“Island Chronicles,” a collection of essays written and collected by Rosemary Enright and Sue Maden on behalf of the Jamestown Historical Society, has been released.
During an open house to promote the book Sunday on Whittier Road, 44 people purchased copies to have them signed by the authors.
According to a journalist, Jamestown in the late 19th century was “the liveliest, the noisiest and the most hilarious summer city on the Rhode Island coast.” These essays capture the excitement and concerns of the population that lived between the introduction of the steam ferry to Newport in 1873 and the Great Depression of the 1930s.
This period of “immense and rapid change” grew from “an agricultural backwater” of fewer than 400 people living on farms spread out across the 9-mile island to a resort town with 1,000 residents and a summer population of 2,500.
“Some greeted the changes eagerly, dividing their farms into house lots and finding new livelihoods providing for the newcomers,” the book jacket says. “Others sought ways to preserve and retain the old way of living. These essays tell the stories both of the old families and of the newcomers as they faced the challenges of a new way of life.”
One reader, who gave the book a perfect five-star rating in an Amazon review titled “Interesting and enjoyable reading,” recommended the book “to anyone who is fond of Jamestown and wants to know more about the people and events that helped to make it what it is today.”
Many of the essays originally appeared in The Jamestown Press as part of a series of monthly articles that began in 2012. Three essays are from a different time by different authors. They were written in 1893, 1902, and 1928 to present a contemporary view of Jamestown in the Resort Era.
The book may also be purchased through the society’s website and at Amazon.com. All proceeds benefit the Jamestown Historical Society. The book also is available at All Ashore Cottage Outfitters, Curiosity & Co., Conanicut Gift Shop, Jamestown Hardware, McQuade’s Marketplace and Fuller Gallery.