A Romance of Interlaken Inn: A Book by John & Elizabeth Percy
John & Elizabeth Percy were not only the ones who modernized The Interlaken Inn in the 1920s, but they also made it the beloved property it is today. John had a big personality and was the first one to make guests feel welcome and eager to come back summer after summer. In doing all of this research about The Percy’s, we read an interview from 1992 with Magadalena Quinby, who was a secretary here in the 1930s. In that interview, she mentioned that Elizabeth Percy had written a book, and we were set on a mission to find it.
After tons of failed google searches, we used the incredible resource that is our town historian, Jean McMillan. In just a few days Jean found the small 14 page book and brought it over to the inn. She met with Abby & Michelle by the fireplace in Morgan’s Restaurant over cups of Harney & Son’s Tea to let us see the book. It is the only copy, and was printed in 1954. At just 14 pages, this little book was filled with information and photographs of our inn that we had never seen. Here is one of our favorite pages:
This description of what our inn used to be like is invaluable, and we are so grateful to have been given this piece of our history. The other thing to note is the signature at the top of the book from the legendary Julia Pettee. Pettee was born here in Lakeville, CT in August of 1872 and is known as a Master Librarian. She created Union Classification, which is used to catalogic theological books and spent 30 years as Head Cataloger at the Union Theological Seminary Library in New York City. For the last leg of her career, she worked at Yale University before she retired in 1946. She then moved back to Salisbury to live in a small farmhouse called Mayflower Farm. She spent the rest of her life gardening on the farm and writing until she died at age 94 in 1967. Julia kept this book, The Romance of Interlaken Inn, safe at her farmhouse and having her tied into this exceptional discovery makes it all the more special.