MATTAPOISETT – The Quinlan family is not afraid of taking a leap together. For Henry Quinlan’s 80th birthday, his granddaughter, Caroline Murphy, took him skydiving.
For his 81st, they had to think of a way to top that.
Equally as thrilling, they decided to publish a book together.
“I came up with that idea,” Quinlan explained.
He compiled a list of hidden gems, fun facts, and important things to see on the South Coast to write the book, “So, You Think You Know the South Coast?”
The book is published through Quinlan’s own publishing company, Omni Publishing, and includes entries on Wareham, Marion, Mattapoisett, Rochester, Acushnet, Fairhaven, New Bedford, Dartmouth, Westport and Fall River.
Murphy took the photos for the book, trekking around to rediscover different landmarks in the place she grew up.
“The experience of exploring where I grew up was interesting, I found a lot of cool new locations,” Murphy said.
Murphy is about to begin her last semester at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
She grew up in Mattapoisett with her sister, Emily Murphy, who took photos for the next installment, “So You Think You Know Cape Cod?”
Quinlan, who lived in Wareham until last year, is originally from Brookline. Despite earning a degree in economics from Boston College and a law degree from Suffolk University, he says he’s always worked in publishing. He began his first company, Quinlan Press, in 1972.
He has published dozens of books. Notably, he oversaw the Russian publication of “Make Way for Ducklings” in 1991. Then-First Lady Barbara Bush’s chief of staff called Quinlan to ask him to help oversee the transportation of the “Make Way For Ducklings” statue, which is now displayed in Moscow park, and the publication of the Russian translation of the book.
It might seem like a random connection, but Quinlan had close Russian connections. After Chernobyl, he spoke with a Soviet diplomat named Vitaly Churkin who appeared before congress. Quinlan thought the diplomat would be a good person to write a book. The book itself was never written, but the two remained lifelong friends.
When Quinlan retired, he was just looking for something to do with his free time, so he began going into senior centers and teaching classes about writing memoirs. His students began asking him to help publish their memoirs, so he formed Omni Press. Initially, he worked out of Wareham, where he lived for the past fifteen years, before moving to Merrimack, New Hampshire last year.
Through Omni Press, Quinlan has worked with some local authors, such as Marion residents Barbie Burr and Ed Hoffer.
He keeps Omni a family business. He’s the only full-time employee, though he has help from contractors – and his granddaughters.
“He’s funny, he’ll hit us up out of the blue and say, ‘I need this,’” Murphy laughed. She mentioned that she and her sister do odd jobs for him, like sending emails, but the books were their most involved project.
Soon, Murphy’s cousin and another one of Quinlan’s granddaughters, Kelly Quinlan will be joining the team. Kelly is a rising junior at ORR, and a “star on the lacrosse team,” said Quinlan. Kelly will be taking the photos for the next book project about the South Shore.
“The whole concept is to take pictures of things people see every day, but don’t recognize the story behind them,” Quinlan explained.
There are three books out now, “So, You Think You Know the South Coast?”, “So, You Think You Know Cape Cod?”, and “So, You Think You Know Nantucket?”
Quinlan said the books do really well, especially as stocking stuffers, and can be found all over the South Coast in bookstores and gift shops. They’re also available online through Amazon and the Omni Publishing Company website.