BAR HARBOR — Swan’s Island is six miles south of MDI, but it takes center stage in the new book “Swan’s Island Chronicles: Borrowed, Exaggerated and Half-Forgotten Tales of Island Life,” by former Island Institute Fellow Kate Webber, who will share her book at the Jesup Memorial Library on Thursday, May 15 beginning at 7 p.m. in an event co-sponsored by Sherman’s book store.
“It seems like most people have a pretty strong reaction to the idea of life on a Maine island – whether they think it would be peaceful and idyllic or the worst fate imaginable,” said Ms. Webber, who served as an Island Institute Fellow with the Swan’s Island Historical Society for two years. During that time she wrote essays for the Working Waterfront based on tales and photographs she encountered during her work, and those essays became the basis for this book.
“It was fascinating to join a community where all of the eccentricities are just part of normal life – taking a ferry to high school, making your trip to the one store before it closes at 3 p.m.,” said Ms. Webber.
“Swan’s Island Chronicles” explores the island’s history, people, and the ebb and flow of the lives lived there with humor and affection, from the first settlement to hijinks in the 1950s, romance in sock-hop days and learning in one-room schoolhouses, spooky haunts and local legends.
“I'm so glad I was able to dig into the history, stories, and humor of this place, and find out why so many people have made it their home,” said Ms. Webber. “Through this book I’ve tried to preserve and share their voices.”
Ms. Webber has been living in Maine since leaving her hometown of Cazenovia, N.Y. to attend Bates College where she earned a degree in anthropology. She worked with the Freeport Historical Society before spending her two years on Swan’s Island. She now lives in Portland and works for the Maine Humanities Council.
Copies of “Swan’s Island Chronicles: Borrowed, Exaggerated and Half-Forgotten Tales of Island Life” will be available for purchase courtesy of Sherman’s, which will donate a portion of all of that night’s proceeds to the Jesup.
Refreshments will be served.
For more information, contact Melinda Rice at the Jesup, at 207-288-4245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jesup Memorial Library