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Country Editor: Henry Beetle Hough and the Vineyard Gazette

Country Editor:
Henry Beetle Hough and the Vineyard Gazette
by Phyllis Méras

The first biography of Henry Beetle Hough, nationally respected editor of the weekly Gazette, award-winning author, and dedicated conservationist, Country Editor focuses on Martha's Vineyard from 1925, when Hough and his wife received the Vineyard Gazette as a wedding present, to 1985. An Afterword recounts the Houghs' legacy in the continuing battle to protect the Island.

Conservationist, newspaper editor, author, Henry Beetle Hough fought tirelessly for the causes he believed in, from good writing to the protection of the environment-- especially of his island home, Martha's Vineyard. He and his indefatigable wife, Betty, were for decades the heart and soul of the Vineyard Gazette, the island newspaper that was their wedding present. Its pages embodied the ideal of the small-town weekly, whether its "country editor" Henry Hough was celebrating the simple pleasures of community life or waging controversial battles against overdevelopment and pollution.

Here, for the first time, is the Houghs' inspiring story, told with humor and insight by journalist and travel writer Phyllis Méras, a longtime Vineyard resident. Here is also the story of Martha's Vineyard, from its early days of whaling ships and camp meetings to its discovery by the wider world. Vintage and current photographs highlight the Houghs' story as well as the island's history, natural beauty, and personalities.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Phyllis Méras is a contributing editor and a former managing editor of the Vineyard Gazette. She was also on the staff of the New York Times Travel Section. and was the travel editor of the Providence (R.I.) Journal for 17 years. She is the author of 13 books, including First Spring: A Martha's Vineyard Journal, A Yankee Way With Wood, and guides to Martha's Vineyard and Rhode Island. She is a lifelong seasonal resident of Martha's Vineyard and has been a year-round resident since 1970.

Ordering Information:

7 3/8" x 9 1/4"; 200 pages;
ISBN 1-884592-42-2 paper, 1-884592-45-7 hardcover
Pub Date: July 2006
Country Editor:
Henry Beetle Hough and the Vineyard Gazette

$21.95 paper;
$35.00 hardcover

See Books page for any hurt copies available

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"In the chronicles of life on Martha's Vineyard, and in the story of the conservation movement nationwide, Henry Hough played a sustained and singular part, the effects of which are still felt. Wise, gentle, gifted, uncommonly dedicated, he became, like William Allen White, the kind of country editor whose voice carried far. He and his work ought to be much better known and appreciated, and so this first biography, by his friend and fellow journalist Phyllis Méras, is a highly welcome event."

David McCullough, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of 1776, John Adams, and Truman, and year-round Vineyarder.

"Tenacious, insular, opinionated, a gifted writer and a dedicated conservationist, Henry Hough never stopped fighting to preserve the natural integrity of the tiny portion of this planet to which he was passionately devoted: Martha's Vineyard Island. . . . No spot on this globe has ever had a more devoted champion."

Nelson Bryant, author of Fresh Air, Bright Water: Adventures in Wood, Field, and Stream; longtime Woods, Field and Stream columnist for the New York Times, former New Hampshire newspaper editor, and year-round Vineyarder.

"A vivid and compelling portrait of a great journalist, his life and times, as well as the story behind the creation of one of America's finest weekly newspapers."

William Styron, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Confessions of Nat Turner and Sophie's Choice, and Vineyard seasonal resident.

"This modest memoir--quiet, affectionate, down to earth--perfectly embodies the off-shore New England life and land it celebrates. . . . Meras reveals how Hough uniquely served and conserved the island's three-century heritage. . . .
Martha's Vineyard matters for its spaces and its skies, for its every hedge and hidden bush, strand and pond, each quotidian headland and unpretentious heath. This account of the Vineyard's champion is a small classic."

David Lowenthal, author of George Perkins Marsh: Prophet of Conservation and The Past Is a Foreign Country, American professor emeritus of geography at University College, London, and sometime Vineyard resident.

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