Yankee India Mapin Publishing

Yankee India

American Commercial and Cultural Encounters with India in the Age of Sail 1784-1860
Susan S. Bean
Photographs by Markham Sexton

Yankee India charts the beginnings of America’s fascination with the subcontinent.

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Yankee India charts the beginnings of America’s fascination with the subcontinent.
Independence from Britain in 1783 brought American merchants and shipowners the freedom to trade in Asia and the hope of handsome profits. Sailing in their small merchant vessels of 200 to 400 tons, Yankee mariners voyaged from ports along the eastern seaboard, becoming the first Americans to experience the distant and exotic civilization of India. Surviving mariners’ journals and letters speak eloquently of these encounters with vastly different ways of life that sometimes challenged and some-times reinforced deeply held convictions about decorum, religion, and morality, and that shaped and refined attitudes toward imperialism, legitimate rule, and free trade. Material embodiments of India at the time—prints, paintings, and figurines depicting Indian scenes and people; “hubble-bubbles,” “idols,” fans, and other curiosities; as well as goods like bandannas, palampores (bedcovers), and shawls—recreate the visual dimension of these encounters and illustrate the resources out of which Americans constructed their images of India. Previously untapped archives and collections of the Peabody Essex Museum, whose founders were captains and supercargoes in the Asia trade, provide the principal resources for this exploration of commercial and cultural relations between the United States and India in the age of sail.

These initial encounters laid the foundation for American views of India and contributed to the development of American and Indian national and cultural sensibilities. Yankee India brings this important but little known episode to a wide range of readers interested in the histories of the United States and India, and in the impacts of intercultural encounters.

Susan S. Bean is Curator of South Asian and Korean Art and Culture at the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts. Dr. Bean specializes in the visual arts and cultural history of nineteenth- and twentieth-century South Asia. Recent exhibitions and catalogues include Timeless Visions: Contemporary Art of India from the Herwitz Collection (1999) and From the Land of the Thunder Dragon: Textile Arts of Bhutan (with Diana Myers, Dr. Bean has published on the role of textiles in India’s nationalist movement, particularly Mahatma Gandhi’s program for spinning and wearing homespun, and on the clay potter-sculptors of West Bengal, whose naturalistic sculptures were shown in the international fairs of the late nineteenth century and whose images of Durga and Kali are created in the thousands for their annual autumn festivals. Dr. Bean received her doctorate in anthropology from Columbia University, and has taught at Yale, Columbia, and Brown Universities, and Wellesley College.

Director’s Foreword
Sponsor’s Foreword
Introduction: American Encounters with India in the Age of Sail

Part I: Pioneering the India Trade
Chapter 1: Bridging the Divide
Chapter 2: Benjamin Carpenter, Master Mariner
Chapter 3: From the Journal of the Ruby, 1789-90, by Benjamin Carpenter

Part II: Halcyon Days of Neutral Trade
Chapter 4: Heyday of the India Trade
Chapter 5: Dudley Leavitt Pickman, Encounter with the East
Chapter 6: From the Journal of the Belisarius, 1799-1800, by Dudley L. Pickman
Chapter 7: From the Journal of the Derby 1803-04, by Dudley L. Pickman

Part III: Transformations and New Encounters
Chapter 8: Transitions
Chapter 9:William Augustus Rogers, Republican, Lawyer, and Merchant
Chapter 10: From the Journal of the Tartar, 1817-18, by William A. Rogers

Part IV: The Doldrums
Chapter 11: Decline of the Trade
Chapter 12: James B. Briggs, Commander
Chapter 13: From the Journal of the Apthorp, 1833, by James B. Briggs

Part V: Revival
Chapter 14: Gruff Goods, Transcendentalism, and the Bhagavad Gita
Chapter 15: Edwin Blood, Supercargo’s Clerk
Chapter 16: From the Journal of the Rockall, 1854, by Edwin Blood

Epilogue: First Impressions
ISBN 9788185822839
Pages 288
Number of photographs 119 colour and 63 black-and-white photographs
Size 9 x 11" (229 x 280 mm), hc
Date of Publishing 2001
Language(s) English
Co-publisher(s) Mapin in association with Peabody Essex Museum and Prashant H. Fadia Foundation
Rights Available World rights

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