Carnegie Mellon University

Three Sheets to the Wind: Sailors Disrupting Society

Exhibit by Posner Center intern, Juliann Reineke
Fall 2017

This exhibit investigates how caricatures of sailors reflect 18th and 19th century British concerns about Britain’s place in the world. The common British sailor, popularly known as the Jolly Jack Tar, developed as a distinct and recognizable figure in the 18th century, often seen as disrupting society. Representations of Jack Tar also reveal many facets of British masculinity, including drunkenness, bravery, sexuality, and patriotism.

Books and illustrations from both the Posner Collection and Special Collections illustrate a sailor’s life and highlight how characterizations of the Tar remain consistent over time, influencing how people today think about veterans.

Read the CMU News story: Three-Minute Thesis Exhibition in Posner Center

Mast-headed Midshipman

A Rich Privateer brought safe into Port, by two First Rates

Images: The British Museum