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Steam Coffin: A Lecture on the First Steamship Savannah

On Thursday November 10 at 6:30pm in the Wykeham Room of the Gunn Memorial Library, historian and author John Laurence Busch will lecture on his new book: STEAM COFFIN: Captain Moses Rogers and The Steamship Savannah Break the Barrier. He will sign and sell copies of his book after the presentation. Join us for this fascinating story of 19th century maritime history.

Busch’s book is an account of the development and construction of the steamship Savannah and the passionate career of its Captain, Moses Rogers of Connecticut. Busch discusses the history of the development of the steamship and the struggle of Savannah backers to introduce a radical, next-generation steam powered vessel to blue water. Running steamboats on rivers, lakes and bays became a normal and accepted part of American life but taking such a vessel on a voyage across the ocean was a different proposition altogether.

Busch will attempt to re-calibrate your mind before showing why the proposition of making the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean on a "steamship" was met with a mixture of skepticism and fear. Traditionally-minded mariners looked upon its unnatural means of propulsion with the greatest suspicion. To them, it was not a “Steam Ship”—instead, it was a “Steam Coffin.”

This program is free and open to the public. The Gunn Memorial Library and Museum is located at 5 Wykeham Road, the intersection of Wykeham Road and Route 47, on Washington Green. Please call the museum at 860-868-7756. View www.gunnlibrary.orgfor more information.

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