Lemuel Moody and the Portland Observatory

Lemuel Moody was born to a prominent Portland family in 1767. His father, Enoch, was a housewright and merchant, who encouraged his sons’ interest in the seafaring life. When Moody was 9, his brother, William, perished during the disastrous Penobscot Expedition of the American Revolution. But Moody was undeterred, and set off to start his own life at sea. It wasn’t until the Quasi War, when his ship, Betsey, was captured by the French and held captive for several weeks, that he decided to retire. Moody then devoted himself to creating the Portland Observatory, for which he is best known for. The nautical charts and notes in this collection document Moody’s work and legacy, as he observed Portland from his tower on Munjoy Hill.