Books By C. LItka

Books By C. LItka

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

My Library -- Joseph Lincoln


Joseph C Lincoln

Joseph Lincoln (1870 -1944) was an American novelist, short story writer, and poet. Much of his work is set in a fictionalized version of Cape Cod, north of Boston Massachusetts, USA from the 1870’s to the 1920’s or so. He was a popular writer in his time, with his work appearing magazines like the Saturday Evening Post and The Delineator.

I own 21 of his books, and I believe I’ve read a few more as ebooks. Wikipedia lists 45 books. However, my collection does not include many of this books from the 1930’s and 40’s. The Wikipedia article, suggests that his stories can be seen as “a pre-modern haven occupied by individuals of old Yankee stock which was offered to readers as an antidote to an America that was undergoing rapid modernization, urbanization, immigration, and industrialization.” I can say that there is certainly an air of nostalgia for a simple life in these stories of “old Cape Cod,”  a hundred years later. And I can attest to the fact that his stories were filled with “characters.

My first Joe Lincoln book was Partners in the Tide, written in 1905. I picked it up in the book building of the giant rummage sale that a local charity, Bethesda Lutheran Home, ran every year, that filled up the local county fair grounds with junk and treasures. I picked up many a'treasure at the Bethesda Fair. Sadly it has now gone the way of “old Cape Cod.”  But in the day, I'd get up early and be waiting for its opening, along with hundreds of other treasure hunters among the fairground buildings full of rummage. Anyway, back to the subject at hand, which I believe was my first Joe Lincoln book. I picked it up solely on its title, since I was collecting nautical books. It was something of a nautical book, in that it told the story of an orphan growing up on Cape Cod, his adventures at sea, and then returning to Cape Cod to become a member of the “Wrecking Syndicate” which is to say, a partner in a company that salvaged ships that ran aground or sunk off the shoals of Cape Cod for insurance companies and such. While not quite what I was expecting, I found it to be a very interesting story, nevertheless. I'm someone who reads speculative fiction as adventure stories set in exotic places. However, the truth is that you don’t have to go very far away or into the past, to find settings just as exotic, if not more so, than a SF one. And I found “old Cape Cod” of fiction, from the 1870’s to the 1920 to satisfy my taste in the strange and exotic.

Most Joe Lincoln books feature orphans, retired ship captains, hardworking widows, shiftless never-do-wells, your odd con man, rich folk down from Boston, and all sorts of other, interesting “individuals” many with strange biblical names. I often say that I like “small stories,” stories about people and everyday life in some other place. I’m not into stories that plumb the depths of human nature. Rather I enjoy light, pleasant stories, and Joe Lincoln delivers; “spinning yarns that made readers feel good about themselves and their neighbors.”

I was fortunate to find a second-hand bookstore that had a good collection of them, and collected any others I found at the Bethesda Fair. So I have a fair collection of his best work -- his early work, in my opinion.

While I’m sure that most of his books are now out of print, save in Gutenberg Project (free) ebook editions and sellers who use those texts, it is surprising to see that two relatively recent little movies were made from his books, the 2009 The Golden Boys from Cap’n Eri: A Story of the Coast and 2010 The Lightkeepers form The Woman-Haters: A Yarn of Eastboro Twin Lights. Danial Adams must be a Joe Lincoln fan.

It is no secret that the stories I write pay homage to the stories I’ve read and have enjoyed in my life. I’ve long wanted to write a story that pays homage to the stories of Joe Lincoln, and his “old Cape Cod.” I had started one, several years ago, but it never quite went anywhere. However, I’ve resurrected it, in a way, in my forthcoming The Secret of the Tzaritsa Moon, and hopefully its sequel that I’m trying to pin down now. While they are not clones of those books, the setting of the stories will reflect those stories, and my family vacations on Wisconsin’s version of Cape Cod, Door County. One of the locales of the story will be a seashore city that caters to seasonal visitors, the summer people. But more on that story soon. For now, it’s hat’s off to Joseph Crosby Lincoln for creating a place far away and long ago that will always be remembered fondly. A place that I can always return to by simply picking a book off my shelves.


  1. Hi

    A lovely post. I have been looking at some of the older non sf books that meant a lot to me as a child and have enjoyed the experience. All the best.


  2. Hey Guy,
    Thanks for the comment. And I see that you have, since I look into your blog a couple times a day to check on the other blogs you follow. I always glad to find that you've written something as well. I'm greatly impressed with the scope and depth of your many interests. I'm beginning to think I'm a rather incurious fellow compared to some of the bloggers I follow. But I'll save that for a blog post someday.
    Take care & have fun!