Lighthouses of New England (Snow Centennial Editions)

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9781889833422: Lighthouses of New England (Snow Centennial Editions)

""Reissue of one of Edward Rowe Snow's most enduring classics. First published in 1945, it relates the histories of over fifty of the region's lighthouses in rich detail. Snow gives special emphasis to the story of heroine Abbie Burgess at Maine's Matinicus Rock Light, to the rich histories of Boston Light and Minot's Ledge Light. Modern-day lighthouse expert Jeremy D'Entremont has provided extensive annotations to Snow's chapters, bringing the information about each lighthouse up to date.""

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From the Publisher:

Edward Rowe Snow. It is a name we have been forced to reckon with in five years of building Commonwealth Editions as a publisher of nonfiction books about New England and its historic places. Edward Rowe Snow. Everywhere we heard the name—from readers, from booksellers, from historians, from other authors. Nowhere we saw the books.

Not new books, anyway. New editions of Snow weren’t anywhere to be found. Snow’s out of print, we were told. Hasn’t been in print for fifteen years. Love to see him in print, booksellers told us. People ask for his books all the time.

We found fan clubs devoted to Edward Rowe Snow and catalogs and web sites filled with used copies of his books. More than once we heard the joke that a first edition of his work is more valuable unsigned than signed: Snow was such a tireless promoter of his own work, so willing to sign books anywhere on any occasion, that the unsigned book is rare indeed.

We could not find his books, but we found his legend everywhere. It seemed to us that half of New England had grown up "at the feet" of Edward Rowe Snow, taking in his tales like mother’s milk or a good bowl of chowder on a cold, stormy day. And booksellers virtually begged us to reissue Snow’s books. Ken Gloss of the legendary Brattle Book Shop in Boston was typical: "Not a week goes by," he told us, "that I don’t get a request for a book by Edward Rowe Snow." Or maybe he said day.

It was Gloss who finally tipped us off to the whereabouts of the one person on earth who literally grew up at the feet of Edward Rowe Snow. Dorothy Snow Bicknell, an extraordinarily kind and gentle woman known to what must be countless friends as "Dolly," is Snow’s daughter and only child. On a cold November day, we met Dolly at the South Shore Mall, where a model "Lighthouse Santa" still pays tribute to Snow. She charmed us with her devotion to her father’s memory. And I like to think she recognized Commonwealth Editions as a publisher that could do justice to that memory.

With Dolly we met Jeremy D’Entremont, who proved to be much more than a passionate fan of Edward Rowe Snow (we already knew plenty of those). As knowledgeable as he is dedicated, Jeremy provided the key to this new centennial edition of Snow’s work—by respectfully updating and, here and there, gently correcting the master’s work. It is too bad there are no lighthouse keepers anymore, because Jeremy D’Entremont was born for the work. At the end of each chapter are Jeremy’s notes, which bring Snow’s text to the present day. A beacon kept lit with his discernment and devotion would keep vessels safe in the severest weather, on the craggiest shore.

Snow partisan Bob Jannoni provided encouragement for this new edition, and designer Judy Barolak gave it grace and dignity. Steve Csipke developed a new, thematic index. One other person is worthy of note. Our managing editor, Penny Stratton, pulled together with Dolly and Jeremy and the many talented contributors and, against all odds, brought this new edition of Edward Rowe Snow to port. All involved been invigorated by the spirit and legend of Edward Rowe Snow.

Webster Bull
Commonwealth Editions
Summer 2002

From the Inside Flap:

Commonwealth Editions is proud to reissue The Lighthouses of New England, one of Snow’s most enduring classics, in recognition of the centennial of Snow’s birth in August 1902. First published in 1945 and then updated in 1973, it relates the histories of over fifty of the region’s lighthouses in rich detail. Snow gives special emphasis to the story of heroine Abbie Burgess at Maine’s Matinicus Rock Light, to the rich histories of Boston Light and Minot’s Ledge Light, and to the legendary Ida Lewis of Newport’s Lime Rock Light. Modern-day lighthouse expert Jeremy D’Entremont has provided extensive annotations to Snow’s chapters, bringing the information about each lighthouse up to date.

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