'Twas the Season, Part 6

The title of this photo is "Shantyman's Christmas," and it was part of a series of photos shot for Life by George Silk in 1953.

A shantyman is a sailor who leads the crew in sing-alongs. The word is derived from the French word "chanter," which means "to sing." The Life archives don't explain why there's a reference to a "shantyman" in the photo's title. Maybe they were singing Christmas carols while they decorated the tree.

There's no info about where Silk shot this photo. I'm guessing maybe New England, but it could have been any American seaport or fishing village. What is clear, however, is that the captain and his crew or family are decorating the small craft for Christmas.

Check back tomorrow for another "'Twas the Season" post.

(NOTE: This was originally posted on Drye Goods on December 17, 2009)

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