Update: Series- A question About The 100 Year Old Gloucester Postcards From Peter Dorsey- A Gloucester Fisherman


Jonathan Olly writes-

Hello Joey C,

While doing a Google search just now I came across the postcard you posted on March 22 of the old fisherman posing in oilskins.  Would you happen to know the name of this man?  I ask because I’m a graduate student down here in Providence, RI, and I’m writing a dissertation chapter on old salts.  They’re found around the world, but in the United States they’re almost exclusively found in New England.  Your postcard photo (which is rare, and one of the old salt postcards I’m still hunting for) may have been done by Gloucester photographer/engineer Herman Spooner, who photographed a number of retired fishermen (John Scott, Lemuel Friend, Oliver Emerton, and David Stanwood among them).  But, I don’t recall seeing this image in his photo collection at the Cape Ann Museum.  So if you have any additional information about your postcard I’d be happy to hear it.

Best regards,


14 thoughts on “Update: Series- A question About The 100 Year Old Gloucester Postcards From Peter Dorsey- A Gloucester Fisherman

  1. Wearing “oil skins” possibly made at the “Manufactory located where the Chamber of Commerce is today–part of the “working waterfront” Commercial Street tradition.


  2. i’ve seen a few folk lately that should get some oil skins and offer to sit for authentic fishermen pics. this could be quite a profitable career as well as entertainment for the tourists. he just better be a salty story teller. i nominate Toby.


  3. Can Peter tell us if there is any way of knowing whether this is a “real” fisherman or one posing for a postcard? Love these and pass them on to Gloucesterites who now live out of state.


  4. Jonathan, if you’re interested in “old salts” outside of NE, you might look at fishtownmi.org (Leland MI) if you haven’t already, for information about a well-known midwestern old salt. Good luck on the dissertation–sounds fascinating.


    1. Thank you, Fredrik. When I last spoke to Fred and Stephanie at CAM they were looking into the identity of this old salt. He shows up on postcards from Gloucester, Cape Cod, Bar Harbor, and Hampton Beach, but I agree with you that he’s most likely from Gloucester. Digging in the Times may reveal something about Bates or Parsons. Time will tell!


  5. As a little girl around the late fifties, I had a oil skin rain coat with hat made from a manufacture on Maplewood Ave where a car body shop is now (across from old Work’s Chevirolet). This is where, if I remember correctly, was were my fisherman grandfather bought his gear. I think your thinking of “Mighty Mac’s” …My other side of the family ,maternal grandmother was a seamstress at that Commecial St. location. I thought they only made coats. Correct me if I’m wrong.


  6. This photo almost looks like it’s not THAT old, but posed in such a way to make it look older than it is. I wonder if this wasn’t something Gorton-Pew Fisheries did as part of an advertising/promotion project?


  7. I don’t think think this is Lemuel Friend. I am a direct descendant of him and have pictures of him hanging on my wall. But they were probably taken by the same photographer.


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