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Editor’s Note


In this issue of Newport History, Gary Scharnhorst examines Bret Harte, an elusive literary figure who made a brief but lasting impact on Newport society and letters. Harte established his reputation as a writer in California with western tales like "The Luck of Roaring Camp" and "The Heathen Chinee." He moved to Newport in 1871 in an attempt to remake himself into a "respectable" author and poet on the East Coast. One notable, though criticized, poem emerged from his tenure here: "A Newport Romance." In "On the Carbon-14 Analyses of Mortar from the Newport Tower: Theoretical Considerations," Andre J. De Bethune claims that the process of dating mortar through carbon-14 testing has inherent flaws. Until these questions can be resolved, according to Bethune, "a pre-Columbian origin for the Newport Tower cannot be excluded." Finally, "From the Collections" examines the use of family history newsletters in genealogical research.