This map was drawn as a fundraiser for the Cottage Hospital by Austin Strong, a writer who spent his summers on the island. According to a 2002 article published in Historic Nantucket, its sales “generated an income for the facility for years to come and [it] is now a collector’s item.” This example of the map is inscribed by the artist to “Centurion Spaulding from his friend of 7 West 43rd Street,” evidently referring to a fellow member of the Century Association, a private men’s club located at that address in Manhattan.
Austin Strong was a prolific playwright and screenwriter whose works were produced on Broadway and in Hollywood. He also worked on Broadway as a director and lyricist. He lived in New York City but was a prominent resident of Nantucket where he spent every summer for decades. Strong grew up in an artistic family and was the step-grandson of author Robert Louis Stevenson. He spent his childhood first in Hawaii and then in Samoa, where he became close to Stevenson, who lived there. After attending Wellington College in New Zealand, Strong collaborated with his uncle on a play, which was produced in London in 1903 and set him on his career path. Over the next 30 years he wrote or adapted 15 plays and several film scripts, notably Seventh Heaven and Three Wise Fools, both of which were initially produced on Broadway and then made into films. A colorful personality with a range of interests, Strong was deeply involved in Nantucket civic and cultural life. He started a sailing school, and raised money for various organizations, including the Cottage Hospital, for which he designed the offered popular pictorial map of Nantucket Island as a fundraiser. He also enjoyed drawing caricatures, and collaborated on puppet shows with his friend and fellow Nantucket resident the designer and puppeteer Tony Sarg. His papers are in the archives of Columbia University.
Full publication information: “Designed by Austin Strong 1921.”
Inscribed in brown ink lower right: “Centurion Spaulding from/ his friend [of?] 7 West 43rd St/ Austin Strong/ July – 1924 – Nantucket.”
“Austin Strong.” Internet Broadway Database. 2001-2014. http://www.ibdb.com/person.php?id=4380 (17 January 2014).
“Austin Strong.” Internet Movie Database. 1990-2014.http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0834944/ (17 January 2014).
“Century Association.” Wikipedia. 29 November 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Century_Association (17 January 2014).
“The Nantucket Art Colony, 1920-45.” Nantucket Historical Association. (17 January 2014).
Theroux, Joseph. “Stevenson’s Pillow: A Sketch of Austin Strong.” Historic Nantucket. Vol. 51, No. 1 (Winter 2002). pp. 5-9. Online at Nantucket Historical Association: http://www.nha.org/history/hn/HN-theroux-strong.htm (17 January 2014).