Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Archives

A gift from the government of Cape Verde, the Schooner Ernestina is the official vessel of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is permanently berthed at New Bedford Harbor. Originally named the Effie M. Morrissey, she was built in 1894 in Essex, Massachusetts and began her life as a strong, hard-working fishing schooner. She sailed first out of Gloucester, Massachusetts, and later out of Nova Scotia, plying the North Atlantic through hurricanes and snowstorms, hauling in catches of herring, cod, and haddock. In 1924 the Morrissey changed careers. Under the command of the famous arctic sea captain, Captain Robert “Bob” Bartlett, the schooner was refitted and embarked on a series of explorations of the waters around Labrador and Greenland. The explorers, scientists, and students aboard made significant discoveries and collected live specimens for American zoos. Stuffed specimens collected on these voyages were bound for natural history museums. 

After Captain Bartlett died in 1946, the Morrissey changed ownership a couple of times, was damaged by fire and fell into disrepair, but was eventually pressed into service by a Cape Verdean owner, Henrique Mendes, in 1948. The schooner was renamed the Ernestina, and enjoyed a number of years carrying immigrants and goods back and forth between the United States and the Cape Verde Islands.

The UMass Dartmouth Library Archives and Special Collections has made this collection of digital resources related to the history of the Schooner Ernestina/Effie M. Morrissey freely available to the public to educate and enlighten all of those interested in her fascinating past. All images are copyright of UMass Dartmouth unless otherwise noted. They may be freely used as long as the photographer or owner is credited and they are indicated as reproduced Courtesy of the Claire T. Carney Library Archives and Special CollectionsSchooner Ernestina-Morrissey Archives. If you require higher resolution images for publication, please contact the UMassD Archives and Special Collections.