34. American Eagle: The Bold Art & Brash Life of John Haley Bellamy

American Eagle: The Bold Art and Brash Life of John Haley BellamyNew Book Tells All about Iconic Bellamy Eagle Carving

James A. Craig knows all there is to know about the highly collectible “Bellamy eagles” and the man who carved them. Six years in the making, Craig’s lavishly illustrated hardcover book debunks the myths and digs into the details of the little known, but brilliant, craftsman from Kittery Point, Maine and his iconic wooden figures.

Craig traces Bellamy from his birth in the historic Pepperrell House, through his “lost years” as a hard-drinking bachelor, to his days carving massive figureheads for warships at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Through scrupulous research, the author analyzes the carver’s distinctive style, Yankee ingenuity, and marketing genius from the close of the Civil War to the dawn of the twentieth century.

“AMERICAN EAGLE is our most elaborate and exciting book to date,” says Maryellen Burke of the Portsmouth Marine Society Press. “Jim has not only broken new ground as an art historian, but he tells a compelling yarn about a fascinating character and an American success story.”

John Haley Bellamy cleverly tapped into the flood of tourists who visited the seacoast starting in the 1870s. His Kittery Point workshop also attracted Victorian celebrities and intellectuals.

“One of the great pleasures of my investigations,” Craig says, “was discovering the deep personal connections Bellamy enjoyed with famous men like painter Winslow Homer and writers like William Dean Howells and Mark Twain. He was anything but the stereotypical, illiterate, backwoods whittler so common to folk art history.”

9.25 x 10.5 Hardcover, 224 pages, full color throughout, ISBN: 978-0-915819-42-3 / $45.00

Copies can be purchased at the Discover Portsmouth Museum Shop or online at Enfield Distribution:

Order Portsmouth Marine Society Books