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Keywords: Wealth

Historical Items

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Item 108739

Pepperrell House, Kittery, circa 1774

Contributed by: Maine Historical Society Date: circa 1774 Location: Kittery Media: Ink on paper

Item 48487

Parson Thomas Smith, Portland, ca. 1795

Contributed by: Maine Historical Society Date: circa 1795 Location: Portland Media: Ink on paper

Item 1052

George H. Jewett, ca. 1920

Contributed by: Maine Historical Society Date: circa 1920 Media: Photographic print

Exhibits

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Exhibit

Extracting Wealth

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.

Exhibit

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

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.

Exhibit

Ice: A Maine Commodity

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.

Site Pages

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Site Page

Historic Hallowell - Earning Our Keep

… – focus turned to turning a profit, accumulating wealth, earning daily bread and more. Vocations developed taking full advantage of the bountiful…

Site Page

Highlighting Historical Hampden - Summer Street

… of Summer Street reflect Hampden’s 19th century wealth, for Hampden was a place of increasing industrialization.

Site Page

Strong, a Mussul Unsquit village - Welcome to Strong

Within these pages you will find a wealth of local knowledge and treasures passed down and preserved for future generations.

My Maine Stories

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Story

My Africa Book and living in Portland
by Titi de Baccarat

My art is about being an immigrant in the US, my pain, fear, uncertainty, and hope for my future

Story

Reverend Thomas Smith of First Parish Portland
by Kristina Minister, Ph.D.

Pastor, Physician, Real Estate Speculator, and Agent for Wabanaki Genocide

Story

Pandemic ruminations and the death of Rose Cleveland
by Tilly Laskey

Correlations between the 1918 and 2020 Pandemics

Lesson Plans

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Lesson Plan

Portland History: "My Lost Youth" - Longfellow's Portland, Then and Now

Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12 Content Area: English Language Arts, Social Studies
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow loved his boyhood home of Portland, Maine. Born on Fore Street, the family moved to his maternal grandparents' home on Congress Street when Henry was eight months old. While he would go on to Bowdoin College and travel extensively abroad, ultimately living most of his adult years in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he never forgot his beloved Portland. Years after his childhood, in 1855, he wrote "My Lost Youth" about his undiminished love for and memories of growing up in Portland. This exhibit, using the poem as its focus, will present the Portland of Longfellow's boyhood. In many cases the old photos will be followed by contemporary images of what that site looked like 2004. Following the exhibit of 68 slides are five suggested lessons that can be adapted for any grade level, 3–12.

Lesson Plan

Longfellow Studies: "The Jewish Cemetery at Newport"

Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12 Content Area: English Language Arts, Social Studies
Longfellow's poem "The Jewish Cemetery at Newport" opens up the issue of the earliest history of the Jews in America, and the significant roles they played as businessmen and later benefactors to the greater community. The history of the building itself is notable in terms of early American architecture, its having been designed, apparently gratis, by the most noted architect of the day. Furthermore, the poem traces the history of Newport as kind of a microcosm of New England commercial cities before the industrialization boom. For almost any age student the poem could be used to open up interest in local cemeteries, which are almost always a wealth of curiousities and history. Longfellow and his friends enjoyed exploring cemeteries, and today our little local cemeteries can be used to teach little local histories and parts of the big picture as well. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow visited the Jewish cemetery in Newport, RI on July 9, 1852. His popular poem about the site, published two years later, was certainly a sympathetic portrayal of the place and its people. In addition to Victorian romantic musings about the "Hebrews in their graves," Longfellow includes in this poem references to the historic persecution of the Jews, as well as very specific references to their religious practices. Since the cemetery and the nearby synagogue were restored and protected with an infusion of funding just a couple years after Longfellow's visit, and later a congregation again assembled, his gloomy predictions about the place proved false (never mind the conclusion of the poem, "And the dead nations never rise again!"). Nevertheless, it is a fascinating poem, and an interesting window into the history of the nation's oldest extant synagogue.

Lesson Plan

Longfellow Studies: Longfellow's "The Village Blacksmith" and "Whitman's Song of Myself" - Alternative Constructions of the American Worker

Grade Level: 9-12 Content Area: English Language Arts, Social Studies
Most if not all of us have or will need to work in the American marketplace for at least six decades of our lives. There's a saying that I remember a superintendent telling a group of graduating high-school seniors: remember, when you are on your deathbed, you will not be saying that you wish you had spent more time "at the office." But Americans do spend a lot more time working each year than nearly any other people on the planet. By the end of our careers, many of us will have spent more time with our co-workers than with our families. Already in the 21st century, much has been written about the "Wal-Martization" of the American workplace, about how, despite rocketing profits, corporations such as Wal-Mart overwork and underpay their employees, how workers' wages have remained stagnant since the 1970s, while the costs of college education and health insurance have risen out of reach for many citizens. It's become a cliché to say that the gap between the "haves" and the "have nots" is widening to an alarming degree. In his book Wealth and Democracy, Kevin Phillips says we are dangerously close to becoming a plutocracy in which one dollar equals one vote. Such clashes between employers and employees, and between our rhetoric of equality of opportunity and the reality of our working lives, are not new in America. With the onset of the industrial revolution in the first half of the nineteenth century, many workers were displaced from their traditional means of employment, as the country shifted from a farm-based, agrarian economy toward an urban, manufacturing-centered one. In cities such as New York, groups of "workingmen" (early manifestations of unions) protested, sometimes violently, unsatisfactory labor conditions. Labor unions remain a controversial political presence in America today. Longfellow and Whitman both wrote with sympathy about the American worker, although their respective portraits are strikingly different, and worth juxtaposing. Longfellow's poem "The Village Blacksmith" is one of his most famous and beloved visions: in this poem, one blacksmith epitomizes characteristics and values which many of Longfellow's readers, then and now, revere as "American" traits. Whitman's canto (a section of a long poem) 15 from "Song of Myself," however, presents many different "identities" of the American worker, representing the entire social spectrum, from the crew of a fish smack to the president (I must add that Whitman's entire "Song of Myself" is actually 52 cantos in length). I do not pretend to offer these single texts as all-encompassing of the respective poets' ideas about workers, but these poems offer a starting place for comparison and contrast. We know that Longfellow was the most popular American poet of the nineteenth century, just as we know that Whitman came to be one of the most controversial. Read more widely in the work of both poets and decide for yourselves which poet speaks to you more meaningfully and why.