American Literature of the Sea and Great Lakes

SNOW, EDWARD ROWE (1902-1982). A prolific producer of maritime history and lore for popular consumption, Edward Rowe Snow was born in Winthrop, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard University and earned a master’s degree in history from Boston University. Among his ninety-seven books are Great Storms and Famous Shipwrecks* of the New England Coast (1943), Famous New England Lighthouses* (1945), Great Gales and Dire Disasters (1952), The Vengeful Sea (1956), Piracy,* Mutiny,* and Murder (1959), New England Sea Tragedies (1960), True Tales of Buried Treasure (1960), True Tales of Terrible Shipwrecks (1963), Astounding Tales of the Sea (1966), Incredible Mysteries and Legends of the Sea (1967), Great Atlantic Adventures (1970), The Islands of Boston Harbor, 1630-1971 (1971), and Ghosts,* Gales and Gold (1972).

Many of his titles include stories recycled from earlier books or from newspaper columns he wrote for Boston-area newspapers. Well known in New England as a raconteur, Snow did not hesitate to tell his own story in his books. He was proud of his seafaring ancestry and included a chapter about his mother in his book Women of the Sea (1962). The daughter of Captain Joshua Nickerson Rowe, Alice Rowe Snow spent some fifteen years at sea with her parents aboard the schooner Village Belle, the brig J. Bickmore, and the bark Russell. As the “Flying Santa,” Snow began, in 1936, to fly Christmas presents to lighthouse keepers around New England, many of whom figured in his books. The character of the hack historian Leslie Everett Dove in Peter Landesman’s The Raven* (1995) is modeled on Edward Rowe Snow. [See also WOMEN AT SEA]

Mary Malloy