For the past 25 years, Lighthouse Digest has led the way in researching the lives and publishing the photographs of lighthouse keepers and their families, especially of those who served at the lesser known or remote lighthouses. In many of those stories, it was the first time that most of those photos had ever been published and the first time that many of memories had been published.
Sometimes we have located the photos in the files of libraries, lighthouse groups, or historical societies around the country. But, more often than not, most of those photos and memories have come from our extensive research in tracking down descendants of the lighthouse keepers, who, in many cases, had no idea that we were looking for the photos with a desire to publish them so that they could be saved for all those who might have an interest in lighthouse or maritime history in future generations.
In most cases, the descendants were delighted to share those photos and passed down memories with us. But sadly, some descendants, and even some historical societies, have declined, for a number of reasons, to share the photos with us, thereby doing a great injustice to their ancestors who helped in the development of our nation. This is sad.
Also, sadly, many authors of lighthouse books never bothered to attempt to locate photos, to be included in their individual books, of lighthouse keepers and their families who lived at the lighthouses, instead replying with previous published stories, many that have been told over and over again.
Fortunately, a small number of authors have done some great research in locating photos, such as many of the titles in the books from Arcadia Publishing and some of the books from authors such as Elinor DeWire, Cheryl Shelton Roberts, yours truly, and now, Jan Mattson in a new book titled, California Lighthouse Keepers. This wonderful, hard cover, 144-page book is loaded with glossy black and white photos, many never before published, of lighthouse keepers and family members.
As you look at the photos of the lighthouse keepers and their family members in the pages of Lighthouse Digest and in books like California Lighthouse Keepers, please look into the faces and peer into the eyes of these people who all had hopes and dreams, just like we do, but who are no longer with us, and imagine what their lives were like. And then, think about the fact that someday people will look into our faces and eyes from photos of us when we are no longer here.
As we move into the future, please help us keep alive the stories and the memories of those who came before us for the benefit of the safety of the mariner and the voyagers of yesteryear by telling others about Lighthouse Digest where we continue to try our best to keep history alive.
Editor & Publisher
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East Machias, ME 04630
You can order your copy of
California Lighthouses (item #2193) from Lighthouse Digest for $29.95 plus shipping.
This story appeared in the
Mar/Apr 2017 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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