The New Bedford Whaling Museum's Moby-Dick Marathon is an annual non-stop reading of Herman Melville's literary masterpiece. The multi-day program of entertaining activities and events is presented every January. Admission to the Marathon is free.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Today in History

New Bedford Harbor, 1893
In the hectic run-up to MDM16, we're grateful to The Writer's Almanac for noting that today is the 171st anniversary of Herman's departure on the whaleship Acushnet, from New Bedford Harbor. (The ship was registered in Fairhaven.) In 1841, he was just 21 years old. That voyage proved to be his "Yale College and [his] Harvard."

For its first thirteen editions, the Moby-Dick Marathon began on January 3 in remembrance of Melville's sailing. It wasn't until 2010 (MDM14) that the event was moved to the first weekend after the New Year holiday, to make it more accessible for the conscientious laborers among us.

The ship Acushnet was named after the Acushnet River, which forms New Bedford Harbor where the river enters Buzzards Bay. According to Wikipedia:
The name "Acushnet" comes from the Wampanoag Algonquian word, "Cushnea", meaning "as far as the waters", a word that was used by the original owners of the land in describing the extent of the parcel they intended to sell to the English settlers from the nearby Plimouth colony.

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