In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Maine Memory Network

Our Family Record: Objects in Context

This slideshow contains 39 items
1
Acrostic, Kittery Point, 1809

Acrostic, Kittery Point, 1809

Item 26535 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.

This acrostic, a playful way to use the letters of a word to organize a poem, uses "Hannah Lewis" to create its poem.


2
Abigail Babson theorem purse, ca. 1820

Abigail Babson theorem purse, ca. 1820

Item 26536 info
Maine Historical Society

Some of these items were made as school assignments by children learning stitching, drawing, or painting.

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

Some items are memorials to a deceased family member.


3
Sewall cornucopia theorem, ca. 1825

Sewall cornucopia theorem, ca. 1825

Item 26537 info
Maine Historical Society

Theorem paintings involved the use of stencils, which gave the images a distinctive sharp edge.

They were often school assignments intended to teach hand skills and promote a sense of design and color.


4
Schoolwork exercise, Portland, ca. 1790

Schoolwork exercise, Portland, ca. 1790

Item 26538 info
Maine Historical Society

Thomas Janverin was 13 and a student in the South School in Portland when he made this colorful copy-work drawing.

The acidic inks he used have damaged the paper.

However, the youthful composition and colorful design remain.


5
Young girl, Portland, ca. 1820

Young girl, Portland, ca. 1820

Item 26539 info
Maine Historical Society

Drawing from life and even making copies of prints published in a wide range of books and periodicals was part of the academic education of many young women during the early 19th century.


6
Rice specimen penmanship, Portland, 1819

Rice specimen penmanship, Portland, 1819

Item 26540 info
Maine Historical Society

Marcia Rice, a student of the Misses Martins’ School in Portland, made this ambitious piece of schoolwork when she was 16.

Her illustrated writing documents the range of her studies including English, History, Science, and Botany.


7
Samuel Butler Stevens, ca. 1835

Samuel Butler Stevens, ca. 1835

Item 26541 info
Maine Historical Society

In this portrait, young Samuel Butler Stevens holds his fishing pole.

He wears a child’s dress – a common outfit for boys in the early 1800s.


8
Child's chair with portrait, Portland, 1908

Child's chair with portrait, Portland, 1908

Item 26542 info
Maine Historical Society

Daniel Kerr and his wife Mary were both children of Irish immigrants. Daniel worked as a sign painter in Portland.

He made this chair for his daughter Agnes Gertrude, born in 1906. Her portrait is in the seat back.


9
Female Nut Doll

Female Nut Doll

Item 6651 info
Maine Historical Society

The heads, hands, and feet of this doll were carved from nuts.

This doll and its male partner descended through generations of the Libby family for over 150 years.


10
Male Nut Doll

Male Nut Doll

Item 6649 info
Maine Historical Society

The carved nut dolls show the skill of the carver, and record the fashions of the era in which they were carved.


11
Child's doll, ca. 1775

Child's doll, ca. 1775

Item 26543 info
Maine Historical Society

This wood and cloth doll was made as a child's toy.

It is elegantly dressed in Revolutionary War era garb.


12
Toy cradle and bedding, ca. 1835

Toy cradle and bedding, ca. 1835

Item 26544 info
Maine Historical Society

This toy crib, complete with bedding, was made in 1835 for Mary Caroline Sweetser Quincy, when she was two years old.


13
Persis Sibley theorem fan, 1832

Persis Sibley theorem fan, 1832

Item 16857 info
Maine Historical Society

Persis Sibley was 19 years old and a student in “Miss Murray’s school for young ladies in Hallowell, Maine” when she painted the fire screen.

She described the utilitarian purpose of this piece as “…to shield one’s face from the blaze of an open fire.”



14
Card painted by Persis Sibley, ca. 1831

Card painted by Persis Sibley, ca. 1831

Item 17362 info
Maine Historical Society

Originally from Freedom, Sibley had a life-long interest in arts, education and politics. She was an avid diarist, and kept descriptive accounts of her experiences and views.

In 1842 she married Charles Andrews, a lawyer from Augusta.


15
Persis Sibley theorem painting, 1831

Persis Sibley theorem painting, 1831

Item 16858 info
Maine Historical Society

Persis was 18 years old when she made this decorative piece.

On the reverse she wrote, “By Miss Sibley at Mrs. Murray’s high school for young ladies, Hallowell, Nov. 1831.”


16
Miniature portrait of Persis Sibley Andrews and daughter, 1844

Miniature portrait of Persis Sibley Andrews and daughter, 1844

Item 1288 info
Maine Historical Society

Caroline Wardwell was from Rumford Corner, and one of only a few women itinerant artists in Maine.

Persis Sibley Andrews was very impressed by Wardwell’s skill. On January 27, 1844, she wrote in her diary, “I have been sitting the past week for my miniature. It is taken with my babe in my arms & both are s’d to be good likenesses--the baby’s perfect.

The artist [Miss Wardwell]…paints as well as any Miniature painter I ever knew tho’ she is a beginner & almost entirely self taught.”


17
Thomas Family record, Brunswick, 1826

Thomas Family record, Brunswick, 1826

Item 14755 info
Maine Historical Society

Nancy Dearborn Thomas 10, made this sampler that lists the dates of marriage for her parents and the birth (and death) of her siblings.

The Thomas family lived in the Bath area and Captain Consider Thomas made his life at sea.

This sampler is an excellent example of schoolgirl needlework, including decorative embroidery stitches and period sayings and imagery.

The weeping willow represents the passing of her older brother, William, at the age of four.


18
Sarah Dean sampler, Saco, ca. 1800

Sarah Dean sampler, Saco, ca. 1800

Item 14756 info
Maine Historical Society

Young women made samplers as part of their educational studies in school.

The process of designing and making a sampler built needlework skills and aesthetic sensitivity.

Sarah Dean included several types of alphabets, numerals, and even a poem on her work.


19
Mary Jones Sampler 1755

Mary Jones Sampler 1755

Item 4205 info
Maine Historical Society

Mary Jones made this sampler when she was 14.

The unusual figures may symbolize her concerns for safety and protection of her home and town.

In 1755 the French and Indian War raged throughout the District of Maine. Indian attacks were common, and the threat of violence very real.


20
Poole genealogy, Portland, 1807

Poole genealogy, Portland, 1807

Item 6401 info
Maine Historical Society

Joanna Poole was 12 and most likely a student at a school for girls in Portland when she made this colorful sampler.

The needlework serves as both a family register beginning with her parents, Abijah and Dorcas, and as a memorial for two brothers who died in infancy.


21
Blanchard/Porter wedding quilt

Blanchard/Porter wedding quilt

Item 6400 info
Maine Historical Society

This album-style quilt was a wedding gift for Jane Blanchard who married Warren Porter of Cumberland in 1850.

The quilted squares include appliquéd patterns, signatures from friends and makers, and sayings of good will.

Some of the squares include copperplate printed fabric – all applied to white linen blocks.


22
Turner quilt detail, Palermo, 1818

Turner quilt detail, Palermo, 1818

Item 26545 info
Maine Historical Society

Delphos Turner was 18 years old when she made this quilt in 1818.

She spun and dyed the wool, wove the cloth, sewed the quilt, and proudly embroidered her name in the center “Delphos Turner of Palermo.”


23
Crazy quilt, Camden, 1886

Crazy quilt, Camden, 1886

Item 6396 info
Maine Historical Society

Victorian “crazy quilts” were filled with colorful ribbons of various sizes and shapes.

Carrie Leighton added embroidery, painted designs and her initials “C.P.L.” to the quilt.

Around this time, she married John Stover, a ship captain from Camden. They were both lost at sea when the bark Itonus sank off South America in 1890.

Their orphan son, Robert Stover, kept this quilt as a memorial of his parents.


24
Peace quilt section, 1985

Peace quilt section, 1985

Item 26546 info
Maine Historical Society

The art of quilting is very much alive today. Some makers use new types of fabrics and machines, while others enjoy natural fibers the process of handwork.


25
Jean Harris peace quilt square, Damariscotta, 1985

Jean Harris peace quilt square, Damariscotta, 1985

Item 26547 info
Maine Historical Society

This collection of squares was created for a political rally to bring awareness to concerns about nuclear arms.

Several hundred people made squares for the quilt based on the question, “what can I not bear to think of as lost forever in a nuclear war?”


26
Peace quilt peacebots, 1985

Peace quilt peacebots, 1985

Item 26548 info
Maine Historical Society

The writing on this unsigned quilt square reads, "Peace Bot filled with justice and truths, they make people forget about war and only remember peace."


27
Theresa Latham peace quilt section, Portland, 1985

Theresa Latham peace quilt section, Portland, 1985

Item 26556 info
Maine Historical Society

Theresa Latham of Peaks Island in Portland created a square features an image of Peaks Island and Casco Bay surrounding it.

Buildings on the island are labeled "Hope," "love," "faith" and "peace." A lifesaving ring in the water is labeled "Save life."

The quilt section is entitled "No man is an island."


28
Francis H.C. Small Memorial, 1839

Francis H.C. Small Memorial, 1839

Item 26554 info
Maine Historical Society

Decorated family records serve as a register of births, marriages, and deaths.

This record documents the large family of Francis and Jane (Davis) Small of Raymond.


29
Hicks Family Record, ca. 1797

Hicks Family Record, ca. 1797

Item 25970 info
Maine Historical Society

The distinctive hand of the artist who made this record is starkly contrasted by the less-finished entries made by Hicks family members.

Family records are living documents that can have additions made by many generations of the same family.


30
Merrill family record, ca. 1815

Merrill family record, ca. 1815

Item 26550 info
Maine Historical Society

This unusual record features a complicated design but a monochrome color scheme.


31
Bryant family register, Jonesboro, 1852

Bryant family register, Jonesboro, 1852

Item 26551 info
Maine Historical Society

The Bryant family did not make any entries after this register was made.

Perhaps made by a family member, the register has several misspelled words.


32
Genealogy of Wm. and Rhoda Thompson, 1831

Genealogy of Wm. and Rhoda Thompson, 1831

Item 26552 info
Maine Historical Society

The itinerant artist James Osborne signed the record he made for the Thompson family of Scarborough or Portland.

Osborne painted each family member and included the family home in the background.


33
Libby Family Register, 1830

Libby Family Register, 1830

Item 18705 info
Maine Historical Society

This Libby family register probably was folded into a family bible. The colors are still vivid and the overall design has not been lost.


34
Girl in a blue dress, ca. 1860

Girl in a blue dress, ca. 1860

Item 26553 info
Maine Historical Society

This young woman’s portrait, though unidentified, is from a collection of family memorabilia of the Day and Sewall families of Portland and Bath.


35
Prentiss Mellen miniature

Prentiss Mellen miniature

Item 6887 info
Maine Historical Society

Portrait miniatures on ivory have a beautiful luminescent quality, and give the subject a life-like appearance.

Prentiss Mellen (1764-1840) began practicing law in the front chamber of “Old Squire Hopper’s” Biddeford tavern, and went on to be appointed Maine’s first Chief Justice when Maine became a state in 1820.

This portrait, exhibiting the defining characteristics and style of the itinerant artist John Brewster Jr., most likely was commissioned during one of the artist’s trips to Portland in 1805.


36
Stephen Longfellow IV, Portland, ca. 1801

Stephen Longfellow IV, Portland, ca. 1801

Item 18707 info
Maine Historical Society

Stephen Longfellow (1776-1849), future father of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, is known to have had a miniature painted around 1801.


37
Miniature of Margaret Stetson

Miniature of Margaret Stetson

Item 6888 info
Maine Historical Society

The miniature portrait of Margaret Stetson, painted by an unidentified artist about 1830, is a watercolor on paper.


38
Captain Parker McCobb, Phippsburg, 1818

Captain Parker McCobb, Phippsburg, 1818

Item 10886 info
Maine Historical Society

The portrait of Parker McCobb is the work of the itinerant artist Benjamin Greenleaf, known for reverse oil paintings on glass.

Greenleaf traveled and painted in communities from the south shore of Boston to portions of Down East Maine.

Parker McCobb was a prosperous shipbuilder and owner from Phippsburg.


39
Rebecca McCobb, Phippsburg, 1818

Rebecca McCobb, Phippsburg, 1818

Item 10888 info
Maine Historical Society

Rebecca Hill married Parker McCobb in 1815. She was the widow of his uncle Thomas, in 1815.

The portraits they had painted in 1818 document the exuberant clothing and adornment of the merchant class of mid-coast Maine in the early 19th century.


This slideshow contains 39 items