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Finding Katahdin Online: Primary Sources

Scroll down to view Albums of primary source documents organized to correspond with chapters and sections within the book. These albums draw together historical items from the Maine Memory Network's constantly growing database. Each item includes a page reference to the textbook and is accompanied by text that puts that particular document or object into the context of Maine history and the text of the book.

With a free MMN account, you can access additional tools for working with these documents. You can create your own albums with items from the database, copy and customize the Finding Katahdin online albums (as well as other albums and exhibits found in MMN), and share them with your students. Students can also use these tools to collect primary sources on Maine Memory, annotate them, and create online exhibits and other projects.


Primary Sources by Chapter and Section


Chapter 1
Maine's Native Peoples

A discussion of the different ways to study the history of Maine's Native Peoples. The chapter uses a mock interview to explore how archaeology and oral tradition contribute to our knowlege of Native Americans. These documents illustrate the Wabanaki view of nature and their connection to it. In particular, the images of the legend of Glooskap and the Indian signatures give students an idea of how Maine's Native Americans viewed themselves.

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Samuel de Champlain

Chapter 2
The Age of Discovery: European Exploration of Maine

The chapter looks at the motives and methods of the earliest European attempts to explore and map the region. These documents place special emphasis on the early explorers and their impressions of the area and the people who inhabited it.

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Map of Cape Elizabeth, Richmond Island area, 1884

Chapter 3, Section 1
A Century of War: The First English Settlers, 1620-1677.

This section explores the lives of the first European settlers and their early contacts with the Native Americans who already inhabited the area now known as Maine. These items highlight such topics as daily life, relationships between settlers and Native Americans, and the process of establishing a community. There is a special emphasis on how land was allotted and the community governance established.

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Request for help defending against Indians

Chapter 3, Section 2
A Century of War: English-Wabanaki Tension

This section addresses the conflicts between the British and the Wabanaki Indians. These documents place special emphasis on land deals and how cultural differences led to conflict.

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Map of New England, New York, ca. 1676

Chapter 3, Section 3
A Century of War: A Century of War Begins, 1675-1700.

This section covers the conflict between the Wabanaki, French, and British over Maine territory. Mostly from the point of view of the British colonists, these documents illustrate the hardships of living on the Maine frontier. Most importantly, they describe how hard it was to get goods and aid to the remote areas of the region. Despite the fact that no formal war was declared, citizens of all nationalities faced the dangers of conflict and isolation on the frontier.

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Sir William Pepperrell, (1696-1759)

Chapter 3, Section 4
A Century of War: The Final Years, 1703-1763

This section examines the end of the French and Indian Wars in Maine. These documents focus on Dummer's War, the death of Father Sebastian Rale, the battle of Fort William Henry, and post-war settlement patterns. These items relate to the text but allow enough flexibility to explore topics not covered in the book.

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Joshua Freeman powder horn

Chapter 4, Section 1
From Revolution To Statehood: The War for Independence in Maine, 1765-1775

Maine was sparsely populated during the Revolution. Many Mainers supported the rebellion, but many were also loyalists who hoped to preserve their relationship with England. These documents focus on the capture of the British ship Margaretta of Machias and the British bombardment of Falmouth (Portland).

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Copy of letter from Francis McLean to Henry Clinton, 1779

Chapter 4, Section 2
From Revolution to Statehood: Establishing a New Republic, 1775-1800.

This section deals with the last battles of the Revolution, the end of British rule, and the establishment of a new national government. These documents focus on the Penobscot Expedition of 1779, the capture and escape of American General Peleg Wadsworth, and the issue of loyalty. After the war, the population grew dramatically, causing turmoil inland as settlers and land barons battled over land rights. The last document highlights the issue of land ownership. Who rightfully owned the land: squatters who cleared and settled a property, or landowners who possessed deeds granted before the Revolution?

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Third Maine Regiment Flag, ca. 1822

Chapter 4, Section 3
From Revolution to Statehood: Moving toward Separation from Massachusetts, 1803-1820.

Maine's physical separation from Massachusetts made direct representation and governance difficult. As Maine's population grew, so did the desire to gain statehood. This chapter looks at the debate over whether Maine should declare statehoood, and why some citizens opposed separation from Massachusetts. These documents highlight William King's role in establishing statehood and his role in drafting Maine's Constitution.

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Grand falls of the river St. John, 1836

Chapter 4, Section 4
From Revolution to Statehood: The Northeast Boundary, 1820-1842.

Maine's conflict with Britain did not end with the Revolution. Early land surveys left this lumber-rich region with ambiguous political boundaries. Both England and the U.S. made claims to Aroostook and seemed headed back to war. These documents and images look at the key issues and people in the Northeast Boundary dispute. There is a special emphasis on why the US wanted to claim Aroostook. Once again, we see how the distribution and governance of land is a major factor in the creation of our state.

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Chapter 5, Section 1
Maine Before the Civil War: Free Society, 1783-1800.

This section examines how land in Maine was settled. After the Revolution, people moved into the state to take advantage of the inexpensive, abundant land. With special emphasis on large land grants, these documents look at conflicts between squatters, surveyors, and landowners. More importantly, establishing law and order was an issue on Maine's frontier. With no established constabulary or religious oversight, people had lived independently in this region.

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Birch bark box, Molly Ockett

Chapter 5, Section 2
Maine Before the Civil War: Life of a Rural Physician, 1780-1805.

This section looks at early medical practices, with a special emphasis on the differences between a female midwife and a male physician. These documents demonstrate how those practicing medicine in rural Maine relied on materials they grew or found in nature.

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ca. 1878

Chapter 5, Section 3
Maine Before the Civil War: Life of the Coastal Elite, 1785-1830.

Maine's wealthy and educated elite settled on the state's southern coast. Merchant ships brought visitors and goods from all over the world, creating a cosmopolitan microcosm. Most importantly, the merchants, lawyers and bankers could afford to educate their children. These materials look at the life of the Wadsworth family (maternal family of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longellow). More specifically, these documents look at how the Wadsorth girls were educated— schooling for young ladies was a true luxury.

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Wabanaki man, Portland, 1920

Chapter 5, Section 4
Maine Before the Civil War: A Free Society, 1840-1861

This section looks at two distinctly different lives just before the Civil War— first, the life of Mary Nicola, a Penobscot Indian; and second, the life of Frank L. Dingley, a school-aged boy from Auburn. These documents look at the dire hardships that Maine's Native Americans suffered at the same time that the state was beginning to establish free education and mandatory school attendance. While education was a concern for all Maine citizens at this point, obtaining nutritious food and dependable homes was a larger priority for the Indian tribes and the missionaries working with them.

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Slave shackles, ca. 1862

Chapter 6, Section 1
Fighting for Freedom: Slavery in Maine

Original documents, photographs, and drawings illustrate the history of slavery in Maine, the Anti-Slavery movement, creation of the Abyssinian Church in Portland, and the founding of the Temperance Society.

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Dorothea L. Dix, ca. 1870

Chapter 6, Section 2
Fighting for Freedom: Hannibal Hamlin and the Birth of the Modern Republican Party

These documents include images of Dorothea Dix, Hannibal Hamlin, and William Pitt Fessenden. All documents relate to the formation of the modern Republican Party.

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General Joshua L. Chamberlain

Chapter 6, Section 3
Fighting for Freedom: Maine and the Civil War

These documents reflect the experiences of a Maine soldier during the civil war. Included in the collection are photographs of Joshua Chamberlain, letters and poems written by soldiers, and military artifacts.

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River drivers, ca. 1900

Chapter 7, Section 1
A Natural Resource Economy: Lumber

The forests of Maine provided a valuable natural resource. These documents capture reminiscences of life in a logging camp, permits for logging operations, housing, purchases for lumber, and images of lumbermen.

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Percy and Small Shipyard, Bath, 1902

Chapter 7, Section 2
A Natural Resource Economy: Wooden Shipbuilding

Maine's lengthy shoreline and thriving lumber industry made the state an ideal location for shipbuilding. During the mid-nineteenth century, Maine produced over a third of the ships built in the U.S. These documents illustrate the shipbuilding industry.

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Burnham and Morrill Company Trademark for Cape Shore Brand Canned Mackerel

Chapter 7, Section 3
A Natural Resource Economy: Deep-Sea Fishing

For centuries, many coastal communities have depended on the fishing industry to survive. These documents include artifacts and images that chronicle the fishing industry's lengthy history.

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Ice harvesting on the Kennebec River, ca. 1900

Chapter 7, Section 4
A Natural Resource Economy: Maine's Ice Industry

By the mid-nineteenth century, Maine had become the nation's leading ice supplier. People living in the sultry South relied on shipments of "white gold" from Maine to keep their ice boxes cool. This collection of documents illustrates the Maine ice industry through photographs, advertisements, and other records.

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Willimantic Thread Company advertising card

Chapter 8, Section 1
Maine and the Industrial Revolution: Lewiston and the First Textile Mills

The Androscoggin River town of Lewiston was home to some of the earliest textile mills in Maine. Lewiston quickly became a booming mill community that exported textiles by rail across the state and country. These documents illustrate mill life as well as the expanding railroad industry.

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Textile mill workers, ca. 1900

Chapter 8, Section 2
The Industrial Revolution: Irish Immigration to Lewiston, 1840 - 1860

The devastation of the Irish Potato Famine and lure of new industrial jobs drew many Irish immigrants to the United States in the mid-nineteenth century. In 1850, one-quarter of the population of Lewiston was Irish. These documents illustrate what it was like to work in the Lewiston textile mills during this time.

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Acadian Flag design

Chapter 8, Section 3
The Industrial Revolution: French-Canadian Immigration to Lewiston, 1860 - 1900

In the 1860s, a depression hit Quebec and unemployment was high. Many French-Canadians immigrated to the U.S. to find employment in factories, and towns like Lewiston grew quickly. These documents demonstrate how the French-Canadian immigrants, or Franco-Americans, contributed to the geography, culture, and religious climate of Lewiston.

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Maine Dairymen's Association constitution, 1898

Chapter 8, Section 4
The Industrial Revolution: The Changing Agricultural Landscape

In 1869, the first transcontinental railroad was completed, making Western goods available to Eastern markets. Prices of Maine goods fell, and many Mainers moved out of state to seek better opportunities in the West. Others began to explore and settle in Aroostook County, in order to farm the land's fertile soils. These documents illustrate the growing farming industry in northern Maine, as well as the beginnings of the canning industry.

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John and Alice Dunn, Moosehead Lake region, 1904

Chapter 9, Section 1
Myths of Maine: Maine is the "Nation's Playground"

The turn of the twentieth century saw the tourist industry grow significantly in Maine. Vacationers from out of state traveled north to hunt, fish, camp, and recreate in the vast Maine woods. These documents include photographs and diary entries from various vacationers, as well as other evidence of the growing tourist industry.

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Bogy paints Manana, 1935

Chapter 9, Section 2
Myths of Maine: Maine is a Cultural Wilderness

For centuries, artists and writers have flocked to Maine for creative inspiration. These documents show us early artist settlements in Maine, such as the Ogunquit School in 1900, as well as some of the other artists and writers who visited or lived in the state at the turn of the twentieth century.

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Thomas Brackett Reed, Portland, ca. 1900

Chapter 9, Section 3
Myths of Maine: Maine is an Isolated and Backwater State

These documents highlight Maine's contributions to national politiec in the nineteenth century. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, politicians James G. Blaine and Thomas Brackett Reed gained national acclaim for their strong and progressive political initatives.

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Anti-suffrage stamps, 1918

Chapter 9, Section 4
Myths of Maine: Mainers are Old-Fashioned, Simple People

Throughout modern history, Mainers have been on the cutting edge of political and social reform. These documents portray the history of the suffrage movement in Maine. John Neal, an early suffragist and Mainer, was one of the first individuals to speak out on the issue of votes for women to a national audience.

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Ruth Fairbanks, Portland, circa 1922

Chapter 10, Section 1
World War I

This section addresses Maine's participation in WWI and the “Roaring Twenties." Included in these documents are images of military recruitment, war preparation on the homefront, the coming of the automobile, and evidence of rum-running during Prohibition.

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Hobo Den, Topsham, ca. 1933

Chapter 10, Sections 2 & 3
The Depression and FDR's New Deal

These sections address the impact of the Depression on both rural and urban Maine, and the initiatives of FDR and his New Deal to relieve the poverty epidemic. Included in these documents are photos and posters that illustrate life in Maine during the Depression, and various New Deal projects that took place in the state.

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Walter Hustus at Stalag 17-B, 1943

Chapter 10, Section 4
World War II

This section examines the impact of World War II on the state of Maine. Included in these documents are images of Maine military bases and soldiers, German prisoners of war housed in Houlton, and the homefront.

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Student strike, Colby College, 1970

Chapter 11
Post-War Maine

This chapter discusses the political and social atmosphere in Maine following World War II. These documents relate to Margaret Chase Smith, Edmund Muskie, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Maine Indian Land Claims Act.

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Five African American adults, Houlton, ca. 1900

Chapter 12
A Maine Mosaic

Because the textbook focuses on contemporary images of Maine, there is no album of primary sources for this chapter.


Related Resources

Access activities and lesson plans in the Finding Katahdin Resource Guide

Purchase the textbook at the MHS online store.

Email Kathleen Neumann, Manager of Education and Interpretation, to talk about your interests, schedule a demonstration in your school, or get started on a project or call her at 207-774-1822 x 214.