(first published: March, 1997)
Sundown Shores first appeared on the Web in March, 1997, as several pages in my companion's Website. It began as a way of searching for By Sundown Shores, a book written by Fiona Macleod and published by Thomas B. Mosher. After my scanning and editing for few months, Sundown Shores grew to require a dûn of its own and in August, 1997, became a ".com".
While at graduate school, when the world was opening up for us all, I was given a book to read and then comment upon, by the man who continues to this day as my companion. The book was small, six inches by four inches, with line drawings. A private publication, printed in the early 1900's, it was filled with stories of Celtic rituals still practiced at that time, and vignettes heard by the author in childhood from his nurse, and also, gathered in his travels through the British Isles. The title of the book was By Sundown Shores - Studies in Spiritual History; the author, Fiona Macleod, the nom de plume of William Sharp. This particular book was a discard from the Toledo, Ohio Public Library and was still in its slipcase.
I read the book several times and returned it to the young man, who in turn presented it to another young woman. When finished with the book, she put it in his message box at school. A few days later, he discovered that all boxes had been cleared for the summer vacation. The book was gone. Only four hundred or so copies were printed and this copy was lost.
Time passed; we moved to Seattle, just six months before Boeing imploded. The region fell into a recession, the "Will the last person leaving Seattle please turn off the lights" days, which explains why, when I found a copy of By Sundown Shores in an anthology at Shorey's Used and Rare Book Store, I could not spare the seven or so dollars to purchase the book which included the text only. Purist that I can be, I wanted the little book with the pictures. More years went by (Time is pretty good at doing that) and I thought of the book again and initiated several book searches through used book stores, with no success. Until now. . .
My companion, a systems analyst, and ergodic program creator, is of course, on line. The next step of my search was to browse for this treasure. I flung out the title to the web: and I found: GAELIC CELTIC CULTURE 6 and a first reference to By Sundown Shores and Fiona Macleod.
A search of the Seattle Public Library found the following books in their stacks.
Initially, an on-line search of at the University of Washington found many books by William Sharp as well as Fiona Macleod, only three of which are allowed to be circulated.
November, 1997: The first response to my search has come in! By Sundown Shores is now available on the web:
Ian Anderson's joyous presentation is--The Visionary Writings of Fiona Macleod.
Within a month or two of the above, I had discovered or was discovered by The Oubliette and The Celtic Siren.
Spring of 1998: The Suzello Library updated its lists, and the following books were available: Vol. I -VII of The Collected Works of Fiona Macleod as well as Vol. I -V of The Selected Writings of William Sharp. Using Azthar's UW library card, I began in earnest to scan these works and add them to my sites.
October, 1998: Jim Earl who searches for books published by T.B. Mosher introduced me to the addictive realm of purchasing used and rare books on the web via www.bibliofind.com. It's close to Winter Solstice and I cast my credit card to the web, "netting" many books and more links.
November, 1998: David Burkham of UMichigan discovers that By Sundown Shores is available at www.abebooks.com . But when I search and e-mail, the book is gone. But, I wonder to myself, if I find a copy, will I lose interest in my site?
March, 1999: In the midst of another PC mishap, David Burkham discovers that By Sundown Shores is available again and I dog the bookstore in Iowa, phoning them because I can't be sure my e-mail is working. And in a week....
I have, in my hands,
a T.B. Mosher's 3rd edition of
By Sundown Shores, by Fionna Macleod!!!!
Will wonders never cease?
And I decide this "webbing" and "netting" is too much fun. I will search for a first edition and a second edition of By Sundown Shores and I'll continue to scan and OCR to the Web whatever books I can find.
April, 1999: In testing a new search engine, google, I have found the new site for Birth Customs previously presented in GAELIC CELTIC CULTURE 6. It's new site is: Clannada na Gadelica and it is wonderful!!! (And again I am having difficulty in connecting to their file server. Good Luck in finding this site.)
October, 1999: Professor S.J. Goldsack of Surrey, contacts me about "The Phantom Pirate" score. He relates how "Purely by chance [his] great great grandfather married a Jane Hannah Macleod in 1837, in London shortly before emigrating to Adelaide, Australia. Their eldest son
returned to England, but there is quite a large Goldsack 'dynasty' in Australia." Professor Goldsack also mentions that his son, Christopher, who performs throughout the UK and Ireland, might be interested in including the score of "The Phantom Pirate" in his repetoire and might be able to help me in my quest to present a performance of the song to the Web.
June, 2000: Christopher Goldsack emails an audio file of his performance of The Phantom Pirate! The sound is very Victorian and, I think very close to Gilbert and Sullivan. What's your opinion?
July, 2000: The Oubliette is now archived.
I am still searching for a copy of any form of By Sundown Shores.
If you know of a spare copy or have an interesting tale about your introduction to this little book, please e-mail me at the address below. I'd appreciate your time and effort.
If you are seeing a lawyer about my presentation, e-mail me first, I am merely trying to let others read what is rare and wonderful.
* By Sundown Shores - Studies in Spiritual History, Fiona MacLeod, George Loring Press, Portland Maine, Thomas B. Mosher, c. 1902, (only 425 copies)
Ayer Company Publishers, 6 Lower Mill Road, North Stratford, New Hampshire 03590, offers over 15,000 titles, mainly reprints of works which have been judged by experts as being worthy of staying in print forever, in all fields.
e-mail to M.A. Dobratz firstname.lastname@example.org
Last revised: April 10, 2001