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February 5, 2014 / Linda Hartong


I collect books about Carmel. I find them at garage sales, on e-Bay, Amazon, Google Play, ,and even the Carmel Chamber of Commerce Store, Here is an alphabetical list of my favorites..

Two books from the Images of America Series :

“Carmel A History in Architecture” by Kent Seavey


A pictorial history of how Carmel’s architectural character was formed. Kent does the reviews on Carmel’s Historical properties.

“Carmel By-The -Sea” by Monica Hudson


Monica is a long – time resident of Carmel. I had the pleasure of taking her walking tour. We chatted about her extensive research for this book and her sense of responsibility to “get it right”.

“Carmel A Timeless Place” by Steve Shapiro


Photos and text by a Carmel Photographer

“Carmel~ By ~The~ Sea, The Early Years” (1903-1913)

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by Alissandra Dramov is my latest discovery. It was published in December of 2013.

I have just started reading but already appreciate the scholarship behind this very readable book.  The author is a native Californian , journalist, producer and writer. 

She is currently writing “Carmel-by-the- Sea, The Growth Years” (1913-1943)

“Carmel’s Fairy Tale Cottages” by Mike Barton


He captures the essence of Carmel in hundreds of photographs and text.

All of the above books can be found easily in Carmel stores.

“Carmel Today And Yesterday” by Daisy Bostick


Daisy was a high school teacher who first came to Carmel in 1910. She was an early manager of the Pine Inn.

She is best remembered for her writing and publication of “Carmel at Work and Play”, w/ Dorthea Castelhun


in 1925. Carmelites owe her much, for she was either at the scene of or a part of much of what was going on, and took the time to make notes about it all.

“Cottages by the Sea- The Handmade Homes of Carmel,America’s First Artist Community” by Linda Leigh Paul.


This book will give you an exclusive look into 34 of Carmel’s private homes. 

“Creating Carmel-The Enduring Vision by Harold and Ann Gilliam


My number one choice for a comprehensive view of how Carmel came to be and how Carmelites try to keep that spirit alive. 


I love the inscription on my used copy.

Available on Amazon

“Curious Customs Of Carmel” by El Frieda Liese


Don’t miss this small paperback with its funny drawings and examination of many curious customs of Carmel.

“Mamita’s House – A True Tale of Tortilla Flat”

as told my Lois Robin


A fascinating story of life in Mamita’s House still at Monterey and 2nd in Carmel.

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Kathyrn Gaultieri has written a murder mystery. “Murder In The Pines”, and if you have read “Carmel at Work and Play” you can easily imagine on whom her fictional characters are based 



“Of Una Jeffers- a Memoir”by Edith Greenan


Wonderfully readable. It not only portrays Una but also the Carmel of her time. Edith was a friend of Una.

“Secret History of Carmel” by John Thompson

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John is a writer and artist who conducted interviews with older Carmelites to find out the “secret” knowledge. I bought it on Amazon and enjoyed it.

“Tales from the Taxicab and Other Stories from 

Carmel-by-the-Sea” by Sam Colburn


Sam is a watercolorist, golfer, taxi driver, taxi dispatcher, and an Honorary Life Member of the Carmel Art Association. The book is a series of vignettes and sketches.


“The Fairy Tale Houses of Carmel” by Joanne Mathewson



Drawings and text about Hugh Comstock’s Cottages. Some of it true and some imagined by the author.

Stephanie Ager Kirz is the editor of the 2nd edition of her book. This book can be ordered on-line from the Carmel Heritage Society Shop.


“The Seacoast of Bohemia” by Franklin Walker


Tells about the tradition and lore of the early days of Bohemian Carmel. My favorite time in Carmel’s history.

And then there are all the books that set in Carmel. I enjoy going to The Pilgrams Way book store in Carmel and buying the Elaine Flinn murder mysteries

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or “The Bohemian Murders” by Dianne Day.

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There is even a children’s book “It’s a King’s Life in Carmel-by-the-Sea” by Emily Randolph and Dan Merchant. 


This excerpt gives you an idea of the tone of this happy little book with great illustrations.

“Follow your nose! Life is an adventure!” So says Sadie, the Cypress Inn’s doggie concierge to Happy and Lady (two Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Cavaliers) when they arrive in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.

For more novels set in Carmel see the Harrison Memorial Library List.

They also have a list of Carmel area Authors such as James Elroy, Jane Smiley, and Jack London to name a few.

I’m sure there are many I have missed. If you have found a good book about Carmel please add the Title and Author in your comment. 

“Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book.” 

― Jane Smiley, Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel


Leave a Comment
  1. Ann Robertson Armstrong / Feb 5 2014 2:36 pm

    Love this post! I have several of the books you mentioned! most in print, some in e-book form! The more one learns about Carmel, the more one loves and appreciates it! Thanks again for your blog on our beloved Carmel!

    • Linda Hartong / Feb 5 2014 3:41 pm

      Such a wealth of information on Carmel. I am determined to “get a hold” on its history.

  2. A. Robertson / Feb 5 2014 7:44 pm

    Several other books which would round out the picture and put Carmel in the context of it’s history with the surrounding area and with the importance of the environment, especially water and the forests. “Cathedral in the Sun”, by Anne Fisher, an historical novel about the importance of the indians, how the Spanish dealt with them and the Carmel Mission. “Monterey County”, Augusta Fink, a concise history of the area (Monterey, PG, the Valley and Big Sur)–helps understand the broader area. Water is key–the river and the ocean–and two great books are “Death and Life of Monterey Bay” by two Hopkins Marine Station marine biologists which shows the importance of ocean life and the water, including Carmel Bay; and “River in Ruin” about the Carmel River and how the area is so dependent on it’s health. Finally, “The Monterey Pine Forest” about the forests of the area and how critical their health is.

  3. Marcia McGinnis Shortt and Paul Shortt / Feb 5 2014 9:08 pm

    ……..and here’s another
    Carmel – The Architectural Spirit
    written by Michael Whitcomb and illustrated by Kelly Steele
    Not sure when it was done – maybe 15 to 20 years ago. Our house is in it, called the Seymour House
    then (now, Cypress House). Loved seeing the list and actually have some of the same. Will look for some you have.

    Thanks, Marcia and Paul Shortt 26405 Valley View

  4. Annie Westlake / Feb 6 2014 2:33 am

    I have two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels–a tricolor and a Blenheim. Guess which book I’m buying first? They love the grilled chicken strips at Forge in the Forest. Great info!

  5. / Feb 6 2014 2:49 am

    Just wonderful, Linda…….Thank You!!!   I, too, feel that the definitive text is Harold Gilliam’s “Creating Carmel—–The Enduring Vision”.   best to you, Mary

  6. Stacy / Feb 6 2014 3:28 am

    The Architectural Spirit of Carmel was illustrated by my husband, Kelly Steele. We live in Carmel. The book was written in 1978. Wow! If I can find our stash of books I would be happy to give you one for your collection. Kelly is still in artist here in Carmel. He also does a wonderful walking tour of Carmel. Call him at 601-2204 and ask for a book. Tell him Stacy wants you to have it. Thanks to Marcia Short for mentioning it. Smile.

    • Linda Hartong / Feb 6 2014 4:30 am

      That is so nice of you. I did find one on Amazon today and ordered it. Maybe I will ask to autograph it!

  7. Marjorie Wallace / Feb 6 2014 3:12 pm

    “Cottages by the Sea” was the first Carmel book I acquired and inspired me to take a trip to Carmel all by myself. I spent two blissful days wandering the streets, shops and beaches of Carmel. I will be adding your collection to my wish list. Great article. Thank you for sharing. ~ Marjorie

    • Linda Hartong / Feb 6 2014 3:34 pm

      You are welcome.” Cottages by the Sea ” inspired us to visit Carmel in the first place.

  8. Mary Anne Rudolph / Feb 7 2014 2:01 pm

    The woodblock print on the front of Creating Carmel, The Enduring Vision, just has to be by Everett Ruess (born 1914, disappeared in Escalante Canyon Utah, 1934). It is called Wild Coastline. A talented artist who captured the essence of the Carmel coastline in his work. Wonderful collection of books on and about Carmel fill me with book lust. Thanks

  9. Amy Tomaszewski / Feb 8 2014 12:49 am

    This is wonderful! Many treasures here!

  10. John Baylis / Apr 3 2014 12:18 am

    Hello Linda,

    Great post idea! Two other titles I would suggest. The first is “Carmel by the Sea” by Joseph Smith, published in 1939. Smith was a Carmel artist, and the book is extensively illustrated with his drawings of the area.

    The second is “El Paseo: The Passage Way Where New California Meets Old Spain”, which was published in 1928 as a promotion for the construction/opening of Carmel’s El Paseo building. Jo Mora and Rose Campbell illustrated this beautiful book. The text author’s name is not stated other than “The Craftsmen of the Press in the Forest”, so the copy was probably written by Jacob William Wright.

    The less-than-good news is that both titles are hard to find. I found one on Abebooks, the other at a Portland used bookstore.

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