MOUNT DESERT — The Redbook, the social register of Mount Desert Island’s summer residents, has been published every year since 1912, except for two years during World War I.
When Cheryl Chase, the publisher for the past 33 years, died this past summer, many people were concerned that The Redbook might not continue. A few months ago, her son, Brandon, decided it would.
“My mother took it over the year before I was born, so it has been part of my life for as long as I can remember,” he said. “A lot of people really valued it, and I thought it would be worthwhile to continue.”
Chase said the format and content of the 2020 edition will be same as it has been for decades: a directory of summer residents, including their summer and winter addresses and other contact information; a directory of island businesses; business advertising; tide tables, ferry and mail boat schedules; island churches and when they hold services; and a calendar of events.
Published initially as “Directory and Handbook,” the pocket-sized book listed the owners of the various summer “cottages” in Northeast Harbor and where they were located. It was later expanded to include all of Mount Desert Island and the Cranberry Isles.
The 1912 edition had a green paper cover. The next year it was red, and it has been red ever since. It wasn’t long before everyone was referring to it simply as “the red book.” So, when Cheryl Chase took over the publication, she changed the name to “The Redbook — Directory and Handbook.”
Brandon Chase said that taking on the project following his mother’s death has been relatively easy.
“Thankfully, she left pretty good records and notes, so I was able to go in and pretty much pick up where she left off and have everything I need to continue it,” he said.
Chase has created a website for the publication — redbookneh.com — which states, “This book is used constantly by the summer residents as they refer to it for locating their friends during the summer months and throughout the year. It is also very important to the local businesses who need updated winter addresses of their clientele.”
Chase said the only other change is a new online system “for people to confirm their information and their ads and also for payment, just to make things easier, since I am so far away.”
Very far away, indeed.
A foreign service officer with the U.S. State Department, he currently is an information technology specialist at the American embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan. His wife, Veronica, is in the embassy’s economic section.
“I plan to come back for at least a couple of weeks at the end of June and early July; that’s usually when the books are delivered,” Chase said.
The Redbook will be available at McGrath’s in Northeast Harbor, Sherman’s Book Shop in Bar Harbor and Carroll Drug Store in Southwest Harbor. It costs $8.