When it comes to Martha’s Vineyard stories, Linsey Lee literally wrote the book with Vineyard Voices: Words, Faces and Voices of Island People.


Vineyard Voices is a book of oral histories compiled by Linsey Lee. Each story is, at first glance, a snapshot of a person’s life, just a page long. However, the effect one takes away from reading each entry is so much fuller, as if an entire life has been captured and immortalized.

To do this in just a few paragraphs takes a lot of skill and craftsmanship.


Eric Marguerite

Editor’s Note: The following is an edited 1998 interview with Eric Cottle done by historian Linsey Lee; the complete interview appears in her book Vineyard Voices. Mr. Cottle died April 2 at the age of 92. Ms. Lee heads the oral history center for the Martha’s Vineyard Museum.

Shearer Cottage, Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard

My grandfather, Charles Shearer, was born into slavery. Henrietta Shearer was of Native American and African American descent. They were both educated at Hampton University.


Editor’s Note: The following is an edited excerpt of an interview done in 2004 by Linsey Lee with Leona Coleman Flu, the daughter of the first black stage manager in the Boston theatre district. A summer resident of Oak Bluffs from childhood on, Mrs. Coleman now lives in Atlanta, Ga. The interview is published in Ms. Lee’s book More Vineyard Voices; it appears here with permission from the author, who heads the Martha’s Vineyard Museum’s oral history center.

Dean Denniston

My father, Oscar E. Denniston, came to Martha’s Vineyard from the British West Indies in the year 1901. Captain Madison Edwards, the chaplain from the Seaman’s Bethel . . . used to sail between the Vineyard and Jamaica. On one of his trips he became ill over there and my father was a chaplain in a seaport area there . . . and my father assisted him, so they became very good friends.