"...gives life to our maritime heritage and tells much about the love between parents and children." -- William David Barry, Maine Sunday Telegram, 02-06-00
"It was an almost uniquely Victorian trait for genteel Maine wives to accompany their ship-master husbands on long commercial voyages. In the relative comfort of their plush cabins, they ate, slept, read and gave tea parties upon meeting other traveling families. They often gave birth to children who returned home with exotic names or points of nativity. Parker Bishop Albee Jr.'s new book, 'Letters From Sea,' neatly captures this vanished lifestyle by focusing on the adventures of a family from Searsport.... It was a golden childhood. The only real sadness in the story was not storm or bad return on the cargo but separation. At times, one or another could not go because of school or other considerations. It is here that wonderful letters from the parents to each other, to their children or from the children to the parents offer insight. Through the efforts of Albee...the letters have been put in exciting context. Portraits of the family and various vessels are augmented by snapshots taken by Joanna and others. Albee has prefaced the letters with solid introductory information and selections from the Colcord's printed recollections. It is a job well done, for it gives life to our maritime heritage and tells much about love between parents and children.... 'Letters from Sea' is a small but rich Maine Classic."
-- William David Barry, Maine Sunday Telegram
"Thanks to places like the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport, we can relive the charms and challenges of Maine's century under sail. And, thanks to people like Parker Bishop Albee, Jr., we have a front-row seat to an authentic sea adventure with the Colcords, a late-19th century seafaring family from Searsport.... The result of Albee's 10-year research is the highly readable "Letters From Sea..." Besides the couples' letters, the book includes two articles written many years later by both Joanna and Lincoln Colcord as they reflected on their unique childhood. The text, enhanced by rare family photos and lyrical poems by Lincoln Colcord, is put into historical context by Albee's commentaries. The result is an intimate glimpse of a seafaring Maine family living during the transition from sail to steam."
-- Central Maine Newspapers
"This collection is a praise song for family devotion, and an ode to the sea." -- Karen Fisk, Maine Times, 02-03-00
"This collection is a praise song for family devotion, and an ode to the sea. In Searsport in 1866, near the end of the 'under sail' era in shipping, Jane Sweetser married sea captain Lincoln A. Colcord. That evening, the two departed to circumnavigate the world. Their three-year journey saw them transformed from a young couple to the careworn, yet proud parents of two children. Those children, Joanna and Lincoln, realized as adults their 'exotic youth at sea' was remarkable: They sailed with their parents until they were school age, visiting ports around the world. They also realized their 'unique obligation' to record these experiences as two of the last generation of seafarers under sail.... The result is a handsome collection published with many family photos... organized in succinct chapters mapping out the course of the Colcord's lives, the letters progress in tone and maturity as the children grow to adulthood, while the captain and his wife realize their way of making a living is coming to an end. As is the nature of personal correspondence, the letters provoke questions, expose prejudice and underscore devotion in so many forms. They allow those of us who depend so heavily on the speed of electronics to try to imagine having a heart-to-heart 'talk' over a series of months. Though it is filled with shipping and sailing information, historical details and social customs, the overwhelming theme of the nearly 20 years of communication is the remarkable relationship the Colcord family had - with the sea and with each other.... The window into this seafaring family's life is fascinating... [This Searsport family] represent at once the eternal yearning for the freedom of the sea and the essential pull of family and obligation."
-- Karen Fisk, Maine Times
Richer than any treasure of gold brought up from the ocean bottom, these recently discovered letters are priceless additions to our maritime history. Extraordinarily well written, they are great readingdandy tales of the sea, more exciting than fiction for their total authenticity. -- Walter Cronkite