URI textiles experts consulted for whaling documentary

Posted on
Susan Jerome, Claudia Ianuccilli provided research for Ric Burns film

KINGSTON, R.I. – May 6, 2010 – Research and expertise from the University of Rhode Island’s Historic Textile and Costume Collection will be on display when filmmaker Ric Burns’ latest documentary film, Into the Deep: America, Whaling & the World debuts on PBS Monday, May 10 at 9 p.m.

The film looks at the 300-year saga of the American whaling industry from its 17th-centruy origins off the coast of New England and Cape Cod through its demise following the Civil War. The two-hour presentation is part of the American Experience series for PBS.

Susan Jerome, the manager for URI’s Historic Textile and Costume Collection in the Department of Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design, and fellow URI graduate Claudia Ianuccilli provided expertise on the clothing New England whalers wore during the 1800s.

Producer Bonnie Lafave was doing research for the film when she came across thesis papers written by Jerome (Trade Cloth on American Whaling Ships, 1820-1870) and Ianuccilli (Clothing of the New England whalemen 1840-1869). When she contacted the Department of Textiles, Fashion Merchandizing and Design to track down the women, it was Jerome who answered the phone.

“Bonnie and I talked about their needs for the film regarding information on what whalemen wore in the 19th century,” Jerome said. “We were able to help them out with information and photographs to help them get an idea of the outfits of the time.”

Both Jerome and Ianuccilli served as consultants for the film, earning the textiles department a ‘thank you’ in the film’s credits.

Pictured above

Susan Jerome. URI photo by Nora Lewis