Virtual Lecture with Dr. Yvonne Masakowski: “Whaling Women of New England”

March 18, 2021 7:00 pm

“Whaling Women of New England”
Dr. Yvonne Masakowsk

March 18, 2021, 7pm Eastern Time

$10 for Members, $15 for Non-Members (Become a Member!)


Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the whaling industry was thriving with New England and its islands enjoying the benefits of a maritime economy of commercial and whaling vessels exploring and profiting from their travel exploits.


We have all become familiar with the maritime and whaling adventures such as those reported by Melville in Moby Dick. However, the life of the whaling women remains a hidden mystery insofar as modern literature. The focus for the most part has been on the life of the men who participated in this maritime industry, its adventures and perils of the sea. There were a few women, Abby Jane Morrell (Narratives of Four Voyages, 1832) and Mary Wallis (1851) who extended their journeys and roles in these voyages. While people were aware that women often accompanied their husbands on these voyages, little attention was paid to the role that women played during these voyages. For not only did they provide emotional support to their husband, some women even performed jobs, such as those who served as official navigators of their voyages.


This presentation will focus on the women of these time periods and the ways in which they also maintained the home fires. We will examine the lives of women who remained at home and maintained their community, their families and their way of life-waiting patiently for their husband’s return. We will also learn about those women who travelled with their husband’s on these dangerous whaling voyages. Traditionally, women of the nineteenth century traveled out of necessity to provide support for their husbands with few friends. Journal keeping was a critical past time for these women. We will relive their experiences as we share their journey through their letters, journals and diaries which remain a critical primary source for us to capture their valuable experiences and insights.

Dr. Yvonne R. Masakowski has a distinguished career in Psychology and Human Factors spanning over twenty-five years. She was recently appointed as a Research Fellow by the U.S. Naval War College following her retirement as an Associate Professor of Strategic Leadership and Leader Development in the College of Leadership and Ethics at the U.S. Naval War College. At the Naval War College, Dr. Masakowski focused on the advancement of leader development for the U.S. Navy and the impact of advanced AI technologies on military affairs. Dr. Masakowski currently serves as the US Chair of a NATO panel on Leader Development for NATO Multinational Military Operations (NATO HFM RTG 286). She also serves as a dissertation thesis mentor on Artificial Intelligence in the Ethics and Emerging Military Technology (EEMT) graduate certificate program at the U.S. Naval War College. Prior appointments included serving as an Associate Director for Human Factors, Office of Naval Research Global office in London, UK and as the CNO Science Advisor to the Strategic Studies Group (CNO SSG).

Dr. Masakowski earned her Doctorate of Philosophy and Master’s Degree in Philosophy at the City University of New York. She received a Master’s Degree in Psychology (Psycholinguistics) from the University of Connecticut and her Bachelor of Arts in Experimental Psychology from Rutgers University. She earned a diploma from the MIT Seminar XXI program in Foreign Policy and National Security. She has also attended Yale University where she studied biomedical ethics. She has taught leadership, ethics, cross-cultural competence and the humanities to graduate students. She has also provided executive leader development to U.S. Navy Admirals and U.S. Navy Attorneys. Her research interests include Artificial Intelligence, decision making, autonomous systems, leader development, cross-cultural competence, and the Humanities.

Dr. Masakowski’s leadership and results-oriented philosophy have been recognized nationally and internationally. She has recently been awarded the U.S. Department of Defense Superior Civil Service Award (2019) and the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award from the Marquis Who’s Who Publications Board. Dr. Masakowski has also been recognized by the Czech Republic and awarded their nation’s highest military Medal of Honor, “The Cross of Merit.” She has also been the recipient of awards from France and Poland for her efforts in advancing Science and Technology for military applications.