The Story of Mount Desert Island

The Story of Mount Desert Island is part tribute to the glories and beauty of a place and part history of its people who could be “fisherman, sailor, farmer, lumberman, shipwright, and quarryman rolled into one, and master of all.” Originally conceived as a speech delivered to benefit local libraries, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Samuel Eliot Morison developed the text into a book that was first published in 1960.

This revised edition adds historical photographs and commentary by Morison’s daughter, Emily Morison Beck, editor of Sailor Historian, an anthology of Morison’s work, and Gregory M. Pfitzer, an associate professor at Skidmore College and author of Samuel Eliot Morison’s Historical World. But the text is vintage Morison.

Morison’s breezy style captures the high points of the island’s glorious history and touches on many of Morison’s own passions: from the early Abenaki tribes to the great European explorers to the island residents and rusticators, of which Morison was one, owning “cottages” in both Northeast Harbor and Tremont.

The Story of Mount Desert Island is also colored by Morison’s love of the sea. He spent a lifetime sailing the island’s surrounding waters, exploring the outer islands and absorbing the sweeping beauty from the peaks of “l’Isle des Monts-deserts.”

The Story of Mount Desert Island

SKU: 1002
  • Binding: Softcover

    Pages: 116

    Genre: Nonfiction | History

    Ages: All

    ISBN: 978-1-934031-01-8

    Publication Date: Softcover 2001

    Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.5

    Shipping Weight: 0.30 lbs.


  • The legendary Samuel Eliot Morison (1887-1976) was a giant among 20th century historians—twice winning the Pulitzer Prize and receiving numerous other honors including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and sitting as the first Harmsworth professor of American History at Oxford. Morison, who wrote with a signature sweep and flair, is credited with practically inventing the study of maritime history and influencing a generation of historians through his beliefs and his dozens of books chronicling this nation's history.

    At times outspoken and controversial, Morison sometimes clashed with other historians and writers on how history should be researched and written. Most famously, he sought to reconcile the often pedantic, dull style of academic research with his belief that history should reach a popular audience. He succeeded brilliantly in this effort to write carefully researched histories with a compelling narrative.

    Morison was born in Boston, attended top private schools, and earned his degree from Harvard. He later taught at Harvard for almost four decades. As a child, Morison and his family spent many summers on Mount Desert Island. The experience created his love for the sea and the island itself, and his family still summers on MDI.


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