Time's Island; portraits of the Vineyard
By 1672, seventy years after the discovery of Martha's Vineyard, two communities had been formed, one on the shore and the other in the heart of the mid-island grasslands and hills. These two villages represented the division of interests and labor among the island people. Though other villages have taken hold since then, either the farm or the sea continues to guide an island man's life, and neither has eased its three-century grip. Despite the Vineyard's present and growing popularity as a summer playground, the year-round community still looks to natural resources for its living. Through photographs and occasional interviews, this book shows Martha's Vineyard as it was before tourism became the primary industry&-and how, to a large extent, it still is after the &"city people&" leave for the winter. Nancy Safford has lived and worked on the Vineyard for many years, and her perspective is that of one who is part of the island's ongoing life. The sequence of 96 photographs follows the seasons, emphasizing how closely bound to nature the island's traditional occupations&-cranberry picking, farming, scalloping, lobstering, trap fishing, and shearing&-have always been. Interviews with older Vineyard natives recall the past, to which many of these people are tied by tradition and memory, though these traditions serve them less and less well as the years go on. While this book focuses on Martha's Vineyard alone, it manages nevertheless to suggest a larger American past that is also fast disappearing.
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