THE SALVESEN ARCHIVE CONTAINS THE NORWEGIAN WHALING GAZETTE, FROM 1917 TO 1968 – A WEALTH OF RESEARCH ON WHALES AND WHALING FROM THE DECADES PRIOR TO THE INTERNATIONAL WHALING COMMISSION (IWC) MORATORIUM, 1986
The Salvesen Archive is one of the larger collections in the care of the Centre for Research Collections (CRC). It is composed of manuscript and typescript material in the form of correspondence, diagrams, charts, accounting data, and photographs relating to some of the maritime and whaling activities of the long gone Christian Salvesen & Co. of Leith. It can be regarded as a ‘hybrid collection’ as well, containing printed pamphlets and journals, a small amount of books, and a few three-dimensional objects. Of particular interest to those keen to research the 20th century whaling industry is a reasonably long run of the periodical The Norwegian Whaling Gazette, or Norsk Hvalfangst-Tidende.Published in Sandefjord, Vestfold county (part of the modern county of Vestfold og Telemark), Norway, The Norwegian Whaling Gazette was the voice of the whaling, guano, and herring-oil industries, and its first issue appeared in November 1912. In these early years the journal was published monthly, and at first – and for several years subsequently – it was privately owned and closely connected with Den Norske Hvalfangerforening (the Norwegian Whaling Association). Its first editor had been A. J. Dahl who retired in 1921.
Connections with the Norwegian Whaling Association became even closer on the appointment of Sigurd Risting (1870-1935) as editor in April 1922. Risting had been Secretary of the Norwegian Whaling Association. Formerly the headmaster of the local school, Risting had joined the editorial staff of the journal in June 1914.
On Risting’s death, Harald B. Paulsen (1898-1951) succeeded both as Secretary of the Whaling Association and as editor of the journal (Paulsen Peak in the Allardyce Range, South Georgia, was named after him). On his death, Einar Vangstein took over both jobs. Latterly, the journal had become a bimonthly title. In later years too, its articles appeared in both Norwegian and English.
By the late 1960s, all members of the International Association of Whaling Companies had ceased whaling and it was deemed no longer necessary for the continued publication of The Norwegian Whaling Gazette, and issue number 6, published November / December 1968, marked the end of its existence.
Articles in the journal were varied, scientific, and generally informative on many things cetacean, covering subjects such as: the determination of fat in whale meat extract; studies on the structure of baleen plates and their application to age determination; propellers for whaling ships made by KMW (Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, based in Munich); the marking of whales in New Zealand waters to measure resources; whales entangled in deep sea cables; the taxonomic position of the Pygmy Blue Whale; underwater sound from Sperm Whales; the cross-sectional anatomy of the dolphin; a new whaling station in Peru; and, the size of annual whale catches and annual seasonal oil production (indeed, throughout the life of the journal, the extent of whale catching and the size of the surviving whale was meticulously noted).
In addition, across many numbers of the journal during 1957 (Nos. 4-9), The Norwegian Whaling Gazette carried a historical narrative by the Norwegian Antarctic historian Hans Bogen, entitled Main events in the history of Antarctic exploration. Bogen also wrote a piece on Captain H. K. Salvesen for issue No. 9 of the journal in 1957.
Advertising had provided the principal financial resource for the production of The Norwegian Whaling Gazette throughout its 57 years of life, with advertisements placed by firms involved in the supply to the whaling industry of goods and services as diverse as: industrial cookers and separators, ropes and line, whale cannons, explosives and gunpowder, marine oils and lubricants, and lowly milk powder.
Graeme D. Eddie, Honorary Fellow, Centre for Research Collections, Edinburgh University Library… engaging with the Salvesen Archive of maritime trading and whaling
Vangstein, Einar. ‘Editorial – The Norwegian Whaling Gazette’, Norsk Hvalfangst-Tidende, Vol.57. No.6, Nov/Dec.1968, p.117
If you have enjoyed reading this post, check out previous ones about the Salvesen Archive, or using Salvesen Archive content, which have been posted by units across CRC since 2014:
A narrative on the whaling industry: as told through a whale catch log-book and other items in the Salvesen Archive October 2019
Salvesen Archive – 50 years at Edinburgh University Library – 1969-2019 May 2019
Cinema at the whaling stations, South Georgia August 2016
Exploring the explorer – Traces of Ernest Shackleton in our collections May 2016
Maritime difficulties during the First World War – Christian Salvesen & Co. October 2015
Talk on the Salvesen Archive to members of the South Georgia Association November 2015
‘Empire Kingsley’ – 70th anniversary of sinking on 23 March 1945 March 2015
Pipe bombs, hurt sternframes, peas, penguins, stoways and cookery books: the Salvesen Archive July 2014
Whale hunting: New documentary for broadcast on BBC Four June 2014
Penguins and social life May 2014