Contributed by Penobscot Marine Museum
In 1930, Penobscots Indians Leo and Florence Shay of Indian Island at Old Town set up a tent on a vacant lot at Lincolnville Beach with their three young sons.
The family made money during the Great Depression by selling baskets. They found a large stand of sweet grass, the aromatic plant used in their baskets, growing in the marsh behind the row of shops at the Beach, barely a hundred yards from their camp
Leo Shay and the sons harvested and prepared the ash splints that formed the body of the baskets, while the sweet grass they harvested was braided by women at Indian Island. Florence Shay used it as decorative accents as she wove each basket.
The Shays returned for most of the next 30 years to set up their Indian Camp basket tent.
In the photo, Florence is seen working on a basket in the entrance to their sales tent; the family lived in the rear tent.
In the 1960s their grandson, Bob Anderson, bought the business and continued to operate the popular Indian basket tent for another 30 years, finally moving the business a mile north to Ducktrap.
Florence Nicolar Shay was an outspoken advocate for Penobscot tribal rights, testifying on tribal issues before the state legislature and in 1942 publishing her History of the Penobscot Tribe of Indians. She was the subject of a 2006 book, Florence Nicolar Shay: Penobscot Basketmaker and Tribal Advocate.
About This Item
- Title: Penobscot Indian Camp-Indian Basket Makers--Lincolnville, ca. 1940
- Creator: Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Company
- Creation Date: circa 1940
- Subject Date: circa 1940
- Town: Lincolnville
- County: Waldo
- State: ME
- Media: Photo negative
- Dimensions: 12.75 cm x 17.75 cm
- Collection: Eastern Illustrating and Publishing Company
- Object Type: Image
For more information about this item, contact:Penobscot Marine Museum
PO Box 498, 5 Church Street, Searsport, ME 04974
Cross Reference Searches
LC Subject Headings
- Indian baskets--Maine--Lincolnville
- Indian basket makers--Maine--Lincolnville
- Indians of North America--Maine
- Basket making--Maine--Lincolnville
- Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Company
- Shay family
- Souvenir shops--Maine--Lincolnville
Please post your comment below to share with others. If you'd like to privately share a comment or correction with MMN staff, please use this form.