Category Archive: Documents

Henry Worth and the History of the Akins in old Dartmouth

Henry Barnard Worth (1858-1923), a local historian living in New Bedford, was active in the first quarter of the twentieth century. He was a member and officer of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society [New Bedford Whaling Museum] from its inception, and was the author of more than twenty essays published as Old Dartmouth Sketches. His best-known work, in collaboration with photographer Fred Palmer, documented in text and photos some of the oldest houses in our area.

Worth also lectured frequently, both in the local area and further afield. Worth’s papers are archived in the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library.

Why are Worth’s writings important to the history of the Akin family? He wrote extensively about the Akins and their connection to old Dartmouth. He is a “go-to” historian for researchers, even today.

Local historian Bob Maker who is also an archivist with the New Bedford Whaling Museum has interpreted Henry Worth’s sizable research material for contemporary audiences. 

The Akins feature prominently along with other early founders in Worth’s comprehensive narrative about Padanaram Village in south Dartmouth.

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“Down to the Sea in Ships” and the 1762 Elihu Akin House of the early 1920s

In 1921, the Akin House becomes a part of film history as a location for Elmer Clifton’􀁠s Down to the Sea in Ships.

These still photos provide a record of the east side of the Akin House, called the “Old Homestead”, and appears in a late sequence of the film.

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Down to the Sea in Ships was Clara Bow’􀁠s first released film and also depicts Dartmouth’􀁠s Apponagansett Meeting House.

It contains rare footage of a whaling voyage filmed on the Wanderer and the Charles W. Morgan.

This film about New Bedford whaling had its premiere at the Olympia Theatre on September 25, 1922. The whaling footage is considered the best ever filmed and among the rarest.

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The Akin House Property in the Context of South Dartmouth

For those of you who are interested in local history and the origins of the 1762 Akin House on the corner of Dartmouth and Rockland Streets, this link is for you.

The proximity of this south Dartmouth property to Padanaram Harbor [formerly known as Akin’s Landing] underscores the entrepreneurial spirit of the Akins of old Dartmouth.

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Serving a Mission

On Friday, January 16th, DHPT once again submitted an application to Dartmouth’s Community Preservation Committee to request funds for Phase III of the Akin House’s restoration project.

In recognition of this worthy mission, Dr. Christina Hodge, Academic Curator & Collections Manager at Stanford University Archaeology Collections, submitted this letter of recommendation to the CPC committee.  

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RWU CPC Article December 2013

DHPT has been fortunate to have a partner in Roger Williams University’s Community Partnerships Center. So far, we have worked with the university’s education department’s social studies class for training elementary education teachers.

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The Significance of Local History

“Losing special places is like swallowing a bitter pill….[It] deepens your appreciation of the special places that remain and [helps you] learn how to protect them.”
Land Conservation & Historic Preservation | JM Goldson
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