It’s probably been 10 years or so since the (then) new 911 system was established, the present efficiency of which still sometimes confuses our place based memories. As an example, was it 14 or 18 Pequot avenue where I summered? For others it must be more difficult still where once dirt roads are now named with directions changed from the fourth left turn after Pennsylvania (or some other) avenue.

For Dr. Cheryl Finley (alas no relation) the address of the home where she grew up in the Highlands was changed from the front porch of the street of Summerfield Park to Laurel avenue, then at the back because the property extended to both streets. I’d bet on many stories like that in the Highlands.

The home now is owned by Cheryl’s aunt, Dr. Helen Holte-DaCosta, the daughter of Clarence LeRoy Holte who, it turns out, was one of the early black people in my beloved advertising industry. From 1952 until his retirement in 1972, Mr. Holte was an executive at the famous Madison avenue advertising agency of Batten, Barton, Durstine and Osbourne (BBDO) where he instituted and supervised its consumer ethnic marketing department becoming the first to recognize the buying power of black consumers. He retired from BBDO to found Nubian Press in 1971 that launched the Nubian Baby Book, designed to teach black children about their African-American heritage. From an historic perspective the significance of Mr. Holte’s work was noted in his New York Times obituary.

During his career Clarence Holte assembled what was thought to be the largest private collection of books on black history and culture at one time valued at over $400,000. The over 8,000 titles he acquired from all over the world covered the history and culture of Africans and people of African descent in the Americas and Europe. Some of the collection dated to 1690 and included many first editions. The collection was sold to Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria in 1977.

Clarence LeRoy Holte died at the age of 85 in 1993. He was educated at Lincoln University, which awarded him an honorary degree in 1981 and he was inducted into the American Advertising Federation Hall of Fame in 2009. Today, Clarence L. Holte’s papers are in The New York Public Library Repository of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.

Peter R. Boak, director of the Island Community Chorus and organist for the Federated Church for 20 years, is being celebrated for his work on Sunday, Sept. 4, as part of the service, followed by a luncheon reception.

Congratulations to Hart Haven’s Shirley Hall who recently joined the board of directors of the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust, which manages Union Chapel, the Flying Horses and other Island historic structures. Congratulations to the Preservation Trust as well.

The Oak Bluffs Firefighters Association’s annual Oak Bluffs fireworks delighted all. This year the season-ending celebration closed as usual with not just one but two bangs — the simultaneous double finale being a tradition. Please offer your financial support by calling Jimmy Maceda at 774-521-4390 or send an email to for more information.

Thanks are due to Summercamp, the renamed Wesley House hotel, whose owners’ contribution greatly assisted our 41st fireworks show. There was grumbling on social media about the plethora of No Parking signs for the fireworks that seemed to shout ‘don’t come’ and indeed, there seemed to be signs almost every 20 feet along some streets like Canonicus, Naushon and Nantucket. Out of towners have places earmarked for parking, and the rights of nearby homeowners could probably be balanced by perhaps a tad fewer.

There were also a lot of comments about noonday tarp droppers reserving space on the lawn that turned the green grass straw-like over the next few days. While it’s obvious that plastic tarps aren’t a good idea—and should be removed—it should be equally obvious that folks don’t stake out territory in this fashion at beaches. This seems to be a selfish practice we could do without.

A reader last week correctly noted that when President Ulysses S. Grant visited in August 1874 we hadn’t seceded yet and so technically he was in Edgartown. But his heart and soul, like ours, was in Oak Bluffs.

Keep your foot on a rock.

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