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Canine Quarters at Sea

Photo courtesy Penobscot Marine Museum

Photographers are always suckers for pet pictures—this has been true since photography’s invention. In this case the photographer was the young Ruth Montgomery, who was at sea with her father, Captain Adelbert Montgomery aboard the bark Carrie Winslow en route to Buenos Aires. The photo is of a family dog named Topsey. In the background you can see a sailor at the helm. Born in East Boothbay in 1880, Ruth came from a family of deep-water sailors. She first went to sea with her family at the age of five; and she and her older brother Frank accompanied their parents on almost every subsequent voyage. Her father took command of the 173-foot, three-masted Carrie Winslow when Ruth was 15. It is around this time that she got a camera and began to take photographs. She documented three voyages to South America between 1899-1903, capturing many scenes of the ship at sea and in port. Eventually, when her father retired from the sea in 1903, the family lived in the Boston area. Ruth spent summer vacations with relatives in East Boothbay and moved to Maine permanently when she retired in the 1940s. She died in 1967 at the age of 87. Her collection of nearly 600 glass plate negatives was donated in 1990 to the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport.

The Carrie Winslow was lost at sea in January 1913 in a gale off Cape Hatteras. All her crew were rescued. 

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