Recently, a co-worker found The Pirates' Who's Who, Giving Particulars of the Lives and Deaths of the Pirates & Buccaneers. Well, I was so surprised, you could have knocked me over with a feather. A book about pirates in the Reference Section? An old book, from 1924. Over a century ago! And the thought of the pirates having a "who's who" book tickled my funny bone.
After we tried to look up Captain Jack Sparrow (who is a fictional*character, and unfortunately not in this book,) we thumbed through, looking up famous pirates, and discovering the not-so-well remembered pirates of yesteryear.
I looked up Jean Lafitte. He was a complicated guy. He and his brother were blacksmiths in old New Orleans; they started selling smuggled goods through their shop. The goods came from pirates and privateers, who traded on an island in Barataria Bay. The governor tried to have the Lafitte brothers convicted for this activity, but they were acquitted. Lafitte and the Baratarians sided with the Americans in war against the English, helping to win the Battle of New Orleans. His blacksmith shop still stands, in the Vieux Carré (French Quarter) in New Orleans.
Jean Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop. Top: Historical sketch book and guide to New Orleans and environs, with map : illustratedwith many original engravings, and containing exhaustive accounts of the traditions, historical legends, and remarkable localities of the Creole city from Internet Archives Book Images' photostream on Flickr.com. No known copyright restrictions. Bottom: Modern photo from 2012, from Andrew Wiseman's photostream on Flickr.com. Some rights reserved.
The Pirates' Who's Who book cannot be checked out, since it is a reference book. You can visit Cesar Chavez Central Library, and look at it in the library. You do have some other options, however. If you have an eReader, download a free digital copy of the book from Project Gutenberg.
Looking for more pirate books? Here's a list of some pirate books in SSJCPL's collection; most of these can be checked out.
If you really need library materials about Captain Jack Sparrow, this list can help.
*And hot. Definitely hot.