C. John Sullivan
Waterfowling Historian and Author
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Books from C. John Sullivan
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(History Press 2008)
Carroll's Island is one of many places along the Chesapeake Bay where vibrant stories of dogs, decoys, guns and waterfowl resonate up from the shoreline. The stories from Carroll's Island Ducking Club, which was founded in the mid-nineteenth century, offer special insights about the Chesapeake Bay's waterfowling heritage. In this warm, informative book, C. John Sullivan Jr., one of the nation's leading decoy collectors and scholars, documents the development of the Chesapeake Bay retriever and how gunners once devised decoys and new firearms and enjoyed the bounty of the Chesapeake Bay. Eventually Carroll's Island Ducking Club would disappear, but its legacy can still be seen today in the role members played in establishing the Chesapeake Bay retriever as Maryland's state dog.
(The Johns Hopkins University Press 2003)
Part documentary, part nostalgic history, and part informational catalogue, Waterfowling on the Chesapeake, 1819–1936 explores a century of hunting on the Chesapeake Bay and its major tributaries—from the heyday of gun clubs and market shooting to the rise of conservation law. Drawing on oral histories and period documents and artifacts, C. John Sullivan, a longtime collector of decoys and hunting paraphernalia and a frequent guest curator of exhibits, looks at the effects of technological change, the relationship between hunter and dog, the recognition of decoys as folk art, and the history of hunting. He also introduces us to famous and lesser-known carvers and others who share an enthusiasm for this feature of Chesapeake cultural history and life.
(The Johns Hopkins University Press 2001)
In Old Ocean City, Sullivan mixes his own commentary and explanatory captions with excerpts from Robert Walker's journal and more than one hundred family photographs (discovered in 1994, Sullivan notes, in a sweltering attic in Berlin, Maryland). Views of handsome beach architecture and grass-covered dunes suggest an Ocean City almost unimaginable today. Rare photographs and accounts of shorebird hunting (banned in 1918 to protect sandpipers, plover, herons, and other species) are an arresting contrast to more familiar scenes of boating, fishing, and beachcombing. We see the Walker children growing up -- and Ocean City growing up around them. The result is a surprising look at a place "far different than our memories would recall." Sullivan includes a time line of Ocean City history and Walker family visits, starting with the formation of the Atlantic Hotel Company in 1868 (the company's stockholders chose the name Ocean City at their 1875 meeting in Salisbury) and ending with the Walkers' sale of their beloved cottage in 1950.
(Full House Press 2013)
A recount of the life and times of the people who farmed, hunted and fished on the island during its 300 year history. Using land records, gunning club logs, photographs, maps and personal interviews, this book gives readers a unique perspective of life on an upper Chesapeake Bay island.
To read the Baltimore Sun article CLICK HERE
(Maplehurst Publisher 1987)
Before becoming a "bedroom community", prior to the birth of Aberdeen Proving Ground, Harford had a distinct reputation. It was known up and down the Eastern Seaboard for its magnificent waterfowling. The sport attracted many of the country's foremost businessmen and created a vital part of Harford's economy at the time.
Today, decoys which remain from that era are our only tangible link to those different times. Joining the antique decoys now is this publication which is clearly a labor of love for its author who has compiled and recorded the most complete record of this important portion of the heritage of Harford County, Maryland and the Upper Chesapeake.
(Maplehurst Publishers 1985)
Much of the history of waterfowl hunting in America can be found in the handwritten gunning logs of clubs that not only record their hunting success, but also their social nature and the traditions of the club. Club histories are seldom continuously documented, and lapses in record keeping leave information gaps. The Swan Island Club, established in 1872 in Currituck County, North Carolina, has a continuous record of 140 years of operation. Member rosters, hunting success logs, photographs, commentaries from past and recent members and staff have been brought together in this new book by C. John Sullivan, Jr., entitled Swan Island—A History—1872—2014—Currituck, North Carolina. Decoys, dogs, boats, game, hunting methods, and the men who maintained the club’s traditions are skillfully woven together in this unique history of waterfowling at Swan Island.
(Havre de Grace Decoy Museum 1996)