Using the unlikely topic of tombstones, Ghlee Woodworth, who spent some 13 years with the Peace Corps as a PCV in the Comoros Islands, and then as a Peace Corps Trainer for projects in Namibia, Swaziland, Niger, Bulgaria, Moldova, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Bangladesh, traveling to a total of 45 countries before coming home to Newburyport, Massachusetts, where she pieced together a picture of 19th-century Newburyport through the stories of 80 people laid to rest in the Oak Hill Cemetery. And this is only her first volume.
Tiptoe Through the Tombstones, which is self published, recently was named runner-up in the Biography/Autobiography category for the 2009 Book of the Year at the New England Book Festival (beating out the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s book, True Compass). It tells the stories of some of Newburyport’s 19th-century founders: ship captains, entrepreneurs and political leaders.
“It takes many citizens to build a community, and some of the people I’ve written about were well known for their contributions during their lifetime. Some were not,” she wrote in the book’s introduction. “The majority of people who make up our community will never be part of a book or written about in a local newspaper, but this does not mean that he or she made any less contribution to their community, today or two hundred years ago.”
For more about Ghlee and her tombstones check: