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Nantucket: Places and People | Publications since 2000

Testimonials for The Other Islanders

Bill Higginbotham: The Other Islanders fills in great gaps in history never covered when I was going to school. And the chapter on my mother, Florence Higginbotham, brought back a lot of memories for me. I wish I had had this history to read when I was growing up in Nantucket.

Angeleen Campra: Frances Karttunen has taken on the task of expanding Nantucket history, an endeavor which puts all who love Nantucket in her debt. The Other Islanders shines a light on important aspects of Nantucket history that have long been ignored or forgotten, and in doing this, presents a richer and more complex view of both the past and the present.

Carl Cruz, New Bedford Whaling Museum: I wanted to thank you personally for all the outstanding work you do to make sure people of color are not forgotten. Congratulations for the masterful job on this book. Finally, there is a voice for the voiceless. Thanks for telling these untold stories.

Adele Ames: It has to be a great satisfaction to you to see the interest in the book. It shows, as we believed, that there are many who want to know about this side of Nantucket and your thorough exploration is satisfying that interest. May it continue.

Olga Hansen: I have your book and am enjoying it so much! I can see where you spent hours and hours on research and on interviewing everyone. It was worth it! I forgot to tell you about the way the fishing boats saved out a lot of fish for the families and friends on Nantucket. They would put the fish in heavy wire baskets on the deck of the boat for anyone to take. It was a common practice for the boats to do that. No one went hungry if they liked fish! My father would fillet the fish for some of the people, especially the ladies.

Ethel Larsen Hamilton: I have just finished for the second time your wonderful book, The Other Islanders. It is a book that will go down the years with the early history of Nantucket and its people. I particularly enjoyed Sconset and the people I knew in my childhood.

Robert F. Mooney, author of Nantucket Only Yesterday and More Tales of Nantucket: You have done a great book, not only for the ethnic people involved but for the future history of Nantucket. This will become a valuable source book for future writers about the island. There is more to history than archives and artifacts. The people count, and they did not all go whaling.

Beverly Morgan-Welch, executive director of the Museum of Afro-American History: Congratulations and our profound thanks for your extraordinary research that pays noble tribute to our foreparents.

Francis W. Pease, author of My Nantucket Boyhood: I am devouring every word of your book. It is the best and most comprehensive history of Nantucket I have ever seen, bar none!

Elizabeth Oldham, editor: As I began copyediting The Other Islanders, I immediately realized it was a work of prodigious scholarship. The author is a bear for accuracy. She’s indefatigable. Anywhere she had to go—including off-island—she went, making contact with every element she was writing about. Just for the Nantucket Historical Association to have it on-line is an asset. It sets an example for what our resources are. The NHA has a unique collection, and Fran just plumbed it to its depth. It’s a first and important piece of work.

Donna Lamb: Thank you so much for providing my daughter a copy of The Other Islanders. What a generous gift for all our children. Ray Senecal is my daughter's great uncle. Joe Senecal and Mike Lamb were her great grandfather and grandfather, so this book is particularly special to her.

Helen Seager: This is a wonderful new Nantucket book.  It is meticulously researched and tells the stories of people who did the work that made the island great: Native Americans, enslaved Blacks, free Blacks, Cape Verdeans, South Sea islanders, from the Far East, Canada, Ireland, Finland. Fran Karttunen has done a remarkable job of first documenting, then telling peoples' stories, and her index is masterful. The book was published by Spinner Publications of New Bedford. It is beautifully and sensitively designed and illustrated; Spinner's designers are the best. I wish every community in the nation could have a book like this!

Ben Simons, Nantucket Historical Association: What a pleasure it is to read through The Other Islanders! I think it is a great service to the island’s history, written with such a positive, sober spirit! I also wanted to pass along praise for your book that I received by chance recently. Jennifer Bunting, publisher at Tilbury House press in Maine, and her husband Bill Bunting, author of books on Maine maritime history, just got a copy of the book, and were extremely impressed, and wanted to say how important they thought it was. I believe they are involved in a project to shed light on Maine’s “other islanders” or “other citizens.”

Lamont Thomas, biographer of Paul Cuffe: An impressive job of integrating mainland, maritime, "coof," island, Native, religious, British, African ... culture! For the first time, the mish-mash makes sense to me. It's as though you had lived through it all in a former life. Thanks for your astonishing work.

Marilou Kratzenstein: Let me tell you that I bought a copy of The Other Islanders and am very impressed with it. We need more of this type of social history, a recounting of the lives of people who otherwise have been overlooked. I love the way it's laid out and the use of sepia, pale green and other "faded" colors. The very look of the book conjures up the era of the people it represents. You get the sensation of examining a historical document.

Vladimir Strelnitski, director of the Maria Mitchell Observatory: Here is a unique history of Nantucket’s people, intermingling scrupulously researched scientific information with gripping historical stories.…Reflected in the small mirror of Nantucket is the uneasy progress of inter-ethnic relations, from blatant xenophobia to tolerance to mutual respect, as shared in touching stories of helping. This is the progress that is making America an unprecedented melting pot of human cultures.

Denise Patmon, University of Massachusetts, Boston: Beginning with the Wampanoag, The Other Islanders provides stories from the diverse groups of people who have set foot on Nantucket shores. The experience of folks from different ethnic groups is told through stories making these everyday people no longer faceless and recognizing their significance to the island, bringing to life former and present-day domestics, bakers, gardeners, and the like.

Nathaniel Philbrick, author of In the Heart of the Sea: Nantucket is known for its Quaker whalemen of old and its billionaires of today, but as The Other Islanders eloquently demonstrates, the real story lies elsewhere.