Tuesday, October 30, 2007


For many years the premier writer of books that deal with the
folklore and history of New England was Edward Rowe Snow.

When I was growing up in Boston and had three library branches
within walking distance I took out every one of his books they
had on their shelves several times and read them sitting on the
front steps or lying on my bed in my room. Ghosts, pirates,
shipwrecks, devastating storms: Mr. Snow made them come to
life in my imagination.

Besides writing books and delivering Christmas presents to
lighthouse keepers and their families as “The Flying Santa”, he
also wrote a column for the Quincy Patriot Ledger that recounted
legends of Boston and New England. As part of a program to
support local high school newspapers the Ledger and Mr. Snow
hosted a cruise around Boston Harbor for the school journalists.

I was lucky enough to go on one and get the chance to see his
collection of pirate memorabilia such as the two bladed dagger
and the silver plated human skull used as a drinking cup by some
pirate captain. As the ship passed one of the Harbor Islands he'd
tell us about some story or legend abou t it. I had a great time!

You can see a photo of Edward Rowe Snow working in his study

When I began working as a bookseller some eighteen years ago I
was amazed to find out his books were nearly all out of print and
within a few years they all were. Customers who’d grown up
reading his books and column were disappointed as well so when
Commonwealth Editions brought out new editions of some of his
books they became some of the best selling local interest books
in our store.

Commonwealth published six titles:

A Pilgrim Returns to Cape Cod
Pirates and Buccaneers of the Atlantic Coast
The Islands of Boston Harbor
Women of the Sea
Mysteries and Adventures Along the Atlantic Coast.
Storms and Shipwrecks of New England
The Lighthouses of New England

They all first appeared as hardcovers with brown jackets and the
Storms and Lighthouses books are also available in paperback
editions. Each book has updates to the stories written by Jeffrey
D’Entremont and also include many photographs.

Needless to say I’ve bought my copies but I’m afraid it looks like
these editions will be going out of print soon . I highly recommend
you hunt one down at your local bookstore if you can before they
are gone and enjoy a great storyteller.

There’s a story in one of Snow’s book that involves Edgar Allen
Poe and I’ll discuss that next. But this concludes my survey of
books you might enjoy reading for Halloween.

Go and haunt a book store!

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