American Literature of the Sea and Great Lakes

BOYER, DWIGHT (1912-1977). A journalist, photographer, and feature writer for the Toledo Blade, 1944-1954, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1954-1977, Dwight Boyer grew up and spent his professional life on the south shore of Lake Erie. He turned his personal and professional interest in the history, legends, and folklore of the Great Lakes* into a productive writing career that resulted in five volumes of Great Lakes history and legend. His interest was kindled, as he recounted in the preface to Great Stories of the Great Lakes (1966), by long “yarning” sessions in the darkened pilothouses of Great Lakes freighters and tugs in the Toledo harbor. The tales in that volume and the four succeeding volumes, Ghost Ships of the Great Lakes (1968), True Tales of the Great Lakes (1971), Strange Adventures of the Great Lakes (1974), and Ships and Men of the Great Lakes (1977), range from the familiar, such as the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald* (built 1958) of 10 November 1975 and that of the legendary “Christmas tree ship,” the schooner Rouse Simmons (built c. 1889), which disappeared on her pre- Christmas run from Manistique to Chicago in 1912, to such little-known near legends as those of the workship Andaste (built 1892), lost on 9 September 1929, and the odyssey of the U.S.S. Wolverine, formerly the U.S.S. Michigan (built 1843), ignominiously destroyed, together with a century of Great Lakes history, in 1948. All volumes are illustrated with photos, etchings, and maps and include bibliographies and indexes.

Boyer writes well, and his works are meticulously researched, but he has the voice of an oral storyteller and the ear of a mythmaker. His works are valuable additions to the rich historical and legendary past of the Great Lakes.

David D. Anderson