Golden Light: The 1878 Diary of Captain Thomas Rose Lake

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The record kept by a young New Jersey sea captain for the year 1878 was written in a leather diary measuring a little less than three by four inches. In this tiny document is the story of one full year in the life of the vessel Golden Light and of her captain, Thomas Rose Lake, the year before his death from tuberculosis at age twenty-two.

Miraculously, the diary survived one hundred years and fell into the hands of James B. Kirk, II an English teacher and historian. It was he who, by careful study and annotation, turned the laconic entries of the barely literate Thomas Lake into a fascinating picture of a vanished time, place and way of life. Mr. Kirk died before the work was completed and his son James B. Kirk III finished the task so lovingly begun.

Golden Light: The 1878 Diary of Captain Thomas Rose Lake is the remarkable result of that work. In a foreword, New Jersey's eminent historian John T. Cunningham — who offered early encouragement to the author — calls this a transformation "into a volume that is a treasure trove." Thomas D. Carroll, folklorist and writer, who has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, and worked for the Library of Congress and Smithsonian Institution, calls the work "a Rosetta stone of sorts" for the mid-late 19th century coast."

Hardcover, 5"x7", 324 pages

Down the Shore Publishing