British Ship PHILOMENE (Fernie Line)

Joanna Colcord Collection
Gift of Nina Colcord

Joanna Colcord’s earliest known photographs within the museum’s collection were taken (on glass plates) between 1899 and 1901, on a series of voyages from Maine to Hong Kong aboard her father’s ship, the STATE OF MAINE, when she was about 18. This was the last series of voyages she took with her father and mother. Captain Colcord favored the China trade during the age of sail, and his ship carried case-oil (kerosene), which the Chinese used for lamp oil. This photograph of the British ship “Philomene,” owned by H. Fernie & Sons of Liverpool, reflects a view familiar to a captain’s daughter—a vessel navigating choppy seas, salt spray splashing onto the deck, and a horizon with no land in sight. When Colcord’s ship was anchored in Asian ports at the turn-of-the-century, it was quite common for other American and British ships to be docked at the same time; the captains and their families often socialized.