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Book Caravan diary transcriptions

During the Book Caravan‘s second summer of traveling around New England, operators Ruth Drake and Pauline Langley, two young Bookshop employees, kept a diary of their experiences. While Bertha Mahony’s venture failed to make a profit, it succeeded in spreading the word about great books for children and adults.


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Friday, 29 July 1921

Wenham day — Opened shops on lawn of Miss Welch opposite Wenham Tea House. One of the most delightful locations we have had.

Spread tables on the lawn. Mrs. Cole had done much personal work and the visitors during the day showed that interest had been aroused in them. Mr. Sheahan, of Firelight Fairy Book fame read fairy tales in the afternoon to a group of thirty-odd in Miss Welch’s house. Altogether a very delightful day and a reasonably profitable one for a small village.

A good place to revisit if Mrs. Cole is still interested.


Saturday, 30 July 1921

Beverly Farms Day — Parked at West Beach. Car full of children all day who seemed to greatly enjoy it.

Business seems to be poor when we park on beaches, as people do not come prepared to buy and seldom wish to come back even if interested. This may not always be the case but has proved so at Beverly and Beverly Farms.

P.S. Langley read “Dr. Doolittle” to about fifteen children on the beach.


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Sunday, 31 July 1921

Spent day at the Tavern, Gloucester. Did a bit of business here on Sunday.


Monday, 1 August 1921

Magnolia Day

Drove over from Gloucester in morning. Parked near library on Lexington Avenue, opposite Del Monte’s. Excellent location. Caught the attention of those going to library in A.M. as well as the shoppers who paraded the Ave. and those who had tea at Del Monte’s in P.M. Francis Darling spent day with me.


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Tuesday, 2 August 1921

Annisquam Day

Parked in front of P.O. Crowds all day long and great interest in the car. People intelligent and interesting. Mr. Hale evidently helped us out a lot in the advertising line.

Miss Hale with us. We all enjoyed the day immensely. Drove back to hotel in evening.


Wednesday, 3 August 1921

East Gloucester

Left in early morning for E. Gloucester. Parked near Beach at Bay Rocks in A.M. and opposite the Arcade in P.M. The most interesting of the day’s customers was a workerman who came in at E. Gloucester at the last minute to discover a book on old pewter [?] for which he cared enough to pay the sum of $3.00. Spent night at the Harbor View Inn (Avoid!!!)


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Sunday, 14 August 1921

En route Bangor — B.H.

Left Bangor early A.M. Wonderful ride over the hills to Bar Harbor. Stopped by side of road to clean up car a bit. Arrived B.H. almost 3:30 P.M.


Monday, 15 August 1921

Bar Harbor

Car needed repairs so was in shop to noon.

Opened up in front of Red Cross offices at noon.

Business appears very dull here. Hinebaugh [?] & Browne of N.Y. have a very fine shop here and several stores carry books. The Caravan is not needed, even for Red Cross Drive.


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Tuesday, 16 August 1921

Opened shop in front of Red Cross rooms after first visiting the St. Sauveur Hotel. Little interest shown.

Parked in front of Bar Harbor Tea Room in afternoon.

The Red Cross have done very little to help car and there seems to be little sense of responsibility on their part in regard to it.

Bar Harbor is a bad place for the Caravan.

We have decided to go to Seal and Northeast Harbors.


Wednesday, 17 August 1921

Seal Harbor in morning and Jordan Pond for tea and dinner time. Both places showed much interest in the car.

Caravan camped at Jordan Pond overnight.


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Thursday, 18 August 1921

Pouring rain — but we drove from Jordan Pond to Northeast Harbor in the morning. Parked in front of Rock End Hotel — no interest, so drove on to the Kimball House. Here much interest was shown.

Both Seal and Northeast are rather interesting but Bar Harbor is not worth visiting again and neither Seal nor Northeast would pay to make a long extra trip to.

Drove in evening to within 20 miles of Bangor and camped for the night.


Friday, 19 August 1921

Drove to Bangor and were detained till three having a new tire put on and brakes repaired. Drove on to Belfast and put up for the night at Winsor Hotel.


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Saturday, 20 August 1921

Belfast Day

Opened shop for two hours in morning and then drove to Whitehall Hotel at Camden and had dinner, selling books for an hour afterwards. Drove on to Damariscotta and had tea with Maurice Day and his wife and Henry Sheahan of Firelight Fairy Book fame.

In three hours (Belfast and Camden) we did as much business as we have in some whole days. If one can get to hotels just after meal times one can do well. Otherwise not, we think.

Drove in evening to Boothbay Harbor.


Sunday, 21 August 1921

Boothbay Harbor — visiting Mr. and Mrs. Chester Rausch, R.D.’s sister and brother-in-law.

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