Author James A Craig

James A Craig

Author James Craig hails from Gloucester, Massachusetts where he feels right at home in the oldest and greatest fishing port of the nation. Craig began his curatorial career at the House of Seven Gables, becoming the associate curator for collections at the Cape Ann Historical Museum from 2003 to 2007.  This is Craig’s third title.  Frank Vining Smith: Maritime Painting in the 20th Century follows on the heels of Fitz H. Lane: An Artist’s Voyage through Nineteenth Century America (The History Press, 2006) which was awarded the Gloucester Historical Commission Preservation Award in 2007. He is currently an independent consultant to fine art collectors, antique dealers and museums as he authors his latest book on noted New England folk artist John Haley Bellamy. Craig graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in anthropology.

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22 Responses to Author James A Craig

  1. K DAVIS September 3, 2010 at 8:14 pm #

    The Smithsonian in DC has a Libby family collection of papers of Frank Vining Smith. Are you familiar with it? Is there a log of paintings by FVS which one can review? Thank you.

  2. david gerstel November 1, 2010 at 7:20 pm #

    how do i contact mr craig by telephone?

  3. pat December 13, 2010 at 10:49 pm #

    resintly bought a old house and found a old picture signed by Frank Vinning Smith.How can i send pictures

  4. Suzanne Buchanan January 3, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

    Hello James,

    I see you’ll be back on the south shore soon to to a talk at Hull Lifesaving Museum. Can you contact me at HHS re: the FV Smith book? 781-749-7721 thx. suzanne

  5. Christopher Lancette March 22, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

    Mr. Craig,

    I bought what I thought was a Frank Vining Smith clipper ship print at an auction this week, getting it for cheap. I figured the gesso frame was worth more than I paid. I sent photos of the piece to an art appraiser. She said it’s possible this might not be a print and might actually be an original. She said you know more about Smith than anyone so I was hoping you might be able to help me determine whether I have a cheap print in very elaborate, old frame, or whether I might have somehow landed an original. Can you contact me?

    • admin March 22, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

      Hi Christopher ~ Thank you for reaching out ~ I will have James Craig and/or his gallery expert (one of the advisors and producers of the book) get back to you on this matter asap,



      • Christopher Lancette March 22, 2011 at 7:02 pm #

        Very kind of you. Thank you. I just left a note on the main site for the book, too, so you can ignore that one.

  6. Kaitlin June 6, 2011 at 6:00 pm #

    Hello Mr. Craig,

    I am wondering if I could have Mr. Craig’s email to talk to him about possibly doing speaking engagements for my company, which is a Boston destination management company. I would very much appreciate your assistance. Thank you!

  7. Marguerite Mathews July 6, 2011 at 11:16 pm #

    Hello — I enjoyed the talk you gave last weekend at Portsmouth Historical Society’s Discover Portsmouth Center. I’m a former board member at Portsmouth Historical Society. I’m also the director of a small theatre company in Portsmouth which specializes in original productions based on the culture, history and literature of New England. Next season we’re planning to develop a play based on George Savary Wasson’s books about Kittery Point ME. I”ve been looking for biographical information on Wasson for quite a while but haven’t turned up much. I was so interested in the biographical information you presented about Wasson in your talk (and I’m looking forward to reading your book when it’s available). Can you provide us with more background info to guide our process? We’re probably going to use THE GREEN SHAY as the basis of our play since it has a plot line. The other books seem more like character sketches. The language is thorny but we’ve done lots of Sarah Orne Jewett’s stories and the dialect seems similar to her characters’. Thanks for any advice you can offer!

  8. greg mims July 17, 2011 at 9:08 pm #

    I have what seems to be an original oil painting by frank vining smith called “Clearing the Land”(Ship Northern Light). It’s been in my family for a long time. I don’t think it’s ever been thru an auction.
    The internet isn’t much help, who can I turn to for information on this painting?

    Thank you

  9. James A. Craig July 19, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

    Dear Marguerite,

    Jim Craig here. First off, thanks for coming out to attend my lecture up in Portsmoutha few weeks back! It was a superb crowd… just the kind of folks an author dreams of giving a talk to.

    Regarding George S. Wasson, I agree with your choice of The Green Shay. Cap’n Simeon’s Store & Home From the Sea just wouldn’t work in the format you are planning. Can’t wait to see the final product!

    And regarding biographical material on Wasson, I wish there were more out there about him. The sources from which I drew my research on Wasson (and which you may already have hit) are as follows:

    -Eby, Cecil D., Jr.: Down East with George Savary Wasson. Down East Magazine, April, 1967

    -Eckstorm, Fannie Hardy: George Savary Wasson, Artist and Writer, 1855-1932. Essex Institute Historical Collections, LXXIX (1943)

    -Hatch, Francis W.: ‘Wave Crest’ Retires. Down East Magazine, June, 1969

    -Introduction for unpublished typewritten manuscript concerning George Savary Wasson presented to the Boston Athenaeum in January of 1949, prepared by Walter Muir Whitehill

    …I hope this helps. And please do not hesitate to fire off any other questions regarding Wasson. I promise I will be more prompt in my replies!

    Good luck with the play,


  10. doddi June 25, 2012 at 7:30 pm #

    can you contact me through email, i got lithography of frank vining smith.

  11. CaroleAnn Owen September 13, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    Mr Craig,
    I just bought a very old framed picture of a sailing vessel at a yard sale. It came from an old house that was sold along with contents. The signature on the bottom right corner is Frank Vining Smith

    I live in Nova Scotia, Canada and I was wondering if it is an original and the name of the ship. (it looks similar to our “Bluenose 1”), Also how can I find out it’s value?
    Thank You ….CaroleAnn Owen

  12. Barbara Fulchino December 28, 2012 at 8:03 pm #

    Hail cousin,
    Congratulations, I didn’t realize you were in Gloucester.
    I have some of my father’s relatives there. (Canillas)
    Looking forward to reading your books.
    Best of luck.

    • James A. Craig October 11, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

      Hello yourself! God, I wish I checked on this a year ago!
      I remember well “Uncle” Tony speaking of his having been born in Rockport, if I recall correctly. No too many Canillas’ here nowadays, alas.

      How are you faring? And Cindy and Kelly? We must talk soon!



  13. Corey O'Neil April 17, 2013 at 12:40 am #

    Hello I was wondering if James Craig was going to give any lectures in the future, or if there are any new books in the works. Thank you.

  14. jane krasnick June 25, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

    hello Mr. Craig
    My parents have a Frank Vining Smith painting. It is in a forest scene with a hunter sitting on a log looking back on some deer.I am curiuos what it my be worth. They are thinking of selling it. Do you have any advice on how or who to get it appraised by??
    jane krasnick

  15. Kevin Jones August 19, 2013 at 12:46 am #

    I have a Frank Vining Smith original oil painting of a ship (32′ x 39 1/2 “) that I inherited from my father in law. I am trying to find out how to sell the painting and the approximate value. Can you direct me?


    Kevin Jones

  16. James Bagwell December 17, 2013 at 11:19 pm #

    My neighbor has a calendar print of a painting of the golden hinde ship by frank vining smith. does your book have this painting and where is the original?


  17. marilyn bilby March 9, 2014 at 9:42 pm #

    Hi Jim, I met you and your wife last summer at First Baptist church in Kittery Point. I had so hoped to hear you at the Lion’s club in Kittery this Tuesday but have another scheduled meeting. I still think about the chairs and how the marks on them so resemble the marks on some of Bellemy’s eagles. Hope to keep track of you and catch you at one of your future lecture. Is your book available yet? Marilyn

  18. J-Patrick Laflamme August 14, 2014 at 1:42 pm #

    Good day M. Craig,

    7 years ago I have bought a schooner which, from my point of view was exceptionably fine lined. It occurred that the design was made by Frank Vining Smith for his personal use. We have restored the boat completely and are launching next year in July 2015. We have approached the previous owner to attend the launching and we would like to have a representative of the Vining Smith family. Could you help us finding his descendant.

    We are based in Quebec city, Canada and would be extremely enthusiastic to have the lineage of the boat around her for the launching.

    you can either write back on my e-mail address or by Facebook at jean-patrick laflamme

    Tanking you in advance,


  19. Mike White August 19, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

    Mr Craig,
    I read the article in the Newtown Bee about your book on John Haley Bellamy (with great interest). I intend on purchasing it, as I also own a copy of Carver of Eagles.
    That being said, I understand and respect your intimate knowledge of nautical carvings and their makers, and wanted to inquire if you would have a look at what I believe to be a carver’s tool box.
    The box is completely painted. It was originally a vivid blue, however the years and old varnish has matriculated it to a soft green. However, blue paint is visible in several small areas.
    The top is completely incised with the maker’s name (Earl Stewart), quarter fans in the corners, two hearts and an unusual “stick” type decorative incising that was unbelievably done by hand.
    The front depicts an eagle, mountains 0n the horizon and tiny pine trees.
    The back depicts 3 painted windmills.
    The sides have markings that indicated that the box probably had a handle (as a carrying device) and was more than likely, some sort of carver’s toolbox.
    The interior is in an old pumpkin colored paint, with tool slots built in on both sides.
    Dimensions are 25.5” wide, 6.5” high and 8.5” deep.
    It is constructed of American pine.
    If you feel that you would care to view it, my e-mail address is
    I would be happy to send photos and perhaps drive over to Gloucester.
    Hoping to hear from you.
    M. White

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