By the mid-nineteenth century hundreds of New England women were living abroad the nation’s whaling and merchant vessels, spending months — even years - at sea. For these intrepid women, managing a family proved difficult, and the isolation from female society was trying. Yet life at sea freed them from some of the traditional forms of domestic work and allowed them to experiment with new roles – teaching, preaching, navigating, keeping logs, and at times tempering their husbands' harsh shipboard justice.
Fournier, Constance A.. "Navigating Women: Exploring the Roles of Nineteenth-Century New England Sailing Wives." Maine History 35, 1 (1995): 46-61. https://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/mainehistoryjournal/vol35/iss1/5