Whale's Jaw Publishing
To geologists it is a glacial erratic. But for generations Whale’s Jaw was a great granite whale breaching to the surface in the Gloucester section of Dogtown Common on Cape Ann, proclaiming the sea nature of this island cape. The lower jaw has since dropped, weakened by campfires. But the symbolism endures.
The books of Chester and Anthea Brigham are published under the imprint of Whale’s Jaw Publishing.
Brigham’s books all have to do with maritime culture of Gloucester on Cape Ann, which might be defined as the whole environment of human activity on and close to the sea. He writes of noble vessels and remarkable individuals sailing them into heroic ventures. But he is also intrigued by sea forces influencing art, letters and even music. In one book, The Stream I Go A-Fishing In, a young ship’s fiddler, after his schooner is sunk under him in a gale, plays he way to eminence as a concert violinist. In another, On Opposite Tacks, Brigham looks at the parallel, but profoundly different, careers of an entrepreneurial fishing captain, Solomon Jacobs, and an emerging master of American art, John Sloan. In yet another, Gloucester’s Bargain with the Sea, he examines the role that romanticized sea tales played in attracting a brilliant set of artists and writers to Gloucester. In Phoenix of the Seas, the ship itself is a work of art, created at a high point of vessel design and workmanship, and invested with survival qualities that have seen it into its third century. The action-filled life of the seaman and the contemplative spirit of the artist: they present a stark contrast. The interactions between the two are endlessly revealing. Ten Pound Island, his latest book, is something of a departure, dealing largely with action in the skies above Cape Ann waters. Coast Guard pilots in flimsy seaplanes scouted the seas to chase the rum runners supplying the booze to gin-soaked Prohibition Gloucester.
Anthea Brigham in her first book, Henrietta, World War II Hen, recounts and illustrates an episode from her childhood in an England under attack during World War II. Her love of sketching, and of telling the stories of animals, finds expression again in a second book for young readers, Roger the Rooster Leaps to the Rescue.
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