Maine: An Encyclopedia

Gould, John

Selected works .  .  .

Pre-Natal Care for Fathers(1941)

The House That Jacob Built(1947), in which Gould rebuilds the house his grandfather built and tells about the family that’s lived there

And One to Grow on: Recollections of a Maine Boyhood (1949): About his boyhood in Lisbon Falls, where his family has lived for generations

Neither Hay Nor Grass (1951)

The Fastest Hound Dog In The State Of Maine (1953), a funny book of tall tales about Maine

Monstrous Depravity: A Jeremiad and a Lamentation [about things to eat] (1963)

The Parables of Peter Partout (1964)

You Should Start Sooner, In Which Widely Separated Topics are Strangely Discussed by an Old Cuss (1965)

Last One in: Tales of a New England Boyhood (1966)

Europe on Saturday Night: The Farmer and his Wife Take a Trip (1968)

The Jonesport Raffle and Numerous Other Maine Veracities (1969)

Twelve Grindstones or, A Few More Good Ones, being another cultural roundup of Maine folklore, sort of, although not intended to be definitive, and perhaps not so cultural, either (1970)

The Shag Bag: More Stuff From Maine (1972), a collection of Maine tales and anecdotes.

Maine Lingo: Boiled Owls, Billdads & Wazzats (1975): Glossary that furnishes the reader with the terminologies of lobstermen, seafarers, farmers and lumbermen of the state’s legendary North Woods.

New England Town Meeting – Safeguard of Democracy (1940)

Glass Eyes By the Bottle: Some Conversations About Some Conversation Pieces (1975)

This Trifling Distinction: Reminiscences from Down East (1978)

Next Time Around: Some Things Pleasantly Remembered (1983)

No Other Place (1984) The setting for this novel is the area of Penobscot Bay around 1611, when Maine was claimed by both France and England. Jabez Knight stakes out a claim to 500 acres and builds a homestead at Morning River, where he lives with his family.

Stitch in Time (1985), observations on coastal Maine village inhabitants

Wines of Pentagoet (1986): Continues the saga of the friends and enemies of Elzada Knight, who live on Morning River in “The Maine” before the American Revolution. Sequel to No Other Place.

Old Hundredth (1987): Humorous tales of Maine .

There Goes Maine !: A Somewhat History, Sort of, of the Pine Tree State (1990), an irreverant guide to Maine history

Funny About That (1992)

It Is Not Now: Tales from Maine ‘s Back River (1993)

Dispatches from Maine : 1942-1992 (1994): A collection of essays originally published in the Christian Science Monitor; capture the distinct flavor of rural America and the people and concerns of Maine specifically.

Maine’s Golden Road: A Memoir (1995): Narrative of retreats Gould and his daughter’s father-in-law made over the years

Our Croze Nest (1997), A novel of Morning River Farm, far downeast on the Coast of Maine, at a time when summer people have discovered the state

Tales from Rhapsody Home (Or, What They Don’t Tell You About Senior Living) (2000)

(1908-2003) born in Boston on October 22, 1908 for years wrote a weekly column for the Christian Science Monitor, and in the 1960’s, for the Boston Globe. He gathered 50 years of those columns for his book Dispatches from Maine 1942-1992 (1994).

According to Tom Long of the Boston Globe in his September 3, 2003 obituary,

A professional Mainer in the tradition of Tim Sample and Marshall Dodge, Mr. Gould worked a vein of Maine folklore that never seemed to peter out. His column had been published by the Monitor since 1942 and is believed to be the longest-running in a US newspaper.

Mr. Gould wrote of the mystery of the three-tined fork, the origin of the molasses cookie, and the battle of Gettysburg. His stories usually had a Downeast spin and always seemed to hit a note that resonated with contemporary readers.

The son of a railway postal clerk, he lived in Medford, Massachusetts until age 10, when he and his family moved to a farm in Freeport. His family subscribed to two magazines, the Youth’s Companion and the Rural New Yorker. Both had children’s pages that published stories by Mr. Gould when he was still in elementary school. While a high school sophomore, he became a correspondent for the Brunswick Record, now the Times-Record. He became a feature writer for the Boston Sunday Post after graduating from Bowdoin College.

In 1945, when the editor of the Lisbon Enterprise died of a heart attack, he told his widow he would help put the paper out the next week. She took him up on the offer, soon sold him the paper and for the next six years he was editor and owner of the Enterprise. A high school student named Stephen King got a job on the paper and received some early editorial advice from Gould.

While in Lisbon Gould also served as moderator of its town meetings. Later Gould moved to Friendship where he spent most of the adult life.

Mr. Gould’s humor could be as dry as a winter gale off Mount Katahdin, but it usually had a serious point.

”The sweetest songs are those that tell the saddest thought,” he said, paraphrasing Shelley, in a story published in the Portland Phoenix in 2000.

His work has been compared to the writings of Samuel Clemens — a kind of Maine Mark Twain — but it was a comparison Mr. Gould didn’t necessarily see as a compliment.

”I think when you’re judging humor on the basis of the mechanics of the job, ‘Bill’ Nye (Maine-born, turn-of-the-century author Edgar Wilson) was a far greater humorist than Mark Twain was. He’s been forgotten because he didn’t write `Huckleberry Finn.'”

L. L. Bean established a library in its Freeport store, the “John Gould Room.” Growing up in Freeport, Gould was a friend of the founder of the company.

Gould remained active well into his 90’s. He died on September 1, 2003.

Additional resources

Source for article: Waterboro (Maine) Library web site

“Maine author, columnist John Gould dies at 94,” The Associated Press, Boston Herald, September 2, 2003.

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