Friday, November 22, 2013

Library's Extended Hours

Library's Extended Hours

The week before finals and during finals week the library will extend its hours.

For the days December 2-5, 2013  and December 9-12, 2013 the library's hours will be:


Library Book Talk/Signing - First Published History of Maritime College


Four Years Before the Mast: A History of New York’s Maritime College

Book Signing and Talk to be held at the Stephen B. Luce Library, Wednesday, December 4th at 5p.m.

Hardcover will be on sale at a discount for the college community.

Under New York City's Throgs Neck Bridge lies a spit of land dominated by a pentagonal, 19th-century fortress that today houses a school that has trained mariners since the age of sail. Within Fort Schuyler's walls are stories of heroism and mutinies, shipwrecks and desertions. In Four Years Before the Mast, author Joseph A. Williams uses his access to archival materials to tell the tale of that institution known today as SUNY Maritime College. The story begins during the age of sail when disaster and mutiny created a new demand for trained mariners. In response, in 1873, New York State established a nautical school under the auspices of the New York City Board of Education. Originally based aboard the square-rigged sloop-of-war St. Mary's, the school taught boys to run the rigging, tie knots, holystone the decks, and navigate on yearly cruises across the Atlantic. In its beginning in the 19th century, the school was constantly confused for a reformatory where "bad boys were made good." Because of its cost, it was seen as a symbol of government waste, and its opponents repeatedly tried to shut it down. But despite the criticisms, the school survived and its tough training practices created generations of gallant sea officers who led the American merchant fleet into the modern world. In 1938, after a bruising political battle with Robert Moses, the school came ashore at Fort Schuyler in the Bronx. In the following decades, it continued its tradition of training sea officers as a college within the State University of New York. Four Years Before the Mast is a narrative history of a unique institution that offers anecdotes from the 19th to 21st centuries revealing the harrowing existence of life at sea, death in the high Arctic, daring rescues of foundered ships, U-Boat attacks, and heroism on 9/11.

“After 140 years of producing outstanding officers for the American merchant marine, the State University of New York Maritime College has a history worthy of its long and distinguished tradition.  Four Years Before the Mast is lively, well-illustrated, entertaining, and a delight to read.” – Kenneth T. Jackson, Editor-in-Chief, The Encyclopedia of New York City, Barzun Professor of History, Columbia University, and past president of the New-York Historical Society.

“Joseph Williams races from one vivid anecdote to the next in his lively account of New York’s Maritime College.  He deftly combines scholarship and storytelling, and the book often plays out like a string of surprise naval encounters.  We meet rigid captains, mutineers, cadet pranksters, drunken hooligans; we head to the North Pole with one graduate and watch another fulfill his lifelong dream to become… a ballet dancer.  Williams – to his great credit – keeps his sense of humor throughout as he chronicles the college’s recurring battles for funds and respect.” – Richard Zacks, bestselling author of The Pirate Coast: Thomas Jefferson, the First Marines and the Secret Mission of 1805.

“Meticulously detailed, yet charmingly personal, Four Years Before the Mast is a must-read for anyone interested in the evolution of professional marine education in the United States.” – W. Jeffrey Bolster, Professor of History, University of New Hampshire.  Winner of the 2013 Bancroft Prize for The Mortal Sea: Fishing the Atlantic in the Age of Sail.

About the Author:   Joseph A. Williams is a librarian and archivist at the Stephen B. Luce Library.  He holds an MA in History and an MLS in Library and Information Science from Queens College.  His work has been featured in several professional and academic journals.  After four years of work combing through archives and interviewing alumni, he is pleased to offer Four Years Before the Mast, the first published history of Maritime College.

Publisher:  The Fort Schuyler Press
ISBN: 978-0-9899394-0-9
Available for purchase on Amazon at or at the Ship’s Store
Discount to be offered for the attendees of the Book Signing Event at the Stephen B. Luce Library on December 4th at 5 p.m.
For questions, please contact the Fort Schuyler Press at

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

American Legion Visits the Stephen B. Luce Library

American Legion Visits the Stephen B. Luce Library

The local chapter of the American Legion took their annual tour of SUNY Maritime on November 8, 2013 which was led by Distinguished Service Professor, Barbara Warkentine.  One of their many stops was the Stephen B. Luce Library.

The 9 member group included the State Commander of the American Legion, the State President of the American Legion Auxiliary and the State Commander of the Sons of the Legion.

The library tour was led by Library Director, Shafeek Fazal and Assistant Library Director, Joseph Williams.  Some of the points of interests were the Marine Society’s By Laws and Charter exhibit, the Felix Riesenberg exhibit,the history and architecture of the library, among others.