‘The Town of Noonday Sleep’ – a profile of Marblehead

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May 29, 2016 by Bret Kramer (aka WinstonP)

When we have talked about Kingsport here on the SHP blog, we’ve often done so in reference to its primary real-world inspiration – Marblehead, Massachusetts.

I’ve transcribed an unusual short article about the town (from 1898) for our readers.  I have added a few illustrations from Samuel Road’s The History and Traditions of Marblehead (more on that later) to punch the text up a wee bit as well.  ENJOY!

Raymond Town of Noonday Sleep 1898

Marblehead wharf

A rustic fisherman sets off to bring in his daily haul of antique charm.

The article, entitled “The Town of Noonday Sleep” first appeared in the June 1898 issue of The Harvard Magazine. In it, author William Lee Raymond paints a less-than-flattering portrait of Marblehead at the turn of the 19th century.  Our author compares the current inhabitants of the port town with its historic peoples, and finds the current townsfolk rather lacking, describing them as drowsy oddballs and eccentrics.

Based on the bits of history and folklore offered up by Raymond, I suspect his main source on Marblehead was in fact the Roads book above; we’ve linked to it before, but I’m happy to share it again; ditto his Guide to Marblehead.  There isn’t much, if anything in Raymond’s article you won’t learn in Roads.  I will leave it to readers to find some definitive proof for my hunch.

I find this curious little essay interesting because of not just the explicit linking of Marblehead and dreams – something wholly appropriate for Kingsport, but the emphasis on decay and degeneracy which sounds more like Innsmouth.  I wonder how deep the author’s connection to the town actually was – is this a local’s life-long fear or just some testy college student who didn’t enjoy a weekend spent away from Harvard Yard?

In other news, we’re working on issue #4 of the Arkham Gazette – we’ve got about 45k between our various submissions with a few more items still being written.  We still hope for a late summer release, something our helpful authors have been working hard to make come true.  I’m hoping to wrap up the revisions to the text of issue #1 this weekend, which will depend on both how much time I can find as well as if we’re a little short to make the minimum page length of 40 pages and have to add something to bring it up to size.  Decisions decisions.  I have also comissioned some new art for the issue to improve upon the look of the thing.  Art for issue #4 is just around the corner as well…  Let’s see how much I can get done this weekend first however.  Wish me luck.


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