Once upon a time it was standard wisdom that the hurricane of 1938 was the first and worst to hit the Island. But hidden in the bottom of coastal marshes, and in old logbooks and newspapers, is the true story of New England hurricanes.

Tom Dunlop

Ed Jerome, current Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby president and former Edgartown school principal, sports a turtleneck–polo shirt combo and a mustache that’s unmistakably eighties at the derby headquarters.

Charlie Blair was five years old, living in a summer house on Katama Bay in Edgartown, when Hurricane Carol slashed the Vineyard on August 31, 1954, sixty years ago this summer.

Tom Dunlop

Paris has the Louvre, London the British Museum. Washington has the Smithsonian, and now the Smithsonian has the Vineyard.

Jessica B. Harris

Irving Chapman, a founding member of the Egartown Reading Room, with hisdaughter Lucille “Tootie” Chapman at Edgartown Bathing Beach on Chappaquiddick.

Phillip R. Allston, of Boston and Martha’s Vineyard, snapped this picture of his friends at Inkwell Beach in Oak Bluffs.


On the davits of the venerable Charles W. Morgan is a brand-new killing machine that was handmade at Gannon and Benjamin in Vineyard Haven.

Tom Dunlop

Captain William A. Martin of Edgartown was that rarest of things, an African American Whaling Captain.

As difficult, dangerous, and sometimes financially unrewarding as whaling was, it still beat slavery by miles. By some estimates thirty percent of the thousands of whalers before the Civil War were minorities. A few even overcame all the odds and rose through the ranks to command ships. More than thirty African American whaling captains have been identified, one of whom, William A. Martin, was born on Martha’s Vineyard.

Skip Finley