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Joseph C. Lincoln bibliography
posted May 2005

published 1970, Cape Cod Times
By BARBARA ARBO

Typewriter too simple, so Lincoln used a stub

    BREWSTER — Joseph Crosby Lincoln, knew the population of Cape Cod and wrote about it.

    During last week's 100th birthday celebration of Lincoln, his memory was honored through a variety of activities here.

    At an informal seminar Tuesday held at the home of Donald Consodine, president of the Brewster Historical Society and owner of all the first editions of Lincoln's books, several people enthusiastically discussed Lincoln's works.

Prolific writer

    Born in Brewster Feb. 13, 1870, Lincoln wrote more than 47 books, which included 39 novels, three volumes of collected short stories, three books of sketches, and two of verse before his death in 1944.

    He wrote mostly about what he knew best, Cape Cod. When he was asked if he based his characters on Cape residents, he replied, "You may use a phrase or a story, you may get a certain impression from a person and build up a character from it, but to make use of an actual person would not do in fiction for people in real life are not dramatic enough."

    Lincoln so much impressed Alice Kenney through his writings about the Cape that Miss Kenney convinced her family to reside here in the summer.

    She joined Consodine, Ethel Entwistle, and Mary Ehrke in the seminar discussion. The group was asked to recommend one of Lincoln's books for someone who had never read anything written by him They decided a good introduction to the writings of Lincoln was "Mary 'Gusta."

    It is the story of a young girl growing up under the guardianship of two former men of the sea, Captain Shadrach Gould and Zoeth Hamilton. Highlighting the book are excellent descriptive passages and a guessing game of where on the Cape "Ostable" and "South Harniss" are located.

Town Hall display

    The Brewster Historical Society Museum located on the second floor of Town Hall here had on display last week a large portrait of Lincoln, a collection of his works, and several of his correspondences.

    Wednesday night at Town Hall a lecture about Lincoln and his works was presented.

    Lincoln received his early education both on the Cape and in Chelsea. He was the descendent of sea captains. His father died when Lincoln was a year old.

    He was raised by his mother who supposedly believed in "good old fashioned principles." It was decided by his family that Lincoln not become a cabin boy on a ship. Instead, a business career was decided best for him, but he soon showed an artistic flair.

    Lincoln's interest in art led him to Boston, where he became a commercial artist. Also wanting to write, he began adding descriptions to his art work.

    From 1896 to 1899, he was associate editor of the League of American Wheelmen Bulletin and in 1899, he relinquished his position and moved to New York to devote himself to writing.

    At first he wrote poems and short stories using Cape vernacular. He began writing short stories for the now de-funct "Saturday Evening Post." He became a regular contributor to the magazine.

Book a year

    His first novel, "Cape Cod Ballads," written in 1902, followed by "Captain Eri" in 1904 which met with admiration and success. From 1904 until his death, Lincoln produced a book a year, many among the best sellers of the year.

    Several of Lincoln's books were co-written with his son Freeman. While the elder Lincoln would write on the Cape or at his Florida home, Freeman would work in Philadelphia, Pa.

    A Dec. 22, 1941 article written by Frank Carey in the Cape Cod Standard-Times says, "Never do they work together in the same house when they are actually writing.

    'It works okay,' says the younger Lincoln. 'We first prepare a synopsis of about 40 pages, and then divide the book so that, roughly, Dad takes the Cape Cod stuff, and I handle the love interest and the straight city stuff."

    One of their collaborated efforts is entitled "The New Hope." It tells the story of Yankee pirateering on the Cape during the War of 1812.

    Lincoln traveled extensively with his family. They toured Europe and the U.S. He owned a home in Philadelphia, besides his residence in Florida.

    His summer home was located in Chatham. Named "The Cross Trees." it is located near Chatham Bars Inn on Pleasant Bay.

    Among Lincoln's best known books are "Silas Bradford's Boy," "Keziah Coffin," "Shavings," "Mr. Pratt," "Ownley Inn," "The New Hope." "A. Hall and Co.," and "The Bradshaws."

    His writings have been described as breathing "life into Cape Cod villages and salty twang to spots along the water.''

    Of his personality, he was said to have been a born optimist and a modest man. After the success of his early books, he still insisted on signing his name as Joe Lincoln.

    It took persuasion on the part of his editors to have him sign his name as Joseph Crosby or Joseph C. Lincoln.

    He was also accredited as "a firm believer in system" and referred to as a "hard worker." He worked every morning from 9:30 to 12:30 p.m. but never at a typewriter.

    Instead, he used yellow paper and a soft stubby pencil. "In my case," he said, "doing work that is satisfactory to me in any degree means I must fairly sweat over it."

    He preferred the writings of Kipling, Locke, Mark Twain, Stevenson and Winston Churchill. He liked bright, cheerful stories with good sensible philosophy, character delineation, and happy endings.

    Lincoln was a red cheecked, rotund, comfortable looking person with bright eyes and a friendly smile. When he spoke one could detect the "down East" twang and note a clipping off of his words. Occasionally he slipped in a "hev" or a "hed" as he reeled off some of his great fund of sea stories.

    Lincoln was reported at one time to have said, "I could go through the Cape and find a great many mean people, as one could anywhere, for that matter, but I haven't."