Monday, April 26, 2021

Let the Stars be your Guide...

... to your guide books. There is a code embossed into the covers of some of our guide books in the Conway Public Library's Henney History Room that is literally written in the stars.

We have four copies of this souvenir guide book to the White Mountains. Each has the same title with the same design on the cover, the same title page, the same author, publisher and date of publication (1879).

However, thanks to the sleuthing of David Tatham, we know that the single star on the cover of the book above indicates it focuses on Crawford Notch... 

... while the two stars on the cover of this book above indicates it is for Franconia Notch. 

A third version of the book with no stars is a combination of both notches. 

Don't be fooled by the colors. As David Tatham explains in his article "Moses Foster Sweetser's Views in the White Mountains" (Historical New Hampshire: Vol. 36, Nos. 2-3, Summer-Fall, 1981, pp. 118 - 148), the colors "signify nothing about the contents." They are not part of the code. We have copies in brown and green as seen above and terracotta color as seen below. 

We looked at the author Moses Foster Sweetser in a previous blog here

In fact he recently helped us is our search for Buttermilk Hollow in a recent blog here. Some of his guidebooks are on Google Books or other internet websites for reading. Or better yet, drop by the Conway Public Library's Henney History Room and see the originals for yourself.

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