New Zealand Historical Association Conference: 23rd – 26th November 2021

From Tuesday until Friday, 23rd Nov. – 26th Nov. 2021, the New Zealand Historical Association will organize virtually their Biennial Conference, and I am very delighted to contribute to their programme with a presentation of my dissertation project.

According to the Organizers, the Conference programme includes over “60 sessions with over 130 presenters, covering topics from the history of theatre to rugby and nationalism and from heritage buildings to historical fiction”.

Together with Julia Bradshaw (Canterbury Museum, NZ), I will present my topic in a panel called “Colonial Trading”, which is chaired by John Stenhouse (University of Otago) at Thursday 2 pm (New Zealand Time). Given the -13 hours time difference to London, and -12 hours time difference to Germany, I will join the panel in the night from Wednesday to Thursday, at 1 am London time (or 2 am german time.)

In case you are interested in attending the Zoom-Conference throughout the week (or at least for only some panels), a brief registration and a fee of 15 or 30 NZD is required.

The full conference programme can be seen here:

My archive adventure in Haverfordwest – and why it needs to be continued

Academic research is never a linear, clear and straight-forwarded process, as it seems to look like in CVs. It requires or leds often to decisions, thinking, overthinking, neglection, the (over-)emphasis or the overlooking of aspects and research questions, approaches and methods.

My research stay in the Pembrokeshire Records Office demonstrated me, that sometimes, just small hand-written notes can point to further, bigger, sources and manuscripts than one might expect, but lets start from the beginning.

What did happen?

The third stopover of my research stay (20.-22. Oct. 2021) brought me to Haverfordwest to the Pembrokeshire Record Office. The city of Haverfordwest is at the very western part of Wales and very small. And calm. Very calm to be precise. Ironically, one of the few life-signs of the city was the long queue of old people waiting for their Covid Booster vaccinations at the entrance of the Pembrokeshire Record Office.

A very brief and vague online catalogue entry titled “GB 213 D/BT – Records of the Starbuck family of Nantucket Island and Milford Haven” [c. 1660]-1954, brought me to this little public office. I arrived with no expectations and did not expect to encounter a treasure.

In this box, i found a finding aid of no less than 69 different manuscripts, properly ordered and explained, relating to the Starbuck family with documents dating back as early as the 1660s, which list the names of the first 10 settlers and each of their partners in Nantucket. Among the material in the box, there were also several epistles of Quaker meetings held in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Later on, the archive staff kindly pointed me also to a transcribed online finding aid, that exists on their homepage. I stayed only for several days, because the archive had only open Thursdays and Fridays. In these two days, I was busy with picturing every manuscript and book, which I had found beforehand, and I did not saw the time to actually read or go through the material.

The race against the short opening times of Archives, in particular in rural and far-away places, is an experience, which my supervisor Eva Bischoff had always kept telling me: “You always find the most interesting things at the very last moment close to the closing hours”.

Until last week, I claimed for myself not to face such situations and always thought: “This will not happen to me, I will search the archive database properly and clearly and nothing then will be left”.

Well, so far, so naive. I had taken a pictures of the detailed finding aid, and I might have been blended by the dark-censored lines, or while taking pictures, I automatically focussed on the terms “Land” and “NANTUCKET ISLAND”, which draw my very attention. Having my research questions in mind, this might be totally reasonable, you might argue. What else could be important here, you might wonder.

This short notice here: “See also HDX/1018”

Finding aid: DB/T Starbuck Papers: Private Picture, 21.10.2021

I realized this, when I went through the picture again, and when i checked the reference. “Ah, yeah, this surely, cannot be that important”, but you never know, better double checked than regretting once. So, i used the database, which the archive staff had introduced me.

And yees, it was important. I have barely experienced such an importance and urgency of any sources during my research stay in UK here (ok, I admitt thats exaggeration.) The refence’s name titled: HDX/1018 – Deeds and Documents from the Milford Haven Town sounds very promising and includes even more promising Dokuments.

And guess what: by checking the reference signature and by using further keywords such as Milford Haven etc., further material came across, which was invisible before.

HDX/250/1 – Copy of the genealogy of the Nantucket and Milford Quaker families

HDX/250/2 – Copy of the diary of Abial Colmen Folger, wife of Timothy Folger

HDX/380/1 – Description of Milford Haven in thr 19th century

HDX/380/4 – draft pedigree of the Starbuck family of Milford Haven

HDX/380/5 – Manuscript history of the Starbuck family

HDX/380/9 – General Notes on Milford Haven

HDX/380/13 – Notes on Milford Haven

HDX/486/1-4 – Historic Nantucket Journals

HDX/1726/2 – Notes from the diary of Thomas Clarkson, anti-slavery campaigner, who visited Pembrokeshire in 1824

HDX/1929/1 – Lease book for the Milford Haven Estate, relating to leases dated 1801-1881

Long story, short: I will travel wednesday to Haverfordwest again, and will have Thursday and Friday time to read the listed manusripts here and by writing these lines, i realize now that one of my biggest issues will be the race against the time.

Ok, Eva Bischoff, I think you have been right.

Milford Havens connections to Nantuckets whaling industry

In my last blogpost, I finished the text with a long self-transcribed quote, which I have drew out of a radio episode. The quote, however, was not the only fascinating information, which I received. I also learnt of the Milford Haven Museum by accident. I have linked you here the Facebook-page of the small museum.

Milford Haven was not necessarily on my archive research list but surely on my visiting list. Between 1795 and 1820, the small rural city in the far south west of Wales, with its 14.000 inhabitants, became the center of Quaker whaling families of Starbuck and the Folgers. The political and economic difficulties, which these Quaker whalers faced in their their temporarily places across the Atlantic Ocean consisting of 1) London, 2) in the British colony of Nova Scotia (today Canada), as well as in the 3) French city of Dunkirk led Quaker whalers to seek alternative harbours to continue their whaling activities. Eventually, they found in the persons of Lord Greville and William Hamilton two willing supporters of a whaling settlement at Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire (Morton 1982, p. 99).

Greville and “Hamilton requested and gained permission from Parliament to build a town with docks, warehouses and a custom house on his land at Milford Haven.” Moreover, they convinced the Government in London “to subsidize the removal of the whalemen from North America to Britain, as part of their plan to encourage whaling from the home island.” (Follini 2006, p. 9) According to Follini, “Greville was the nephew of Sir William Hamilton who owned the manor of Hubberston, in Wales on the magnificent harbour of Milford Haven.” It was this Greville who “had a vision of developing the area as a whaling port.”(Follini 2006, p. 9).

Private Picture – 20.10.2021.

Having this historical background in mind, I used the opportunity to visit Milford Haven, the small rural city in the far south west of Wales. As soon as I heard of the Milford Haven Museum I contacted them via Facebook, which is the only way to come in touch with them. The small museum consists of 4 rooms on two floors and offers a beautiful collection of Milford Havens maritime heritage ranging from the 19th century until today. The most interesting part of their collection for me however, included among others a huge genealogical tree of Nantucket´s families. Talking with Sue Kenny, one of the volunteers, the genealogical tree has been was handed to them in the 20th century by a descendant of the Starbuck family. For the collection, they had enlarged the tree to 4×2 metres.

Milford Haven Museum – Private Picture, 20.10.2021.

The Genealogy of the Nantucket 18 (?) and Milford Haven Friends. – Private Picture, 20.10.2021.

In the same room, the collection provides also a laminated version of the Dairy of Abiel Foulger of the year 1807, which can be read by interested guests. According to its introduction, they seem to have copied the transcription from the collection of the Nantucket Historical Association.

Private Picture, 20.10.2021.

As you might remember from my last blogpost that Abiel Folger was not the only women as she belonged to a large group of Quaker families, who moved together to Milford Haven. Yet she seems to have had a good relationship to the Swain family.

In a dairy entry of 4th July, she writes that “we received letters from Abiel Sally & Alex Swain.”

Unfortunately, she does not mention, from where she received the letter, because during this period, the Quaker family members of the Swain appeard to live in Nantucket, Nova Scotia, Dunkirk, London and in Milford Haven too.

One of the Swain, Barnabus Swain to be precise, lived in Milford Haven with the other Quakers, but from November 1807 onwards Barnabus seem to have decided to move to London and did not visit them during Christmas. In the dairy entries of November/December, briefly after her 71st birthday, she begins to mentions the correspondences with him.

“26. [Nov.] Swain Capt E C & Sally Boon drank tea hear”

“27. [Nov.] this is my birthday 71 years old.”

“28. [Nov.] this morn we Recivd a letter from B Swain before we weak up in the morn”

“29. [Nov.] we recivd a letter from Swain he had gone to London”

“6. [Dec.] We have bin writing B Swain ouer”

“13. [Dec.] First day we recivd a letter from B. Swain & wrote him an answer”

“18. [Dec.] no letter from Swain we fear he is sick”

“21. [Dec.] we wrote to Swain in London”

“26. [Dec.] this Day had a letter from Swain Saying he could not come Down it was too much to bare”

“27. [Dec.] grieving not to see Swain Dind on Sausage Pye”

“29. [Dec.] Samuel [Does she mean Starbuck? I am not sure] Recivd a letter from B Swain whairing he lements not being able to see us I dont wonder”

What I also find fascinating, is that only by walking through the small city, I also found many traces of Milford’s connection to both, Quaker whaling families but also New England as the whaling center at that time such as signs in restaurants, restaurants names, or street names.


Clayton, Jane (2007): Nantucket Whalers in Milford Haven, Wales. In: Historic Nantucket, A Publication of the Nantucket Historical Association 56 (1), pp. 4-7.

Follini, Maida (2006): A Quaker Odyssey. The Migration of Quaker Whalers from Nantucket, Massachusetts to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and Milford Haven, Wales. In: Canadian Quaker History Journal 71, pp. 1-21.

Morton, Harry (1982): The Whale´s Wake. Dunedin NZ.

How a radio episode in Aberystwyth wetted my curiosity

Two weeks ago, at the 10th October on a Sunday afternoon, I took a Bus in Birmingham and travelled 4 hours to Wales, to Aberystwyth to be precise. Given that Aberystwyth is a small rural city with 18.000 inhabitants, and excluded from any motorway or any bigger cities or metropole areas in Wales, I was astonished of the vivid atmosphere, which shaped the city, even on a sunday night.

The city has an university and its 6000 enrolled students as well as the beautiful promenade along the coast definitely shape this city. To be honest: Aberystwyth belonged to one of those places of Wales, which I had never heard of. The cities of Cardiff, of Swansea, as well as the Snowdonia National Park, the welsh football team and dragons (!?) were the only things, which came me or my friends in mind, with whom I talked about Wales. Yet, what is much more known to me is that Wales, or rather Milford Haven, had a brief chapter of whaling industry too as this small collection of research articles demonstrate:

Allen, Richard C. (2010): Nantucket Quakers and the Milford Haven Whaling Industry, c. 1791-1821. In: Quaker Studies 15 (1), pp. 6-31.

Clayton, Jane (2007): Nantucket Whalers in Milford Haven, Wales. In: Historic Nantucket, A Publication of the Nantucket Historical Association 56 (1), pp. 4-7.

Follini, Maida (2006): A Quaker Odyssey. The Migration of Quaker Whalers from Nantucket, Massachusetts to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and Milford Haven, Wales. In: Canadian Quaker History Journal 71, pp. 1-21.

McKay, K. (1989): A Vsion of Greatness, the history of Milford, 1790-1990, Pembrokeshire: Brace Harvatt Associates.

Thomas, Flora (1920): The Builders of Milford. Haverfordwest: The Pembrokeshire Telegraph.

National Library of Wales – private Picture – 12.10.2021.

Despite its small composition, the city of Aberystwyth is also centre of the National Library of Wales, which is the most important reason, which bring me to this rural place at the coast of Wales. I have spent here a week and pre-ordered manuscripts related to the Starbuck Quaker whaling family, who were known to have relocated to Milford Haven further southwards of Wales between roughly between 1795 and 1820.

The material, which I have found here date mostly later than 1830 up to 1870 and the marriage certificates and wills show that the descendants of thsi part of the Starbuck family remained in Wales and England after the arrival. Clayton (2007) could reconstruct at least fifteen Nantucket families, who settled across the Atlantic to Milford Haven. The settlement was

“led by the Starbucks and the Folgers. Samuel Starbuck Sr. [who] came with his wife, Abigail, and their two sons, Samuel Jr. [Starbuck] and Daniel [Starbuck], along with their families. Timothy Folger brought his wife, Abiel [Folger]; one daughter, Peggy, with her husband David Grieve; and their son, Timothy Jr., along with his family.

Others who came to settle included several ship captains: Zacchary Bunker and his wife, Judith, with some of their children; Elisha Clarke and his wife, Elizabeth, with their children; Barnabus Swain; James Gwinn; Peter Macy; Benjamin Folger; David Coleman; Jonathan Paddock; Nathaniel Macy; Uriel Bunker; and Frederick Coffin – with or without their families. Several returned to New England, while others remained in Britain for the rest of their lives.”

Jane Clayton (2007)

Due to Covid-restrictions, it was necessary to book a reading desk a few days before-hand for each day. Arriving at the front-desk of the National Library, remained very curious, as the security had already a “guest-list” of all individuals, who had booked a reading desk beforehand. Apart from manuscripts, I found numerous interesting articles and books, which kept my interest.

  • The very helpful library staff, furthermore, directed my attention to audio-visual sources too. They pointed me to a short video clip of 1947 entitled “Milford Haven”, which is online available here and is kindly provided by the British Film Institute and the National Sound and Screen Archive of Wales. The 14 minutes give an impression of a whaling settlement, and pictures the small city as “little America”.

Apart from written documents and video clips, the collection also holds two BBC radio episodes about the Quakers in Wales of the BBC show “Good evening Wales”. They were published 7th November 2000 and 14th November 2000, but the first part is not available anymore in the National Library’s collection. They were produced by Sunny Davis, Jimmy Davis and Collin Davis.

Listening to the second part, however, was very fascinating as it seems to be a documentation which contained many quotes of several prominent and local individuals, who were familiar with the whaling industry, such as the famous Nantucket-located author (1) Nathaniel Philbrick, (2) Richard Allen, who published extensively on Quaker whalers in Wales, and as well as (3) George Springer, who was the local curator of the Milford Haven Museum at that time.

Among the many quotes, I found one oral statement of a person called Duckburg (?) worth to transcribe, which I will quote here now. He refers to the role of Milford Haven as a whaling harbour for the Quaker whalers and there is the assumption that Milford Haven was only used as an entrance harbour to remain access for their whale oil to sell it duty-free into the british market in the late 18th century. The American Revolutionary wars of 1776 found the Quakers in Nantucket excluded from selling their whale oil to the British market, and Quaker whalers put high efforts to relocate and establish whaling settlements on places such as Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Dunkirk, London and Milford Haven. Duckburg, however, wonders about the strikingly short whaling voyages and the high whale oil casks of Milford Haven whaling ships at the same time.

“[Moderator voice:] But those greasy whaling voyages could be strangely short. Duckburg. [Duckburg voice:] Unlike those from Nantucket, they would return to port with a full load of a good oil onboard in a matter of just a couple of month instead of several years, and one wonders if perhaps some of the Nantucket vessels met with some of the Milford Haven vessels and exchanged cargoes along the way, thereby avoiding the very heavy duties in tariffs, that had been placed upon American Oil, pretty crude (?) move as quakers remained nobodies provved (?) move (?).”

BBC Radio Episode, 14.11.2000, minute: 13:50 onwards

This last quote opened me a wide range of further questions and demonstrate again the translocality and the social and economic connection of these Quaker whalers in the Atlantic world. I clearly need to analyse these entanglements more specifically.

›Australian Seascapes‹ : 27th Sept. – 2nd Oct. 2021

Today, I would like to put the attention on the 17th Biennial Conference of the Gesellschaft für Australienstudien | German Association for Australian Studies, which will take place within the week of 27th September 2021 and 2nd October 2021.

The conference will take place online via Zoom and include  “online lectures (»webinars«) with panel presentations and discussions.” “All conference events”, as the organizer PD Dr. Eva Bischoff concludes, “will take place between 8:00-13:00 CEST/ 16:00-21:00 AEST, giving Australian and German participants the opportunity to attend at their convenience.”

In order to take part, it is necessary to register here at Eventbrite.

The conference is supported by the DFG, hosted by Trier University and organized by PD Dr. Eva Bischoff, Department of International History.

Conference programm can be also found as a .pdf document.



08:00–09:00 CEST / 16:00–17:00 AEST: Webinar
Lynette Russell (Monash University): Planning for the Unknown and Unexpected
Chair: Eva Bischoff (Trier University)

09:00–09:30 CEST / 17:00–17:30 AEST: Tea and Coffee

09:30–10:30 CEST / 17:30–18:30 AEST: Webinar
Paul Giles (University of Sydney): Negative Antipodes: Australian Literature and Planetary Seascapes
Chair: Katrin Althans (University of Duisburg-Essen / German Association for Australian Studies)


08:00–09:00 CEST / 16:00–17:00 AEST: Webinar
Killian Quigley (Australian Catholic University / University of Sydney): „A Fellow-Denizen of the Deep“: Diving in the Colonial Undersea
Chair: Katrin Kleemann (German Maritime Museum – Leibniz Institute for Maritime History / RCC LMU Munich)

09:00–09:30 CEST / 17:00–17:30 AEST: Tea and Coffee

09:30–10:30 CEST / 17:30–18:30 AEST: Webinar
Ian Hoskins (Sydney): A Tentative Embrace: Depictions of the New South Wales Coast in Literature and Art, 1823–1932
Chair: Barbara Schmidt-Haberkamp (Bonn University)

10.30–11:00 CEST / 18:30–19:00 AEST: Tea and Coffee

11:00–12:00 CEST / 19:00–20:00 AEST: Webinar
Leah Barclay (University of the Sunshine Coast): Listening to Australian Aquatic Ecosystems: Ecoacoustics in Marine Environments
Chair: Anja Schwarz (Potsdam University)


08:00–09:00 CEST / 16:00–17:00 AEST: Webinar
Ian Conrich (University of Vienna): Seascapes from an Island Continent: Coastal Australia on Film
Chair: Victoria Herche (University of Cologne)

09:00–09:30 CEST / 17:00–17:30 AEST: Tea and Coffee

09:30–10:30 CEST / 17:30–18:30 AEST: Webinar
Rough Seas: From Mabo to Uluru
Geoff Rodoreda (University of Stuttgart) in conversation with Thomas Mayor, author of Finding the Heart of the Nation, and David Saylor, native title lawyer, Saylor Legal, Townsville


07:30–09:00 CEST / 15:30–17:00 AEST: Parallel Panels
1. „So it is captured from the sea“: Documenting the Pearling Industry of Broome
Stefanie Affeldt (University of Heidelberg) / Sarah Yu (Nyamba Buru Yawuru)

2. Between Indian and Pacific Oceans: Reframing Australian Literature
Meg Samuelson (University of Adelaide) / Madeleine Seys (University of Adelaide) / Mandy Treagus (University of Adelaide)

3. Indigenous Seascapes: Representations in Prose and Poetry
Jo Jones (Curtin University): Water Elegy: Mourning and the Mouth of the Swan River (Marragee and Wallyalup)
Geoff Rodoreda (University of Stuttgart): Seascapes of Alexis Wright

09:00–09:30 CEST / 17:00–17:30 AEST: Tea and Coffee

09:30–11:00 CEST / 17:30–19:00 AEST: Parallel Panels
4. Temporalities and Geographies I
Daniel Rothenburg (University of Tübingen): The Bequest of an Ancient Sea: A Modern Australian Story about Environmental Consciousness in Deep Time
Kate Tehan (University of Melbourne): Surfing in the Australian Imaginary

5. Temporalities and Geographies II
Katrin Kleemann (German Maritime Museum – Leibniz Institute for Maritime History / RCC LMU Munich): Understanding the Sea: A History of the Flagstaff Observatory for Geophysics, Magnetism and Nautical Science in Melbourne, 1858–1864
Jean Page (University of Lisbon): „Vast Crystal Globe“ – Awash in the Sublime: James McAuley’s Twentieth Century Sea Voyage (Captain Quiros, 1964)

6. Indigenous Knowledges and Practices
Christina Ringel (Univ. of Cologne / TU Dortmund): Revitalising Linguistics and Cultural Knowledge
Anja Schwarz (Potsdam University): Looking across the Beach with Tupaia


07:30–09:00 CEST / 15:30–17:00 AEST: Parallel Panels
7. Politics, Policies, and Economy I
Alessandro Antonello (Flinders University): Australia’s Expanding Ocean Territories and the Law of the Sea, 1950s-1980s
Ina Voshage (University of Passau): No Worries? No Way! Australia’s Handling of Boat People

8. Coastal Encounters and the Agency of the Sea – three Oceans, three Temporalities, three Encounters
Leigh Penman (Monash University): From the „Flying Dutchman“ to „Sailormen’s Ghosts“: Haunted Narratives of Dutch Encounters with the Southland, 1600–1700
Leonie Stevens (Monash University): „A Great Deal of Smook“: The Watchers and the Watched across the Hazardous Coastline, from Bass to Torres Strait, 1770
Lily Yulianti Farid (Monash University): Creating a Site of Memories through „Nur Al Marege“ Replica Project

9. Politics, Policies, and Economy II
Noah Riseman (Australian Catholic University): Royal Australian Navy Court Martialled for Homosexuality in the 1950s–60s
Matthew Zagor (Australian National University): Liquid Legalities, Liquid Mobilities: Perspectives on Australia’s Water Borders for „Irregular“ Arrivals

09:00–09:30 CEST / 17:00–17:30 AEST: Tea and Coffee

09:30–11:00 CEST / 17:30–19:00 AEST: Parallel Panels
10. Representations and Imaginations I
Leonie John (University of Cologne): „This Beautiful Ocean Was Once a Nightmare to Me“: Hani Abdile’s Ambiguous Relationship with The Sea
Imke Lichterfeld (University of Bonn): Paradise Post-Colonialised? A Perpetual Idealist Gaze at the Australian Seaside
Parin Somani (Independent Scholar): Australian Seascapes: Exploring Identity and Culture through Beaches

11. Representations and Imaginations II
Stephen Alomes (RMIT Melbourne): Confessions of an Australian Littoralist
Heinz Antor (University of Cologne): Growing Up by the Sea in Western Australia: Surfing and Identity-Constitution in Tim Winton’s Breath (2008)
Linda Daley (RMIT Melbourne): Horizons of Land and Sea in Alexis Wright’s Literature

12. Politics, Policies, and Economy III
Jatinder Mann (National Cheng Kung University): Transnational Identities of the Global South Asian Diaspora in Australia, Canada, Aotearoa New Zealand, and South Africa, 1900s–1940s
Chris Wallace (University of Canberra): Unmoored from History: Chris Watson and the Political Storm that Swept the World’s First Social Democratic Prime Minister from View

11:00–11:30 CEST / 19:00–19:30 AEST: Tea and Coffee

11:30–13:00 CEST / 19:30–21:00 AEST: Parallel Panels
13. Representations and Imaginations III
Donna Lee Brien (Australian Catholic University / Central Queensland University): Representations of Violent Death in Australian Writing about Bondi Beach
Stephen Enciso (Charles Darwin University): The Beach as a Site of Racialized Violence: Whiteness and the Australian National Imagination

14. Human and Non-human Actors
Ellen Arnold (University of Stavanger): The Phillip Island Penguin Parade in Global Context: Penguins, Tourism, and Conservation
Brooke Grasberger (Brown University): Tasmanian Shore Whaling and Maritime Seasons
Haureh Hussein (University of Trier): Global Entanglements between Māori and Quaker Whaling Families (1790–1840)


08:00–09:00 CEST / 16:00–17:00 AEST: Keynote Webinar
Suvendrini Perera (Curtin University): Remaking the Borderscape: Australian Insularity two Decades after the Tampa
Chair: Carsten Wergin (University of Heidelberg / German Association for Australian Studies)

09:30–10:30 CEST / 17:30–18:30 AEST: Keynote Webinar
Helen Gilbert (Royal Holloway, University of London): Turning Tides: Indigeneity, Belonging and Oceanic Dramaturgies in Australian Theatre
Chair: Leonie Stevens (Monash University)

11:00–12:00 CEST / 19:00–20:00 AEST: Concluding Roundtable Discussion: Australian Seascapes: Past, Present, and Future
Salhia Ben-Messahel (University of Toulon / European Association for Studies of Australia)
Beate Neumeier (University of Cologne / German Association for Australian Studies)
Noah Riseman (Australian Catholic University, International Australian Studies Association)
Chair: Eva Bischoff (Trier University)

My working space

My working space – The Cadbury Research Library – is in the cellar of the Muirhead tower.
– Private Picture – 8.9.2021.

After arrriving in Birmingham, I thought to have now – apart from my archive visitings – plenty of time of preparing blog articles. After the first ten days, I have to admitt: No, I do not.

In Birmingham I have these manuscripts in mind, which I want to go through:

CMS/B/OMS/C/N E: Early Correspondence, 1809-1821 (1 box)
CMS/B/OMS/C/N O 49/1-18: Hall, Francis, 1819-1823 (1 box)
CMS/B/OMS/C/N O 55/1-58: King, John, 1820-1854 (1 box)
CMS/B/OMS/C/N O 93/1-231: Williams, Rev. Henry, 1823-1861 (2 boxes)

My first step is to go through the sources of the most important Missionary individuals (I ascribe the term “most important” to those, who were regularly mentioned or quoted in secondary literature). Then I take pictures of EACH manuscript page, which means that I am adding roughly 300 pictures every day.

Taking pictures during the day – Private Picture – 8.9.2021.

Afterwards, I copy and remove them from my camera card into my research cloud and separate and distinguish each mansucript number. During the six weeks, in which I stay in Birmingham, do not allow me to additionally read all of them. The aim is to forge a detailed source corpus, which I then can consult and use for my next writing process, when I am back in Trier.

Organizing them in the afternoon/evening. Private Picture – 8.9.2021.

So, taking hundreds of pictures during the days and importing and categorizing them in the evenings, do shape my time here. For the rest of the remaining day, I enjoy lunchbreaks in the sun and discover the city centre of Birmingham.

As soon, as I finish with the manuscripts of the individual missionaries, I will go a step further and will take the Mission books and the letter books of the research collection in to account.

Hello Birmingham (Cadbury Research Library)

It took me a while to write this blog article, not due to its planning, but rather because I had a busy time with a lot of Covid-related travel preparations and restrictions.

In May 2021, I applied successfully for a three-month research scholarship of the German Historical Institute London and now, at the end of August, fully vaccinated and equipped with (german and british) Negative Tests and visa, I was finally ready to travel and arrive in the UK.

As this research blog emerges with my current research, I had two different ideas to proceed with the next articles; Either I could start chronologically and explain step by step what I have done so far and what I intend to do in the future. Or I let you dive with me right in my current situation and then provide you with the historical background.

Private Picture – 1.9.2021

I decided for the second way and therefore, I will explain why I travelled to Birmingham in the United Kingdom. I will spent the next six weeks here in order to visit and read the manuscripts of the Church Missionary Society Archive (1799-2009) at the Cadbury Research Library at the University of Birmingham.

You might ask yourself: “Wait, what? Why does he talk about missionaries? I thought this is all about Quaker Whalers and Māori.” Well, history is unfortunately very complex and one cannot tell all its strings at the same time, yet I will, nevertheless, only focus on the interactions of Missionaries with Māori individuals and Whalers.

Until the next blog post, I will leave you with two monographs of Ballantyne and Middleton, which are two very helpful sources to start with the history of the Church Missionary Society and their enocunter with Māori individuals in the early 19th century.


Ballantyne, Tony (2014): Entanglements of Empire. Missionaries, Māori, and the Question of the Body. Durham & London: Duke University Press.

Middleton, Angela (2014): Pewhairangi. Bay of Islands Missions and Maori 1814 to 1845. Dunedin: Otago University Press.

How everything began – and how it continues

Thank you very much for visiting this research blog. Let me give you a short introduction of the function of this website. I understand and consider the content, which I share here with you, as an extended, digitized version of my academic research journal.

In April 2017, when I returned from my Erasmus exchange semester at the KU Leuven in Belgium to Trier University to finish the M.A. degree in History, I had forged a thriving fascination for maritime history related topics. With several (very vague) ideas in mind, I began to talk with several lecturers and eventually found in Ursula Lehmkuhl and Eva Bischoff two encouraging and inspiring supervisors.

One of the most helpful academic practices Eva Bischoff taught (and later also Lynette Russell reminded) me was to trace my thoughts, ideas and process in a research journal. The more I read, researched, structured, changed and wrote the chapters of my M.A. thesis, the more I realized the advantages of journaling, in particular for long-termed projects such as a dissertation project later on.

Private Picture – 20.8.2021

Such a reconstruction and historical tracing method of the own work is crucial and helpful in several ways. It avoids losing the overview, it keeps your motivation – oh yes, even the most interesting topics can (and surely will) frustrate you – and it orientates you in your own process. Research Journaling helps you also to tackle the following questions too:

  • Where do I stay?
  • Which parts have I done successfully already?
  • Which steps are in front of me?
  • Which questions and tasks are urgent right now?

At this point, there is no right or wrong, there are no perfect lines, sentences or thoughts to be deleted.

Tracing the own thoughts can guide you through the wideness of a dissertation project and can (sometimes automatically) rise new questions and thoughts, which can be then discussed and mentioned outside the own research journal.

Having said this, I look forward to come in touch with you.

Transoceanic Voyages

Throughout the 19th century, whale oil was a natural resource that was in high demand as both a lubricant and a means of illumination for the growing cities of the Atlantic World. One can even say: It fuelled the Industrial Revolution in this period. After having exhausted whale populations in the Atlantic, whaling ships from both London and New England ports ventured from the 1790s onwards into the Pacific.

Such transoceanic whaling voyages, which could last up to four years, required regular stops for provisions and supplies at ports and islands. During their stopovers, members of whaling ships came in touch with local communities, traded not only guns and goods, but also employed Indigenous peoples on various islands in the Pacific Ocean. As such, these transoceanic whaling voyages put “thousands of people from around the world on the move” (Wanhalla 2013, p. 7) and “provided mobility and travel, which facilitated a kind of freedom that was not [always] present on land” (Russell 2012, p. 97). The whaling ventures departed from Atlantic ports followed the whale migration patterns as far as the Pacific in order to fulfil “the [growing] demands of a vast network of consumers” (Shoemaker 2014, p. 4) for its oil.

My dissertation project shows on the example of the Swain and Starbuck families how Quaker whalers constituted an interaction space with Native American, African and African American individuals already in the Atlantic. Having these backgrounds in mind, I argue that these families had already formed a specific interaction space in the Atlantic, when they reached the Pacific from 1790 onwards. I aim to reconstruct these multiple socioeconomic relationships of these global interactions between whalers and Māori Iwi between 1790 and 1840.

This research blog shall give my dissertation project a (digital) audience and allow me to discuss specific topics and aspects, to introduce research details, key publications, and accompany me in the academic journey on a regular base.


Russell, Lynette (2012): Roving Mariners. Australian aboriginal whalers and sealers in the southern oceans, 1790-1870. New York: State University of New York Press.

Shoemaker, Nancy (2014): Living with whales. Documents and oral histories of Native New England whaling history. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press.

Wanhalla, Angela (2013): Matters of the Heart. A History of Interracial Marriage in New Zealand. Auckland: Auckland University Press.