From forecastle to Academy - autobiography PDF by Lars Gustaf Sellstedt

From forecastle to Academy, sailor and artist; autobiography

Lars Gustaf Sellstedt
autobiography of  Lars Gustaf Sellstedt


From the preface:

The earlier parts of these memoirs were written many- years ago, long before age had dulled the impressions on my brain. Besides the pleasure I found in, so to speak, living over the days of my most youthful activity, it seemed a duty to my family to leave behind me a record of the principal events of my life. I had no idea then that they possibly might be published, if at all, while I was living, though I may have harboured a secret hope that after my death a readable book could be made out of the crude materials.

 Years rolled on, and before I realized it I found myself an old man, though still in good health and mental vigour. Many of my friends to whom I had told parts of my history had repeatedly urged me to write my life; few of them knew that most of it were already written. In time the idea of posthumous publication grew fainter; since giving one's self away in autobiographies had become the vogue, it began to occur to me that I, too, might as well give personal attention to my own story. 

But what seemed to be a serious difficulty arose: I could not, as I desired, give expression to the grateful acknowledgement which I felt due to all the loving friends that had helped to make me what I was, and to whose beneficent encouragement and companionship so much of the formation of my character and social success was due, without far exceeding the limits of a book which had for its purpose the exhibition of a life void of other influence than that which any life of moral and intellectual trend deeply in love with art and kindred pursuits may radiate.

 I found, too, in talking it over with some friends, that it was expected that in some degree the social history of Buffalo was to be enriched by my narrations; but, although during my sixty years' residence I had seen Buffalo rise from what, as we now view things, was scarcely more than a citified village to the dignity of a first-class city, and a prominent commercial and manufacturing centre of the country — from a population of scarcely 20,000 to that of half a million — my position and bare-handed struggles gave small opportunity and less desire for social functions and critical observation. 

It is true that during the latter moiety of my life chances for " taking notes " have not been lacking, but devotion to ART leaves little time or inclination for pursuits outside of the range of her requirements. 

The cult she demands is hard work and much self-denial; but she gives compensation in the pleasure of every stroke of the brush, especially if success attends it. In the picturesque confusion of his beloved studio, surrounded by the tools of his profession, his walls encumbered with ineffectual attempts to give visible form to his imagination, or hasty records of Nature's protean beauties, the painter lives in happy contentment while he has the means to meet his simple requirements; nay, he may even, in the joy of a successful interpretation of Nature, for the time, forget both cook and iterating landlord. In the following pages there will be found many names of friends whose precious personalities were so woven into the web of my own life that they could not be omitted; but others there were, less immediately in touch with it, whose claim upon my gratitude deserved no less " the honourable mention." 


To avoid a situation which might be thought invidious I had almost concluded to end my tale with my admission to the National Academy of Design, as indeed the title of the book implies. It will be seen that this idea was abandoned for reasons stated, and a subsequent conversation with Mr James N. Johnston, a well-known gentleman of culture and acumen, confirmed me in the propriety of giving vent to my feelings in closing with a few tributary sketches of some of the most distinguished public gentlemen to whom, during the latter part of my life, I had been particularly bound.

some contents:


I — PARENTAGE AND ENVIRONMENT 17
II — BIRTH AND EDUCATION 23
III — I GO TO SEA 43
IV — ALEXANDRIA 49
V — LEGHORN, RIGA, AND HOME 59
VI — EXPATRIATION 69
VII — THE UNITED STATES 76
VIII— ADRIFT 91
IX — ON A PILOT BOAT, HAITI, PORT AU PRINCE,
TRINIDAD DE CUBA, PERNAMBUCO 98
X — THE WEST COAST OF AFRICA 108
XI — AT PERNAMBUCO AND RIO DE JANEIRO .... 123
XII — MAN-OF-WAR LIFE 131
XIII — MAN-OF-WAR LIFE ON PACIFIC COAST .... 146
XIV — CONTINUED MAN-OF-WAR EXPERIENCE .... 166
XV — THE ''CONSTITUTION," END OF CRUISE . . . .173
XVI — HOMEWARD BOUND 183
XVII — TO EUROPE AND RETURN . . . 192
XVIII — IN BUFFALO IN 1842, AGED TWENTY-THREE . . 204
XIX — SAILINGS ON THE GREAT LAKES 216
XX — EXPERIMENTS IN HYPNOTISM 228 


the book details :
  • Author: Lars Gustaf Sellstedt
  • Publication date: 1904
  • Company: Buffalo, The Matthews-Northrup Works

  • Download 11.8 MB 

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