March 1, 2021
Join National Parks of Boston, USS Constitution Museum, USS Constitution, and Boston Harbor Now on March 9, 2021, from 6 – 7:30 pm, for a virtual gathering featuring stories and a conversation with Stephen Puleo, author of the beautifully written and fastidiously researched VOYAGE OF MERCY: The USS Jamestown, the Irish Famine, and the Remarkable Story of America’s First Humanitarian Mission. This event kicks off with traditional Irish music by Calum Bell and friends, and a rotation of historic images that set the context for an author talk, followed by community conversation and Q&A. This event is free and open to the public.
The USS Jamestown, a converted sloop-of-war, left Charlestown Navy Yard in March 1847 to deliver humanitarian aid to Ireland, which was then in the grip of the devastating Potato Famine. This extraordinary voyage–with ties to Charlestown Navy Yard and the people of Boston–marked the first official US foreign aid mission authorized by Congress, and set a precedent for humanitarian efforts worldwide. At the time of Jamestown’s departure, Charlestown Navy Yard, established in 1800 and one of the first of six Navy Yards in the country, was a regular departure point for ships sailing out on missions of war. The Jamestown mission was different; it was a remarkable mission of goodwill that lay the foundation for the next century and a half of US foreign aid missions.
Author Stephen Puleo is known for his historical nonfiction, including Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 and American Treasures: The Secret Efforts to Save the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Gettysburg Address. In VOYAGE OF MERCY he effectively describes the horrors of Ireland’s Potato Famine, which has been described as the greatest humanitarian crisis in nineteenth century Europe. In the face of this ecological and humanitarian catastrophe, Puleo relates how average men and women in the US organized relief in the form of vital food supplies to be delivered out of Boston and sent across the Atlantic.
We hope you will join us for this virtual program, which sheds light on a little-known humanitarian mission. To register, go to voyageofmercy.eventbrite.com. For information about the event, call 617-242-5642.
About National Parks of Boston
The National Parks of Boston is a collection of three National Park Service sites – Boston National Historical Park, Boston African American National Historic Site, and Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park. Established by individual legislation and for designated purposes, the three units have come together under a unified organizational umbrella to collaborate in ways that celebrate our cultural heritage, reconnect people to history and nature, and provide outdoor recreational opportunities on land and on the water. For more information, visit: www.nps.gov/bost, www.nps.gov/boaf and www.bostonharborislands.org
About USS Constitution Museum
The USS Constitution Museum serves as the memory and educational voice of USS Constitution by collecting, preserving, and interpreting the stories of “Old Ironsides” and those associated with her. This award-winning non-profit provides an environment where inter-generational groups seeking an enjoyable and educational experience can have fun while learning and exploring history together. The Museum’s mission is to engage all ages in the story of Constitution to spark excitement about maritime heritage, naval service, and the American experience. For more information, visit usscm.org.
About USS Constitution
USS Constitution, America's Ship of State, actively defended sea lanes against global threats from 1798-1855. Now a featured destination on Boston's Freedom Trail, Constitution, and her crew of active duty US Navy sailors, offers community outreach and educational programs about the ship's history and the importance of naval power to more than 500,000 visitors each year. For more information, visit: www.navy.mil/local/constitution
About Boston Harbor Now
Boston Harbor Now is committed to access, resiliency, and the harbor's economic role in the region. Boston Harbor Now works with public and private partners to expand access to open space and recreational, educational and cultural opportunities harbor-wide, to plan for and build an integrated and expanded water transportation system, and to foster economic development and growth that is resilient to sea-level rise and the effects of climate change. Boston Harbor Now plays a unique role as the non-profit partner of the Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park, raising funds to help the National Park Service, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, and the City of Boston, to enhance visitor experience and provide interpretive, educational and cultural programs, volunteer opportunities, and free access for diverse communities. For more information, visit: www.bostonharbornow.org