Welcome to Kenrick A. Claflin & Son

Featured on our web site and in our monthly web catalogues are new and out-of-print books, documents, post cards, photographs, maps and charts, engravings, lithographs, uniforms and insignia, tools, lamps, lens apparatus, equipment and apparatus and much more relating to these heroic services.


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Books by Tom Tag

Steamship SS Portland Portland Gale

Pendleton Fort Mercer 1952 Chatham



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  Images Copyright Walt Disney Studio Pictures 

1686. (DVD) The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard's Most Daring Sea Rescue. DVD. Run time 114 min. PG-13. Based on the extraordinary true story of the greatest smallboat rescue in Coast Guard history, THE FINEST HOURS is a tale of courage, loyalty and honor in the face of overwhelming odds. When a massive storm strikes off the coast of Cape Cod, it rips a T-2 oil tanker in half, trapping more than 30 sailors on its rapidly sinking stern. As BM1 Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) and his crew set out in the station 36-foot motor lifeboat to save them, Chief Engineer Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) struggles to buy his men more time. Packed with heroic larger-than-life action and driven by the men's faith in their mission, themselves and one another, THE FINEST HOURS is a triumph. The Finest Hours has incredible and astonishing true-to-life heroism and action-packed rescue scenes. This marvelous and terrifying yarn ( Los Angeles Times ) deserves a place as a classic of survival at sea ( The Boston Globe). In the days following the ordeal, twenty-one Coast Guardsmen involved in multiple rescue missions would be decorated. Movie is based upon the original 1985 account by Coxswain BM1 Bernard Webber. $29.95. (x)

Fall Sale Hundreds of Arcadia Publishing Titles at 50% off !


Fall Sale! 

All of our Arcadia Publishing Company Lighthouse, Life-Saving Service and Coast Guard titles in stock, dated 2015 or earlier are 50% off suggested retail price.  No other discounts may apply.

See our Books Recent Releases page and other pages for titles available or email for listing

See the video book trailer for Brilliant Beacons on YouTubehttps://youtu.be/QUgQVFOjX2s

Sale Price $14.95 plus $4.50 media mail. (x)

1601. Dolin, Eric Jay. Brilliant Beacons - A History of the American Lighthouse. 2016. 1st. 448p. Stiff wraps. DJ. An extraordinary work of historical detection and originality, Brilliant Beacons vividly reframes America’s history through the development of its lighthouses. In a work rich in maritime lore and brimming with original historical detail, Eric Jay Dolin, the best-selling author of Leviathan, presents the most comprehensive history of American lighthouses ever written, telling the story of America through the prism of its beloved coastal sentinels. Set against the backdrop of an expanding nation, Brilliant Beacons traces the evolution of America’s lighthouse system, highlighting the political, military, and technological battles fought to illuminate the nation’s hardscrabble coastlines. In rollicking detail, Dolin treats readers to a memorable cast of characters including the penny-pinching Treasury official Stephen Pleasonton, who hamstrung the country’s efforts to adopt the revolutionary “Fresnel Lens,” and presents tales both humorous and harrowing of soldiers, saboteurs, ruthless egg collectors, and most importantly, the light-keepers themselves. Richly supplemented with over 100 photographs and illustrations throughout, Brilliant Beacons is the most original history of American lighthouses in many decades. 112 illustrations; 8 pages of color. (M). Published at $29.95. Sale Price $14.95 plus $4.50 media mail.



We have purchased the publisher’s last remaining stock of this title. There will be no more after these have sold.

6275s. Ralph Shanks, Wick York, Lisa Woo Shanks, editor. THE U. S. LIFE-SAVING SERVICE - HEROES, RESCUES AND ARCHITECTURE OF THE EARLY COAST GUARD. 1996. Petaluma , CA. 262p. Winner of the first Foundation for Coast Guard History Award for Best Book on Coast Guard History, this long heralded work by Ralph Shanks and Wick York is once again available. Filling a longtime void in the chronicles of the Life-Saving Service, this book is the result of two decades of research by these highly respected maritime historians. In 272 large format pages, the authors present unforgettable stories of the surfmen and their unsurpassed bravery. Unique to this work is the authors coverage of the architecture of each of the stations across the country. Using over 400 rare photos from the Library of Congress and other historic sources, the authors provide a station by station look at the architectural features that make them such a unique and unforgettable piece of our history. Considered the best reference on the U.S. Life Saving Service on the market. (M).   Softcover $29.95 while they last. 


Just in! Wonderful early photos and history:

16122. Snowman, Sally R. and James G. Thompson. Boston Light. Arcadia. 2016. 128p. Hard cover. With over 200 vintage photographs. On September 14, 1716, Boston Light became the first lighthouse established in Colonial America. With many ships foundering in the treacherous waters of the Massachusetts harbor, there was a great need for navigational aid. At night and during storms, it was difficult to discern the entrance to the main shipping channel of Nantasket Roads, situated between the Brewster islands and the town of Hull. The ledges had become a graveyard for ships, resulting in great loss to human life and cargoa deterrent to European colonization efforts. Ship captains and merchants petitioned the colonial government for a lighthouse to be erected on Little Brewster Island as a way of safe passage to the inner harbor. Three hundred years later, Boston Light continues to serve its purpose. Today, the lighthouse is protected by an ever-present Coast Guard civilian keeper and a cadre of specially trained Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteer assistant keepers. Sally Snowman is the 70th Keeper of Boston Light. With her husband, Jay Thomson, they have done extensive historical research on this distinctive piece of Americana. Highly recommended for readers interested in history, New England, lighthouses, sea stories. This compact volume features numerous early photographs dating from the 1870’s to the present, drawn from the author’s and other private collections, most never before published, and traces the history of this light station through photos and text. Filled with early views. (M). $24.99. Our price $22. (x)



Filled with early images, many from private collections and never before published.

Read about the heroic 1952 rescue of the crews from the SS Pendleton and SS Fort Mercer, still considered today the most heroic small-boat rescues in Coast Guard history

Read about the lightship crews and their dangerous missions, guarding the shoals and coastline of Cape Cod

Read about the Momomoy Disaster, in which seven life-savers perished while attempting to rescue the crew of the barge Wadena.

Read about Nauset’s famous “Three Sisters” lighthouses, the only such lighthouse configuration in the country, why they were built and what became of them.

Read about the Chatham lights and why they were moved so often.

Read about the Old Harbor Life-Saving Station, who’s crew rescued 34 persons in the first five years of operation.

Read about the many changes at Race Point Light Station and its renewed importance today

1443. Claflin, James W. Lighthouses and Life-Saving Along Cape Cod. Arcadia. 2014. 128p. Soft wraps. With over 200 vintage photographs, this is the fourth volume in a series of photographic histories of lighthouses and lifesaving along the coasts of the United States by the author. For centuries, heroic men and women have guarded the treacherous yet beloved Cape Cod coastlines. From Provincetown to Chatham, Sandwich to Cuttyhunk, and many towns in between, residents have relied on the Atlantic for employment and nourishment. But Cape Cod has always been plagued with a shifting coastline that consistently defies mariners’ efforts to pass through Massachusetts waters. In 1792, as shipping increased, mariners petitioned for a sorely needed lighthouse. It was not until 1797 that the first lighthouse on Cape Cod was built at the Highlands in North Truro. More lights and rescue stations would follow as the seas claimed their toll. Many lightship stations were also established from Chatham through Nantucket Sound to mark the constantly changing sandbars submerged offshore—more than in any other spot along the US coastline. Today, as sea levels change and sands continue to shift, some of these historic stations have been lost or moved, while still others are preserved only in such photographs as these. This compact volume features over 200 early photographs dating from the 1870’s through the 1960’s, drawn from the author’s and other private collections, most never before published, and traces the history of these services through photos and text. (M). $21.99. (x) 


Even Better than Expected: 




    1276. Cheek, Richard (ed). From Guiding Lights to Beacons for Business: The Many Lives of Maine's Lighthouses. Historic New England. 2012. 240p. Soft wraps. Published by Historic New England, this new book contains an amazing amount of material with a layout and design like no other book published about Maine's Lighthouses. The influence of Maine's lighthouses derives not just from the structures themselves but from the myriad forms of writing, representation and reproduction that they have inspired. This book is the third volume in the visual history series that Historic New England is publishing, and contains  ten detailed chapters by seven authors, with an introduction by Senator Snowe. With 240 pages and hundreds of color and b/w images, the book is loaded with amazing facts and wonderful visual imagery. Some chapters include: Throw Out the Life-Line, Shaping the Towers, All Alone and Ever Ready, Children Lighthouses and Lifeboats, Saving the Sentinels. The perfect, entertaining, Maine lighthouse book and a must-have for anyone with interest in lighthouses and how they have influenced society, advertising and more over the last century. Shown above is an image from the book, Keepers Robert T. Sterling and Frank Hilt, keepers at Portland Head Light. This is a limited printing and sure to sell out fast. (M). $34.95.


Kenrick A. Claflin & Son Nautical Antiques


Kenrick A. Claflin - Founder        James W. Claflin ( photo by Andy Price)

 Kenrick A. Claflin & Son specializes in the field of United States Lighthouse Service, Life-Saving Service, Revenue Cutter Service and early Coast Guard. More particularly, we work to provide various governmental agencies, historical groups,  restoration contractors and collectors with information and original artifacts relating to lighthouses, life-saving stations, etc. in their area.  My father Ken Claflin began the company in 1956, specializing in antique automobile information and parts as well as estate and antique car auctions. I joined him in the 1960's and continued into the 1980's, when we changed the focus to lighthouses and related services. 

We are always looking for new acquisitions on the subject and actively purchase individual items or entire collections. Because of out knowledge and experience, and our ability to find qualified buyers, we can pay the highest prices possible for your finds.

We have a very large customer base which reaches all segments of maritime collectors and museums throughout the United States , and parts of Canada , Europe, Asia and Australia . We are the largest dealer in such antiques in the world. In addition, we accept items on consignment and have an extensive ability to achieve the highest return for your items. Your items would be included in our extensive lighthouse and Life-Saving Service catalogue, as well as on or web site and through internet auctions as well. We can also quote directly to known customers with an interest, to provide a rapid return in many cases. We do so on a percentage basis and at a minimum selling price approved by you.

To help you with determining values of your items, we do offer appraisal services as well on an hourly basis at a rate of $25 / hour. However, if you chose to sell your items through us this fee would be waived. 

We look forward to hearing from you if we can be of help.


Procedure to order items:

1. I suggest that you call us or email to check on availability of any item that you would like other than recent books. As items go quite quickly, please call and leave a message to reserve items that you would like. I will return your call, hold the items and await your letter or credit card information. We will also weigh the items and advise postage. 

2. You may then call or email credit card information, or forward a check in the mail.


What customers have said about us:

"Thank you for your quick response to our flag order. We were very pleased with its quality." Frank. Redondo Beach, Ca.

"I received the Assistant Keeper's uniform today and I am very pleased with the quality and the craftsmanship that went into it... I will wear it proudly." Richard. Muncie, In.

"My shipment arrived in perfect condition. Thanks a ton, my dad loves the mugs." George. Bear, De.

"The hat and badge arrived today and looked wonderful." Kat. Reisterstown, MD.

"It is a rare day and time and very refreshing to do business with someone who is truly customer oriented." Ben. Roanoke, Va. 

"I am delighted with the items that I ordered from you." Roberta. Wadley, Ga.

"The cap arrived in fine condition. You were right, the condition is superb for its age. Thank you for your prompt service". Dale. Burley, Wa.

"Thanks so much for your "instantaneous" response! What great customer service! Your customer service is unparalleled!" Joe. South Haven, Mi.


See Us at the Following Antique Shows:


Brimfield Flea Market. J&J Promotions. May 15-16, 2015 

Cape Cod Antiques Dealers Association. Orleans. July 31-August 1, 2015


For Canada - Nova Scotia items - please visit our New Canada page. 

For Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard items, please visit our New Nantucket Page !

For Cape Cod items, please visit our New Cape Cod Page !

For U. S. Revenue Cutter Service, please visit our new Revenue Cutter Service Page !

For Massachusetts Humane Society, please visit our New Massachusetts Humane Society Page !

For Lightships, please visit our new Lightships Page !

For Flags, Ensigns and Pennants, please visit our new Flags Page !

For Clocks, please visit our new Clocks & Barometers Page !

For Dinnerware (U.S.L.H.S., U.S.C.G., Navy, etc), please visit our new Dinnerware Page !

For Light Lists and Coast Pilots, please visit our new Light List and Coast Pilots Page !

For Fresnel Lenses, Lamps, Lanterns, Lamp-changers, please visit our Fresnel Lens Page !

For Royal National Lifeboat Institution, please visit our RNLI Page !

For U.S. Volunteer Life Saving Corps, please visit our USVLSC Page !

For Atlantic City & Absecom Lighthouse, please visit our Atlantic City Page !


For other subjects, please use buttons at upper left.



10397. Collins, George M. To Guide, Guard, and Rescue: Building the Yaquina Lighthouses, Jetties, and Life-Saving Station. Newport. 2010. 112p. Soft wraps. An interesting new book, actually four tales in one; Chapter One details the establishment of the Yaquina Lighthouse on this site, which was short lived (only three years). The lighthouse here later served as a U.S. Life Saving station. Chapter Two details the construction of the more famous Yaquina Head Lighthouse. Chapter Three discusses the construction of the Yaquina Bay jetties. Chapter Four discusses the establishment and history of the U.S. Life Saving station at the former lighthouse facility. Includes extensive information on the construction, the keepers and men stationed there, the operation of the Light House Establishment, shipwrecks in the area, and much more. Well illustrated with over 100 b/w photos, maps and illustrations. (M). Publisher’s price $21.95. Our price $20.45. 


20230. Farson, Robert H., TWELVE MEN DOWN – Massachusetts Sea Rescues. Yarmouth Port. 2000. 246p. 191 photos and illustrations. In Colonial Days Massachusetts turned to the sea for her livelihood. With the growth of coastal and deepwater fleets, many trips ended in disaster. The loss of life was so great that in the late 1700’s the Massachusetts Humane Society was formed. Their work up to World War II, and the work of its successor the U. S. Life-Saving Service, are detailed in this wonderful new work. From Martha’s Vineyard and Cuttyhunk, to Nantucket, Cape Cod and up the coast to Salisbury Beach , there were small stations with surfboats and breeches buoy apparatus. This is a book about rescues near the coast by men who rowed small boats into mountainous waves, many in bitterly cold weather. Thousands of sailors were saved by these intrepid men and their story of selfless dedication comes alive in Mr. Farson’s work. Nicely illustrated with numerous vintage photographs. (M). (Published at $36.)  Special Purchase Price  $24.95.


10115. Benchley, Rob and Robert D. Felch. Keeping the Light – The Epic Move and Preservation of Nantucket’s Sankaty Head Lighthouse. 2009. Sconset Trust. 144p. DJ. A lighthouse has stood on Sankaty Head near the village of Siasconset since 1850, the third such aid built on the island. However, in recent years coastal erosion had brought the surf perilously close to the lighthouse, threatening to topple it into the sea with a future gale. Fortunately the ’Sconset Trust took on the project to oversee the light’s restoration and to raise funds to move the light tower safely away from the eroding cliffs. This epic historic preservation project was successful due to a tremendous island-wide outpouring of support. The new ’Sconset Trust book, Keeping the Light, documenting this historic move, has just been released. Lavishly illustrated with hundreds of photographs, the book chronicles the formation of a plan, the move and the tower’s restoration, once again the famous "Blazing Star". Beautifully done, this will make a superb addition to anyone’s collection. (M). $98.

29313. Ryder, Richard G. Seashore Sentinel: The Old Harbor Lifesaving Station on Cape Cod. West Barnstable. 2009. 120p. Soft wraps. This latest account of the history and life at Cape Cod’s Old Harbor Life-Saving Station updates his older work - OLD HARBOR STATION CAPE COD – now long out of print but still in demand. This extremely worthwhile account of the life-savers at the Old Harbor Life Saving Station in Chatham , Mass., is a one of a kind, chronicling not only much of the wrecks and work of the life savers, but particularly looking at the equipment issued to such a station at the time and the lives of the men living and working there. Includes many photographs, wreck accounts, life at the station, moving the station and much more. A most interesting chronicle. (M). $12.95.


29340. McHugh, Joe. The Flying Santa. Calling Crane Publishing. 2002. 32p. Stiff wraps. 16 full color illustrations. The Flying Santa is a book the entire family will enjoy. Written by storyteller and public radio producer Joe McHugh and illustrated by his wife Paula Blasius McHugh, the book follows the life of Bill Wincapaw from his boyhood love of flying, his close friendships with airplane designer Glenn Curtiss and noted aviator Charles Lindbergh, to that fateful night in 1929 fighting for his life in the teeth of a winter storm and his efforts afterwards to repay the kindness of the light keepers along Penobscott Bay that lit his way home. Since that day, each Christmas season a group of pilots and volunteers fly over lighthouses and coast guard facilities up and down the coast of New England , dropping bundles full of presents to the families of the lighthouse keepers on Christmas Day. And that tradition lives on today, over seventy-five years later. Beautifully illustrated, wonderful reading for children and adults alike. (M). $16.95.

29309. Biggs, Jerry. Rescue and Refuge: Florida . Trent ’s Publishing. 2008. 122p. Soft wraps. Lavishly illustrated with 122 vintage and contemporary black and white and color photos, paintings and more. Rescue And Refuge: Florida was written by Jerry Biggs to fill a missing gap in Florida 's maritime lore. The U.S. Life-Saving Service, and its successor, the U.S. Coast Guard contributed greatly in establishing Florida 's shoreline frontier. This book covers all of Florida 's coastal stations with true-life heroic rescue tales of shipwreck survivors, homicide on the high seas, hurricanes, primitive living conditions, “long periods of isolation broken by moments of sheer terror”. But there were good times also and a few chuckles to relieve the tension. There are many factual discrepancies, but still one of the few sources of information on the subject. Almost every page is beautifully illustrated with rare vintage views of the men and the stations that they manned. (M). $21.95.

(tintype) U.S. Life Saving Service Surfman c.1870. 1/6th plate. Please see our Life-Saving Service page. 

 "A Gripping Read":

29185. Tougias, Michael J and Casey Sherman. The Finest Hours - The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard's Most Daring Sea Rescue. Simon and Schuster. 2009. 224p. DJ. In the winter of 1952, New England was battered by the most brutal nor'easter in years. As the weather wreaked havoc on land, the freezing Atlantic became a wind-whipped zone of peril. In the early hours of Monday, February 18, while the storm raged, two oil tankers, the Pendleton and the Fort Mercer, found themselves in the same horrifying predicament. Built with "dirty steel," and not prepared to withstand such ferocious seas, both tankers split in two, leaving the dozens of men on board utterly at the Atlantic's mercy. The Finest Hours is the gripping, true story of the valiant attempt to rescue the souls huddling inside the broken halves of the two ships. Coast Guard cutters raced to the aid of those on the Fort Mercer, and when it became apparent that the halves of the Pendleton were in danger of capsizing, the Guard sent out two thirty-six-foot lifeboats as well. These wooden boats, manned by only four seamen each, were dwarfed by the enormous seventy-foot seas. As the tiny rescue vessels set out from the coast of Cape Cod, the men aboard were all fully aware that they were embarking on what could easily become a suicide mission. The spellbinding tale is overflowing with breathtaking scenes that sear themselves into the mind's eye, as boats capsize, bows and sterns crash into one another, and men hurl themselves into the raging sea in their terrifying battle for survival. Not all of the eighty-four men caught at sea in the midst of that brutal storm survived, but considering the odds, it's a miracle -- and a testament to their bravery -- that any came home to tell their tales at all. (M). $24.95.

2986. Kagawa, Ron M. and J. Richard Kellam. Cobb's Island, Virginia : The Last Sentinel. Virginia Beach. 2003. 128 p. DJ. This one is definitely a sleeper – once I picked it up I was unable to put it down. Cobb's Island, Virginia: The Last Sentinel, co-written by Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture Ron Kagawa and J. Richard Kellam, charts the history of the now-barren Virginia barrier island that was once a flourishing hunting and fishing resort and home to the first U.S. Life Saving Service facility there. However, 99% of the history there relates directly to the Life Saving Service and early Coast Guard there. From cover to cover, the authors trace the work of the life-savers on the island, and particularly the history of the 1875-76 life-saving station and later Coast Guard stations there,  their modifications over the years and finally moving of the Coast Guard station in its entirety to the mainland between 1997-2001. The book is chock full of vintage photographs, architectural plans and much more. Well worth a place in your library. The book is now out of print but we have been able to obtain a quantity of copies, new, never opened. (M). $38.95


28348. Wilkinson, William D. and CDR Timothy R. Dring, USNR (Retired). American Coastal Rescue Craft - A Design History Of Coastal Rescue Craft Used By The United States Life-Saving Service And The United States Coast Guard. University Press. 2009. 185p. Unjacketed cloth. With CD-ROM with 323 b/w illustrations. Long awaited, this exhaustive reference work describes detailed history and technical design information on every type of rescue craft ever used by the U.S. Life Saving Service (USLSS) and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) from the 1800s to current day. By looking at these vessels, many of which featured innovative designs, the authors shed light on the brave men and women who served in these heroic services. The first of its kind ever to be published in the United States on this topic, the book and accompanying CD provide detailed information, drawings, and photographs (many of which have never before appeared in print) for each type of surfboat, lifeboat, and utility craft, along with a complete list of every boat ever built and assigned coastal rescue station(s). Included are motorized, wind-powered and human-powered vessels. The book is organized into two major sections: 1) a general, historical narrative, and 2) detailed technical appendices. This college text-sized book is 185 pages in length, with about 140 photos and diagrams. In addition, a reference/appendix section on a co-packaged CD will include 323 additional photos and diagrams. The book is co-authored by William D. Wilkinson, Director Emeritus of the Mariners Museum in Newport News , VA , and CDR Timothy R. Dring, USNR (Retired). Mr. Wilkinson has been engaged since the 1950s in the historical research of small craft used for rescue purposes, and is a well-recognized expert in this field. He is currently an official historical consultant to the USCG on this subject. CDR Dring, although not a professional historian, has had previous experience in the Navy working closely with the Coast Guard on harbor and coastal defense, and has a great interest in and respect for the humanitarian rescue operations this Service conducts with specialized small craft. The extensive research that went into this book, including reference to original USLSS and USCG documents held by the National Archives, has had the full support of the USCG’s Historian, Dr. Robert Browning, and his staff. The most comprehensive work on Coastal Rescue Craft used by the United States Life-Saving Service and the United States Coast Guard ever published. (M). $125.  Order now as only a limited number were printed. (Ask about our U.S.L.S.S.H.A. discount.) 

   The term “Hero” has become too often used today.  After reading this memoir, you will realize what a real hero is -

28369. McCain, John. Faith of My Fathers. Random House. 1999. 349p. DJ. John McCain is one of the most admired leaders in the United States government, but his deeply felt memoir of family and war is not a political one. John McCain learned about life and honor from his grandfather and father, both four-star admirals in the U.S. Navy. It was in the Vietnam War that John McCain III faced the most difficult challenge of his life. A naval aviator, he was shot down over Hanoi in 1967 and seriously injured. When Vietnamese military officers realized he was the son of a top commander, they offered McCain early release in an effort to embarrass the United States. Acting from a sense of honor taught him by his father and the U.S. Naval Academy, McCain refused the offer. He was tortured, held in solitary confinement, and imprisoned for five and a half years. This is a memoir about their lives, their heroism, and the ways that sons are shaped and enriched by their fathers. The term “Hero” has become too often used today.  After reading this memoir, you will realize what a real hero is. (M). $24.95.

28129. Galluzzo, John. Lifesavers of the South Shore – A History of Rescue and Loss. History Press. 2008. DJ. 128p. However cruelly the rocks of Massachusetts 's South Shore have treated storm-driven sailors, there can be no questioning the selflessness and courage of the keepers and surfmen who played host to the no man's land between frozen beach and gale-tossed sea. Read John Galluzzo's enthralling account of the Life-Saving Service and meet legends like Joshua James, whose surfboat, Nantasket, once saved twenty-nine men from six boats in a grueling thirty-six hours. Chart a course through the service's history, from its humble beginning in the refuge huts built after the American Revolution until its absorption into the U.S. Coast Guard in the twentieth century. (M). $19.99.

28375. Hodgkins, John. A Soldier's Son: An American Boyhood during World War II. Down East Books. 2006. 325p. Soft wraps. John Hodgkins was eight years old when his father was drafted into the army and left for Europe to fight in World War II. After his return, John's father never spoke much about the war, but John knew he'd kept a diary. After his father's death, John opened his diary and two boxes of memorabilia. What began as John's attempt to tell his father's story became the story of his own life. This memoir recounts what life was like on the home front of Temple, Maine, during the war -- as well as what life was like on the front lines, thanks to what John learned from his father's letters home and his war diary. It also provides a firsthand look at the hardscrabble lives of rural Mainers and a way of living that is now mostly gone. (M). $16.95.

Special No Postage Offer - see our Recent Releases page.

Nominated for the 2008 Foundation for Coast Guard History book award:

27268. Claflin, James W. HISTORIC NANTUCKET: SURFSIDE LIFE-SAVING STATION - A History of Nantucket’s Life-Saving Stations. Volume I. Worcester. 2007. 79 p. Soft wraps. Special edition, signed and numbered of 500, includes pasted in wood chip from the Surfside Life-Saving Station. Historic Nantucket: Surfside Life-Saving Station is one of a continuing series of booklets that tell the story of historic lighthouses, lightships and life-saving stations along the New England Coast . The Nantucket coastline has long been one of the most dangerous areas along the New England coast. Over the years four life-saving stations and eight Massachusetts Humane Society stations stood guard over the island’s shores, standing ready to combat the seas in an effort to rescue shipwrecked mariners in their time of need. With thousands of vessels plying the dangerous waters, the chance of a shipping disaster was always great. Hundreds of shipwrecks did indeed occur off the coast with startling losses. Using descriptive text and a variety of vintage images from private as well as museum collections, we get a rare glimpse into the history of the area and the lives of these dedicated government men and women. Author James Claflin combines an extensively researched text with his exquisite collection of vintage photographs, many previously unpublished, to tell the story of this important piece of history. (M). $8.95.

Reproduction of the Original United States Life Saving Service Pennant.


Treat your family to this replica of the official sewn  U. S. Life Saving Service flag. Flag is professionally made of high quality flag material, with sewn hem and brass grommets for attaching to halyard. Professionally made and will last longer than most others that you may find. Our pennants are flown at stations across the country as well on vessels of the U. S. Coast Guard and have received the highest praise.

27463. [reproduction] U. S. Life Saving Service Station Flag. This triangular station flag measures 48” long by 25” and is typical of the flags once flown at Life Saving Service stations to identify them as such to vessels at sea. The flag is of the standard design instituted by General Superintendent Sumner I Kimball, with blue, white and red fields and one white star. Heavy duty for moderate weather conditions. Made in America. (M). $89.95.



Photo at right courtesy Ken Gehle Photography, Inc., Atlanta, Ga.

Shown above left are the "keepers" at Pigeon Point Light Station in their recently acquired uniforms. 


Photograph by Janine Slater, courtesy Outer Banks Conservationists. Shown with permission. 

Keeper Alvin Glatkowski, Currituck Beach Lighthouse, poses in his recently acquired uniform. 

Complete reproduction uniforms available - Please see our New Items Page.

Recent items...

27301. Rongner, George E. LIFE ABOARD A COAST GUARD LIGHTSHIP. Infinity Publishing. 2007. 247p. Soft wraps. George E. Rongner served 32 years in the U. S. Coast Guard, enlisting as a surfman and rising to Chief Warrant Officer. One of his many assignments included ass Officer in Charge, Buzzards Bay Lightship. His readable account chronicles the ceaseless dangers and constant tedium experienced by the men living closely together at sea for such lengthy periods of time. He describes as no outsider can, how they reacted to the routine, the piercing emanations of the fog signal, and the perils from storms and passing vessels. Former lightship sailor and anyone interested in the sea, will enjoy this look into the everyday life aboard a Coast Guard Lightship. Nicely done, a great read. (M).  $14.95.

2789. THEY HAD TO GO OUT – True Stories of America’s Coastal Life Savers From The Pages of “Wreck & Rescue Journal”. Gwinn. 2007. Forward by Fred Stonehouse. 208p. Soft wraps. They Had to Go Out represents an unprecedented gathering works of talented historians working in the field of Life Saving Service history, taken from the pages of Wreck & Rescue Journal. Included are the writings of Ralph Shanks, Fred Stonehouse, Dennis L. Noble, Maurice Gibbs, and John Galluzzo. The stories reach from Massachusetts to Michigan to Washington, covering some of the accounts of bravado and selflessness of the men of the U. S. Life Saving Service, shedding more light on perhaps the most exciting aspect of America’s maritime history. (M). Published at $16.95. Our price $15.95.

24389. Clifford, J. Candace and Mary Louise Clifford. MAINE LIGHTHOUSES: DOCUMENTATION OF THEIR PAST. Alexandria. 2004. 220 p. Soft wraps. Illustrated with 156 historic black and white photographs. Some 67 light stations with resident keepers were built to aid shipping along Maine’s rocky coastline between 1791, when the tower at Portland Head was lit, and 1910, when the last traditional lighthouse was established at Whitlock Mills. Maine Lighthouses: Documentation of Their Past differs from other books about Maine lights in being based almost entirely on primary sources. This book is almost entirely based on research the authors conducted on Maine lighthouses in the National Archives. The authors combed the lighthouse collection in the National Archives for original records that describe how the site was selected, the construction of the tower and auxiliary buildings, the appointment of keepers, the damage to the station done by weather, and the repairs and reconstruction needed as the decades slid by. Log books tell us about the daily lives of keepers; correspondence with engineers and inspection reports detail the physical evolution of each station; and communication with Federal officials indicates how the Lighthouse Establishment was administered. Extremely well done – an important reference as well as a joy to look through.  Filled with wonderful old photographs of equipment including the lenses and lantern room, keepers, early stations and more. (M). Published at $22.95. Our price $19.95.  


26315. Wermiel, Sara E. LIGHTHOUSES: Norton/Library of Congress Visual Sourcebooks in Architecture, Design & Engineering. New York. 2006. 384 p. DJ. This pictorial survey of the icon of steadfastness and strength: the American lighthouse, is the newest addition to the Norton/Library of Congress series. This abundantly illustrated book conveys the romance and beauty of lighthouses and beacons while explaining the development of the forms, materials, architecture, and engineering of their structure: wood, masonry, cast-iron plate, on- and off-shore skeletal, caisson, and reinforced concrete. It covers lighthouses from all parts of the United States from the late eighteenth century to the 1940s, when control of lighthouses was transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard. Numerous images of lighthouses from coast to coast provide examples of striking design and setting, celebrate technological achievement and the work of important engineers, and include associated structures such as keepers' quarters, fog signal buildings, boathouses and boat railroads, cistern buildings, barns, and workshops, as well as interiors and working details of the light mechanisms. With over 1200 illustrations, many of rarely seen views, this is sure to be one of the better books this year. Includes CD-ROM containing all of the images shown in the book for even better viewing. (M). Publisher’s price $75. Our price $69.95. (just arrived)


26262. U. S. Coast Guard Surfman Wood Wall Plaque. The beautiful plaques are individually made from real wood -  the stain and varnish finish is superb. The perfect gift, plaque is ready for display and looks outstanding displayed on any wall, be it home or office. The plaque is fairly large, measuring approximately 16" x 14" x 1”. (shown) (M).  $120.

  Others may be available on our New Items page. 

26143. Porter, Jane Molloy. FRIENDLY EDIFICES: PISCATAQUA LIGHTHOUSES AND OTHER AIDS TO NAVIGATION 1771-1939. Portsmouth. 2006. 568 pp. Cloth covered. 168 illustrations. The five lighthouses of the Piscataqua region of New Hampshire and Maine are among the most admired structures of their type in America - Nubble Light, York, Maine; Boon Island Light, Maine; Whale’s Back Light, Kittery, Maine; White Island Light, Rye, New Hampshire; Fort Constitution Light, New Castle, New Hampshire. The construction of a lighthouse is not a simple matter. In addition to being able to project a warning light, the structure also must be able to withstand the foul coastal weather, especially here where the North Atlantic brings crashing waves and strong winds. Before a lighthouse could be built, funds had to be authorized usually from public sources, and politicians, whether local or state or national, had to be convinced that the expenditure is warranted. After lighthouse specifications were written, contractors had to carry out those plans. Bricks, wood, iron, and steel have supported the local lights for centuries, although four of the five lighthouses have been replaced at least once. Finally, the lights had to be maintained, a task originally charged to a keeper and often his family lived with him. In addition to the extensive details about lighthouse construction, maintenance, and operation, the author also discusses the design and placement of various aids to navigation, such as the river and ocean buoys that protect mariners from hidden rocks and ledges, fog signals, and breakwaters that created safe harbors. Chock full of superb information, vintage as well as color images and much more will keep you engrossed for many hours. If you get only one book this year, this should be the one. (M). Published at $34.95. Our price $32.95.  

Special purchase. 26114. (Fine art print) The Point Allerton Life Saving Station at Hull, Massachusetts by Donna Elias. 8” x 20”. New, ready to frame print by acclaimed maritime artist Donna Elias presents a wonderful water color-like view of the Bibb #2-Type station built in 1890 on the beach at Nantasket, Massachusetts. Artist Donna Elias began painting for lighthouse prints since the 1980’s. Donna’s lighthouse work continues and today she has completed an astonishing 250 paintings. To accompany her lighthouse collection, she has created “Heroes of the American Coast”, a series of paintings celebrating the US Lifesaving Service, the forerunner of the Coast Guard, and the sister service of the lighthouse service. Only a hundred or so of these historic structures survive today and the stories of the heroic lifesavers that worked these stations are fascinating. All are in brand new excellent condition. These superb prints regularly retail for up to $15.00 each! Our price $6.95.

Claflin, James W. Just Arrived! Claflin, James W. HISTORIC NANTUCKET LIGHTSHIPS: NEW SOUTH SHOAL Volume I 1854-1896 . Worcester. 2005. $8.95

25355. Replica U. S. Lighthouse Service Helmet Insignia. Perfect for your cap or lapel. Replica of keeper’s insignia from the 1880’s depicts a granite lighthouse tower on crossed spar and whistling buoys. Although this insignia was intended for the helmet of the watchmen at lighthouse depots, many of the keeper’s of the day wore it as well With clutch back, perfect to use on your cap, lapel or on your uniform. 1 ¼”. (M). $8.95  

25356. Enamel U. S. Lighthouse Service Flag Lapel Pin. Perfect for your cap or lapel. Enamel lapel pin includes the triangular Lighthouse Service flag on a white rectangular background. With the words “U. S. Lighthouse Service Flag. With clutch back, perfect to use on your cap, lapel or on your uniform. ” ¾” x 7/8”.  (M). $3.95

Say "Hello" to your Favorite Lighthouse Keeper with our Reproduction of the Original United States Lighthouse Service Triangular Station Flag.


Treat your family to these replicas of the official sewn U. S. Lighthouse Service flags. Flag is professionally made in the United States of high quality two-ply spun woven polyester flag material, double sewn, with appliquéd (hand sewn) pattern, reverse back and finished with brass grommets for attaching to halyard. Professionally made to withstand rugged use.  

Regarding our flags, one customer noted: "It arrived. I love it and so will our neighbors.  Happy holidays.  Virginia"

10281. [reproduction] U. S. Lighthouse Service Station Flag. This triangular station flag measures 48” long by 25” and is typical of the flags once flown on Lighthouse Service vessels and at the light stations for over one hundred years. The flag is of the standard design, with red border on a field of white, with a large blue lighthouse silhouette. Heavy duty for moderate weather conditions. Made in America. (design as shown above) $98.95.

20418. [flag] U. S. Lighthouse Service Station Flag. This similar triangular station flag measures 48” long by 25” and is made of cotton - polyester for light to average weather conditions or for display. The flag is of the standard design, with red border on a field of white, with a large blue lighthouse silhouette. Made in America. (design as shown above) $79.95.

Photo courtesy Chad Kaiser, U.S.L.H.S.

Our flag shown flying at the headquarters of the United States Lighthouse Society headquarters at Point No Point Lighthouse, Washington.

21426. . [reproduction] U. S. Lighthouse Service District Superintendent’s Flag. This rectangular flag measures 48” long by 24” and is typical of the flags once flown on Lighthouse Service Tenders when the District Superintendent was on board. The flag is of the standard design, with navy blue border on a field of white, with a large blue lighthouse silhouette. Made in USA. $79.95.  

21425. [reproduction] U. S. Lighthouse Service District Inspector’s Flag. This triangular flag measures 48” long by 25” and is typical of the flags once flown on Lighthouse Service Tenders when the District Inspector was on board. The flag is of the standard design, with navy blue border on a field of white, with a large blue lighthouse silhouette.  Made in USA. $79.95.

Original Lighthouse Photography by Bruce Roberts.  

   Bruce Roberts has been a well known and respected lighthouse historian, photographer and author since the subject gained the nation’s interest in the 1980’s.  His renowned lighthouse photography has appeared in hundreds of books and magazines including Southern Lighthouses and American Lighthouses.  

We have been most fortunate to obtain from Mr. Roberts a selection of his early lighthouse photographs to offer here. Please see our Photos page. 


Visit Our Commemorative China page

For reproduction LHS flags, clocks, china, uniforms, Lightship and lifeboat models, and more, click here for our New Items Page

Original lighthouse architectural plans, charts, etc. on our Charts & Documents Page

and much more!  

Wanted Antiques, Photos, Documents and other items

relating to the US Lighthouse Service, Life Saving Service, early Coast Guard, Massachusetts Humane Society, Revenue Cutter Service.  

 V-02. [print] Large 14” x 20” b/w print taken from original lithograph of Minot’s Ledge Light House c.1903. Taken from the original illustration by artist William P. Bodwell, the original of this exquisite poster was issued by a teacher's journal in October 1903. The text gives basic facts about this historic lighthouse, designed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, that was completed Sept. 16, 1860, replacing the earlier lighthouse that came down in a storm in 1851. As this lighthouse is still in existence, but closed to the public, appreciators of its historical importance can have a rare glimpse of the interior as of 100 years ago, with resident lighthouse keeper, by the following illustrations: First Structure on Minot's Ledge (sitting on delicate framework); Minots Ledge Lighthouse - Low Tide; Trial Foundations - Cohasset (where the lighthouse was set up, showing cottages on shore and lighthouse in distance); Keepers' Cottages Gov't. Island; A Convenient Stairway ( the keeper greets a visitor who's climbing the stairs); Looking Homeward - The Little Ones (the uniformed keeper scans the shore with a telescope, lifeboat nearby); The Entrance - Looking Out (view of area just inside the entrance); Night Duty - The Watchroom (the keeper reads a paper by the cast iron heater, and view of some machinery with wheel); Lighting Up (keeper adjusts the lamp mechanism); On the Parapet - The Fog-Bell (view of bell on walkway, keeper standing by looking at sailboats in the distance); The Storeroom - The Well (a view of a small room with tiny open window and a round trap door in the floor); Kitchen and Dining Room (view of wooden sink and cast iron range stove; The Captain's Sleeping Room; A Summer Visitor (woman in turn of the century clothing sitting in a chair, which is being lowered by a rope or chain); Sectional View (cross section view showing number of floors, stair turns, lamp mechanism, number of feet between levels). At lower right corner it says "Illustrated by Wm. P. Bodwell. Minot's Light. 1896." with facsimile of his signature. Bodwell (1852-1940) painted maritime subjects over the years. This superb rendition provides possibly the only views of the interior of this noted beacon and is perfect for framing. Printed on a beautiful buff woven stock, this would look wonderful framed for a display or wall decoration. (M). $15.95 each.

For additional prints, see "Engravings" page.

Scarce, original United States Lighthouse Service China  

For more information, please see our Dinnerware page.

Columbia River Light Ship No. 50

Rare album of 35 original 6” x 7 ½” photographs by Photographer J. F. Ford, presented to Captain Joseph H. Harriman of Light Ship No. 50 on July 18, 1901.    

For more information, please see our Lightship page. 



2450. Claflin, James W. HISTORIC NANTUCKET LIGHTHOUSES: Great Point -  A History of Nantucket’s Lighthouses on Great Point. Worcester. 2004. $8.95

Coming Soon: Chatham Lights, Nantucket Lightships, and more

23525. Claflin, James W. HISTORIC NANTUCKET LIGHTHOUSES: Sankaty Head. A History of Nantucket’s Lighthouse on Sankaty Head. Worcester. 2003. 65 pages, soft wraps, approximately 27 vintage black and white photographs, fold-out map. SPECIAL EDITION: First 500 copies signed and numbered with artifact from Sankaty Head Lighthouse included. Historic Nantucket Lighthouses: Sankaty Head is the second in a series of booklets that tell the story of historic lighthouses and life-saving stations along the New England Coast. A lighthouse has stood on Sankaty Head near the village of Siasconset since 1850, the third such aid built on the island. Three lighthouses have watched over Great Point, and nine have stood on Brant Point since the first was lit on the island in 1746. In addition, other beacons were constructed on the Jetties Beach and in the harbor as additional aids to vessels approaching the harbor. However, numerous pitfalls were to befall the keepers as fire and the ravages of weather would torment them for years. With thousands of vessels plying the dangerous waters, the chance of a shipping disaster was always great. Hundreds of shipwrecks did indeed occur off the coast with startling losses. Using descriptive text and a variety of vintage images from private as well as museum collections, we get a rare glimpse into the history of the area and the lives of these dedicated government men and women. Author James Claflin combines an extensively researched text with his exquisite collection of vintage photographs, many previously unpublished, to tell the story of this important landmark. (M). $8.95

Also available: Brant Point Lighthouse, Race Point Lighthouse and more...

Additional titles including: Great Point Lighthouse, Sankaty Head Lighthouse, Brant Point Lighthouse, Nantucket Lightship, Surfside Life-Saving Station


We are now proud to offer:

Original Watercolor Paintings of Lightships, Naval and Commercial Vessels by Mr. Gerald Levey - listed American Artist.

Gerald Levey is a nationally recognized marine artist whose work is known for its salty ambiance and authenticity. For the past fifteen years, Mr. Levey has worked in the marine watercolor genre, specializing in paintings of merchant ships, water craft, and naval vessels of the Twentieth Century. Levey's works have been exhibited widely in galleries and museums on both coasts and his work has appeared in national exhibits of the American Society of Marine Artists held at the Mariners Museum at Newport News, Virginia, and at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore, Maryland. Levey has been designated a Navy and Coast Guard artist and is listed in the "Dictionary of Sea Painters of Europe and America," the authoritative compilation of marine artist of the 15th through 20th centuries.

We have arranged with Mr. Levey to now be able to offer his paintings through our catalogue sales. In addition we can commission a painting by the artist of your favorite lightship or other vessel in a year and setting of your choice.

Lightships of any vintage, naval vessels, Merchant Marine and commercial vessels can be painted for you on request. Please inquire for more details. These are spectacular, museum quality renditions that would grace you home or office.

Many more recent releases on available our Recent Releases page. 


Theft from Massachusetts shop: 

U.S. Coast Guard bronze buoy bell.  Measures 20” diameter by 17 ½” high. 250 lbs. Bell mounts from the top, without clapper . Marked "U S C G 1964". If this bell is seen please let us know so we may advise the proper authorities.


New items arriving daily - Please ask for other items.


Recent Releases Recent Releases Page

Edward Rowe Snow Page

New Items Page

Procedure to order items:

1. I suggest that you call us or email to check on availability of any item that you would like other than recent books. As items go quite quickly, please call and leave a message to reserve items that you would like. I will return your call, hold the items and await your letter or credit card information. We will also weigh the items and advise postage. 

2. You may then call or email credit card information, or forward a check in the mail.

Most items are mailed US Priority Mail or UPS. For additional information please see our "Ordering Page"

Massachusetts residents must add 6.25% sales tax.


    Can't find what you are looking for?
    We can help you find that needed book or item.

    How to reach us:
    Kenrick A. Claflin & Son Nautical Antiques
    1227 Pleasant Street, Worcester, MA 01602 

    Phone (508) 792-6627


  • We also offer book search and research services....please inquire.
  • For a sample illustrated catalogue, please forward $3 in US postage or US funds (refundable with your order).

This site is continually updated. This page last updated August 30, 2018 .

All text and illustrations on web site Ó James W. Claflin . 08/30/2018 All rights reserved. Use prohibited without written permission.

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