Celebrating the life and work of Cape Cod writer, historian and character, Noel Beyle
Beyle died unexpectedly in June 2017. He was the last of a lost breed: charming eccentric.
But his eccentricities—history, a playful sense of frivolity combined with a flotsam of marketing, moxie, and mischief—produced one of the greatest collections of booklets ever written about Cape Cod.
From 1976 (“Entering Eastham”) to 1987 (“‘Fishy’ Stories of Cape Cod”) and beyond 2000 (assorted cook books and photo-journal texts), Beyle published 40 booklets, ranging from weather oddities to the old Target Ship and everything in between the Bourne Bridge and Race Point, including the islands.
In 2011, he estimated that he sold nearly a million copies of the pamphlet-sized books that ranged from 50 to over 100 pages. Early editions from the 1980s sold originally for less than one dollar. Today, however, virtually every edition is out of print, and many are offered online for 25-50 times their initial sale price. The Beyle-conceived First Encounter Press published most of the work. The Cape Cod Times believed this was “probably (Eastham’s) first publishing firm.” Before local sourcing became synonymous with farming, Beyle was ahead of the curve. All of his booklets were printed on the Cape.
Today, reading and rummaging through the entire catalog is revealing. And fun.
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