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Amy Mitchell-Cook


Dr. Amy Cook, professor of history, teaches maritime history, Atlantic world, early America and 19th century women.

From the moment Cook volunteered on a maritime project in Yorktown, Virginia, she was hooked on shipwrecks. She later spent 10 years as a maritime archaeologist before shifting her focus to maritime history. She has written numerous chapters, articles and book reviews on the subject. Her book, “Sea of Misadventures: Shipwreck and Survival in Early America,” is based on more than 100 accounts of shipwreck narratives from 1640 to 1840, and explores the issues of gender, race, religion and power, and how it reflected on Americans in Anglo-American society. She co-wrote the chapter, “The Maritime History of Florida,” in the book, “The New History of Florida,” which is the first comprehensive history of the state to be written in a quarter of a century. She also co-wrote a chapter in an upcoming book, “Methodology in La Belle: The Archeology of a 17th Century Ship of New World Colonization,” on the methods archaeologists in Texas used to record and excavate the French ship that sank off the coast of Texas in 1685.

In 2006 and 2007, Cook and Della Scott-Ireton, associate director of the Florida Public Archaeology Network, received funding from The History Channel’s, The Save Our History Grant Program to partner with a Ferry Pass Middle School to help preserve the Colonial Archaeological Trail, a series of outdoor exhibits that feature Pensacola's colonial past. 

Degrees & Institutions

Cook received a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Florida, a master’s degree in maritime archaeology and history from East Carolina University, and a doctorate in history from Penn State University.


Early American Shipwreck Narratives

Classes Taught: 

North American Seafaring, Maritime History, Colonial America, Women in the Atlantic World, Age of Discovery, Introduction to Public History

Special Interests

Maritime History, Early American Social and Cultural History, Public History, Material Culture


A Sea of Misadventures: Shipwreck and Survival in Early America. University of South Carolina Press, 2013.

“Negotiating Power: Status and Authority in Anglo-American Shipwreck Narratives” in The Elusive Jack Tar: New Approaches to Early American Maritime History (ed. Paul Gilje and William Pencak), Mystic Seaport, 2006.

“Shipwreck Narratives” in The Encyclopedia of Maritime History (ed. John Hattendorf), NY: Oxford University Press, 2005.

When God, the Devil and a Friendly Cannibal Met at Sea: A Study of Early American Shipwrecks. Pennsylvania State University, 2004. 

“The Continental Navy: The Continental Navy was too small and undermanned to have a significant impact on the American war effort” in History in Dispute: American Revolution (ed. Keith Krawczynski), Columbia, S.C.: Manly, Inc., 2003.

Keywords: maritime history, Atlantic world, early American history, 19th century women