The Encyclopedia of New England

Edited by Burt Feintuch and David H. Watters; Foreword by Donald Hall

View Inside Price: $85.00


September 28, 2005
1596 pages, 8 1/2 x 10 7/8
515 b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300100273
Cloth

Often defined by the familiar images of taciturn Yankees, town meetings, maple syrup, and rocky seacoasts, New England is both a distinctively American place and a distinctive place within America. Yet these images present only one aspect of the richly varied region that is New England in the twenty-first century. Today traditional scenes of white-clapboard buildings surrounding an idyllic village green, hillside farms, and red-brick mills rub shoulders with advanced research centers, nuclear power plants, and urban neighborhoods of immigrants from around the globe.

In entries written by leading authorities in the field, The Encyclopedia of New England presents a comprehensive view of this important region, past and present. Both authoritative and entertaining, this single-volume reference will be an invaluable resource for the scholar and an irresistible pageturner for the browser.

The Encyclopedia contains

• 1,300 alphabetically arranged entries examining significant people, places, events, ideas,and artifacts

• Fascinating and little-known facts that rarely appear in history books

• More than 500 illustrations and maps

• Contributions from nearly 1,000 distinguished scholars and writers, including journalists, academics, and specialists from museums, industries, and historical societies

• 1.5 million words in 22 thematic sections, ranging from agriculture to tourism, each with an introduction by a leading specialist in the field

• Extensive cross-references and a full index

BURT FEINTUCH is professor of Folklore and English and director of the Center for the Humanities at the University of New Hampshire. DAVID H. WATTERS is professor of English and director of the Center for New England Culture at the University of New Hampshire.

Did You Know . . .

• The Vermont legislature declared war on Nazi Germany in 1941, before Pearl Harbor.

• When Massachusetts schoolchildren petitioned the legislature to make the chocolate chip cookie the state cookie, it set off a firestorm because many people (including the governor) preferred Fig Newtons. Finally, in 1997 (Mass. Bill S-1716), the chocolate chip cookie became the official state cookie; the Fig Newton was unofficially declared the state “fruit cookie.”

• Basketball, candlepin bowling, lacrosse, racquetball, volleyball, and wiffle ball were all invented in New England.

"What took so long? It's amazing no one thought of this before. No library in the six great states will be complete without The Encyclopedia of New England."—Dan Shaughnessy, author of Reversing the Curse

"Filled with facts and ideas, The Encyclopedia of New England at once answers one's questions and expands one's thinking about New England as a mythic place and as the mindspring of American life."—Jane Nylander, former president of The Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities

"The culture of New England is far too rich to leave solely to academicians. An encyclopedia is a superb vehicle for integrating the academic and the popular. . . . I, for one, expect to read most every word of The Encyclopedia of New England." —Jere Daniell, Professor History, Dartmouth College

The Encyclopedia of New England is like your favorite ice cream sundae—a little bit of everything blended together to make the perfect treat.”—Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream

"Enduring as New England's culture most certainly is, it has never been easily defined. But now, at long last, through the pages of this massive, beautifully-created work, New England emerges clearly as both vivid and distinct."—Judson D. Hale, Sr., Editor-in-Chief, Yankee Magazine and Old Farmer's Almanac

"Finally, the most livable, civilized, and interesting part of the country can prove it without bragging. This work of rigorous scholarship will delight readers of every stripe."—Ken Burns

"A great resource. Delightful."—Tracy Kidder, author of Mountains Beyond Mountains

 

"[This] book is beautifully crafted, as much a page-turner in its way as any thriller. . . . Deliciously well written, with a narrative that is as fascinating and diverse as New England itself. . . . The encyclopedia's great breadth covers every aspect of our region: agriculture, tourism, politics, religion, science and medicine, art, sports, literature, the media, architecture, and more. If I were allowed only one book to read during our long and cold New England winters, this would be my easy choice."—Michael Carlton, Yankee Magazine

 

"A substantial work that comes at a bargain price. How could any library resist?"—Booklist (starred review)

"This hardbound encyclopedia is a volume that can be dipped into, again and again, just for the pleasure of discovery. . . . The editors have succeeded admirably [in making sense of the region]."—Michael Kenney, Boston Globe

For local and regional interest, the year’s best New England book was The Encyclopedia of New England

"A new encyclopedia, 13 years in the making and out this month, covers the history, politics, art, geography and culture of New England. The 1,564 page, 8-pound Encyclopedia of New England wrestles with capturing a region that is unique, yet the source of much of what is considered generically American. . . . The encyclopedia . . . is organized in 22 sections, from agriculture to folklore to science and medicine. There's also a catchall section, 'images and ideas' focusing on New England symbols—that's the Boston Post Cane, Julia Child, hermits, L.L. Bean, Plymouth Rock, 'Peyton Place' and preppies, to name a few."—boston.com

"A reference volume that will stand authoritatively for years to come."—Charles Monagan, Connecticut Magazine

"Just about everything anyone could conceivably want to know about our part of the country has been packed into The Encyclopedia of New England, [a] mammoth combination coffee-table book and reference."—Joe Meyers, Connecticut Post

"This well-organized and navigable resource is . . . a valuable tool for students, researchers, and casual readers alike. . . . Recommended for all high school, academic, and public libraries."—Library Journal

"An essential work, the first to celebrate, document, and interpret New England’s unique regional history and culture. . . . In entries written by leading authorities in the field, The Encyclopedia of New England presents a comprehensive view of the region, past and present. Both authoritative and entertaining, this single-volume reference will be an invaluable resource for the scholar and an irresistible page-turner for the browser."—New England Antiques Journal

"Both brisk and bountiful, smartly organized alphabetically by theme (Art to Tourism) with smaller articles tucked between, this encyclopedia satisfies as it quickens curiosity. Handsomely produced by Yale University Press, it is sui generis."—Tom D'Evelyn, Providence Journal

 

"There's lots of text here but it's not daunting reading. The book will be a source of pride for native New Englanders who will delight in finding within its covers recognizable landmarks, cultural touchstones and anecdotal tidbits passed down to them past generations. Newcomers to the region will discover just why living in New England is unlike life in any other part of the country."—Nancy Cicco, Seacoastonline.com

"I was delighted to see this title. . . . A great companion for fall and one of the coolest books to appear on my coffee table in quite some time. It's got all the sections a good encyclopedia needs (geography, law, folklore, etc.) and squeezes in oodles of juicy tidbits from doughnuts that flip themselves over and jump out of the pan in Maine to the Vermont legislature declaring war on Nazi Germany prior to Pearl Harbor. Who knew? Oh, and PEZ is made in Orange, Connecticut. Surely they have a gift shop, no? Anyway, this is one to get for all the trivia you can stand—and a great reference in a pinch over clam chowdah get-togethers."—siriusradio.com

"For those of us whose balance is anchored in New England, there's no finer reference book than The Encyclopedia of New England. . . . The groupings are interesting because this is a readers' encyclopedia, not an alphabetical collection of subjects. . . . Ten years in the making, thousands of entries, 1,497 pages, and a treat every one."—John J. Daley, Sunday Republican (Waterbury, CT)

"Now there’s another name to add to the list of [great encyclopedias]. . . . [This book] will more than satisfy. It will no doubt become an indispensable cultural storehouse as well."—David Podgurski, The Advocate (Stamford, CT)

"A lively and wonderfully organized guide to the region’s history, geography and identity. . . . [The entries] are intelligently written and achieve a nice balance between hard statistics and easy reading. . . . In a thorough and objective examination of all six of the region’s states and their diverse settlers, this tome presents a world that’s craggy and refined, traditional and progressive. It’s a great trip."—Catherine Lowe, Town & Country

"Even casual readers flipping through a few of the encyclopedia’s 1,600 pages will inevitably stumble on some of the surprising facts and intriguing tidbits that season this text—and prove that New England can’t be stereotyped."—Suki Casanave, University of New Hampshire Magazine

"The fact that Tupperware was developed after World War II by Earl Tupper of Berlin, N.H., is among thousands of pieces of information in the new Encyclopedia of New England. . . . It may be the only place where candlepin bowling and Paul Revere meet between the covers, and cookies, covered bridges, diners and doughnuts appear as successive entries."—USA Today

 

"Social and cultural historians have, over the past two decades, rethought the importance of regionalism in American life. Now we have a rich introduction to all this historical spadework. . . . The tidy entries are accessible to the general reader and end with suggested readings for further study. . . . [With] authority . . . [and] by its very exhaustiveness, the Encyclopedia gets into the subcutaneous tissue of New England society."—Joseph Rago, Wall Street Journal

"Highly recommended."—ARBA online

"A knowledgeable and substantive information source about the six states known collectively as New England. . . . The 1,600-page book encompasses the thoughtful research and collaboration of nearly one thousand scholars and writers. . . . Beautifully produced. . . . The book makes an ideal housewarming or holiday gift for newcomers to the region and will intrigue those who have been here for generations as a reference for some of those questions that never got answered."—Denise Hart, Accent

"A triumph. . . . It is a valuable work, and it will find a permanent place on the reference shelves of many public and university libraries. . . . The editors have drawn on an impressive roster of experts to create a reference work that readers will turn to for decades. . . . Scholars and New Englanders alike will be grateful for the editors' efforts."—Conrad Edick Wright, Historical New Hampshire

Selected for Association of American University Presses (AAUP) Books for Public and Secondary School Libraries, 2006

Named one of the best reference books of 2005 by Library Journal

Selected as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2006 by Choice Magazine