Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary for the great reception and audience for the Ernestina-Morrissey story.  Norcross sailed with Bartlett in 1931-1932-1933.  The audience really enjoyed seeing him in some of the Pathe Newsreels. Some footage of the 1932 voyage is also available from the National Archives.  We are looking forward to the day when everyone in Massachusetts knows about THEIR ship, the Ernestina ex. EffieM. Morrissey!


In 2014 we celebrate Ernestina ex Effie M. Morrissey’s 120th year.  The first event of that celebration was a lecture organized by Judy Farrar of the the Claire T. Carney Library Archives and Special Collections at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth held in the Grand Reading Room.

Archivist Judy Farrar, left, and Traudi Coli, right

Traudi  spoke of Ernestina’s Cape Verdean Packet years from 1948 until 1982.

Tim Walker spoke of Effie M. Morrissey’s fishing and Arctic exploration years from 1894 until 1947.

Traudi brought some of the archives she has collected as she studied Ernestina and the other packet ships and captains.

Schooner Ernestina Commissioner Eugene Monteiro and Traudi

The event was co-sponsored by the Schooner Ernestina Commission (SEC) and the Schooner Ernestina- Morrissey Association (SEMA).

Thank you to Judy and the University for this grand kick-off to Ernestina-Morrissey’s anniversary year!


The Claire T. Carney Library Archives and Special Collections, now home to the Ernestina/Effie M. Morrissey Archives, is pleased to announce a joint lecture by Timothy Walker and Waltraud Coli to mark the 120th anniversary of the launching of the Effie M. Morrissey. The Archives of the Schooner Ernestina/Effie M. Morrissey, that were collected over a period of 40 years by her supporters and champions, will be featured along with the lecture, which will take place on March 3 from 3:00 to 5:00 PM in the Library’s Grand Reading Room.

Walker will give an illustrated talk focusing on the historical importance of the Schooner Ernestina/Effie M. Morrissey and on its early days as a Grand Banks fishing vessel and arctic exploration vessel.  He will also address the vessel’s use as a sail training platform for educational programs at sea.  Coli’s illustrated presentation will focus on the ship’s captains during the decades the Schooner Ernestina was a Cape Verdean packet vessel and on the important role that Cape Verdeans played in U.S. immigration.

According to “An Expedition of Discovery,” The Schooner Ernestina’s pre-2005 historical timeline, written for the web site by Gregg Swanzey, “On February 5, 1894, a single line in the Gloucester Daily Times recorded an addition to the Massachusetts fishing fleet. ‘The new schooner for J.F. Wonson and Co. has been named Effie M. Morrissey.’ This marked the commonplace birth of a schooner that would become famous not only as Grand Banks fisher, but also as an arctic expeditionary vessel under the command of Capt. Robert Abram Bartlett and World War II survey vessel under Commander Alexander Forbes. After a galley fire in 1947 the Morrissey was raised and renamed Ernestina to serve in the trans-Atlantic Cape Verdean packet trade operated by Capt. Henrique Mendes.  After being dismasted on her way to OpSail in 1976 and an international campaign to restore her led by the National Friends of the Ernestina/Morrissey, the newly-independent Republic of Cape Verde made a decision in 1978 to make the extraordinary gift of Ernestina to the “people of the United States,” symbolizing the centuries-old ties between the two countries.  She was finally able to make the return voyage in 1982, first to Newport and then to New Bedford, where she was repatriated.  The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Schooner Ernestina Commission was set up in 1978 to officially receive her.  New Bedford is her home port.

Dr. Timothy Walker (B.A., Hiram College, 1986; M.A., Ph.D., Boston University, 2001) is

Tim Walker

an associate professor of history at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.  At UMD, he serves as Fulbright Program Advisor (faculty and students); Associate Director of the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture (2007-2009) and Director of Tagus Press; as well as a member of the graduate faculty of the Department of Portuguese Studies and an affiliated faculty member of the Center of Indian Studies and Program in Women’s Studies.  Walker is also an Affiliated Researcher of the Centro de História de Além-Mar (CHAM) and the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal.  From 1994 to 2003, he was a visiting professor at the Universidade Aberta in Lisbon.

Walker has been associated with the schooner Ernestina/Morrissey for over fifteen years, as a crewmember, educational advisor and on-board maritime history instructor.  During the 2003-2004 academic year, Walker taught for the University of Pittsburgh Semester at Sea program.  A passionate advocate of seaborne education, Walker has designed university-level programs at sea for Boston University, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Massachusetts.  He has taught maritime history courses aboard numerous historic sailing vessels, including the schooners ErnestinaLettie G. Howard and Alabama, the brig Niagara and the frigate “HMS” Rose.  He was for many years the only American crewman aboard the Portuguese caravel Boa Esperança.  He presently serves as a consultant for educational programming for SEMA (the Schooner Ernestina/Morrissey Association) and the Tall Ships Rhode Island Foundation (the ship Oliver Hazard Perry).  In 2000 his maritime education course aboard the “HMS” Rose won the American Sail Training Association award for “Program of the Year.”

Waltraud Berger Coli, better known as “Traudi” earned a M.A. in Anthropology at Rhode Island College, where she specialized in Cape Verdean research, and a M.B.A. at Bryant

Traudi Coli at the 2010 Ernestina Forum

University. She has researched and co-authored several articles on Cape Verdean issues. The widely-circulated short history of Cape Verdeans in Rhode Island was the first publication on Cape Verdeans in the diaspora. Two additional, extensive manuscripts on Cape Verdean ethnicity and history are awaiting publication.

During 1988-1995 she was involved in the creation of the Arquivo Histórico Nacional, Praia, República de Cabo Verde (The National Historic Archive in Cape Verde). For two years she received partial support for her research from the Paul Cuffe Memorial Fellowship of the Study of Minorities in American Maritime History of the Frank C. Munson Institute of Maritime Studies at the Mystic Seaport Museum.  Her research includes a large database on Cape Verdean captains and ship-owners (1860-1970). She has been assisting the Schooner Ernestina/Effie M. Morrissey since the 1970s and was on-board anthropologist/maritime historian and crew from 1993-2005.

This event is co-sponsored by the Schooner Ernestina Commission (SEC) and the Schooner Ernestina- Morrissey Association (SEMA) and will take place in the Grand Reading Room on the first floor of the Claire T. Carney Library on the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s North Dartmouth campus.  It is free and open to the public.  Refreshments will be served.  Parking is available in Lots 13 and 14.  For further information, contact Judy Farrar at 508-999-8686 or

More information on the archives can be found at <>.  The SEC web site is part of the DCR site at  <>  and the SEMA web site can be found at <>.

120 Years of Maritime History

This year we will be celebrating Ernestina-Morrissey’s 12oth anniversary.  The Schooner Ernestina Commission is planning several events to commemorate this significant year.

Schooner Arethusa, 1907

120 years ago, on Feb. 1, 1894, a scene similar to this one would have occurred as Effie M. Morrissey was launched from the John F. James & Washington Tarr shipyard in Essex, Massachusetts. It is interesting that this photo shows the launch of another of Captain Clayton Morrissey’s vessels.


Schooner Columbia




After launch, ships (Columbia shown here) built in Essex were often towed to Gloucester to be fitted out… rigged, ballasted and equipped according to their use. “The contract price was $6,700 for hull and spars, ready for rigging. The Effie M. Morrissey was the last fishing schooner built for the Wonson Fish Company. She took four months to build and was launched February 1, then towed by the tug Startle to Gloucester, the Morrissey was fitted out for the season to go salt cod fishing”  Schooner Ernestina Commission Archives

For the kick-off event on March 3 Traudi Coli and Tim Walker will deliver a lecture “SCHOONER ERNESTINA/EFFIE M. MORRISSEY AT 120:  A LOOK BACK AT HER HISTORY AND THE HISTORY OF CAPE VERDEAN IMMIGRATION TO THE UNITED STATES”  followed by a birthday celebration during AHA! on Thursday, March 13.   Check the links in “Upcoming Events” in the right-hand column for details about the celebration at the March AHA and the Ernestina-Morrissey Archives lecture!

January Covergirl.

Ernestina-Morrissey is Miss January in the Spinner Publications New England Fisherman calendar.   Order yours from Spinner Publications.

1940 was the year  the Morrissey set a record for furthest north at 80 degrees 22 minutes North Latitude. That’s only 578 nautical miles from the North Pole.  Follow the link in the timeline to John Pitcairn’s log.

You can see the horizontal antenna supports at the top of the topmasts for the radio.  Among other assignments, the vessel served as a radio-relay vessel to northern outposts in Canada, Greenland and the Soviet Union during World War II.

You can also see a horizontal line about 2 feet above the water line.  That is the top of the greenheart sheathing that Bartlett had added to protect the hull from ice damage, both as reinforcement and as a sacrificial extra layer.  You can see the scouring of the greenheart sheath in this photo taken at Ikateq, Greenland.

Norcross Winter Lecture

On Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 1:30 pm Schooner Ernestina Commissioner, and former Mate, Fred Sterner and  Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association Secretary Mary Anne McQuillan and will share the amazing history of Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey with Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary’s members and guests.

Why will they travel to Wales, MA in the middle of Massachusetts, far from the coast? Because the Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary was founded by Arthur D. Norcross  and he sponsored and sailed with Captain Bob Bartlett in 1931, 1932 and 1933.

If you would like to attend please contact the Sanctuary.

Arthur D. Norcross, a native of Monson, Massachusetts, founded the Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary in 1939. An active sportsman and participating sponsor of several Arctic expeditions, Mr. Norcross turned his lifelong interest in wildlife and the out-of-doors to his childhood “stomping grounds:” the wooded hills surrounding Monson and nearby Wales. Using as a core the 100-acre family woodlot/pasture-inherited from his father, A. D. Norcross, in 1916, Mr. Norcross began circa 1930 to gather nearby wooded acres, farmland, wetlands and other parcels. His purpose was to establish the Sanctuary, known locally as Tupper Hill.

Join the Chorus!

The New Bedford Harbor Sea Chantey Chorus has started rehearsals for the 2014 season just around the corner! We are always looking for new members. We are already getting concert requests for the summer.

If you’d like to give it try, we’ll be meeting on Wednesday evenings from 6:30-8:00PM at the New Bedford Unitarian Church on Union St.   Use the Eighth St entrance (and parking lot).

Let the singing begin!!

Winter Cover On!

Manny Silva, David Pires and the rest of the DCR crew completed the winter cover just in time for the storm!  The structure had to be rebuilt now that the masts are in the ship again.  Manny and David will be on watch at the ship during the storm.

$125,000 Challenge

Read President Britto’s letter here.



New T-shirts Recognize Ernestina/Morrissey’s Refits

New shirts are available!  The shirts feature the “classic” front.   On the back is a line drawing of Ernestina ex Effie M. Morrissey‘s hull, rig and sail plan produced by the HAER Maritime Recording Program of the National Park Service.  Below the drawing is recognition of the ship’s several refits as she sailed though her many “lives” : 1894 Essex, MA – built for the Gloucester cod fishery * 1926 Staten Island, NY – refit for Arctic Exploration*1982 Mindelo, Cape Verde – refit for return to the United States * 2009 Boothbay Harbor, ME – restoration begins * Official Vessel of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  The color is “ash”.

M&R Screenprinting did a great job on the shirts.  We are thinking of ordering some in children’s sizes. what do you think?

Arthur Moniz Art Gallery has generously offered to accept donations for the new shirts.  Stop by their gallery at 22 William St. in Downtown New Bedford.  We have sizes small, medium, large and extra large and the donation is $15 for sizes S,M,L, XL and $18 for XXL and XXXL.

If you would like to have a shirt mailed to you we can do that too.

If you want to make a donation by check the donation is $20 ($23 for large sizes) which includes mailing expenses.  Please CONTACT US. for instructions.

If you want to order online with a credit card or PayPal the donation is $20 ($23 for large sizes)which includes mailing expenses.  Please visit PayPal and enter $20 ($23 for large sizes) in the “donation amount” box.   Click “continue” next the the credit card icons or log in if you have a PayPal account.  Fill in your information and indicate the size shirt you need and mailing instructions by clicking “add special instructions to the seller” and we’ll send you your shirt.  Follow this link to our PayPal account. and click the “Donate” button.  If you have any questions CONTACT US.

We do have a few of the full-color shirts designed by George Fonseca available in sizes medium, extra large and extra-extra large.  Same donation, $20 includes mailing expense.

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