Joan Druett wrote, in She Was a Sister Sailor (page 5-6): “….Another door [from the captain’s stateroom] led into a narrow cabin that ran across the stern at the transom. This was called the ‘after cabin’….” It was the captain’s ‘sitting room’; as W.B. Murdock put it, it was ‘the reception room, the parlor, the library, the business office, the directors’ room, the jury room, the supreme court of the ship. No-body could enter therein without permission from the captain,’ except, of course, for his wife.” The (nearly) ‘all-purpose’ after-cabin room was approximately six by eight feet.
As noted by Joan Druett, “This room was described in detail by Henrietta Deblois, 20 November 1856, when she sailed on the New Bedford bark Merlin. ‘In the after cabin….we have a green Brussels carpet with tiny red flower sprinkled all over it, a black walnut sofa, one chair, a small mirror with a gilt frame — over this is the Barometer — at the side of this hangs the thermometer. Under the mirror is a beautiful carved shelf which supports a watch and jewel case, a present from our niece at parting….’
Joan continues, “A door from the after cabin led to a companionway, a stairway that led up to the deck. Another door led into the main, or ‘mess’ cabin, often called the ‘forward cabin’.
Below are two photos of the after cabin on the Charles W. Morgan.
The first photo was taken looking toward the stern. The left of the photo is the starboard side; the small door leads to the ‘head’ or water closet (the same toilet off the captain’s stateroom). The right side of the photo is the port side of the ship and behind a narrow wall (unseen in the photo) is the campionway stairs leading to the deck. To the lower left-hand side of the photo is a corner of the captain’s desk.
The second photo is a picture of the captain’s desk built-in to the wall separating the after cabin from the main cabin. This photo looks toward the port side of the ship. The open door behind the desk is one of two doors leading into the main cabin (the other; unseen is on the opposite side of the desk). The small door adjacent to the couch leads to the companionway stairs up to the deck.