History Insider

by: Marianne R. Stanton

photography by: courtesy of Nantucket Historical Association

Most Tuesday mornings, just before dawn breaks and when the birds start singing, I sit down with my laptop and begin to write “Here and There,” a weekly column that has been in The Inquirer and Mirror since sometime in the 1870s.

The simple act of writing this connects me to multiple generations before me who chronicled their observa- tions of daily life on Nantucket.

Publisher Roland B. Hussey, 16-year- old Harry B. Turner, an unidentified friend, and publisher Arthur H. Cook were part of a bicycle club in the early 1890s.

Over the decades, the tenor of the column has changed, but it has always had a sort of conversational feel to it. One-hundred-forty years ago, the column told readers when to light their carriage and bicycle lamps. Today I note sunrise and sunset. It is one of the best-read items in the newspaper – essentially a column about nothing in particular.

The Inquirer and Mirror is turning 200 this month. Our island has seen so many changes over those two centuries, but the one constant has been its newspaper. Islanders turned to these pages during the Civil War to read about their neighbors who’d gone off to fight for the Union.

It is where lists of whaleships and their harvest of sperm oil, listed in barrels, was printed, back in the days when Nantucket was capital of the whaling industry.

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