In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Maine Memory Network

Laboring in Maine

Text by Candace Kanes

Images from the Brick Store Museum, Caribou Public Library, City of Brewer, Lewiston Public Library, Lovell Historical Society, Lubec Historical Society, McArthur Library, Monson Historical Society, Patten Lumberman's Museum, Sanford History Committee, United Society of Shakers, and the Maine Historical Society.

Forests, ocean coastline, granite deposits, and cold temperatures have helped to determine the types of labor in which Mainers would engage. At the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries, when industry was growing, Maine laborers worked in logging, milling and papermaking; built ships, fished, and processed fish; mined and cut granite and slate; cut and shipped ice, as well as farmed the state's rocky soils, and carried out other important functions.

While not all business and industry was determined by the Maine geography, these images show the variety of activities of Maine laborers and suggest some of the ways in which Maine's landscape has shaped the men and women who worked to make livings in Maine and the ways that they, in turn, have helped to shape the state.