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Sometime in 1846, the cooper onboard the whaling bark Acushnet used the final pages of his sea journal to write up a list of the workers onboard the ship. The cooper, who was called Resolvid W. Bowles, appears ninth on his list, which he titled “Crew and Officers on Board Ship Acushnet Sailing from N.B. July 17th, 1845 - for the Pacific Ocean.” Bowles appears to have modeled this crew list off the official crew lists that were signed at the start of whaling voyages – a contract that both ensured the crew members’ share in profits from the whale oil harvest, and legally bound them to the vessel for the duration of the voyage. At first glance, not much distinguishes Bowles’ hand written list from the official crew list – as in the official list, he organizes it by rank, and makes a point to divide the officers from the crew, and notes the hometown of each man. What sets the list in Bowles’ journal apart is his inclusion of the names of seven men who are absent from the official crew list. These men, who were placed at the end of the list, signifying their position at the very bottom of the hierarchy onboard the ship, are from the South Pacific. They are not listed under their own names but under formulaic nicknames: “Jack Tonga,” “James Kanaka,” “Thomas Bay,” and “Johhny Whaler.” Their homeports are Tahiti, Honolulu, Tonga, or simply “unknown.” These men worked in the borderlands of growing U.S. commercial venture in the Pacific world. Because they joined the vessel during the middle of the voyage, they would have been rendered invisible in the historical record, had Bowles never made his list. These undocumented workers, occupying last pages of Bowles’ journal, are a testament to growth of U.S. industry in the Pacific world in the 19th century, and the encroachment of these industries into Pacific nations.

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