Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Time Capsule: 1991

From the March 9, 1991 edition of the Haverhill Gazette:

John Bellairs, Haverhill's most successful contemporary author, died Friday at his 447 Main Street home. He was 53.

For more than 15 years, the man at the old Underwood manual typewriter turned out a book a year, each awaited by his vast following of young people. Bellairs' latest published book is The Secret of the Underground Room. But he had another, The Mansion in the Mist ready for publication by Dial Press and two more "in the works."  In an interview last fall, Bellairs said the The Secret of the Underground Room was set in Rocks Village.

His writing was geared to an audience of young people between the ages of 10 and 14 but readers of all ages could enjoy his work. "This is an extremely great loss to the community and to young people everywhere. They just loved to read his books. My children love his books," said Howard W. Curtis, director of the Haverhill Public Library. Curtis also said Bellairs was "quite popular" because of his frequent personal appearances at the library.

Helen Mulcahy, former Merrimack public schools librarian and children's librarian at the Haverhill library, said she and her husband, Richard, enjoyed having John Bellairs as a diner guest.  "He was a marvelous storyteller. Even when he sat down among friends and started speaking, he kept everyone entranced with is accounts of people he had met, things he had seen. He was an extremely intelligent human being with a marvelous classical education. This education showed. He possessed a deep and abiding respect for the achievements of people in the past and hoped to pass this along to the children of the present world."

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