"Joe Lincoln is like caviar - either you like him or you don't - but he was Cape Cod's greatest press agent."
JOSEPH C. LINCOLN, Cape Cod's Baedeker
Even today so many people are enthusiastic about hims and they are drawn here after reading something by him."
Donald Consodine, Town Clerk of Brewster, meets the enthusiastic ones in the course of his avocation - collecting and dealing in Joseph C. Lincoln books and books pertaining to Brewster and the rest of Cape Cod,
He has collected memorabilia of Lincoln for some time, becoming steeped in the subject. When he was younger and might have fostered his family contact with the Cape Cod author, he was not interested. Now, however, he collects not only his books, but letters and photos.
He admits to liking the Lincoln books from the first "Cape Cod Ballads" to the final "The Bradshaws of Harniss". Some critics notwithstanding, Mr. Consodine knows that the expressions attributed by Lincoln to Cape Cod folks were honest.
It was Mr. Consodine's uncle, Thomas Consodine of Brewster, who let Joe Lincoln eavesdrop from the haymow of his blacksmith shop and take notes as local people came and went. Lincoln used the old expressions liberally, as his readers know. The phrases and words have almost died out but even now they do crop up occasionally from those of long Cape lineage.
Brewster Town Clerk and collector of Joe Lincoln memorabilia
The Consodine blacksmith shop, where Lincoln jotted his notes was located on the site of the old Brewster telephone office on the south side of what was then the King's Highway (now Cranberry Highway) in Brewster,
The shop was scarcely a half mile from Lincoln's birthplace near what is now Ken's Market, Lincoln's father was a sea captain who died at sea near Charleston, N.C. [sic] when the author was less than a year old.
Although he has collected letters from Captain Lincoln to his wife, there is no indication that father ever actually saw son. Mr. Consodine thinks not. A curious sidelight on the captain relates to his first wife, who was refused permission to accompany her husband on his voyages "because she ate too much." She must have curbed her appetite, though, or the owners relented, because it is recorded that she died at sea.
In their youth the Consodine children, including the Town Clerk's father, William, were the only ones with whom the young Joe Lincoln was allowed to play.
"Those were the days when being a Cape Codder was most unfashionable. Some families considered themselves better than most," Mr. Consodine recalls. By the time Joe was 14, Mrs. Lincoln had moved the family to Chelsea to give the boy better schooling.
Before devoting most of his energies to the writing of Cape Cod novels, Lincoln for a time, was editor of Wheelman's Magazine in New York City [sic]. This was a journal dedicated to bicycling.
First writings of the author were in the form of short stories and these were collected in his first book, "Cape Cod Ballads". It enjoyed moderate success and Lincoln turned to novels of the Cape,
In all Lincoln published a total of 47 books in the United States and several others in England and Australia. Mr. Consodine's collection includes all of the listed titles, but the foreign editions are incomplete. Some, such as a first edition "Cap'n Eri", are worth $125.
First printings of the Lincoln books averaged about 1500 copies, according to Mr. Consodine. There were many reprints, however, and these are not nearly so valuable, In fact, sometimes, they are only worth 40 cents. Some of the most valuable of the Lincoln books, however, were printed during the Depression, when book buying was a luxury, and reprints were not demanded.
With Cape Cod more fashionable nowadays, interest in the Lincoln books shows no sign of wavering. Those with the interest find their way to Mr. Consodine's door at the quiet house on Route 124 in Brewster. If they linger a bit there is much to learn about Joseph C. Lincoln and Cape Cod.
Capt. Lincoln died at Charleston, SC. The Bulletin of the League of American Wheelmen was published in Boston, not New York. Cape Cod Ballads is a book of verse, not short stories.