The Herreshoff Catalogue Raisonné
Welcome! For about a hundred years, from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century, boats were built in Bristol, Rhode Island, under the name of Herreshoff. Herreshoff-designed-and-built sailing yachts dominated national and international regattas, and Herreshoff steam yachts were among the world's fastest. With them came worldwide fame and prestige. Nathanael Greene Herreshoff (1848 - 1938), the designer of most of these yachts, is regarded by many as the preeminent yacht designer of that time, if not of all time.
The Herreshoff Catalogue Raisonné at the Herreshoff.info website strives to be the most exhaustive source of information about Herreshoff boats, their models, and their history. Consider it a catalog which documents each and every known boat designed by or built by the Herreshoffs in Bristol — sail boats, steam yachts, military vessels, even rowboats and dinghies. It contains thousands of pages with thousands of vessel images, model photos, and facsimiles of documents. Information is provided about the boats, the half models that were used to create them, construction histories, launching dates, and ownership changes, along with much, much more. The entire catalogue raisonné is thoroughly cross-linked and offers fascinating possibilities for scholars, cognoscenti and owners of Herreshoff-built boats to study and explore N. G. Herreshoff's expansive career and production.
We are extremely fortunate that so much Herreshoff material has survived. Of some 2,000 craft built by the Herreshoffs, for example, more than 400 are still with us, owned privately and by at least eight museums. The Herreshoff Marine Museum in Bristol, Rhode Island has an unmatched collection of Herreshoff boats, yachts, and artifacts. It also houses one of the world's outstanding collections of half models made by several generations of the Herreshoff family including almost every half model ever carved by Nathanael Greene Herreshoff himself over his 75-year career as a designer. A visit to the Herreshoff Museum's model room is like stepping into an art museum and seeing every work of art ever created by a single famous artist — every one! (It is also what has caused this catalog to be named a catalogue raisonné.) Then there is the massive collection of Herreshoff drawings and related artifacts in the Hart Nautical Collection at the MIT Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, Connecticut, holds large image collections (including photos by Burton, Bolles, and Rosenfeld) containing Herreshoff watercraft, as well as plans and artifacts (including hundreds of casting patterns), and a number of small boats built by HMCo. The Mariners Museum in Newport News, Virginia, has many photos of Herreshoff boats (by Levick and others) and at least two Herreshoff boats in its collection. Although entire books have been written about the Herreshoffs as well as numerous newspaper and magazine articles, never before has a methodical attempt been made to document all Herreshoff boats and models by systematically drawing on information from all these sources in order to create a larger whole. It is this what the Herreshoff Catalogue Raisonné is all about. Freely-accessible and continually reviewed and added to, it is an ongoing endeavor intended to enable an understanding never before possible.
The pages that follow are dedicated to the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company and the Herreshoffs of Bristol.