Issue: No. 1

Welcome to the premiere issue of:
Navigating the Stacks
Exploring the Collections of the IYRS Maritime Library

This newsletter was envisioned by IYRS Maritime Library co-founder and contributor James Gubelmann in order to illuminate the depth and richness of the Special Collections contained within. Gubelmann said, “Together with co-editors Helen Sowinski, IYRS’s new Librarian, and Windlass Creative’s SallyAnne Santos, former Creative Director of the Museum of Yachting, we will provide insight into the library’s holdings, specifically highlighting contents of the Special Collections.”
For those unfamiliar with the IYRS Maritime Library, you may be surprised to learn that in addition to thousands of cataloged books, periodicals and A/V materials its holdings also include a variety of rare, valuable, fragile and scarce items. These include hundreds of charts, boat plans, letters, posters, brochures, press kits, typescript or handwritten histories, photographs, slides, film and video tape. Ephemera such as wearable items, burgees, flags and an impressive display of trophies, paintings and models are also preserved, protected and displayed among the library’s Special Collections.
The Arthur Curtiss James Collection is highlighted by charts, photos, publications, boat fittings and logbooks documenting the extensive world-wide voyages of Aloha I, Aloha II and Coronet.
The Gubelmann Collection contains materials about yachts and yachting, some relating to the Gubelmann family including in depth files and information on the 1964 America's Cup champion, the 12mR Constellation (US-20) and famed ocean-racer Windigo, a three-time winner of the NYYC Queen's Cup, the King of Sweden's Cup, and the first yacht to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine in 1955.
The Museum of Yachting Collection consists of items of significant cultural or material value. Some examples are several paintings by John Mecray, the Sappho (at left) and Atlantic trophies, the Vanderbilt book collection, antique navigational instruments and models. Also, among the Library’s holdings are the Musuem of Yachting's librarian Phil Weld's correspondence and materials relating to the BOC and OSTAR Races and Single-Handed Sailors' Hall of Fame inductees.
The Philip Crowther Jr. America’s Cup Collection includes the Museum of Yachting’s archivist’s lifelong collection of information related to the America’s Cup including cataloged news clippings, programs, correspondence, ephemera and other memorabilia.
  • The Vintage Book and Periodical Collection: volumes of Rudder (1898-1977), Yachting Magazine (1907-2006), Motorboating (1917-1989), Lloyd’s Register (1891-1979) and NY Yacht Club Yearbooks (1901-2018)
  • The Leonard Fowle Collection was compiled by the Boston Globe’s yachting editor from the mid-1930’s until his retirement in 1968. Fowle’s collection is comprised of bound scrapbooks containing original yachting articles published between 1885-1940.
  • The Ratsey and Lapthorn Sailmakers Collection with sail plans dating from 1920's- 1970's. For more than 100 years, "Ratsey's" was the sailmaker of choice for competing yachts from both sides of the Atlantic including many America's Cup competitors.
Items in the library's Special Collections have been acquired through donations by private individuals and families as well as by esteemed organizations including the Redwood Library & Athenaeum, the National Sailing Hall of Fame, Salve Regina University and of course the Museum of Yachting. In addition to IYRS's searchable online catalog, which utilizes the Library of Congress system, the IYRS Maritime Library has been invited to participate with RIAMCO-- the online gateway to the Rhode Island Archival and Manuscript Collections.

Meet IYRS Librarian Helen Sowinski
Whether you come in for a quick day sail through shelves or an extended voyage into the archives, IYRS Librarian, Helen Sowinski will help chart your course of discovery. Helen, a U.S. Navy retiree, currently studying for a Master’s Degree in International Relations at Salve Regina University, has recently joined the IYRS staff.

Her duties in the Navy included managing the Technical Publications Libraries for a variety of aircraft squadrons. More recently, she served as a Naval Science Instructor for the Navy JROTC program, mentoring more than 500 high school students in leadership development and confidence building while creating opportunities to broaden their horizons, learn history through visiting historical sites, and learn the value of community service. Among her many accomplishments, Helen earned the 2013 Enlisted Instructor of the Year Award while serving as a Recruit Division Commander and Instructor (Master Training Specialist) at Officer Training Command Newport.

In addition to her unique experience and credentials, Helen also has a passion for providing excellent customer service. “This will be a great opportunity to work with students young and older, and to serve the community in a fascinating and historic setting while utilizing my administrative, interpersonal, and communication skills”, she said.
IYRS Maritime Library

Mission Statement: The IYRS Maritime Library is an educational and cultural resource, committed to the mission of IYRS and to making its collections available to students, staff and faculty as well as to scholars, researchers, and members of the general public.

Library Committee: The IYRS Maritime Library Committee is comprised of its founders Edward W. Kane and James Gubelmann, interested IYRS Board members, the IYRS librarian, IYRS staff members, and qualified individuals from the surrounding community.
  • Location: 4th floor of the historic 1831 John Mecray Aquidneck Mill building on the IYRS campus at 449 Thames Street, Newport.
  • Open: to Students, Researchers and the General Public
  • Hours: Wednesday through Saturday from noon-5pm, or at other times arranged with the IYRS Librarian
  • Contact: Helen Sowinski at 401-848-5777 ext 221
  • Search: Online Catalog anytime
Recent library visitor Francis Frost, a private art and antiques dealer based on Aquidneck Island specializing in historical and maritime related maps, charts, prints and photographs wrote: "I am ashamed to say that today was my first visit to the IYRS Maritime Library... I spent a fascinating hour there and I will be returning often for further research. I wanted to let you know what a pleasure it was to find such a focused and welcoming collection."
Look for our next issue of Navigating the Stacks in January for a closer look into the Arthur Curtiss James Collection!