Rosanne Cash to Perform at Fundraising Event for South Street Seaport Museum

By: Feb. 21, 2013

The South Street Seaport Museum today announced a gala concert starring singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash to raise funds to restore the schooner Lettie G. Howard. The gala event will be held on Monday, April 8th at the New York Academy of Medicine on Fifth Avenue.

Ms. Cash's ancestors arrived in Salem, Massachusetts aboard the ship Good Intent in 1643, and many of her ancestors were whalers and fishermen.

"I'm honored to support the restoration of Lettie G. Howard, a treasure of maritime history, a completely unique teaching vessel, and a precious fixture in New York Harbor," Ms. Cash said.

Tickets to the performance - which will begin at 8 PM - can be purchased online at Those purchasing tickets at the $500 "Jib" level or above will be invited after the performance to a private reception with Ms. Cash at the Museum of the City of New York.

The event is being held to raise funds to repair and renovate the 120-year-old Lettie G. Howard, which in recent years has served as a sailing school vessel for the New York Harbor School, the New York City public high school on Governors Island that trains students for maritime careers. Repairs to make her seaworthy again are estimated at $250,000; $140,000 has been raised to date.

"It is clear that Lettie is as tough as she is beautiful," said Susan Henshaw Jones, Ronay Menschel Director of the Museum of the City of New York and President of the South Street Seaport Museum. "But today she needs help. She has developed rot in her keelson, the interior spine that holds her together, and we will have to take her apart in order to repair her. The project is estimated to cost approximately $250,000."

Rosanne Cash is one of America's pre-eminent singers and songwriters. Over the past 30 years she has recorded 12 albums, and has had 11 #1 singles. In that time she has navigated her own path between country and rock, roots and pop, writing songs that are finely-wrought vignettes, both highly personal and universally appealing.

She was born in Memphis, Tennessee on May 24, 1955, the eldest child of Johnny Cash and his first wife, Vivian Liberto. After her parents separated she was raised by her mother in Los Angeles. Her father went on to marry singer June Carter, who also had an influence on young Rosanne's musical path.

After high school, Cash joined her father and stepmother's road show, working her way up from laundry duty to backup singer to soloist. Before starting a full-time career in music, she studied drama at Nashville's Vanderbilt University and at the Lee Strasberg Institute in Los Angeles.

Ms. Cash's recordings included "Right or Wrong," "Seven Year Ache," "Rhythm and Romance," "King's Record Shop," "Interiors," "The Wheel," "10 Song Demo," "Rules of Travel," and "Black Cadillac." Her most recent album, "The List" was released in the fall of 2009. The songs on it were selected from a list of 100 great American songs that her father told her she had to master and know if she were to become a musician.

Ms. Cash has also made her mark as a writer. She published a collection of short stories called "Bodies of Water" in 1995 and a children's book: "Penelope Jane: A Fairy's Tale" in 2000. Her essays and fiction have appeared in various collections and publications, including "The New York Times," "Rolling Stone," "Time Magazine," "The Oxford American," and "New York Magazine."

Ms. Cash lives in New York City with her husband, producer and guitarist John Leventhal. She is the mother of five children.

Built in 1893 at Essex, MA, in the yard of Arthur D. Story, Lettie G. Howard is a type of fishing schooner once widely used along the Atlantic seaboard from Maine to Texas. Her deep wooden hull, subtly curved from a faintly hollowed bow and fine entrance to a long powerful run, is a good model of what was known the world over as the "Gloucesterman." Today, she is one of the last of her kind.

Named for the daughter of her first captain, Frederick Howard, Lettie fished out of Gloucester, MA, for her first eight years. In 1901, she was purchased by owners in Pensacola, FL, for use in the red snapper fishery off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. After surviving two major hurricanes, she was thoroughly rebuilt in 1923 by a new owner-Thomas Welles of Mystic, CT-who installed her first auxiliary engine and renamed her Mystic C. She continued to fish under sail for the Welles Company for 43 years, until it disbanded in 1966.

That year, she was sold to the Historic Ships Association in Gloucester, and in 1968 she was purchased by the year-old South Street Seaport Museum. She traveled from Gloucester to the Museum's pier at South Street largely under sail. By then, she had been renamed twice, and her long working life had obscured her origins; research into her background led to a docking book that confirmed her identity as Lettie G. Howard.

Since 1968, Lettie has been a proud and beloved resident of South Street, where scores of fishing schooners like her used to dock to bring their catches to the Fulton Fish Market. She was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989, and between 1991 and 1993 she was completely restored to her 1893 appearance.

Lettie has operated as a certified sail training vessel since 1994, taking student crews on trips in New York Harbor and waters further afield-teaching history and ecology along with the skills and crafts of sailing, and celebrating the legacy of the North Atlantic fisheries and the Gloucester fleets.

Created in 1967, the South Street Seaport Museum's mission was to celebrate New York's maritime past through its collections, including vessels, and through exhibitions and school and public programs. Financial issues forced the Seaport Museum to close in early 2011, but the Seaport Museum was re-opened in January 2012 under the management of the Museum of the City of New York, which has sought to make use of the Seaport Museum's assets to pave the way for a stable future. The Museum is open seven days a week from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Admission is $10 and free for children under 9. Visit for more information.

The Seaport Museum seeks support for this repair project so that Lettie can again take students to sea. Anyone wishing to make contributions to help the Lettie G. Howard can visit


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