My 10 year historic research on all aspects of life in the quarries of Cape Ann, has led me to undertake the book “BREAK, Stone, Water, Heart -The Lives and Struggles of the Cape Ann Quarry Workers”
I ‘d prepared myself to have it published for book signing on November 2nd at Lanesville Community Center.
2 events have modified that timeline:
A. I began to visit with Barbara Erkkila, to talk and share with her. From these visits I’ve come to understand the amazing efforts she put forth at such a vital moment when all of quarrying could have slid away. And with this understanding comes the knowledge that I am carrying on with a tool bag of memory. This has slowed my rush; wanting full reflection and to honor to those whose lives were spent in the pit.
B. I am working with the Cape Ann Museum on their Granite Museum; I have completed the photographing of every single Granite object both on display and in storage. In the process, I can say that I’ve held more granite tools in my hands then probably anyone else has for the past 30 some years. A weighty process indeed!
Over the next 3 months, I will be enhancing their website presentation of granite, creating an interactive resource based on the Cape Ann Museum granite objects and research items (especially from Barbara Erkkila) for Cape Anners, students, and visitors eager to know more of Cape Ann Quarrying. I am greatly excited by this.
1. A Kickstarter Campaign for book publication will begin in the next few days.
2. November 2-3 at the Lanesville Community Center will include a pre-publication presentation of the book and talk (1:30 pm BOTH days)
3. On those 2 days, I will also be offering a large selection of my prints at greatly reduced prices.
4. I am planning to have the book out in time for the holiday season.
5. Please try to attend, AND any topics you wish spoken to, any memories you wish to have recorded, either write, email or bring them on the 2nd of November.
Les Bartlett, October 23, 2013
The economic world of the quarry industry came down the hardest on the hardiest group – the pavers. Quarrying stone was a world which required careful estimation and timely delivery. When the pavers went on strike, they were hampered by a lack of English or common language; they were viewed with contempt and distrust. The quarry owners felt that their workers had no understanding of what an agreement meant.
“My Little Granite Hammer,’ appears in print in 1916, and is a call for a ‘G.U.’ a Grand Union to emerge and work together. The poem signals the adoption of English as a means of direct expression and appeal to all men working with stone – sandstone & marble included.