Margaret and Pauline Shay, Portland, 1923

Contributed by Maine Historical Society/MaineToday Media


Penobscot Indian Nation members Pauline Shay and her mother, Margaret, were featured in the Portland Sunday Telegram on October 7, 1923, for petitioning Governor Baxter to remove religious curriculum from the schools on Indian Island.

Pauline's father had petitioned the legislature to allow Pauline and brother Leo Shay to attend Old Town schools, to avoid the parochial education on Indian Island. Pauline went on to attend Hebron Academy, and wanted her younger sister, Violet, to have similar opportunities.

The article related that the Shays were skilled basketmakers who supported themselves and their educational goals through basketmaking in their Portland home at 45 Mayo Street. They specialized in candy baskets, which they sold in Portland and Massachusetts—including a contract with Russell Candy Company.

The article demonstrates the racism of the times, saying of Pauline, “no one would suspect from her appearance that she is of Indian blood.”

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About This Item

  • Title: Margaret and Pauline Shay, Portland, 1923
  • Creator: Portland Press Herald
  • Creation Date: 1923-10-07
  • Subject Date: 1923
  • Locations:
    • Old Town, Penobscot County, ME
    • Portland, Cumberland County, ME
  • Media: Glass plate
  • Dimensions: 10.8 cm x 8.3 cm
  • Local Code: Coll. 1949, 2005.061.6946
  • Collection: Portland Press Herald glass negative collection
  • Object Type: Image

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For more information about this item, contact:

Maine Historical Society/MaineToday Media
489 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774-1822 x230

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