HAWAIIANS, CATHOLICS, AND THE TOWN WITH A BAY IN FRONT AND AN AMPHITHEATER OF HILLS BEHIND: The Education of Richard Henry Dana Jr. in Santa Barbara
A Zoom webinar presentation by Rick Kennedy, Professor of History, Point Loma Nazarene University
Sponsored by: Marie L Morrisroe
As many of the children and parents who have participated in SBMM’s Spirit of Dana Point Tall Ship program know, Richard Henry Dana was a Massachusetts-born writer and lawyer, who was descended from America’s earliest settlers, and who championed the powerless in society, including seamen, fugitive slaves, and freedmen. According to Professor Kennedy, “The classic book, Two Years Before the Mast, is his coming-of-age story.” Having contracted measles during his junior year at Harvard, which affected his eyesight, the then eighteen-year-old Dana signed aboard a hide-and-tallow ship, the brig Pilgrim, bound for California, as a common seaman for a two-year term…and sailed into Santa Barbara in 1835 when it was "the central port of the coast." He arrived having grown up in a household picking sides between Trinitarian evangelicals and Unitarians during one of the Great Awakenings in America. His father and his aunts and uncles were poets, literary critics, and artists at the forefront of what today is called Romanticism.
“More than any other port in Two Years Before the Mast, Santa Barbara opened Dana to a wider world than he had ever imagined and to more diverse populations than he knew in Boston.” Join Professor Rick Kennedy on a journey into a past of hide gathering and sailing. Learn what Santa Barbara was like in 1835-1836, who lived here then, who Dana crewed and worked with, and how his voyage and visit to Santa Barbara changed him.