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400 years of New Mainers

Khadija Guled, Portland, 2009

Immigration is one of the most debated topics in Maine. Controversy aside, immigration is also America's oldest tradition, and along with religious tolerance, what our nation was built upon. Since the first people--the Wabanaki--permitted Europeans to settle in the land now known as Maine, we have been a state of immigrants.

Read on.

The Advent of Green Acre, A Baha'i Center of Learning

Swami Ramanathan, Myron Phelps and Countess Canavarro at Green Acre, Eliot, ca. 1900

The Green Acre Baha'i School began as Green Acre Conferences, established by Sarah Jane Farmer in Eliot. She later became part of the Baha'i Faith and hosted speakers and programs that promoted peace. In 1912, the leader of the Baha'i Faith, 'Abdu'l-Baha, visited Green Acre, where hundreds saw him speak.

Read on.

Amazing! Maine Stories

Henry Thurston Clark trunk, ca. 1872

These stories -- that stretch from 1999 back to 1759 -- take you from an amusement park to the halls of Congress. There are inventors, artists, showmen, a railway agent, a man whose civic endeavors helped shape Portland, a man devoted to the pursuit of peace and one known for his military exploits, Maine's first novelist, a woman who recorded everyday life in detail, and an Indian who survived a British attack.

Read on.

Among the Lungers: Treating TB

Cottage for women, Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1909

Tuberculosis -- or consumption as it often was called -- claimed so many lives and so threatened the health of communities that private organizations and, by 1915, the state, got involved in TB treatment. The state's first tuberculosis sanatorium was built on Greenwood Mountain in Hebron and introduced a new philosophy of treatment.

Read on.

Anshe Sfard, Portland's Early Chassidic Congregation

Carved eagle for Anshe Sfard synagogue Torah ark, Portland, ca. 1917

Chassidic Jews who came to Portland from Eastern Europe formed a congregation in the late 19th century and, in 1917, built a synagogue -- Anshe Sfard -- on Cumberland Avenue in Portland. By the early 1960s, the congregation was largely gone. The building was demolished in 1983.

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Aroostook County Railroads

John Burton with weeding spade, ca. 1900

Construction of the Bangor and Aroostook rail lines into northern Aroostook County in the early twentieth century opened the region to tourism and commerce from the south.

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The Arrival of Winter

Edith Knight Moulton, ca. 1900

The astronomical arrival of winter -- also known as the winter solstice -- marks the year's shortest day and the season of snow and cold. It usually arrives on December 21.

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Art of the People: Folk Art in Maine

Child's chair with portrait, Portland, 1908

For many different reasons people saved and carefully preserved the objects in this exhibit. Eventually, along with the memories they hold, the objects were passed to the Maine Historical Society. Object and memory, serve as a powerful way to explore history and to connect to the lives of people in the past.

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Atherton Furniture

Atherton's Furniture, Free Street, Portland, 1938

LeBaron Atherton's furniture empire consisted of ten stores, four of which were in Maine. The photos are reminiscent of a different era in retailing.

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Auto Racing in Maine: 1911

Motor Coachmen and their Stanley Cars, Poland Spring, 1911

The novelty of organized auto racing came to Maine in 1911 with a hill-climbing event in Poland and speed racing at Old Orchard Beach. Drivers and cars came from all over New England for these events.

Read on.

Away at School: Letters Home

Thomaston Academy, Thomaston, ca. 1871

Young men and women in the 19th century often went away from home -- sometimes for a few months, sometimes for longer periods -- to attend academies, seminaries, or schools run by individuals. While there, they wrote letters home, reporting on boarding arrangements and coursework undertaken, and inquired about the family at home.

Read on.

Back to School

Writing on the board, North School, Portland, ca. 1915

Public education has been a part of Maine since Euro-American settlement began to stabilize in the early eighteenth century. But not until the end of the nineteenth century was public education really compulsory in Maine.

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The Barns of the St. John River Valley: Maine's Crowning Jewels

Gambrel roof twin barn, Hamlin, 1991

Maine's St. John River Valley boasts a unique architectural landscape. A number of historical factors led to the proliferation of a local architectural style, the Madawaska twin barn, as well as a number of building techniques rarely seen elsewhere. Today, these are in danger of being lost to time.

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La Basilique Lewiston

Nave, St. Peter and Paul Church, Lewiston, ca. 1970

Like many cities in France, Lewiston and Auburn's skylines are dominated by a cathedral-like structure, St. Peter and Paul Church. Now designated a basilica by the Vatican, it stands as a symbol of French Catholic contributions to the State of Maine.

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Begin Again: reckoning with intolerance in Maine

MMN Image 108788

BEGIN AGAIN explores Maine's historic role, going back 528 years, in crisis that brought about the pandemic, social and economic inequities, and the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020.

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Belfast During the Civil War: The Home Front

Civil War quilt , Belfast, 1864, 1864

Belfast residents responded to the Civil War by enlisting in large numbers, providing relief from the home front to soldiers, defending Maine's shoreline, and closely following the news from soldiers and from various battles.

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Biddeford, Saco and the Textile Industry

Pepperell Manufacturing fire insurance map, 1929

The largest textile factory in the country reached seven stories up on the banks of the Saco River in 1825, ushering in more than a century of making cloth in Biddeford and Saco. Along with the industry came larger populations and commercial, retail, social, and cultural growth.

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Big Timber: the Mast Trade

Southern Cross commemorative print, ca. 1928

Britain was especially interested in occupying Maine during the Colonial era to take advantage of the timber resources. The tall, straight, old growth white pines were perfect for ships' masts to help supply the growing Royal Navy.

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Blueberries to Potatoes: Farming in Maine

Jewett Corn Factory, Norridgewock, ca. 1915

Not part of the American "farm belt," Maine nonetheless has been known over the years for a few agricultural items, especially blueberries, sweet corn, potatoes, apples, chickens and dairy products.

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Bookplates Honor Annie Louise Cary

Rosamond Weston Eddy bookplate, ca. 1925

A summer resident of Wayne collected more than 3,000 bookplates to honor Maine native and noted opera singer Annie Louise Cary and to support the Cary Memorial Library.

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Bowdoin College Scientific Expedition to Labrador

Grand Falls Expedition party, Labrador, 1891

"The Bowdoin Boys" -- some students and recent graduates -- traveled to Labrador in 1891 to collect artifacts, specimens, and to try to find Grand Falls, a waterfall deep in Labrador's interior.

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A Brief History of Colby College

Air Force trainees, Colby College, 1942

Colby originated in 1813 as Maine Literary and Theological Institution and is now a small private liberal arts college of about 1,800 students. A timeline of the history and development of Colby College from 1813 until the present.

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The British capture and occupation of Eastport 1814-1818

Fort Sullivan barracks, Eastport, 2018

The War of 1812 ended in December 1814, but Eastport continued to be under British control for another four years. Eastport was the last American territory occupied by the British from the War of 1812 to be returned to the United States. Except for the brief capture of two Aleutian Islands in Alaska by the Japanese in World War II, it was the last time since 2018 that United States soil was occupied by a foreign government.

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Building the International Appalachian Trail

North Atlantic Appalachian Domain map, 2007

Wildlife biologist Richard Anderson first proposed the International Appalachian Trail (IAT) in 1993. The IAT is a long-distance hiking trail along the modern-day Appalachian, Caledonian, and Atlas Mountain ranges, geological descendants of the ancient Central Pangean Mountains. Today, the IAT stretches from the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine, through portions of Canada, Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, and Europe, and into northern Africa.

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Canning: A Maine Industry

Jewett corn label, Norridgewock, ca. 1920

Maine's corn canning industry, as illuminated by the career of George S. Jewett, prospered between 1850 and 1950.

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Cape Elizabeth Shipwrecks

Wreck of the Annie C. Maguire, December 24, 1886

The rocky coastline of Cape Elizabeth has sent many vessels to their watery graves.

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Capt. Grenville F. Sparrow, 17th Maine

Granville Sparrow, 17th Maine Volunteers, ca. 1863

Grenville F. Sparrow of Portland was 25 when he answered Lincoln's call for more troops to fight the Confederates. He enlisted in Co. A of Maine's 17th Volunteer Infantry regiment. He fought in 30 battles between 1862 and the war's end in 1865.

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Capturing Arts and Artists in the 1930s

Gladys Hasty Carroll, South Berwick, 1937

Emmie Bailey Whitney of the Lewiston Journal Saturday Magazine and her husband, noted amateur photographer G. Herbert Whitney, captured in words and photographs the richness of Maine's arts scene during the Great Depression.

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Carlton P. Fogg, Advocate for Vocational Education

Carlton Fogg with Edmund Muskie, ca. 1967

Carlton P. Fogg (1899-1972) was passionate about vocational and technical education. While teaching at the high school level in Waterville, Fogg's lobbying and letter-writing helped create the Kennebec Valley Vocational Technical Institute in 1969.

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A Celebration of Skilled Artisans

Bakers and Confectioners trade banner, Portland, 1841

The Maine Charitable Mechanic Association, an organization formed to promote and support skilled craftsmen, celebrated civic pride and members' trades with a parade through Portland on Oct. 8, 1841 at which they displayed 17 painted linen banners with graphic and textual representations of the artisans' skills.

Read on.

Chansonetta Stanley Emmons: Staging the Past

Streeter garden, Kingfield, ca. 1910

Chansonetta Stanley Emmons (1858-1937) of Kingfield, Maine, experimented with the burgeoning artform of photography. Starting in 1897, Emmons documented the lives of people, many in rural and agricultural regions in Maine and around the world. Often described as recalling a bygone era, this exhibition features glass plate negatives and painted lantern slides from the collections of the Stanley Museum in Kingfield on deposit at Maine Historical Society, that present a time of rapid change, from 1897 to 1926.

Read on.

Chinese in Maine

William Wong, Portland, ca. 1926

In 1857, when Daniel Cough left Amoy Island, China, as a stowaway on a sailing ship from Mt. Desert Island he was on his way into history as the first Chinese person to make his home in Maine. He was soon followed by a cigar maker and a tea merchant who settled in Portland and then by many more Chinese men who spread all over Maine working mostly as laundrymen.

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A City Awakes: Arts and Artisans of Early 19th Century Portland

Lady with Dove, ca. 1830

Portland's growth from 1786 to 1860 spawned a unique social and cultural environment and fostered artistic opportunity and creative expression in a broad range of the arts, which flowered with the increasing wealth and opportunity in the city.

Read on.

Civil Defense: Fear and Safety

Civil Defense Week End poster, 1958

In the 1950s and the 1960s, Maine's Civil Defense effort focused on preparedness for hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters and a more global concern, nuclear war. Civil Defense materials urged awareness, along with measures like storing food and other staple items and preparing underground or other shelters.

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Civil War Soldiers Impact Pittsfield

Soldiers' Monument and Library, Pittsfield, 1904

Although not everyone in town supported the war effort, more than 200 Pittsfield men served in Civil War regiments. Several reminders of their service remain in the town.

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Clean Water: Muskie and the Environment

Edmund S. Muskie, Democratic nominee for U.S. vice president, 1968

Maine Senator Edmund S. Muskie earned the nickname "Mr. Clean" for his environment efforts during his tenure in Congress from 1959 to 1980. He helped created a political coalition that passed important clean air and clean water legislation, drawing on his roots in Maine.

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CODE RED: Climate, Justice & Natural History Collections

Bird and butterfly display at the Portland Society of Natural History, ca. 1965

Explore topics around climate change by reuniting collections from one of the nation's earliest natural history museums, the Portland Society of Natural History. The exhibition focuses on how museums collect, and the role of humans in creating changes in society, climate, and biodiversity.

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Colonial Cartography: The Plymouth Company Maps

Draper's claim northeast of Bath, 1795

The Plymouth Company (1749-1816) managed one of the very early land grants in Maine along the Kennebec River. The maps from the Plymouth Company's collection of records constitute some of the earliest cartographic works of colonial America.

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Commander George Henry Preble

George Henry Preble, Portland, 1878

George Henry Preble of Portland, nephew of Edward Preble who was known as the father of the U.S. Navy, temporarily lost his command during the Civil War when he was charged with failing to stop a Confederate ship from getting through the Union blockade at Mobile.

Read on.

A Convenient Soldier: The Black Guards of Maine

MMN Image 105956

The Black Guards were African American Army soldiers, members of the segregated Second Battalion of the 366th Infantry sent to guard the railways of Maine during World War II, from 1941 to 1945. The purpose of the Black Guards' deployment to Maine was to prevent terrorist attacks along the railways, and to keep Maine citizens safe during the war.

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Cooks and Cookees: Lumber Camp Legends

Cook house and crew, Maine woods, ca. 1900

Stories and tall tales abound concerning cooks and cookees -- important persons in any lumber camp, large or small.

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Cosmopolitan stylings of Mildred and Madeleine Burrage

'Centation' fashion drawing, Paris, 1931

Born in Portland, sisters Mildred Giddings Burrage (1890-1983) and Madeleine Burrage (1891-1976) were renowned artists and world travelers. Mildred's experiences studying painting in Paris and Italy, and the sisters' trips to Mexico and Guatemala inspired their artwork and shared passions for cosmopolitan and stylish attire. Housed at Maine Historical Society, The Burrage Papers include selections of original advertising drawings called "line sheets" from Parisian fashion houses dating from 1928 to 1936. Images of Madeleine's gemstone jewelry and Mildred's artwork accompany intimate family photographs of the sisters.

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A Craze for Cycling

Jack Lawrence, Saco, on Bicycle, ca. 1900

Success at riding a bike mirrored success in life. Bicycling could bring families together. Bicycling was good for one's health. Bicycling was fun. Bicycles could go fast. Such were some of the arguments made to induce many thousands of people around Maine and the nation to take up the new pastime at the end of the nineteenth century.

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A Day for Remembering

Headstone of Joshua Allen, 1805, Portland, 1966

Most societies have had rituals or times set aside to honor ancestors, those who have died and have paved the way for the living. Memorial Day, the last Monday in May, is the day Americans have set aside for such remembrances.

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Debates Over Suffrage

Anti-suffrage stamps, 1918

While numerous Mainers worked for and against woman suffrage in the state in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, some also worked on the national level, seeking a federal amendment to allow women the right to vote

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Designing Acadia

Rockefeller Drive, Mt. Desert Island, ca. 1935

For one hundred years, Acadia National Park has captured the American imagination and stood as the most recognizable symbol of Maine’s important natural history and identity. This exhibit highlights Maine Memory content relating to Acadia and Mount Desert Island.

Read on.

The Devil and the Wilderness

Map of coastal Maine forts, 1723

Anglo-Americans in northern New England sometimes interpreted their own anxieties about the Wilderness, their faith, and their conflicts with Native Americans as signs that the Devil and his handmaidens, witches, were active in their midst.

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Doing Good: Medical Stories of Maine

Student nurse in maternity ward of Maine General Hospital, Portland, 1926

Throughout Maine’s history, individuals have worked to improve and expand medical care, not only for the health of those living in Maine, but for many around the world who need care and help.

Read on.

Drawing Together: Art of the Longfellows

Anne Longfellow drawing, ca. 1818

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is best know as a poet, but he also was accomplished in drawing and music. He shared his love of drawing with most of his siblings. They all shared the frequent activity of drawing and painting with their children. The extended family included many professional as well as amateur artists, and several architects.

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Dressing Up, Standing Out, Fitting In

Mary King Scrimgeour dress, Lewiston, ca. 1895

Adorning oneself to look one's "best" has varied over time, gender, economic class, and by event. Adornments suggest one's sense of identity and one's intent to stand out or fit in.

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Early Fish Canneries in Brooklin

Fish Cannery, Brooklin, ca. 1900

By the 1900s, numerous fish canneries began operating in Center Harbor, located within the Brooklin community. For over thirty years, these plants were an important factor in the community.

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Eastern Fine Paper

Reading room at Eastern Fine, Brewer, 1919

The paper mill on the Penobscot River in South Brewer, which became known as Eastern Fine Paper Co., began as a sawmill in 1884 and grew over the years as an important part of the economy of the region and a large presence in the landscape. Its closing in 2005 affected more than the men and women who lost their jobs.

Read on.

Educating Oneself: Carnegie Libraries

Cary Library, Houlton, 1904

Industrialist Andrew Carnegie gave grants for 20 libraries in Maine between 1897 and 1912, specifying that the town own the land, set aside funds for maintenance, have room to expand -- and offer library services at no charge.

Read on.

Elise Fellows White: Music, Writing, and Family

Elise Fellows White, Skowhegan, ca. 1910

From a violin prodigy in her early years to an older woman -- mother of two -- struggling financially, Skowhegan native Mary Elise Fellows White remained committed to music, writing, poetry, her extended family -- and living a life that would matter and be remembered.

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Elise Fellows White: World Traveling Violin Prodigy

May Fellows, Skowhegan, ca. 1890

Elise Fellows White was a violinist from Skowhegan who traveled all over the world to share her music.

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Enemies at Sea, Companions in Death

Painting of the "Boxer" and "Enterprise," Monhegan, 1831

Lt. William Burrows and Commander Samuel Blyth, commanders of the USS Enterprise and the HMS Boxer, led their ships and crews in Battle in Muscongus Bay on Sept. 5, 1813. The American ship was victorious, but both captains were killed. Portland staged a large and regal joint burial.

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The Establishment of the Troy Town Forest

Al Nutting inspecting Norway pine, Troy, ca. 1950

Seavey Piper, a selectman, farmer, landowner, and leader of the Town of Troy in the 1920s through the early 1950s helped establish a town forest on abandoned farm land in Troy. The exhibit details his work over ten years.

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Eternal Images: Photographing Childhood

Florence Jewett, Norridgewock, ca. 1885

From the earliest days of photography doting parents from across Maine sought to capture images of their young children. The studio photographs often reflect the families' images of themselves and their status or desired status.

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Evergreens and a Jolly Old Elf

Santa relaxing, Augusta, 1980

Santa Claus and evergreens have been common December additions to homes, schools, businesses, and other public places to America since the mid nineteenth century. They are two symbols of the Christian holiday of Christmas whose origins are unrelated to the religious meaning of the day.

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Extracting Wealth

Immigrant workers at Hall Quarry, Mount Desert, 1905

Maine's natural resources -- granite, limestone and slate in particular -- along with its excellent ports made it a leader in mining and production of the valuable building materials. Stone work also attracted numerous skilled immigrants.

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Eye in the Sky

Mobil Oil blimp above Portland, ca. 1930

In 1921, Guy Gannett purchased two competing Portland newspapers, merging them under the Portland Press Herald title. He followed in 1925 with the purchase the Portland Evening Express, which allowed him to combine two passions: photography and aviation.

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Fair Season: Crops, Livestock, and Entertainment

Holstein and Ayrshire bulls, Caribou Fair, ca. 1922

Agricultural fairs, intended to promote new techniques and better farming methods, have been held since the early 19th century. Before long, entertainments were added to the educational focus of the early fairs.

Read on.

Fallen Heroes: Jewish Soldiers and Sailors, The Great War

World War Victory gate, Houlton, 1919

Thirty-four young Jewish men from Maine died in the service of their country in the two World Wars. This project, including a Maine Memory Network exhibit, is meant to say a little something about some of them. More than just names on a public memorial marker or grave stone, these men were getting started in adult life. They had newly acquired high school and college diplomas, they had friends, families and communities who loved and valued them, and felt the losses of their deaths.

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Fallen Heroes: Last of the Jewish WWII Veterans

Captain Gordon shows 'Flying Torah,' Bangor, 1945

Listen to recordings from the last of the World War II Jewish veterans.

Read on.

Fallen Heroes: Maine's Jewish Sailors and Soldiers

Captain Gordon poses with the 'Flying Torah,' Bangor, 1945

Thirty-four young Jewish men from Maine died in the service of their country in the two World Wars. This project, including a Maine Memory Network exhibit, is meant to say a little something about some of them. More than just names on a public memorial marker or grave stone, these men were getting started in adult life. They had newly acquired high school and college diplomas, they had friends, families and communities who loved and valued them, and felt the losses of their deaths.

Read on.

Fallen Heroes: Those Who Gave Their Lives: World War II

Hyman Deletetsky note to family from boot camp, Florida, 1944

At least twenty-three Jewish men from Maine died in the military during World War II. Photographs and other memorabilia are available for fewer than half of them. Read more about them.

Read on.

Farm-yard Frames

10 Bodwell Street, Sanford, ca. 1900

Throughout New England, barns attached to houses are fairly common. Why were the buildings connected? What did farmers or families gain by doing this? The phenomenon was captured in the words of a children's song, "Big house, little house, back house, barn," (Thomas C. Hubka Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn, the Connected Farm Buildings of New England, University Press of New England, 1984.)

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Fashion for the People: Maine's Graphic Tees

Athlete in an early t-shirt, circa 1930

From their humble beginnings as undergarments to today's fashion runways, t-shirts have evolved into universally worn wardrobe staples. Original graphic t-shirts, graphic t-shirt quilts, and photographs trace the 102-year history of the garment, demonstrating how, through the act of wearing graphic tees, people own a part of history relating to politics, social justice, economics, and commemorative events in Maine.

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Fashionable Maine: early twentieth century clothing

Dress made by Martha Willey Riley, Cherryfield, ca. 1912

Maine residents kept pace with the dramatic shift in women’s dress that occurred during the short number of years preceding and immediately following World War I. The long restrictive skirts, stiff collars, body molding corsets and formal behavior of earlier decades quickly faded away and the new straight, dropped waist easy-to-wear clothing gave mobility and freedom of movement in tune with the young independent women of the casual, post-war jazz age generation.

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Father John Bapst: Catholicism's Defender and Promoter

St. John's Church, Bangor, ca. 1930

Father John Bapst, a Jesuit, knew little of America or Maine when he arrived in Old Town in 1853 from Switzerland. He built churches and defended Roman Catholics against Know-Nothing activists, who tarred and feathered the priest in Ellsworth in 1854.

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Father Rasles, the Indians and the English

'Death of Father Sebastian Rale,' 1856

Father Sebastien Rasle, a French Jesuit, ran a mission for Indians at Norridgewock and, many English settlers believed, encouraged Indian resistance to English settlement. He was killed in a raid on the mission in 1724 that resulted in the remaining Indians fleeing for Canada.

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Field & Homefront: Bethel during the Civil War

Civil War monument dedication, Bethel, 1908

Like many towns, Bethel responded to the Civil War by sending many soldiers and those at the homefront sent aid and supported families. The town grew during the war, but suffered after its end.

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A Field Guide to Trolley Cars

Oakland Park, Rockport, ca. 1915

Many different types of trolley cars -- for different weather, different uses, and different locations -- were in use in Maine between 1895-1940. The "field guide" explains what each type looked like and how it was used.

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A Focus on Trees

Arbor Day, St. Agatha, 1923

Maine has some 17 million acres of forest land. But even on a smaller, more local scale, trees have been an important part of the landscape. In many communities, tree-lined commercial and residential streets are a dominant feature of photographs of the communities.

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For the Union: Civil War Deaths

West W. Cooper, Union, 1861

More than 9,000 Maine soldiers and sailors died during the Civil War while serving with Union forces. This exhibit tells the stories of a few of those men.

Read on.

From French Canadians to Franco-Americans

Camp Tekakwitha brochure, Leeds, ca. 1940

French Canadians who emigrated to the Lewiston-Auburn area faced discrimination as children and adults -- such as living in "Little Canada" tenements and being ridiculed for speaking French -- but also adapted to their new lives and sustained many cultural traditions.

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From Sewers to Skylines: William S. Edwards's 1887 Photo Album

Portland civil engineers surveying Pearl Street sewer, Portland, 1887

William S. Edwards (1830-1918) was a civil engineer who worked for the City of Portland from 1876-1906. Serving as First Assistant to Chief Engineer William A. Goodwin, then to Commissioner George N. Fernald, Edwards was a fixture in City Hall for 30 consecutive years, proving indispensable throughout the terms of 15 Mayors of Portland, including all six of those held by James Phineas Baxter. Edwards made significant contributions to Portland, was an outstanding mapmaker and planner, and his works continue to benefit historians.

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George F. Shepley: Lawyer, Soldier, Administrator

Brig. Gen. George F. Shepley, ca. 1863

George F. Shepley of Portland had achieved renown as a lawyer and as U.S. Attorney for Maine when, at age 42 he formed the 12th Maine Infantry and went off to war. Shepley became military governor of Louisiana early in 1862 and remained in the military for the duration of the war.

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George W. Hinckley and Needy Boys and Girls

Good Will Farm roundel, Fairfield, 1918

George W. Hinckley wanted to help needy boys. The farm, school and home he ran for nearly sixty nears near Fairfield stressed home, religion, education, discipline, industry, and recreation.

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Gifts From Gluskabe: Maine Indian Artforms

Wabanaki trade brooch, ca. 1780

According to legend, the Great Spirit created Gluskabe, who shaped the world of the Native People of Maine, and taught them how to use and respect the land and the resources around them. This exhibit celebrates the gifts of Gluskabe with Maine Indian art works from the early nineteenth to mid twentieth centuries.

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Giving Thanks

Home for Thanksgiving, 1898

Cultures from the ancient Greeks and Chinese to contemporary societies have set aside time to give thanks, especially for the harvest. In 1941, the United States set a permanent date for the observance.

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Gluskap of the Wabanaki

Glooskap Setting His Dogs on the Witches, ca. 1884

Creation and other cultural tales are important to framing a culture's beliefs and values -- and passing those on. The Wabanaki -- Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot -- Indians of Maine and Nova Scotia tell stories of a cultural hero/creator, a giant who lived among them and who promised to return.

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Good Will-Hinckley: Building a Landscape

Page Terrace, Fairfield, ca. 1930

The landscape at the Good Will-Hinckley campus in Fairfield was designed to help educate and influence the orphans and other needy children at the school and home.

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Graduation Season

Blue Hill Academy graduates, 1894

Graduations -- and schools -- in the 19th through the first decade of the 20th century often were small affairs and sometimes featured student presentations that demonstrated what they had learned. They were not necessarily held in May or June, what later became the standard "end of the school year."

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Great Cranberry Island's Preble House

Preble House, Great Cranberry Island, ca. 1895

The Preble House, built in 1827 on a hilltop over Preble Cove on Great Cranberry Island, was the home to several generations of Hadlock, Preble, and Spurling family members -- and featured in several books.

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Great War and Armistice Day

Skowhegan Doughboys in France, WWI, France, 1918

In 1954, November 11 became known as Veterans Day, a time to honor American veterans of all wars. The holiday originated, however, as a way to memorialize the end of World War I, November 11, 1918, and to "perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations." Mainers were involved in World War I as soldiers, nurses, and workers on the homefront aiding the military effort.

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Guarding Maine Rail Lines

Soldiers, North Yarmouth, 1942

Black soldiers served in Maine during World War II, assigned in small numbers throughout the state to guard Grand Trunk rail lines from a possible German attack. The soldiers, who lived in railroad cars near their posts often interacted with local residents.

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Gunpowder for the Civil War

Oriental Powder Mills gunpowder keg, Gorham and Windham, ca. 1860

The gunpowder mills at Gambo Falls in Windham and Gorham produced about a quarter of the gunpowder used by Union forces during the Civil War. The complex contained as many as 50 buildings.

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A Handwritten Community Newspaper

The Cruiser, Freeport, January 1859

The eight issues of South Freeport's handwritten newspaper, distributed in 1859, provided "general interest and amusement" to the coastal community.

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Hannibal Hamlin of Paris Hill

Hannibal Hamlin, 1860

2009 marked the bicentennials of the births of Abraham Lincoln and his first vice president, Hannibal Hamlin of Maine. To observe the anniversary, Paris Hill, where Hamlin was born and raised, honored the native statesman and recalled both his early life in the community and the mark he made on Maine and the nation.

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Harry Lyon: An Old Sea Dog Takes to the Air

Southern Cross commemorative print, ca. 1928

Through a chance meeting, Harry Lyon of Paris Hill became the navigator on the 1928 flight of the Southern Cross, the first trans-Pacific flight. His skill as a navigator, despite his lack of experience, was a key factor on the flight's success.

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Hermann Kotzschmar: Portland's Musical Genius

City Hall Stage in 1912

During the second half of the 19th century, "Hermann Kotzschmar" was a familiar household name in Portland. He spent 59 years in his adopted city as a teacher, choral conductor, concert artist, and church organist.

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High Water

Flood in Mechanic Falls, ca. 1896

Melting snow, ice, warmer temperatures, and rain sometimes bring floods to Maine's many rivers and streams. Floods are most frequent in the spring, but can occur at any season.

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Hiking, Art and Science: Portland's White Mountain Club

Mt. Carrigain expedition remembrance, 1873

In 1873, a group of men, mostly from Portland, formed the second known hiking club in the U.S., the White Mountain Club of Portland, to carry out their scientific interests, their love of hiking and camaraderie, and their artistic interests in painting and drawing the features of several of the White Mountains.

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History in Motion: The Era of the Electric Railways

After the Theatre, Riverton Park, ca. 1905

Street railways, whether horse-drawn or electric, required the building of trestles and tracks. The new form of transportation aided industry, workers, vacationers, and other travelers.

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Holding up the Sky: Wabanaki people, culture, history, and art

Mary Mitchell Selmore, Pleasant Point, 1901

Learn about Native diplomacy and obligation by exploring 13,000 years of Wabanaki residence in Maine through 17th century treaties, historic items, and contemporary artworks—from ash baskets to high fashion. Wabanaki voices contextualize present-day relevance and repercussions of 400 years of shared histories between Wabanakis and settlers to their region.

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Home Ties: Sebago During the Civil War

Charles Weed's Certificate of Disability, 1862

Letters to and from Sebago soldiers who served in the Civil War show concern on both sides about farms and other issues at home as well as concern from the home front about soldiers' well-being.

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Home: The Longfellow House & the Emergence of Portland

Wadsworth-Longfellow House, Congress Street, Portland, ca. 1890

The Wadsworth-Longfellow house is the oldest building on the Portland peninsula, the first historic site in Maine, a National Historic Landmark, home to three generations of Wadsworth and Longfellow family members -- including the boyhood home of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The history of the house and its inhabitants provide a unique view of the growth and changes of Portland -- as well as of the immediate surroundings of the home.

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Horace W. Shaylor: Portland Penman

Shaylor's 'Compendium of Penmanship,' ca. 1900

Horace W. Shaylor, a native of Ohio, settled in Portland and turned his focus to handwriting, developing several unique books of handwriting instruction. He also was a talented artist.

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How Sweet It Is

Dee's Ice Cream Pint, Brunswick, ca. 1950

Desserts have always been a special treat. For centuries, Mainers have enjoyed something sweet as a nice conclusion to a meal or celebrate a special occasion. But many things have changed over the years: how cooks learn to make desserts, what foods and tools were available, what was important to people.

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Hunting Season

Walker Memorial Library, Westbrook, 1943

Maine's ample woods historically provided numerous game animals and birds for hunters seeking food, fur, or hides. The promotion of hunting as tourism and concerns about conservation toward the end of the nineteenth century changed the nature of hunting in Maine.

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Ice: A Maine Commodity

Loading ice, Presque Isle Stream, 1946

Maine's frozen rivers and lakes provided an economic opportunity. The state shipped thousands of tons of ice to ports along the East Coast and to the West Indies that workers had cut and packed in sawdust for shipment or later use.

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In Canada During the Civil War

Letter to Francis Pratt from family, 1865

One surviving letter from the family of Francis Pratt to the young man who was in Canada in 1865 suggests that going to Canada to escape military service during the Civil War was not unheard of. The letter also suggests money was removed to Canada to protect it.

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In Time and Eternity: Shakers in the Industrial Age

Trustees' Office, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, ca. 1915

"In Time and Eternity: Maine Shakers in the Industrial Age 1872-1918" is a series of images that depict in detail the Shakers in Maine during a little explored time period of expansion and change.

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Independence and Challenges: The Life of Hannah Pierce

Hannah Pierce, Baldwin, ca. 1860

Hannah Pierce (1788-1873) of West Baldwin, who remained single, was the educated daughter of a moderately wealthy landowner and businessman. She stayed at the family farm throughout her life, operating the farm and her various investments -- always in close touch with her siblings.

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Indians at the Centennial

William Neptune, Portland, 1920

Passamaquoddy Indians from Washington County traveled to Portland in 1920 to take part in the Maine Centennial Exposition. They set up an "Indian Village" at Deering Oaks Park.

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Indians, Furs, and Economics

Iron axe head, Auburn, ca. 1700

When Europeans arrived in North America and disrupted traditional Native American patterns of life, they also offered other opportunities: trade goods for furs. The fur trade had mixed results for the Wabanaki.

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Inside the Yellow House

Front Door, Yellow House, Gardiner, ca. 1985

Photographer Elijah Cobb's 1985 portfolio of the Laura E. Richards House, with text by Rosalind Cobb Wiggins and Laura E. Putnam.

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Irish Immigrants in Nineteenth Century Maine

Third phase, burning of Old South Church, Bath, 1854

With the popularity of all things Irish in modern America, many people have forgotten the difficulties faced by nineteenth century Irish immigrants.

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The Irish on the Docks of Portland

Schooner Viking, ca. 1885

Many of the dockworkers -- longshoremen -- in Portland were Irish or of Irish descent. The Irish language was spoken on the docks and Irish traditions followed, including that of giving nicknames to the workers, many of whose given names were similar.

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J.A. Poor and the Portland-Montreal Connection

John Poor, Portland, ca. 1860

John A. Poor's determination in 1845 to bring rail service to Maine and to make Portland the winter port for Montreal, along with the steel foundry he started to build locomotives and many other products, helped boost the economy of Portland the state.

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Jameson & Wotton Wharf, Friendship

Friendship Harbor and the steamboat landing, ca. 1910

Since 1897, the Jameson & Wotton Wharf in Friendship has been an important addition to the community on Muscongus Bay. The wharf, which is accessible at all tides, was a steamboat stop for many years, as well as important to the lobster business.

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Jay & Livermore Falls, Pioneers in Paper Making

Otis Falls Pulp & Paper Mill, Livermore Falls, ca. 1896

Alvin Record and Hugh J. Chisholm were instrumental in building paper mills in Jay, Livermore, and Livermore Falls. The two industrialists helped make the towns prosperous.

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The Jews of Maine

Hiram Adelman, Mars Hill, ca. 1935

Like other immigrant groups, Jews came to Maine to make a living and enjoy the natural and cultural environment. Their experiences have been shaped by their occupational choices, Jewish values and, until recently, experiences of anti-Semitism.

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John Bapst High School

John Bapst High School basketball Booster button, Bangor, ca. 1950

John Bapst High School was dedicated in September 1928 to meet the expanding needs of Roman Catholic education in the Bangor area. The co-educational school operated until 1980, when the diocese closed it due to decreasing enrollment. Since then, it has been a private school known as John Bapst Memorial High School.

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John Dunn, 19th Century Sportsman

John W. G. Dunn, Moosehead Lake, 1904

John Warner Grigg Dunn was an accomplished amateur photographer, hunter, fisherman and lover of nature. On his trips to Ragged Lake and environs, he became an early innovator among amateur wildlife photographers. His photography left us with a unique record of the Moosehead Lake region in the late nineteenth century.

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John Hancock's Relation to Maine

Portrait of John Hancock, 1765

The president of the Continental Congress and the Declaration's most notable signatory, John Hancock, has ties to Maine through politics, and commercial businesses, substantial property, vacations, and family.

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John P. Sheahan, 1st Maine Cavalry, 31st Maine Infantry

John Parris Sheahan, ca. 1870

John P. Sheahan of Dennysville served in the 1st Maine Cavalry from August 1862 until March 1864 when he was commissioned as a lieutenant in Co. E of the 31st Maine Infantry. His letters reveal much about the life of a soldier, including political views and thoughts about the war.

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John Y. Merrill: Leeds Farmer, Entrepreneur, & More

John Merrill and son, Edwin, Leeds, 1860

John Y. Merrill of Leeds (1823-1898) made terse entries in diaries he kept for 11 years. His few words still provide a glimpse into the life of a mid 18th century farmer, who also made shoes, quarried stone, moved barns, made healing salves -- and was active in civic affairs.

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The Kotzschmar Memorial Organ

Hermann Kotzschmar, Portland, ca. 1850

A fire and two men whose lives were entwined for more than 50 years resulted in what is now considered to be "the Jewel of Portland" -- the Austin organ that was given to the city of Portland in 1912.

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KVVTI's Gilman Street Campus, 1978-1986

Gilman School's Janet Tarbuck in library, Waterville, 1983

The Gilman Street building began its life in 1913 as Waterville High School, but served from 1978 to 1986 as the campus of Kennebec Valley Vocational Technical Institute. The building helped the school create a sense of community and an identity.

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Laboring in Maine

Potato pickers, Caribou, ca. 1930

Workers in Maine have labored in factories, on farms, in the woods, on the water, among other locales. Many of Maine's occupations have been determined by the state's climate and geographical features.

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Land Claims, Economic Opportunities?

Indian Land Claims settlement, 1980

The landmark 1980 Maine Indian Land Claims Settlement Act provided $81.6 million to Maine Indians for economic development, land purchase and other purposes. The money and increased land holdings, however, have not solved economic and employment issues for Maine Indians.

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Launch of the 'Doris Hamlin'

Launch of Doris Hamlin, Harrington, 1919

The Doris Hamlin, a four-masted schooner built at the Frye-Flynn Shipyard in Harrington, was one of the last vessels launched there, marking the decline of a once vigorous shipbuilding industry in Washington County.

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Liberty Threatened: Maine in 1775

Benedict Arnold, ca. 1780

At Lexington and Concord, on April 19, 1775, British troops attempted to destroy munitions stored by American colonists. The battles were the opening salvos of the American Revolution. Shortly, the conflict would erupt in Maine.

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The Life and Legacy of the George Tate Family

Harbour of Casco Bay, Portland, 1720

Captain George Tate, mast agent for the King of England from 1751 to the Revolutionary War, and his descendants helped shape the development of Portland (first known as Falmouth) through activities such as commerce, shipping, and real estate.

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Lillian Nordica: Farmington Diva

Lillian Nordica as Valentine, 1887

Lillian Norton, known as Nordica, was one of the best known sopranos in America and the world at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries. She was a native of Farmington.

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Lincoln County through the Eastern Eye

Passenger boat landing, Boothbay Harbor, ca. 1940

The Penobscot Marine Museum’s photography collections include nearly 50,000 glass plate negatives of images for "real photo" postcards produced by the Eastern Illustrating and Publishing Company of Belfast. This exhibit features postcards from Lincoln County.

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Lock of George Washington's Hair

Locket of George Washington's hair, ca. 1850

Correspondence between Elizabeth Wadsworth, her father Peleg Wadsworth and Martha Washington's secretary about the gift of a lock of George Washington's hair to Eliza.

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Longfellow: The Man Who Invented America

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ca. 1829

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was a man and a poet of New England conscience. He was influenced by his ancestry and his Portland boyhood home and experience.

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Looking Out: Maine's Fire Towers

Fire lookout at Agamenticus Mountain, ca. 1920

Maine, the most heavily forested state in the nation, had the first continuously operational fire lookout tower, beginning a system of fire prevention that lasted much of the twentieth century.

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Lt. Charles A. Garcelon, 16th Maine

Charles Garcelon to uncle on finances, Virginia, 1863

The son of Maine's surgeon general and nephew of a captain in the 16th Maine, Charles A. Garcelon of Lewiston served in Co. I of the 16th Maine. His letters home in the first 17 months of his service express his reflections on war and his place in it.

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Lt. Charles Bridges: Getting Ahead in the Army

Lt. Charles Bridges request for coffins, Port Hudson, 1864

Sgt. Charles Bridges of Co. B of the 2nd Maine Infantry was close to the end of his two years' enlistment in early 1863 when he took advantage of an opportunity for advancement by seeking and getting a commission as an officer in the 3rd Regiment U.S. Volunteers.

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Luxurious Leisure

Samoset Hotel, Rockport, ca. 1930

From the last decades of the nineteenth century through about the 1920s, vacationers were attracted to large resort hotels that promised a break from the noise, crowds, and pressures of an ever-urbanizing country.

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Maine and the Space Age

Horn antenna, Andover, 1962

The small town of Andover landed on the international map in 1962 when the Earth Station that had been built there successfully communicated with Telstar, the first telecommunications satellite.

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Maine Eats: the food revolution starts here

Carl A. Garris Jr. with lobsters, Portland, 1926

From Maine's iconic lobsters, blueberries, potatoes, apples, and maple syrup, to local favorites like poutine, baked beans, red hot dogs, Italian sandwiches, and Whoopie Pies, Maine's identity and economy are inextricably linked to food. Sourcing food, preparing food, and eating food are all part of the heartbeat of Maine's culture and economy. Now, a food revolution is taking us back to our roots in Maine: to the traditional sources, preparation, and pleasures of eating food that have sustained Mainers for millennia.

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Maine Medical Center, Bramhall Campus

Maine Medical Center, Portland, 2008

Maine Medical Center, founded as Maine General Hospital, has dominated Portland’s West End since its construction in 1871 on Bramhall Hill. As the medical field grew in both technological and social practice, the facility of the hospital also changed. This exhibit tracks the expansion and additions to that original building as the hospital adapted to its patients’ needs.

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Maine Politicians, National Leaders

Thomas Brackett Reed lapel pin, ca. 1895

From the early days of Maine statehood to the present, countless Maine politicians have made names for themselves on the national stage.

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Maine Streets: The Postcard View

Main Street, Bar Harbor, ca. 1910

Photographers from the Eastern Illustrating and Publishing Co. of Belfast traveled throughout the state, especially in small communities, taking images for postcards. Many of these images, taken in the first three decades of the twentieth century, capture Main Streets on the brink of modernity.

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Maine Sweets: Confections and Confectioners

Spruce gum box, Washburn, ca. 1920

From chocolate to taffy, Mainers are inventive with our sweet treats. In addition to feeding our sweet tooth, it's also an economic driver for the state.

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Maine Through the Eyes of George W. French

George French dorm room, Bates College, ca. 1901

George French, a native of Kezar Falls and graduate of Bates College, worked at several jobs before turning to photography as his career. He served for many years as photographer for the Maine Development Commission, taking pictures intended to promote both development and tourism.

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Maine's 20th Regiment

Scouts and guides with the Army of the Potomac, ca. 1865

The War was not going well for the Union and in the summer of 1862, when President Lincoln called for an additional 300,000 troops, it was not a surprise to see so many men enlist in an attempt to bring proper leadership into the Army.

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The Mainspring of Fashion

One-piece pink faille dress, York, ca. 1835

The mainspring of fashion is the process whereby members of one class imitate the styles of another, who in turn are driven to ever new expedients of fashionable change.

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Making Paper, Making Maine

Pulp pile, St. Croix Paper Co., Woodland, ca. 1910

Paper has shaped Maine's economy, molded individual and community identities, and impacted the environment throughout Maine. When Hugh Chisholm opened the Otis Falls Pulp Company in Jay in 1888, the mill was one of the most modern paper-making facilities in the country, and was connected to national and global markets. For the next century, Maine was an international leader in the manufacture of pulp and paper.

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Margaret Chase Smith: A Historic Candidacy

'Yes, I'll Try a Pair' cartoon, 1964

When she announced her candidacy for President in January 1964, three-term Republican Senator Margaret Chase Smith became the first woman to seek the nomination of one of the two major political parties.

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May Baskets, a Dog, and a Party for Children

Ladies surround child on small slide at a children's party at Biddeford Pool, 1917

Two women thinking intruders were coming into their Biddeford Pool home, let the dog out to chase them away. Later, they discovered the truth about the noise at their door.

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Memorializing Civil War Veterans: Portland & Westbrook

Woodbury K. Dana's grave, Westbrook, 1924

Three cemeteries -- all of which were in Westbrook during the Civil War -- contain headstones of Civil War soldiers. The inscriptions and embellishments on the stones offer insight into sentiments of the eras when the soldiers died.

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Meshach P. Larry: Civil War Letters

Culp's Hill from East Cemetery Hill, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, ca. 1865

Meshach P. Larry, a Windham blacksmith, joined Maine's 17th Regiment Company H on August 18, 1862. Larry and his sister, Phebe, wrote to each other frequently during the Civil War, and his letters paint a vivid picture of the life of a soldier.

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MHS in Pictures: exploring our first 200 years

Wadsworth-Longfellow House, Portland, ca. 1920

Two years after separating from Massachusetts, Maine leaders—many who were part of the push for statehood—also separated from Massachusetts Historical Society, creating the Maine Historical Society in 1822. The legislation signed on February 5, 1822 positioned MHS as the third-oldest state dedicated historical organization in the nation. The exhibition features MHS's five locations over the institution's two centuries, alongside images of leaders who have steered the organization through pivotal times.

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Monuments to Civil War Soldiers

Erecting monument in Monument Square, Portland, 1891

Maine supplied a huge number of soldiers to the Union Army during the Civil War -- some 70,000 -- and responded after the war by building monuments to soldiers who had served and soldiers who had died in the epic American struggle.

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Moosehead Steamboats

Steamboats "Rebecca" and "Fairy of the Lake," Moosehead Lake, ca. 1890

After the canoe, steamboats became the favored method of transportation on Moosehead Lake. They revolutionized movement of logs and helped promote tourism in the region.

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Most Inconvenient Storm

Park Street after the ice storm, Portland, 1886

A Portland newspaper wrote about an ice storm of January 28, 1886 saying, "The city of Portland was visited yesterday by the most inconvenient storm of the season."

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Mural mystery in Westport Island's Cornelius Tarbox, Jr. House

Cornelius Tarbox, Jr. House, Westport Island, 2016

The Cornelius Tarbox, Jr. House, a well-preserved Greek Revival house on Westport Island, has a mystery contained within--a panoramic narrative mural. The floor-to-ceiling mural contains eight painted panels that create a colorful coastal seascape which extends through the front hallway and up the stairwell. The name of the itinerant painter has been lost over time, can you help us solve the mystery of who he or she was?

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MY ISLAND HOME: Verlie Colby Greenleaf of Westport Island

Verlie Colby, Westport, ca. 1909

Verlie Greenleaf (1891-1992) bore witness to over a century of Westport Island's history. Many changes occurred during Verlie's 100-year life. Verlie Greenleaf donated photographs, personal notes, and sat for an interview in 1987, all part of the Westport Island History Committee's collection. Her words frame this exhibition, providing a first-person account of her life.

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The Nativist Klan

Ku Klux Klan Constitution cover, 1921

In Maine, like many other states, a newly formed Ku Klux Klan organization began recruiting members in the years just before the United States entered World War I. A message of patriotism and cautions about immigrants and non-Protestants drew many thousands of members into the secret organization in the early 1920s. By the end of the decade, the group was largely gone from Maine.

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Navy Firefighting School, Little Chebeague Island

Instructors building, Little Chebeague Island, 1947

Little Chebeague Island in Casco Bay was home to recreational facilities and a firefighting school for WWII sailors. The school was part of a Navy effort to have non-firefighting personnel knowledgeable in dealing with shipboard fires.

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Northern Threads: Adaptive reuse

Revolutionary War-era styled gown, Portland, ca. 1825

A themed vignette within "Northern Threads Part I," featuring up-cycled and reused historic fabrics.

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Northern Threads: Bustle era fashions

Ida Bowles' wedding dress, Gorham, ca. 1886

A themed vignette within "Northern Threads Part I," featuring 1870s and 80s era bustle silhouettes.

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Northern Threads: Civil War-era clothing

Phebe Cole Townsend's 'electric' blue dress, Alexander, ca. 1863

An exhibit vignette within "Northern Threads, Part 1," featuring American Civil War civilian and military clothing, 1860 to 1869.

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Northern Threads: Early Republic era Fashion dolls

Parasol fashion doll, ca. 1794

A themed exhibit vignette within "Northern Threads Part I," featuring Early Repulic-era (ca.1780-1820) fashion dolls.

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Northern Threads: Mourning Fashions

Bradbury family mourning dress, Standish, ca. 1845

A themed exhibit vignette within "Northern Threads Part I," featuring 18th and 19th century mourning jewelry and fashions.

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Northern Threads: Outerwear, Militia & Cadet uniforms

Sarah Bowman Winter's "fancy weave" coat, Bath, ca. 1825

A themed vignette within "Northern Threads Part I," featuring 19th century outerwear, bonnets, militia and cadet uniforms.

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Northern Threads: Penobscot mocassins

Penobscot moccasins, Bangor, 1834

A themed exhibit vignette within "Northern Threads, Part I," about telling stories through Indigenous clothing, featuring an essay by Jennifer Sapiel Neptune (Penobscot.)

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Northern Threads: Silhouettes in Sequence, ca. 1780-1889

Taffeta and velvet bustle dress ensemble, ca. 1880

A themed exhibit vignette within "Northern Threads Part I," featuring a timeline of silhouettes from about 1775 through 1889.

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Northern Threads: The rise and fall of the gigot sleeve

Leavitt family coat-dress, Eastport, ca. 1830

A themed exhibit vignette within "Northern Threads Part I," featuring the balloon-like gigot sleeve of the 1830s.

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Northern Threads: Two centuries of dress at Maine Historical

Northern Threads two dress logo

Organized by themed vignettes, Northern Threads shares stories about Maine people, while exploring how the clothing they wore reveals social, economic, and environmental histories. This re-examination of Maine Historical Society's permanent collection is an opportunity to consider the relevance of historic clothing in museums, the ebb and flow of fashion styles, and the complexities of diverse representation spanning 200 years of collecting.

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Nuclear Energy for Maine?

Maine Yankee, Wiscasset, 1987

Maine Yankee Nuclear Power Plant in Wiscasset generated electricity from 1972 until 1996. Activists concerned about the plant's safety led three unsuccessful referendum campaigns in the 1980s to shut it down.

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One Hundred Years of Caring -- EMMC

Nursing students, Eastern Maine General Hospital, ca. 1898

In 1892 five physicians -- William H. Simmons, William C. Mason, Walter H. Hunt, Everett T. Nealey, and William E. Baxter -- realized the need for a hospital in the city of Bangor had become urgent and they set about providing one.

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Otisfield's One-Room Schoolhouses

Bell Hill School, Otisfield, ca. 1899

Many of the one-room schoolhouses in Otisfield, constructed from 1839 through the early twentieth century, are featured here. The photos, most of which also show teachers and children, were taken between 1898 and 1998.

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A Parade, an Airplane and Two Weddings

Olson-Oberg aerial wedding, Caribou, 1930

Two couples, a parade from downtown Caribou to the airfield, and two airplane flights were the scene in 1930 when the couples each took off in a single-engine plane to tie the knot high over Aroostook County.

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Passing the Time: Artwork by World War II German POWs

Painting of Mont Saint Michel, ca. 1945

In 1944, the US Government established Camp Houlton, a prisoner of war (POW) internment camp for captured German soldiers during World War II. Many of the prisoners worked on local farms planting and harvesting potatoes. Some created artwork and handicrafts they sold or gave to camp guards. Camp Houlton processed and held about 3500 prisoners and operated until May 1946.

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Patriotic Imagery: 1861-1880

Pvt. John E. Stewart on letter writing, Virginia, 1861

Imagery on letterhead soldiers used, on soldiers' memorials produced after the war, and on many other items captured the themes of the American Civil War: union, liberty, and freedom.

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Patriotism Shared

Civil War post office scroll, 1862-1864

Post office clerks began collecting strong red, white, and blue string, rolling it onto a ball and passing it on to the next post office to express their support for the Union effort in the Civil War. Accompanying the ball was this paper scroll on which the clerks wrote messages and sometimes drew images.

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People, Pets & Portraits

Governor Baxter and His Dog, ca. 1921

Informal family photos often include family pets -- but formal, studio portraits and paintings also often feature one person and one pet, in formal attire and pose.

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Photojournalism & the 1936 Flood

Paddling into a flooded garage, Saco, 1936

Photojournalism & the 1936 Flood examines the monumental destruction caused by the historic flood of 1936 through the comprehensive and innovative photojournalism done by the Guy Gannett Publishing Company in the weeks surrounding the flood.

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Picturing Henry

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ca. 1843

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's popularity in the 19th century is reflected by the number of images of him -- in a variety of media -- that were produced and reproduced, some to go with published works of his, but many to be sold to the public on cards and postcards.

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Pigeon's Mainer Project: who decides who belongs?

"Portrait of Hawa" Mainer project, Portland, 2016

Street artist Pigeon's artwork tackles the multifaceted topic of immigration. He portrays Maine residents, some who are asylum seekers, refugees, and immigrants—people who are often marginalized through state and federal policies—to ask questions about the dynamics of power in society, and who gets to call themselves a “Mainer.”

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Poland Spring: Summering in Fashion

Poland Spring House, 1889

During the Gilded Age at the end of the nineteenth century, Americans sought to leave increasing urban, industrialized lives for the health and relaxation of the country. The Poland Spring resort, which offered a beautiful setting, healing waters, and many amenities, was one popular destination.

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Popham Colony

Raleigh Gilbert, Popham Colony, ca. 1607

George Popham and a group of fellow Englishmen arrived at the mouth of the Kennebec River, hoping to trade with Native Americans, find gold and other valuable minerals, and discover a Northwest passage. In 18 months, the fledgling colony was gone.

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Port of Portland's Custom House and Collectors of Customs

Custom House, Portland, ca. 1910

The collector of Portland was the key to federal patronage in Maine, though other ports and towns had collectors. Through the 19th century, the revenue was the major source of Federal Government income. As in Colonial times, the person appointed to head the custom House in Casco Bay was almost always a leading community figure, or a well-connected political personage.

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Portland Hotels

Preble House, Portland, ca. 1920

Since the establishment of the area's first licensed hotel in 1681, Portland has had a dramatic, grand and boisterous hotel tradition. The Portland hotel industry has in many ways reflected the growth and development of the city itself. As Portland grew with greater numbers of people moving through the city or calling it home, the hotel business expanded to fit the increasing demand.

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Power of Potential

Business and Professional Women at Grand Trunk station, Portland, 1925

The National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs (NFBPWC) held their seventh annual convention in Portland during July 12 to July 18, 1925. Over 2,000 working women from around the country visited the city.

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Powering Pejepscot Paper Co.

Pejepscot dam structure, Topsham, 1893

In 1893, F.C. Whitehouse of Topsham, who owned paper mills in Topsham and Lisbon Falls, began construction of a third mill on the eastern banks of the Androscoggin River five miles north of Topsham. First, he had to build a dam to harness the river's power.

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Practical Nursing in Waterville

Maine School of Practical Nursing class officers, Waterville, 1965

The Maine School of Practical Nursing opened a facility in Waterville in 1957 and continued teaching practical nursing there until about 1980 when changes in the profession and in the state's educational structure led to its demise.

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Presidents and Campaigns

Vice presidential campaign poster, 1968

Several Mainers have run for president or vice president, a number of presidents, past presidents, and future presidents have had ties to the state or visited here, and, during campaign season, many presidential candidates and their family members have brought their campaigns to Maine.

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Presque Isle and the Civil War

Hiram Church, Presque Isle, 1861

Presque Isle had fewer than 1,000 residents in 1860, but it still felt the impact of the Civil War. About half of the town's men went off to war. Of those, a third died. The effects of the war were widespread in the small community.

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Princeton: Woods and Water Built This Town

US Peg and Shank Mill, Princeton, 1930

Princeton benefited from its location on a river -- the St. Croix -- that was useful for transportation of people and lumber and for powering mills as well as on its proximity to forests.

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Prisoners of War

Letter from POW camp, 1944

Mainers have been held prisoners in conflicts fought on Maine and American soil and in those fought overseas. In addition, enemy prisoners from several wars have been brought to Maine soil for the duration of the war.

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Prohibition in Maine in the 1920s

Portland City Hall Rum Room, ca. 1930

Federal Prohibition took hold of America in 1920 with the passing of the Volstead Act that banned the sale and consumption of all alcohol in the US. However, Maine had the Temperance movement long before anyone was prohibited from taking part in one of America's most popular past times. Starting in 1851, the struggles between the "drys" and the "wets" of Maine lasted for 82 years, a period of time that was everything but dry and rife with nothing but illegal activity.

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Promoting Rockland Through a Stereopticon, 1875

Cut in Williams Quarry, Rockland, ca. 1875

Frank Crockett and photographer J.P. Armbrust took stereo views of Rockland's downtown, industry, and notable homes in the 1870s as a way to promote tourism to the town.

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Student strike, Colby College, 1970

Throughout the history of the state, residents have protested, on paper or in the streets, to increase rights for various groups, to effect social change, to prevent social change, or to let their feelings be known about important issues.

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The Public Face of Christmas

Portland letter carriers, December 1926

Christmas, a Christian holiday observed by many Mainers, has a very public, seasonal face that makes it visible to those of all beliefs.

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Putting Men to Work, Saving Trees

CCC crew and trucks, Alfred, ca. 1933

While many Mainers were averse to accepting federal relief money during the Great Depression of the 1930s, young men eagerly joined the Civilian Conservation Corps, one of President Franklin Roosevelt's most popular programs. The Maine Forest Service supervised the work of many of the camps.

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Raising Fish

Game wardens, Raymond, ca. 1920

Mainers began propagating fish to stock ponds and lakes in the mid 19th century. The state got into the business in the latter part of the century, first concentrating on Atlantic salmon, then moving into raising other species for stocking rivers, lakes, and ponds.

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Les Raquetteurs

Jacques Cartier snowshoe club, ca. 1925

In the early 1600s, French explorers and colonizers in the New World quickly adopted a Native American mode of transportation to get around during the harsh winter months: the snowshoe. Most Northern societies had some form of snowshoe, but the Native Americans turned it into a highly functional item. French settlers named snowshoes "raquettes" because they resembled the tennis racket then in use.

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Reading, Writing and 'Rithmetic: Brooklin Schools

West Brooklin School, ca. 1929

When Brooklin, located on the Blue Hill Peninsula, was incorporated in 1849, there were ten school districts and nine one-room school houses. As the years went by, population changes affected the location and number of schools in the area. State requirements began to determine ways that student's education would be handled. Regardless, education of the Brooklin students always remained a high priority for the town.

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Rebecca Usher: 'To Succor the Suffering Soldiers'

Rebecca N. Usher, Hollis, ca. 1885

Rebecca Usher of Hollis was 41 and single when she joined the Union nursing service at the U.S. General Hospital at Chester, Pennsylvania. Her time there and later at City Point, Virginia, were defining experiences of her life.

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Redact: Obscuring the Maine Constitution

Ancestral canoe journey, Motahkomikuk (Indian Township), 2019

In 2015, Maliseet Representative Henry Bear drew the Maine legislature’s attention to a historic redaction of the Maine Constitution. Through legislation drafted in February 1875, approved by voters in September 1875, and enacted on January 1, 1876, the Sections 1, 2, and 5 of Article X (ten) of the Maine Constitution ceased to be printed. Since 1876, these sections are redacted from the document. Although they are obscured, they retain their validity.

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Remembering Mellie Dunham: Snowshoe Maker and Fiddler

Mellie Dunham's dance band, Norway, ca. 1925

Alanson Mellen "Mellie" Dunham and his wife Emma "Gram" Dunham were well-known musicians throughout Maine and the nation in the early decades of the 20th century. Mellie Dunham also received fame as a snowshoe maker.

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Reuben Ruby: Hackman, Activist

Reuben Ruby hack ad, Portland, 1834

Reuben Ruby of Portland operated a hack in the city, using his work to earn a living and to help carry out his activist interests, especially abolition and the Underground Railroad.

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A Riot of Words: Ballads, Posters, Proclamations and Broadsides

Notice of Daniel Webster death, Portland, 1852

Imagine a day 150 years ago. Looking down a side street, you see the buildings are covered with posters and signs.

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Rumford's Notable Citizens in the Civil War

Civil War soldier's monument, Rumford Center, 1921

A number of Rumford area residents played important roles during the Civil War -- and in the community afterwards. Among these are William King Kimball, who commanded the 12th Maine for much of the war.

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Sagadahoc County through the Eastern Eye

Riverside Hotel, at Popham Beach, Phippsburg, ca. 1910

The Eastern Illustrating and Publishing Company of Belfast, Maine. employed photographers who traveled by company vehicle through New England each summer, taking pictures of towns and cities, vacation spots and tourist attractions, working waterfronts and local industries, and other subjects postcard recipients might enjoy. The cards were printed by the millions in Belfast into the 1940s.

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Samantha Smith's Questions

Samantha Smith, Manchester, 1983

Samantha Smith, a Manchester schoolgirl, gained international fame in 1983 by asking Soviet leader Yuri Andropov whether he intended to start a nuclear war and then visiting the Soviet Union to be reassured that no one there wanted war.

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Samplers: Learning to Sew

Polly Warren sampler, Gorham, ca. 1800

Settlers' clothing had to be durable and practical to hold up against hard work and winters. From the 1700s to the mid 1800s, the women of Maine learned to sew by making samplers.

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San Life: the Western Maine Sanatorium, 1928-1929

Group at Western Maine Sanatorium, 1929

Merle Wadleigh of Portland, who was in his mid 20s, took and saved photographs that provide a glimpse into the life of a tuberculosis patient at the Western Maine Sanatorium in Hebron in 1928-1929.

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The Sanitary Commission: Meeting Needs of Soldiers, Families

Maine Soldiers' Relief Association card, Washington, ca. 1863

The Sanitary Commission, formed soon after the Civil War began in the spring of 1861, dealt with the health, relief needs, and morale of soldiers and their families. The Maine Agency helped families and soldiers with everything from furloughs to getting new socks.

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Sarah Sampson: Caring for Soldiers, Orphans

Sarah Sampson, Bath, ca. 1860

Sarah Sampson of Bath went to war with her husband, a captain in the 3rd Maine Regiment. With no formal training, she spent the next four and a half years providing nursing and other services to soldiers. Even after her husband became ill and returned to Maine, Sampson remained in the Washington, D.C., area aiding the sick and wounded.

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Scarborough: They Answered the Call

George Washington Pillsbury, Louisiana, ca. 1863

Scarborough met every quota set by the state for supplying Civil War soldiers for Union regiments. Some of those who responded became prominent citizens of the town.

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The Schooner Bowdoin: Ninety Years of Seagoing History

Miriam and Donald MacMillan, Greenland, 1947

After traveling to the Arctic with Robert E. Peary, Donald B. MacMillan (1874-1970), an explorer, researcher, and lecturer, helped design his own vessel for Arctic exploration, the schooner Bowdoin, which he named after his alma mater. The schooner remains on the seas.

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Selections from the Collections

Tavern sign, Raymond, ca. 1850

Maine Historical Society staff come across unique and unforgettable items in our collections every day. While it's difficult to choose favorites from a dynamic collection, this exhibit features memorable highlights as selected by members of the MHS staff.

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Settling along the Androscoggin and Kennebec

Plan of J. Robinson lot, Topsham, 1761

The Proprietors of the Township of Brunswick was a land company formed in 1714 and it set out to settle lands along the Androscoggin and Kennebec Rivers in Maine.

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Shaarey Tphiloh, Portland's Orthodox Synagogue

Shaarey Tphiloh synagogue, Portland, ca. 1911

Shaarey Tphiloh was founded in 1904 by immigrants from Eastern Europe. While accommodating to American society, the Orthodox synagogue also has retained many of its traditions.

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The Shape of Maine

Map of Maine, 1905

The boundaries of Maine are the product of international conflict, economic competition, political fights, and contested development. The boundaries are expressions of human values; people determined the shape of Maine.

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Shepard Cary: Lumberman, Legislator, Leader and Legend

Shepard Cary, Houlton, 1805-1866

Shepard Cary (1805-1866) was one of the leading -- and wealthiest -- residents of early Aroostook County. He was a lumberman, merchant, mill operator, and legislator.

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Silk Manufacturing in Westbrook

Spinning room, Haskell Silk Company, Westbrook, 1907

Cultivation of silkworms and manufacture of silk thread was touted as a new agricultural boon for Maine in the early 19th century. However, only small-scale silk production followed. In 1874, the Haskell Silk Co. of Westbrook changed that, importing raw silk, and producing silk machine twist threat, then fabrics, until its demise in 1930.

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Skiing Pleasant Mountain

Riding the Old Blue chairlift at Pleasant Mountain, ca. 1972

By the second half of the 20th century, skiing began to enjoy unprecedented popularity. Pleasant Mountain in Bridgton (later Shawnee Peak) was Maine's foremost place to join the fun in the 1950s and 1960s.

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Slavery's Defenders and Foes

Letter from Ambrose Crane about stolen slave, 1835

Mainers, like residents of other states, had differing views about slavery and abolition in the early to mid decades of the 19th century. Religion and economic factors were among the considerations in determining people's leanings.

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A Snapshot of Portland, 1924: The Taxman Cometh

473-477 Congress Street, Portland, 1924

In 1924, with Portland was on the verge of profound changes, the Tax Assessors Office undertook a project to document every building in the city -- with photographs and detailed information that provide a unique view into Portland's architecture, neighborhoods, industries, and businesses.

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A Soldier's Declaration of Independence

George Washington at Monmouth, 1778

William Bayley of Falmouth (Portland) was a soldier in the Continental Army, seeing service at Ticonderoga, Valley Forge, Monmouth Court House, and Saratoga, among other locations. His letters home to his mother reveal much about the economic hardships experienced by both soldiers and those at home.

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Songs of Winnebago

Dining hall at Camp Winnebago, 1957

An enduring element of summer camps is the songs campers sing around the campfire, at meals, and on many other occasions. Some regale the camp experience and others spur the camp's athletes on to victory.

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South Portland's Wartime Shipbuilding

Nameplate from the S.S. Lillian Nordica, 1944

Two shipyards in South Portland, built quickly in 1941 to construct cargo ships for the British and Americans, produced nearly 270 ships in two and a half years. Many of those vessels bore the names of notable Mainers.

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La St-Jean in Lewiston-Auburn

St-Jean-Baptiste portrayal, 1890

St-Jean-Baptiste Day -- June 24th -- in Lewiston-Auburn was a very public display of ethnic pride for nearly a century. Since about 1830, French Canadians had used St. John the Baptist's birthdate as a demonstration of French-Canadian nationalism.

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State of Mind: Becoming Maine

MMN Image 105643

The history of the region now known as Maine did not begin at statehood in 1820. What was Maine before it was a state? How did Maine separate from Massachusetts? How has the Maine we experience today been shaped by thousands of years of history?

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Strike Up the Band

W. E. Chandler's Band, Kennebunkport, 1910

Before the era of recorded music and radio, nearly every community had a band that played at parades and other civic events. Fire departments had bands, military units had bands, theaters had bands. Band music was everywhere.

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Student Exhibit: A Civil War Soldier from Skowhegan

Lt. Alexander Crawford Jr., ca. 1864

Alexander Crawford a soldier from Skowhegan, was born in 1839 on a farm on the Dudley Corner Road in Skowhegan. He served in the Civil War and returned to Skowhegan to run the family farm.

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Student Exhibit: A Friend in Need!

Moose in river, Skowhegan, ca. 1920

Sometime in the 1920s a 700 hundred pound moose fell through the ice, likely between Norridgewock and Skowhegan. She was rescued by a game warden and another man. Here is the story.

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Student Exhibit: Benedict Arnold's March Through Skowhegan

Benedict Arnold, ca. 1780

Benedict Arnold arrived in Skowhegan on October 4th, 1775, and it was here that Arnold received his first offer of help from the colonists. Joseph Weston and his sons helped Benedict Arnold and his army cross over the Skowhegan Falls, but Joseph later got a severe cold from exposure and died of a fever on Oct.16th. His sons went back to the family home along the Kennebec for they were the first family to settle in Old Canaan or what is now Skowhegan.

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Student Exhibit: Bloomfield Academy

Bloomfield Academy Building, Skowhegan, 2003

In 1842, the new Bloomfield Academy was constructed in Skowhegan. The new brick building replaced the very first Bloomfield Academy, a small wooden building that had been built in 1814 and served as the high school until 1871. After that, it housed elementary school classes until 1980.

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Student Exhibit: Can You Help Our Free Skowhegan Public Library?

Skowhegan Free Public Library, 1889

The Skowhegan Free Public Library was built in 1889 with money donated by Abner Coburn and the town of Skowhegan. Mr. Coburn left $30,000 in his will towards the building of the library. In 2005, for the library to fully keep up with their programs need to make some renovations. These changes would allow for more use of technology, more room for children's programs, and provide handicap accessibility.

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Student Exhibit: Historic Buildings on Madison Ave in Skowhegan

Hotel Coburn, ca. 1900

Take a tour and see some of the beautiful old buildings that used to be on Madison Avenue, Skowhegan? A few still remain, but most have been torn down.

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Student Exhibit: Ice Harvesting

Ice harvesting, Kennebec River, ca. 1900

Ice Harvesting was a big industry on the Kennebec River. Several million tons of ice could be harvested in a few weeks. In 1886 the Kennebec River topped the million ton on ice production.

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Student Exhibit: Logging on Kennebec River

Long log drive, Skowhegan Falls, 1865

I became interested in the Kennebec River log drive when my grandfather would tell me stories. He remembers watching the logs flow down the river from his home in Fairfield, a small town along the Kennebec River.

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Student Exhibit: Medicine in Times Past

Dr. Wilber's Medical Box, ca. 1860

Inspired by Dr. Greenleaf Wilbur's medical box at the Skowhegan History House, this exhibit highlights some Mainers in the medical field of the past and the stories they had.

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Student Exhibit: Rebecca Sophie Clarke

Rebecca Clarke (Sophie May), ca. 1880

Sophie May, whose real name was Rebecca Clarke, was the author of over 40 books between 1861 and 1903. She wrote the "Little Prudy Series" based on the little town of Norridgewock.

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Student Exhibit: Save the Skowhegan Grange & Granges in General

Grange Hall, Atkinson Mills, ca. 1910

A brief history of the Grange in Skowhegan, its importance to community history, and a plea to save it from destruction.

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Student Exhibit: Somerset Railroad

Railroad Station, Skowhegan, ca. 1900

The Somerset Railroad was completed in 1872. It started out as a dream to link the Maine Coast with Canadian businesses to the north. It ran from the North Woods around Moosehead Lake down to Southern Maine and back again for 56 years.

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Student Exhibit: The Great By-Pass

South Channel Bridge, Skowhegan, 1901

The debate over a proposed bridge and bypass in Skowhegan in 2005.

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Student Exhibit: The Story of the Heywood Tavern

Heywood Tavern, Skowhegan, ca. 1836

The story of the Heywood Tavern in Skowhegan.

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Sugar and Spice: Our Vintage Recipes

"Chops and Tomato Sauce" as prepared for Samuel Pickwick,  ca. 1890

Sugar and Spice: Our Vintage Recipes showcases historic recipes, dating from the 18th century to the 1950s, like sweet treats, traditional favorites, promotional printings, medicinal concoctions, curious libations, and recipes that have fallen out of favor.

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Summer Camps

Girls playing basketball, Naples, ca. 1930

Maine is home to dozens of summer-long youth camps and untold numbers of day camps that take advantage of water, woods, and fresh air. While the children, counselors, and other staff come to Maine in the summer, the camps live on throughout the year and throughout the lives of many of the campers.

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Summer Folk: The Postcard View

Northport Hotel, ca. 1900

Vacationers, "rusticators," or tourists began flooding into Maine in the last quarter of the 19th century. Many arrived by train or steamer. Eventually, automobiles expanded and changed the tourist trade, and some vacationers bought their own "cottages."

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Summer's Favorite Game

Bowdoin College baseball team, ca. 1896

Baseball often is called the National Pastime. For many people, baseball is encountered in the backyard and down the street, a game played by a few or the full contingent of a team.

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Surgeon General Alonzo Garcelon

Alonzo Garcelon, Lewiston, ca. 1890

Alonzo Garcelon of Lewiston was a physician, politician, businessman, and civic leader when he became Maine's surgeon general during the Civil War, responsible for ensuring regiments had surgeons, for setting up a regimental hospital in Portland, and generally concerned with the well-being of Maine soldiers.

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The Swinging Bridge: Walking Across the Androscoggin

Brunswick-Topsham pedestrian bridge, ca. 1920

Built in 1892 to entice workers at the Cabot Manufacturing Corporation in Brunswick to move to newly built housing in Topsham, the Androscoggin Pedestrian "Swinging" Bridge or Le Petit Pont quickly became important to many people traveling between the two communities.

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Sylvan Site: A Model Development

Stone house with clipped gables, 974 Sawyer Street, South Portland, ca. 1920

Frederick Wheeler Hinckley, a Portland lawyer and politician, had grand visions of a 200-home development when he began the Sylvan Site in South Portland in 1917. The stock market crash in 1929 put a halt to his plans, but by then he had built 37, no two of which were alike.

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Taber Wagon

Taber Wagon Factory, ca. 1905

The Taber farm wagon was an innovative design that was popular on New England farms. It made lifting potato barrels onto a wagon easier and made more efficient use of the horse's work. These images glimpse the life work of its inventor, Silas W. Taber of Houlton, and the place of his invention in the farming community

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A Tale of Two Sailmakers

Sailmaker's roping palm, 1888

Camden has been home to generations of fishermen, shipbuilders, sailmakers, and others who make their living through the sea. The lives of two Camden sailmakers, who were born nearly a century apart, became entwined at a small house on Limerock Street.

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Le Théâtre

Jean-Baptiste Couture, Lewiston, 1926

Lewiston, Maine's second largest city, was long looked upon by many as a mill town with grimy smoke stacks, crowded tenements, low-paying jobs, sleazy clubs and little by way of refinement, except for Bates College. Yet, a noted Québec historian, Robert Rumilly, described it as "the French Athens of New England."

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This Rebellion: Maine and the Civil War

Sgt. Nelson W. Jones, 3rd Maine Infantry, ca. 1862

For Mainers like many other people in both the North and the South, the Civil War, which lasted from 1861-1865, had a profound effect on their lives. Letters, artifacts, relics, and other items saved by participants at home and on the battlefield help illuminate the nature of the Civil War experience for Mainers.

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A Tour of Sanford in 1900

Garnsey Home, Main Street, Sanford, ca. 1900

This collection of images portrays many buildings in Sanford and Springvale. The images were taken around the turn of the twentieth century.

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A Town Is Born: South Bristol, 1915

Tuna catch, South Bristol, ca. 1950

After being part of the town of Bristol for nearly 150 years, residents of South Bristol determined that their interests would be better served by becoming a separate town and they broke away from the large community of Bristol.

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Toy Len Goon: Mother of the Year

Toy Len Goon in Washington, D.C., 1952

Toy Len Goon of Portland, an immigrant from China, was a widow with six children when she was selected in 1952 as America's Mother of the Year.

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The Trolley Parks of Maine

Casco Castle, South Freeport, ca. 1910

At the heyday of trolleys in Maine, many of the trolley companies developed recreational facilities along or at the end of trolley lines as one further way to encourage ridership. The parks often had walking paths, dance pavilions, and various other entertainments. Cutting-edge technology came together with a thirst for adventure and forever changed social dynamics in the process.

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Trolley Travel

Bangor Railway & Electric Co. No. 76, ca. 1920

Trolleys were the cleanest and most efficient means of mass transit Maine has ever known.

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"Twenty Nationalities, But All Americans"

Chapman School patriotism, Portland, ca. 1920

Concern about immigrants and their loyalty in the post World War I era led to programs to "Americanize" them -- an effort to help them learn English and otherwise adjust to life in the United States. Clara Soule ran one such program for the Portland Public Schools, hoping it would help the immigrants be accepted.

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Umbazooksus & Beyond

Noon Lunch, Eagle Lake, 1911

Visitors to the Maine woods in the early twentieth century often recorded their adventures in private diaries or journals and in photographs. Their remembrances of canoeing, camping, hunting and fishing helped equate Maine with wilderness.

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Unlocking the Declaration's Secrets

Dunlap Declaration of Independence, 1776

Fewer than 30 copies of the first printing of the Declaration of Independence are known to exist. John Dunlap hurriedly printed copies for distribution to assemblies, conventions, committees and military officers. Authenticating authenticity of the document requires examination of numerous details of the broadside.

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Shoe valentine, 1883-1884

Valentines Day cards have long been a way to express feelings of romance or love for family or friends. These early Valentines Day cards suggest the ways in which the expression of those sentiments has changed over time.

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The Waldo-Hancock Bridge

Waldo-Hancock Bridge Dedication, June 9, 1932

The Waldo-Hancock Bridge is in the process of being dismantled after over 70 years of service. The Maine State Archives has a number of records related to the history of this famous bridge that are presented in this exhibition.

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Waldoboro Fire Department's 175 Years

Water Witch, Waldoboro, ca. 1838

While the town of Waldoboro was chartered in 1773, it began organized fire protection in 1838 with a volunteer fire department and a hand pump fire engine, the Water Witch.

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Walter Wyman and River Power

Wyman Station, Bingham, 1929

Walter Wyman's vision to capture the power of Maine's rivers to produce electricity led to the formation of Central Maine Power Co. and to a struggle within the state over what should happen to the power produced by the state's natural resources.

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War Through the Eyes of a Young Sailor

John Monroe Dillingham, Freeport, ca. 1861

Eager to deal with the "Sesech" [Secessionists], young deepwater sailor John Monroe Dillingham of Freeport enlisted in the U.S. Navy as soon as he returned from a long voyage in 1862. His letters and those of his family offer first-hand insight into how one individual viewed the war.

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The Washburns of Livermore

Freeland Holmes and Caroline Holmes, Foxcroft, ca. 1860

Members of the Washburn family of Livermore participated in the Civil War in a variety of ways -- from Caroline at the homefront, to Samuel at sea, Elihu, as a Congressman from Illinois, and Israel governor of Maine. The family had considerable influence politically on several fronts.

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Washington County Through Eastern's Eye

W. R. Allan Residence, Dennysville, ca. 1910

Images taken by itinerant photographers for Eastern Illustrating and Publishing Company, a real photo postcard company, provide a unique look at industry, commerce, recreation, tourism, and the communities of Washington County in the early decades of the twentieth century.

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"We are growing to be somewhat cosmopolitan..." Waterville, 1911

Waterville City Hall during the centennial celebration, 1902

Between 1870 and 1911, Waterville more than doubled in size, becoming a center of manufacturing, transportation, and the retail trade and offering a variety of entertainments for its residents.

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We Saw Lindbergh!

Col. Lindbergh, Old Orchard Beach, 1927

Following his historic flight across the Atlantic in May 1927, aviator Charles Lindbergh commenced a tour across America, greeted by cheering crowds at every stop. He was a day late for his speaking engagement in Portland, due to foggy conditions. Elise Fellows White wrote in her diary about seeing Lindbergh and his plane.

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We Used to be "Normal": A History of F.S.N.S.

Students on porch, Farmington State Normal School, ca. 1928

Farmington's Normal School -- a teacher-training facility -- opened in 1863 and, over the decades, offered academic programs that included such unique features as domestic and child-care training, and extra-curricular activities from athletics to music and theater.

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West Baldwin Methodist Church

Methodist Church, West Baldwin, ca. 1900

The West Baldwin Methodist Church, founded in 1826, was one of three original churches in Baldwin. While its location has remained the same, the church has undergone numerous changes to serve the changing community.

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Westbrook Seminary: Educating Women

Westbrook Seminary students, ca. 1855

Westbrook Seminary, built on Stevens Plain in 1831, was founded to educate young men and young women. Seminaries traditionally were a form of advanced secondary education. Westbrook Seminary served an important function in admitting women students, for whom education was less available in the early and mid nineteenth century.

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William King

King Tavern and Customs House, Bath, ca. 1910

Maine's first governor, William King, was arguably the most influential figure in Maine's achieving statehood in 1820. Although he served just one year as the Governor of Maine, he was instrumental in establishing the new state's constitution and setting up its governmental infrastructure.

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Wired! How Electricity Came to Maine

Reddy Kilowatt lapel pin, ca. 1955

As early as 1633, entrepreneurs along the Piscataqua River in southern Maine utilized the force of the river to power a sawmill, recognizing the potential of the area's natural power sources, but it was not until the 1890s that technology made widespread electricity a reality -- and even then, consumers had to be urged to use it.

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Wiscasset's Arctic Connection

Capt. MacMillan's departure, Wiscasset, 1925

Scientist, author and explorer Donald B. MacMillan established Wiscasset as his homeport for many of the voyages he made to the Arctic region starting in the early 1920s.

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Women, War, and the Homefront

British Naval and Merchant Telescope, ca. 1850

When America entered the Great War in 1917, the government sent out pleas for help from American women, many of whom responded at the battle front and on the home front.

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Working Women of the Old Port

E.T. Burrowes Co., Portland, ca. 1923

Women at the turn of the 20th century were increasingly involved in paid work outside the home. For wage-earning women in the Old Port section of Portland, the jobs ranged from canning fish and vegetables to setting type. A study done in 1907 found many women did not earn living wages.

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World Alpine Ski Racing in Maine

Leaving the start gate at the Sugarloaf World Cup, 1971

Sugarloaf -- a small ski area by European standards -- entered ski racing history in 1971 by hosting an event that was part of the World Cup Alpine Ski Championships. The "Tall Timber Classic," as the event was known, had a decidedly Maine flavor.

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World War I and the Maine Experience

Fight or buy bonds, World War I poster, 1917

With a long history of patriotism and service, Maine experienced the war in a truly distinct way. Its individual experiences tell the story of not only what it means to be an American, but what it means to be from Maine during the war to end all wars.

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The World's Largest Oxen

Mt. Katahdin and Granger, Stetson, ca. 1906

Named for the two largest things in Maine at the turn of the 20th century, Mt. Katahdin and Granger of Stetson, were known as the Largest Oxen in the World. Unable to do farm work because of their size, they visited fairs and agricultural events around the Northeast.

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Writing Women

Harriett Beecher Stowe, ca. 1890

Published women authors with ties to Maine are too numerous to count. They have made their marks in all types of literature.

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WWI Memorial Trees along Portland's Baxter Boulevard

Baxter Boulevard, Portland,  ca. 1938

On Memorial Day of 1920, the City of Portland planted 100 Linden trees on Forest Avenue, each dedicated to the memory of one military service member who had died in World War I, or who had served honorably.

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Yarmouth: Leader in Soda Pulp

Forest Paper Co. workers, Yarmouth, ca. 1890

Yarmouth's "Third Falls" provided the perfect location for papermaking -- and, soon, for producing soda pulp for making paper. At the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th, Yarmouth was an international leader in soda pulp production.

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