Ralph Starrett, on the Yard of his Boat

Ruth Montgomery Collection
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John R. Chesebro

Like so much else in the US at the turn of the century, children’s toys were changing, becoming more elaborate with the rise of large-scale manufacturing. One thing which did not change, however, was the connection of toys to children’s gender. While girls played with dolls throughout the nineteenth century and beyond, boys prepared for their futures with child-size replicas of men’s tools. In Boothbay Harbor, sailing was a cross-generational occupation. Here is Ralph Starrett on the yard of his boat—a simply made but complete sailboat. Note the wooden pegs, the worn and mended top of the sail, and the wheel attached to the rudder with twine. Ralph’s sailor outfit, however, is more likely a reflection of the popularity of the sailor suit sparked by young Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, who dressed in a scaled down version of the uniform worn by the royal navy and enchanted the world.