"In this illuminating historical narrative, maritime scholar David Cordingly shows that in fact an astonishing number of women went to sea in the great age of sail. Some traveled as the wives or mistresses of captains. A few were smuggled aboard by officers or seaman. A number of cases have come to light of young women dressing in men's clothes and working alongside the sailors for months, and sometimes years. In the U.S. and Britsh navies, it was not uncommon for the wives of bosuns, carpenters, and cooks to go to sea on warships. Cordingly's tremendous research shows that there was indeed a thriving female population--from female pirates to the sirens of legend--on and around the high seas."
When you are growing up, there are two institutional places that affect you most powerfully -- the church, which belongs to God, and the public library, which belongs to you. The public library is a great equalizer.