Born in Northborough, Massachusetts, author James Claflin graduated from the State University of New York College of Forestry at Syracuse in 1972 with a BS degree in Forest Resources Management. From there he returned to Northborough where he began a career as a firefighter as well as a Firefighting Instructor at the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy. In 1988 he retired from Northborough Fire Department as a Lieutenant, continuing his work at the academy and beginning a thirteen year position with the University of Massachusetts Life Flight Helicopter.
James Claflin has been a collector and dealer in fine nautical antiques since the 1970’s, eventually taking the reigns of his father’s company Kenrick A. Claflin & Son, specializing in fine antiques. Since the late 1980’s, he has specialized in the U. S. Lighthouse Service, the U. S. Life-Saving Service, the U. S. Revenue Cutter Service and early U. S. Coast Guard. Beginning in 1998 he began writing books on the subject and has completed eight to date. His latest series, Historic Nantucket, tells the story of historic lighthouses, lightships and life-saving stations along the New England coast. In addition, he has published a number of books and prints including Frederick Thompson’s The Lightships of Cape Cod, Historic Lighthouses print series, post cards and more.
Today Jim continues to write and publish, as well as operate his antique business, which has become the largest company specializing in the subject in the country.
Past speaking engagements have included
American Lighthouse Foundation
New England Lighthouse Chapter, ALF
U.S. Life Saving Service Heritage Association
Cape Cod Postcard Collectors’ Club
Nantucket Life-Saving Museum
Nantucket Lightship Basket Museum
Egan Maritime Foundation, Nantucket
Barns & Noble Bookstores
Hull Lifesaving Museum
Articles in numerous magazines including:
The Keeper’s Log (United States Lighthouse Society)
The Antique Trader
Antiques and The Arts Weekly
The Nantucket Independent
Cape Cod Life Magazine
The Community Advocate
Recipient of Foundation for Coast Guard History Award, for book Historic Nantucket Life-Saving – Surfside Life Saving Station (2008)
Recipient of Foundation for Coast Guard History Special Recognition Award, for book Lighthouses and Life Saving Along the Massachusetts Coast
Recipient of Foundation for Coast Guard History Special Recognition Award, for book Lighthouses and Life Saving Along the Maine and New Hampshire Coast
Monthly contributor to Lighthouse Digest Magazine last 11 years. Column entitled Collecting Nautical Antiques