In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Maine Memory Network

Folk Art in Maine: Introduction

This slideshow contains 12 items
1
Libby Family Register, 1830

Libby Family Register, 1830

Item 18705 info
Maine Historical Society

These deeply personal pieces were made for the family with the intimate care and intent reserved for a friend, teacher or loved one.

They were displayed in the home and became part of the family record.

Samuel and Lydia Libby raised their five children on the family homestead in Scarborough, which was built by his great-grandfather, John Jones, sometime in the 1600s.

Samuel was a skilled farmer and active in town affairs.

This register shows the family together – mother, father and five children. In the background is a memorial to an unnamed son who died at birth.


2
Weathervane rooster, Scarborough, ca. 1820

Weathervane rooster, Scarborough, ca. 1820

Item 26526 info
Maine Historical Society

Some of these items were made as school assignments – children made them to learn stitching, drawing, or painting.

Others were made as wedding gifts, to mark particular anniversaries, or as a gift to a friend.

Some are memorials to a deceased family member.

Aged from years of exposure to the changing Maine seasons, this rooster weathervane sat atop the Libby family barn in Scarborough.

James Osborne included it in the family record; it must have been an important feature on the farm.


3
Libby family homestead, Scarborough, ca. 1880

Libby family homestead, Scarborough, ca. 1880

Item 26527 info
Maine Historical Society

These objects and images served as family memories and a record of their moment in time.

This photograph of Ebenezer Libby with his wife, Mary, and their children in front of their home recreates a family record much like the one James Osborne painted of his parents and siblings in 1830.


4
John Ham portrait, 1852

John Ham portrait, 1852

Item 26528 info
Maine Historical Society

A portrait of John Ham, part of a pair painted by an unidentified artist of Ham and his wife, Mary, in 1852.

The history of this portrait pair is lost. All that is known was written by the artist on the canvas to record the age of John and Mary at the time the painting was made.

Why did the Hams have their portraits painted? An anniversary? The marriage of a child or grandchild? Some other desire for a legacy?


5
Mary Ham, 1852

Mary Ham, 1852

Item 26529 info
Maine Historical Society

Mary Ham had her portrait painted by an unidentified artist in 1852.

Her husband, John, also was painted at the same time.


6
Joshua Freeman powder horn

Joshua Freeman powder horn

Item 6044 info
Maine Historical Society

This horn is attributed to the scout Joseph Wier and was made for Joshua Freeman.

Wier was a regular patron of the tavern Freeman operated on Middle Street in Portland.

Powder horns are made from the horns of cows, oxen, or other animals, and were used to carry gunpowder.

Many are carved, many intricately, some with only the owner's name.


7
Samuel Libby powder horn, Scarborough, 1723

Samuel Libby powder horn, Scarborough, 1723

Item 26530 info
Maine Historical Society

Samuel Libby(ee) was born in Scarborough in 1689 and was a particularly well-educated man.

He was a lieutenant, an indication of his service in a militia, and at one time or another held all office appointments in the young town of Scarborough.

As a land surveyor he was in high demand, with a career that spanned over three decades.


8
David Fletcher powder horn, 1747

David Fletcher powder horn, 1747

Item 26534 info
Maine Historical Society

David Fletcher was probably a New England soldier at the time of King George’s War.

It has an image of Admiral Warren and several animals.


9
Canallis powder horn, 1786

Canallis powder horn, 1786

Item 26531 info
Maine Historical Society

Of particular interest on this horn are the combined representations of land and sea: a sailor, soldier, trees, home, lighthouse and ships upon the water.


10
Michael B. Goldthwait powder horn, 1756

Michael B. Goldthwait powder horn, 1756

Item 26532 info
Maine Historical Society

The carving reads, "Michael B. Goldthwait's horn 1756, At Fort Wm. henry Oct. 2 AD"

Michael B. Goldthwait, the owner of this powder horn, was a private in 1755-56 in Col. Jonathan Bagley's Massachusetts Regiment at Fort William Henry in New York.


11
Elijah Bradbury powder horn, 1778

Elijah Bradbury powder horn, 1778

Item 26533 info
Maine Historical Society

Jacob Gay is believed to have carved this powder horn, owned by Elijah Bradbury, who was a corporal in Capt. Stephen Jenkins' Co., Col. Thomas Poor's Massachusetts Regiment from May 25, 1778, to Feb. 9, 1779.


12
Star and compass ditty box

Star and compass ditty box

Item 6048 info
Maine Historical Society

David Noble Poor was a ship’s captain who sailed between Portland and Havana.

He made this small box, shaped like a book and inlaid with a star and compass design.


This slideshow contains 12 items