Monthly Archives: August 2014

A Whale of a Name

Naming a blog isn’t easy. We thought long and hard, enviously looked at other blog names, and tentatively settled on Something Uncommon—a kind of definition of rare and how we feel about the collection. The next step was the image to personalize the page. We looked at several images taken from our shelves and settled on the hastily penned drawing of a whale from our 1856 whaling journal. (SC-1–Journal of a Whaling Voyage in the Atlantic Ocean onboard of the Brig Gem of Beverly, Nathaniel Ryder Master.)

Once we had the image, we decided to look through the journal for a tag line, or something that might make a more unique title. The ship weighed anchor April 7th from Provincetown Harbor, the wind from the northwest. Most entries give the longitude and latitude, the weather, and what transpired that day, such as “Wensday[sic], June 4th. This day lost a 30 bbl whale through Periwinkle.” And while the adventures of Periwinkle and his cohorts are interesting, it did not present us with a likely title.

Then, after some time we came to the page with the whale on it, and, like some karmic gift, directly above the drawing were the words: “Saw a very large school of sperm whale which is something uncommon in this latitude and longitude.” No need to look any further.

So visit us often to see what other uncommon things we have uncovered in the Galvin Rare Book Room.

Drawing of whale with comment: “Saw a very large school of sperm whale which is something uncommon in this latitude and longitude.”



Welcome to our new blog, Something Uncommon!  We are thrilled to launch this site where we will be sharing information about our incredible collections and the work we do.

The blog is managed by the Rare Books and Special Collections division of Boatwright Library at the University of Richmond.  Posts will be made primarily by our staff members, but you may also discover some of our interns and volunteers posting occasionally as well.  Our goal is to share news from our department as well as resources that may be of interest to our researchers, patrons, and colleagues.

We hope you’ll enjoy discovering something uncommon along with us.