Creighton, Margaret S. 1949-
CREIGHTON, Margaret S. 1949-
PERSONAL: Born 1949. Education: Indiana University, B.A.; Boston University, Ph.D.
ADDRESSES: Home—Yarmouth, ME. Office—Bates College, 2 Andrews Rd., Lewiston, ME 04240-6028. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Bates College, Lewiston, ME, professor of history.
Dogwatch and Liberty Days: Seafaring Life in the Nineteenth Century, Peabody Museum of Salem (Salem, MA), 1982.
Rites and Passages: The Experience of American Whaling, 1830–1870, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1995.
Iron Men, Wooden Women: Gender and Seafaring in the Atlantic World, 1700–1920, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1996.
SIDELIGHTS: Margaret S. Creighton is a history professor whose extensive knowledge of seafaring culture has led to such books as Dogwatch and Liberty Days: Seafaring Life in the Nineteenth Century, Rites and Passages: The Experience of American Whaling, 1830–1870 and Iron Men, Wooden Women: Gender and Seafaring in the Atlantic World, 1700–1920. Rites and Passages is an "informative, engaging book," according to a Publishers Weekly reviewer, one which reconstructs what life was like aboard a whaling ship. The book also takes on the question of whether whaling men constituted a class of men unto themselves, or if they were merely men doing a job, albeit one that took them to sea for years. She notes that men from the entire spectrum of social classes signed on for whaling voyages, and their reasons were doing so were varied. Some sought romantic ideals at sea, as well as blubber and whale oil. The reality of the voyage often was at odds with what the sailors had imagined beforehand. Log books and journals add to the flavor of the author's narrative, which show that for all their differences, the sailors were above all "profoundly, universally human."
Creighton joined Lisa Norling in coediting Iron Men, Wooden Women, a collection of narratives about life at sea. The book includes tales of Anne Bonny and Mary Read, two notorious female pirates of the early eighteenth century; essays on the relationship between sea and shore life; and the place women occupied in maritime culture. Iron Men, Wooden Women is "ideal for both classroom use and scholarly discussion," according to Nicoletta F. Gullace in Historian. She further stated, "These provocative essays make excellent reading, and the volume as a whole achieves that rare balance between a clear, overarching thematic structure and the distinctive contributions of a series of highly original and innovative articles."
Creighton explored another area of history in her book The Colors of Courage: Gettysburg's Hidden History: Immigrants, Women, and African Americans in the Civil War's Defining Battle. The Battle of Gettysburg was both the bloodiest battle and the turning point of the American Civil War, but most accounts of the battle focus on white, male soldiers. Creighton's book looks more deeply into the story to find the contributions of African Americans; immigrants from Ireland, Germany, and other countries; and the work done by women to help devastated regions recover after the war's end. "Creighton does not seek to replace the historic narrative but rather to expand it to include the diversity of the American character," stated Vernon Ford in Booklist. Library Journal contributor Randall M. Miller assured: "No one who reads this book will ever forget that so many brave men and women of different backgrounds fought at Gettysburg."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 1, 2005, Vernon Ford, review of The Colors of Courage: Gettysburg's Hidden History: Immigrants, Women, and African Americans in the Civil War's Defining Battle, p. 935.
English Historical Review, April, 1998, Deborah Valenze, review of Iron Men, Wooden Women: Gender and Seafaring in the Atlantic World, 1700–1920, p. 491.
Historian, fall, 1998, Nicoletta F. Gullace, review of Iron Men, Wooden Women, p. 218.
Journal of Interdisciplinary History, summer, 1997, Stephen Innes, review of Rites and Passages: The Experience of American Whaling, 1830–1870, p. 155.
Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2004, review of The Colors of Courage, p. 1075.
Library Journal, January 1, 2005, Randall M. Miller, review of The Colors of Courage, p. 127.
Publishers Weekly, July 10, 1995, review of Rites and Passages, p. 54.
Women's Review of Books, April, 1997, Mary Beth Norton, review of Iron Men, Wooden Women, p. 12.