Tales of Cape Cod Oral History Recordings

Tales of Cape Cod was founded in 1949, by Louis Cataldo of Barnstable, Massachusetts.  TCC was one of the earliest organizations to collect oral histories generally, and the first to gather the recollections of Cape Codders.  Many oral history recordings that were created by TCC during the 1970’s and 1980’s are available in the Wiliam Brewster Nickerson Archives at Cape Cod Community College. These recordings capture the recollections of individual Cape Codders, and are an extraordinary record of the history and culture of Cape Cod.

To listen to a few excerpts from recordings that were made between 1977 and 1978 and include accounts of Gales, Ghosts and Cape Cod dialect, click on the names and words in bold below:

Captain John Oliver of Provincetown shared examples of phrases that were familiar to sailors, but not necessarily to everyone else.  

Joshua Nickerson explained the meaning of the word Feetnings and how there never was such a thing as a Nor’Easter.”

Emma Marshall shared her memories of the Gale of 1898, also called the Portland Gale.  The November storm caused multiple shipwrecks, including several in Provincetown Harbor.

Mary Hinckley Crane shared a story about the black cat said to haunt her home in Barnstable on the Old King’s Highway.

W. B. Nickerson Cape Cod History Archives