Roses of a New Bedford Summer

Article excerpt

Herman Melville wrote in chapter 6 of Moby-Dick that "The women of New Bedford, they bloom like their own red roses." The women of the New Bedford 2001 summer contributed a fine rose garden that continues to flourish into the millennium winter. Notable among them was Dr. Laurie Robertson-Lorant, Melville biographer and project director for "Melville and Multiculturalism amid Historic Sites." Dr. Louise Habicht of North Dartmouth's University of Massachusetts, Dr. Candace Lee Heald and Karen Allen of the New Bedford Whaling Museum, and Jennifer Gonsalves, Ranger of the National Park Service, added to the vibrancy of the summer rose bloomings.

Historic sites trodden by NEH/Melville included New Bedford itself, featuring Melville's departure from Fairhaven, the home of Frederick Douglass, and the Seaman's Bethel. The reading of poetry by candlelight from the pulpit of the Seaman's Bethel entranced listeners in an evening initiated by Everett Hoagland, New Bedford poet laureate, reading his own. Mystic Seaport in Connecticut invited a climb of the rigging of the Joseph Conrad, the rowing of the Charles W. Morgan's whaleboats, and the singing of whaling songs into the starry night's sky. Some visited Nantucket. Returning to America from Martha's Vineyard, NEH/Melville took the short voyage to Pittsfield, Arrowhead, and Monument Mountain, where the wraith-like presences of both Melville and Hawthorne converged with twenty-first century trekkers. …