So I found something kind of cool on the back of the last few letters I posted. Seems Thom liked to reuse old papers for his writing. This is a draft of a pamphlet he was writing for an exhibit on the Emmett Townsend Lighthouse Library. I did a little research and found out that lighthouse libraries were portable cupboards containing a selection of books that supply ships would bring to the lighthouse keepers along with the other monthly provisions. Considering how lonely and boring the life of a keeper and his family was, these regular arrivals of new literature were quite the cause for celebration.
Here's a more detailed description from Atlas Obscura.
Emmett Townsend, a veteran of the Coast Guard, was the founder of Grenhaven University. Thom gives a brief summary of his life, but if you'd like to know more, there's a great thorough biography called Ever Watching the Horizon by Katherine Whig.
I haven't been able to locate the Townsend Lighthouse Library yet. Which is a shame, because it sounds really cool. I'll see if any of the curators at the museum know where it went to. Maybe it's in that big storage barn out by Rock Marsh Road.
TOWNSEND’S LIGHTHOUSE LIBRARIES DRAFT 3.4
ABOUT EMMETT TOWNSEND
Grenhaven University was originally created in 1867 thanks to an endowment from Emmett Townsend, a Coast Guard veteran. For twenty-eight years, Mr. Townsend was deployed in the Lighthouse Supply division. He would make an annual route traveling along the East Coast from Mount Desert Island, Maine all the way to Wiltonharbor, South Carolina, bringing supplies to lighthouse keepers and their families.
Along with regular supplies of cheese, salt, tools, blankets, fruit, vegetables, etc, Mr. Townsend would also bring each lighthouse family a “traveling library” in a large wooden chest or case. Multiple portable libraries were distributed all along the lighthouses of the East Coast. With each arrival, Captain Townsend would bring a new collection of books and transport the previous one down the line to the next light. The arrival of a new set of books was always a great delight to the lighthouse keepers and their families, who were often isolated for months at a time at their post. .
ABOUT THE TOWNSEND-SANDERSON-BEECH LIGHTHOUSE LIBRARRY
This is one of the original traveling libraries that Emmett Townsend transported. Pulled from the wreckage of the Little Egg Light in 1886, it was kept for several decades in the attic of Samuel Theodore Sanderson, a retired shipwright and amateur botanist from Tuckerton, New Jersey.
In 1927, Mr. Sanderson gifted the Travelinge Library as a wedding present to his daughter Abigail Beech, a mathematician and amateur paleontologist. In 1956, Mrs. Beech generously donated the Traveling Library and it’s collection of books to Grenhaven University.
The Townsend-Sanderson-Beech Lighthouse Library Display is located in the Wesley Hackmann Reading Room in the Science Library of The Merryweather Ulsten Graduate Library, 4th Floor.
Books found in the Townsend-Sanderson-Beech Lighthouse Library are:
Tom Thumb’s Picture Alphabet illustrated by J.G. Chapman
vols. I-III of The Mammals of Australia written and illustrated by John Gould
Collected Stories of Nathaniel Hawthorne
On the Origin of the Giant Arctic Ctenophora and their Carnivorous Reputation among the Greenlandic Natives by R. Nesmith and J.F. Collins
The Life of Our Lord by Charlces Dickens
Tom Brown’s School Days by Thomas Hughes
Back o’ Cairns: The Story of Gold Prospecting in the Far North by Ion Idriess
Drums of Mer by Ion Idriess
Isle of Despair by Ion Idriess
The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent by Washington Irving
The Water Babies, A Fairy Tale for A Land Baby by Reverend Charles Kingsley
Melmoth the Wanderer by Charles Maturin
The City in the Stars, and What My Mother Saw There by Desmond Oarrick (a pseudonym of Tulip J.R. Orland)
The Shadow-Men and the Star-Watcher: A Penny Dreadful by Desmond Oarrick
The Tree of Many Hands by Desmond Oarrick
The Clockwork Ants, A Journey Amongst the Stars by Margaret J.S. Orland
The Dream-Walker, or The Five-Faced Star-Man by Margaret J.S. Orland
Loves Virtue Rewarded by Margeret J.S. Orland
Ten Against A Hundred by Margaret J.S. Orland
The Clockwork Fish, a Second Journey Amongst the Stars by Tulip J.R. Orland
Oliver Twiss, The Workhouse Boy. Edited by Pos. (a penny dreadful piracy of Dickens’ more famous work)
Nickelas Nicklebery. Edited by Pos. (another penny dreadful piracy)
The Mysteries of London by George W. M. Reynolds
The String of Pearls: A Romance by James Lamcolm Rymer and Thomas Peckett Prest
Ivanhoe: A Romance by Sir Walter Scott
Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley
Maurice, or The Fisher’s Cot by Mary Shelley
The Bannik of the Bath-house by Carl Wald Sumter and Alyosha Bok
The Callicantzaroi: A Christmas Ghost Story by Carl Wald Sumter
The Domovoi by Carl Wald Sumter and Alyosha Bok
Diarmuid O’Connell and the Fachan by Carl Wald Sumter
Diarmuid O’Connell and Shellycoats by Carl Wald Sumter
The Lutins of Versailles by Carl Wald Sumter
The Salvanelli, or the Sunlight Dancing in the Mirror by Carl Wald Sumter
Ehon Hyaku Monogatari (Picture Book of A Hundred Stories) by Takehara Shunsen (in Japanese). Inside front cover has a handwritten note: “To Raymond, Eliza, Katie and Little Greg, Thank you all for keeping me in my wits these long years. With deepest love and affections, Captain Emmet Townsend”)
Beyond the Walls of Ys, or The Merovingian by Selwyn Middleton
A Brief History of the Hatters of Danbury, Connecticut by Sebastian Nells
Natural History of the Beaver, With Notes on the Use of Its Pelt for Felted Hats by Sebastian Nells. Inside front cover has a handwritten note: “To Emmett. Thout(sic) you’d enjoy this. Sebastian”
The Boneless Black Worm: A Collection of Sightings of the Connecticut River Beast by S.A. Pierce and Sebastian Nells
Connecticut Folktales by S.A. Pierce
A Short History of Boston Corners by S.A. Pierce
Ghosts of Boston Corners by S.A. Pierce
The Machine-Man and the Ghosts by S.A. Pierce
Return to the Isles of White Serpents by Emmet Townsend and Margaret J.S. Orland
The Shape in the Cupola by Margaret J.S.Orland
A Proper Lady’s Guide to Crochet and Tatting by Millicent Waites
A Proper Lady’s Guide to Decoupage by Millicent Waites
A Proper Lady’s Book of Antimacassar Patterns by Millicent Waites
A Treasury of Colonial American Cloisonné and Decoupage Designs by Millicent Waites
The Sleeping Stones by Armitage Wolstein
The City Under the Lake by Armitage Wolstein
For photostat facsimiles of any of these books, please consult the librarian on duty at the front desk. .
Note: Six publications have not been included with this display. These are slim folios formed of several sheets of folded paper featuring letters and drawingss authored by a young Katherine Whig, daughter of Raymond and Eliza Whig, who tended the Silas Bay lighthouse in Connecticut. Both documents can be found in the Katherine Whig Special Collections in the Rare Books, Manuscripts and Palimpsests Department.
Special Rare Books Permission is required to view these folios. Please see a librarian to obtain the necessary forms. To preserve the quality of these delicate manuscripts, no photostat copying is allowed.
The six excluded publications are:
Gregory the Sea Gull and his Friends in the Sea of Apple and Orange Fish
The Man of Five Faces and the Road of Light Through the Land of Dark
Miles the Otter and his Friends on the Road of Light
Things I Have Found in the Tide Pools
Things I Have Found in the Woods
What Captain Townsend Saw in the Night Sea
This document was written and edited by Thomas Moorse