Book Review: The Story Of American Yachting Told In Pictures

Rosenfeld bookBook Review: The Story Of American Yachting Told In Pictures, with photographs by Morris Rosenfeld and text by William H. Taylor and Stanley Rosenfeld

We have all heard the sayings about time, a favorite of mine: "We can draw lessons from the past, but we cannot live in it,” by Lyndon B. Johnson. I cherish photography because it allows us to visit with the boats of our early years of yachting starting mostly in the 1900s, though most of the boats of that period are dust now.

Though those images are remarkable, we don’t so much wish for those times as we do for the purity of the sport; its very essence existed and was captured by Morris Rosenfeld, the dean of American yachting photographers. (The Rosenfeld Collection, purchased in 1984 by the Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc. is one of the largest archives of maritime photography in the United States.)

In the 1950s he published his book, with son Stanley providing much of the research. The Pulitzer prize winner for coverage of the Americas Cup, William H. Taylor, wrote the background for more than 200 iconic images from his hundreds of thousands in the  museum archives. They worked from their home on City Island in New York City, and from the deck of their wooden motor yacht FOTO, (currently restored and available for a visit at Cutts and Case Boatyard in Oxford).

The text is enlivened by wonderful anecdotes of many of iconic names of the past;  the brilliant Stevens brothers, and J.P. Morgan who famously said, “If you have to ask what it costs to run a yacht, you can’t afford it." The book is available online as an inexpensive though used addition to anyone’s sailing library.

~Capt. Art Ross