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Online Exhibits

Your results include these online exhibits. You also can view all of the site's exhibits, view a timeline of selected events in Maine History, and learn how to create your own exhibit. See featured exhibits or create your own exhibit


Exhibit

Margaret Chase Smith: A Historic Candidacy

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.

Exhibit

Fashion for the People: Maine's Graphic Tees

From their humble beginnings as undergarments to today‚Äôs fashion runways, t-shirts have evolved into universally worn wardrobe staples. Named because the silhouette resembles the capital letter "T," the t-shirt—also called a "tee"—is usually a short-sleeved, collarless shirt made of cotton. 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.

Exhibit

State of Mind: Becoming Maine

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?

Exhibit

Father John Bapst: Catholicism's Defender and Promoter

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.

Exhibit

Port of Portland's Custom House and Collectors of Customs

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.

Exhibit

George F. Shepley: Lawyer, Soldier, Administrator

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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Slavery's Defenders and Foes

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.

Exhibit

Clean Water: Muskie and the Environment

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.

Exhibit

Presidents and Campaigns

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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William King

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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Prohibition in Maine in the 1920s

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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Samantha Smith's Questions

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.

Exhibit

Dressing Up, Standing Out, Fitting In

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.

Exhibit

The Sanitary Commission: Meeting Needs of Soldiers, Families

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.

Exhibit

Debates Over Suffrage

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

Exhibit

Shepard Cary: Lumberman, Legislator, Leader and Legend

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.

Exhibit

Hannibal Hamlin of Paris Hill

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.

Exhibit

Power of Potential

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.

Exhibit

Maine Politicians, National Leaders

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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Begin Again: reckoning with intolerance in Maine

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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400 years of New Mainers

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.

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The Kotzschmar Memorial Organ

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.

Exhibit

From French Canadians to Franco-Americans

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.

Exhibit

Surgeon General Alonzo Garcelon

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.