Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Meeting Nathaniel Philbrick!

 I left something pretty special out of yesterday's Nantucket Stroll post because I wanted to give it its own post. I met Nathaniel Philbrick! He was doing an author signing at Mitchell's Book Corner in the afternoon. We didn't know that was happening until that day, otherwise I would have brought one of my books for him to sign. Instead, I bought a second copy of Away Off Shore in order to get his autograph. I wasn't the only one in my friend group who wanted to avail themself of this opportunity--there were other Philbrick fans too, because he's a pretty cool guy with an amazing talent for writing about American history.

I've read three of his books: Mayflower, Away Off Shore, and Valiant Ambition. I'll definitely read more if not all of his books in the future. My favorite was Mayflower because it directly involves my ancestry and I've always been so inspired by the story of the Mayflower and the successful settling of Plymouth Colony. When it was my turn to meet him, I said something unintentionally funny about this, which I'll just copy and paste from my Facebook post:

Here I am meeting a famous author—Nathaniel Philbrick; I’ve read three of his books so far, including “Mayflower”—dazzling him with brilliant comments like “William Bradford is my direct descendant.” 😂 I quickly corrected it to “I’m a direct descendant of William Bradford” and he told me something neat about his research about him. Despite my silliness I loved meeting this amazing author!

Despite my laughable gaffe with getting the order of my ancestry mixed up, he was very kind and he told me about how during his research for Mayflower he was able to handle the actual documents Bradford wrote and that Bradford's penmanship was distinct and you could get a real feel for his uniqueness and personality. This was so neat for me to learn because I fully believe that William Bradford was someone very unique and specially called for an important role in history. And he was my eleventh great-grandfather!

This is my full Mayflower ancestry, at least as far as I know:

The other thing I told him was that I read Away Off Shore before coming to Nantucket for a special birthday trip and that it helped me to feel much better informed about the island and like I knew it well, which made the trip even better. On that trip, I happened to meet a friendly elderly man who was a direct descendant of one of the island's settlers. I wouldn't have made the connection if I hadn't read that book and recognized his last name.

Meeting authors and getting books signed by them is one of my favorite things, and this was my favorite author encounter I've had yet!