Richard Henry Dana

Richard Henry Dana, Jr in 1842

“The Life and Times of Richard Henry Dana, Jr.” will be the subject of local historian Bob Minty’s presentation at the February 8, 2024 meeting of the Orange County Historical Society (OCHS), 7:30p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., Orange.


Locals know Richard Henry Dana as the namesake of Dana Point and the author of Two Years Before the Mast — a treatise on the harsh life of sailors, which happened to also describe his 1835 visit to what’s now Dana Point. But Dana was far more a merchant seaman and memoirist. He was a lawyer, a politician, a student of Ralph Waldo Emerson, a friend of Herman Melville, a prominent abolitionist, and a champion of the downtrodden. As U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts during the Civil War, he even went before the U.S. Supreme Court, defending President Lincoln’s blockade of Confederate ports.

The Brig Pilgrim, photo from 1989

Bob Minty has been the program chair of the Dana Point City Historical Society for several years, is a Life Member of OCHS, and has been portraying Richard Henry Dana, Jr. as a reenactor for the Pilgram Program at the Ocean Institute since the 1980s. He is the go-to person for anything relating to Richard Henry Dana and has given presentations to members of the Orange County Board of Supervisors and numerous professional organizations. Some OCHS members will also recall Bob’s memorable presentation before the Society in 2017 regarding the whaling industry that once existed off the coast of Orange County.