Mystic Seaport honored Nantucket author Nathaniel Philbrick with the 2015 America and the Sea Award on October 14. Presented annually by the Museum, the prestigious award recognizes an individual or organization whose contribution to the history, arts, business, or sciences of the sea best exemplify the American character.
Philbrick received the award at a gala held in his honor at the Metropolitan Club in New York City.
This year marked the 10th anniversary of the award. Past recipients include oceanographer and explorer Sylvia Earle, historian David McCullough, legendary yacht designer Olin Stephens, President and CEO of Crowley Maritime Corporation, Thomas Crowley, philanthropist William Koch, former Secretary of the Navy John Lehman, WoodenBoat founder Jon Wilson, yachtsman and author Gary Jobson, and maritime industrialist Charles A. Robertson.
On presenting the award, Steve White, president of Mystic Seaport, cited Philbrick’s “significant contributions to the literary field, commitment to wise and accurate storytelling, his passion for sailing and the maritime world, and life’s work educating Americans about their history and sharing this with the entire world.”
Philbrick is closely linked to the island of Nantucket, where he moved with his wife, Melissa, and their two children in 1986. In 1994, he published his first book about the island’s history, Away Off Shore, followed by a study of Nantucket’s native legacy, Abram’s Eyes. He was the founding director of Nantucket’s Egan Maritime Institute and is still a research fellow at the Nantucket Historical Association.
In 2000, Philbrick published the New York Times bestseller, In the Heart of the Sea, which won the National Book Award for nonfiction. The book is the basis of the Warner Bros. motion picture “In Heart of the Sea,” which is directed by Ron Howard and scheduled for release this December. The book also inspired a 2001 Dateline special on NBC and the 2010 two-hour PBS American Experience film “Into the Deep” by Ric Burns.
The author’s next book, Sea of Glory, was published in 2003 and won the Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt Naval History Prize and the Albion-Monroe Award from the National Maritime Historical Society. The New York Times bestseller Mayflower, a finalist for both the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in History and the Los Angeles Times Book Award, won the Massachusetts Book Award for nonfiction.Mayflower was named one of the ten “Best Books of 2006” by the New York Times Book Review and is currently in development as a limited series on FX.
Philbrick’s latest New York Times bestseller, Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution, was published in 2013 and was awarded both the 2013 New England Book Award for nonfiction and the 2014 New England Society Book Award, as well as the 2014 Distinguished Book Award of the Society of Colonial Wars.
The author recently announced that his new book, Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold and the Fate of the American Revolution, is scheduled for publication on May 10, 2016.