Longfellow House - Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site has a large museum collection consisting of thousands of objects, many of which are not regularly displayed in the house's furnished exhibit rooms. Every month, an object will be featured on this page, providing a look at an unusual piece from the collection.
With the approach of summer and warmer weather, many members of the extended Longfellow family looked forward to engaging in one of their favorite pastimes, yachting. One of the focal points of this activity was Thomas Gold Appleton’s yacht Alice, constructed in 1866 and named for his niece Alice Longfellow.
The pin showed above, in reality just over an inch in diameter and made of metal and enamel, depicts a life preserver with the yacht’s name, Alice, and E.Y.C. on the bottom, which stands for “Eastern Yacht Club.” The flag or “burgee” in the center shows the colors of the Eastern Yacht Club, a diagonal red line on a blue field, with a white star in the center.
A group of wealthy Bostonians who held an interest in yachting formed the Eastern Yacht Club in 1870. Thomas Gold Appleton was one of the founding members, and remained so until 1883, the year before his death. His nephew Charles Appleton Longfellow received the yacht Alice upon his uncle’s death, and was a member of the Eastern Yacht Club as well. The Eastern Yacht Club has been located in Marblehead, Massachusetts since its inception, and is still very active today.
The Alice enjoyed a 22-year career in the service of the Appleton and Longfellow families, taking family members and friends up and down the east coast, especially on pleasure cruises to Maine, and engaging in regattas in the waters of Massachusetts. The Longfellows’ enjoyment of the yacht is well documented in family correspondence, journal entries, photographs, and artwork. Its best-known cruise was its first significant voyage, a record setting trip across the Atlantic to England in 1866. Charles Appleton Longfellow sold it in 1888 when he acquired his new yacht, the Alga.