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Portrait of a Port

Portrait of a Port

Boston, 1852–1914

ISBN 9780674690769

Publication date: 01/01/1994

Two hundred and thirty-four striking photographs of the port of Boston combine with interpretive commentary to recapture the flavor, buoyancy, and excitement of the city’s years as one of the two or three great American ports. After the Civil War Boston underwent a radical and successful transformation from a declining mercantile home port to an important and competitive modern seaport. At the same time the transition from sail to steam was taking place. Photographic studies of deep water sail and steam vessels, naval ships, fishing boats, catboats, tugs, schooners, and sloops, and of the picturesque wharves—all create a kaleidoscopic visual history of these years of change.

The volume offers, as well, some of the most distinguished early work in photography, including the widest selection ever published of photographs by pioneer marine photographer Nathaniel Stebbins.


  • Easily the best collection of historical marine photographs published in many years… This book gives a wonderfully representative cross section of a busy East Coast seaport in the last half of the nineteenth century.

    —National Fisherman


  • W. H. Bunting, a graduate of Harvard University, worked as a commercial fisherman.

Book Details

  • 538 pages
  • 7-3/4 x 9 inches
  • Belknap Press
  • Compiled by W. H. Bunting