Appreciating such a book naturally leads to curiosity about the author. The Foreword to the 1999 edition does offer a biographical sketch lauding Chamberlain's career as a Boston newspaper reporter, his prominence in the Appalachian Mountain Club, and ultimately his local impact "active in Rockport town meetings, advocating conservation measures." (Obituary, Gloucester Daily Times, June 25, 1945) But I have never found in the SBHS archives any personal writings nor accounts from his contemporaries to fill out a portrait of Allen Chamberlain. I especially wanted a photograph for what it might suggest of his character.
I tried the online research tool Find-A-Grave that Sharron Cohen introduced me to, which sometimes includes photographs, genealogical information, and descendants of the deceased. Neither she nor I could discover a record of burial for Allen Chamberlain, although the newspaper obituary mentioned a memorial service at Mt. Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge. Perhaps he had requested that his ashes be scattered in the White Mountains he loved. Then Sharron suggested contacting the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC), whose archivist responded with enthusiasm.
|Allen Chamberlain, left, with companions on Mt Washington, 1914|
|Allen Chamberlain, 2nd from left, and companions in Randolph NH, 1914|
Allen Chamberlain was one of those rare and fortunate persons who combine careful learning and intense zeal with a gay spirit and delightful manner. As an old climbing comrade said of him, "Allen is the man I would have chosen for companion on a desert island; he was adaptable, philosophical, resourceful, energetic, and had a well-stored mind."
....Ten years of his life were spent ardently promoting the passage of the Weeks' Act, under which the White Mountain National Forest and many other national forests, totaling millions of acres, were established throughout the eastern states. Himself interested in outdoor recreation and unselfishly seeking to make opportunities available to others, he wrote forcefully in support of the creation of the national parks system. His work in molding public opinion had a happy outcome.
....But no list of offices held can give a picture of Mr. Chamberlain's actual part in the life and development of the Club....Many camps and gatherings were made more enjoyable by his competent woodsmanship and agreeable humor. His whole life has been a furtherance of the ideals for which the Club stands.
|Allen Chamberlain, 1867-1945|
home at 121 Granite Street,|
photographed by Bob Dixon in 1977for the Second Edition of Pigeon Cove,Its Early Settlers and their Farms (SBHS, 1999)