Saltwater Frontier: The Contest for America’s Coast

The Saltwater Frontier

Historian Andrew Lipman examines nautical conflict and contact in early America                                                 


On Thursday, September 28, the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum will host Andrew Lipman, Associate Professor of History at Barnard College, for a lecture based on his award-winning book The Saltwater Frontier: Indians and the Contest for the American Coast (Yale UP, 2015).

In The Saltwater Frontier, Lipman shares the previously untold story of how the ocean became a “frontier” between colonists and Indians. In a radical reinterpretation of early America, Lipman’s analysis shifts our attention to when the English and Dutch empires both tried to claim the same patch of coast between the Hudson River and Cape Cod, transforming the sea itself into an arena of contact and conflict. During this period of violent European invasions, the region’s Algonquin-speaking Natives were important navigators, boatbuilders, fisherman, pirates, and merchants. Lipman’s study demonstrates how these seafarers became active players in the emergence of the Atlantic World.

Drawing from a wide range of English, Dutch, and archaeological sources, The Saltwater Frontier uncovers a new geography of Native America that incorporates seawater as well as soil. Lipman makes a persuasive case for rethinking our traditional understanding of the period and for appreciating the significance of Long Island’s coastal waters in the early history of colonial America.

The lecture will take place at 7:00pm in the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum’s Charles and Helen Reichert Planetarium theater. Tickets are available online at the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum’s website. Support for the lecture series is generously provided by a grant from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation.

Andrew Lipman is a historian of Early America at Barnard College in New York, New York. His research interests include the Atlantic World, early America, Native Americans, violence, technology, and the environment. His first book, The Saltwater Frontier: Indians and the Contest for the American Coast, was a finalist for the New England Society Book Award in Nonfiction, the PROSE award in U.S. History, and the winner of the Bancroft Prize in American History.

Lipman’s work has appeared in Common-Place, Early American Studies, Reviews in American History, and the William and Mary Quarterly. He has also contributed pieces to Slate and Time. His research has been supported by the American Philosophical Society, The Huntington Library, The International Seminar in the History of the Atlantic World at Harvard University, and the John Carter Brown Library. He is presently completing a book manuscript titled The Death and Life of Squanto.

Address: 180 Little Neck Rd., Centerport, NY 11721

Date & Time: Thursday, September 24 (09/24/2023) at 7:00pm

Website & Tickets:

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