Collecting area: Maine Page 1 of 2
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Blackington, Alton H.

Alton H. Blackington Photograph Collection

1898-1943
15 boxes 4 linear feet
Call no.: PH 061
Image of Fortune teller, ca.1930
Fortune teller, ca.1930

A native of Rockland, Maine, Alton H. “Blackie” Blackington (1893-1963) was a writer, photojournalist, and radio personality associated with New England “lore and legend.” After returning from naval service in the First World War, Blackington joined the staff of the Boston Herald, covering a range of current events, but becoming well known for his human interest features on New England people and customs. He was successful enough by the mid-1920s to establish his own photo service, and although his work remained centered on New England and was based in Boston, he photographed and handled images from across the country. Capitalizing on the trove of New England stories he accumulated as a photojournalist, Blackington became a popular lecturer and from 1933-1953, a radio and later television host on the NBC network, Yankee Yarns, which yielded the books Yankee Yarns (1954) and More Yankee Yarns (1956).

This collection of glass plate negatives was purchased by Robb Sagendorf of Yankee Publishing around the time of Blackington’s death. Reflecting Blackington’s photojournalistic interests, the collection covers a terrain stretching from news of public officials and civic events to local personalities, but the heart of the collection is the dozens of images of typically eccentric New England characters and human interest stories. Most of the images were taken by Blackington on 4×5″ dry plate negatives, however many of the later images are made on flexible acetate stock and the collection includes several images by other (unidentified) photographers distributed by the Blackington News Service.

Gift of Yankee Publishing, Mar. 2012

Subjects

  • Coolidge, Calvin, 1872-1933--Photographs
  • Earhart, Amelia, 1897-1937--Photographs
  • Maine--Social life and customs--Photographs
  • Massachusetts--Social life and customs--Photographs
  • New England--Social life and customs--Photographs
  • New Hampshire--Social life and customs--Photographs
  • Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945--Photographs
  • Sacco-Vanzetti Trial, Dedham, Mass., 1921--Photographs

Types of material

  • Photographs
Chandler, John S., 1836-1916

John Chandler Account Book

1853-1914
1 vol. 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 287 bd

A mariner and whaleman originally from Provincetown, Massachusetts, John S. Chandler (1836-1916) relocated to Bucksport, Maine, in the 1870s to provide care for his aging in-laws.

Chandler’s account book and diary includes records of crewmembers on various voyages, accounts for labor, supplies, and merchandise, pasted-in bills for taxes, clothes, coal, boots, and other commodities, and a journal of Chandler’s farming activities, consisting of notes on labor performed, items and livestock sold, weather accounts, new purchases, and notation of personal visits and trips.

Subjects

  • Bucksport (Me.)--Economic conditions
  • Bucksport (Me.)--Social life and customs
  • Farmers--Maine--Bucksport
  • Merchant mariners--Massachusetts--History--19th century
  • Provincetown (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Ship captains--Massachusetts

Types of material

  • Account books
Lyman, Florence Porter

Florence Porter Lyman Papers

1894-1931
10 boxes 5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 946
Image of Florence Porter Lyman with her dog (from the Lyman Family Papers)
Florence Porter Lyman with her dog (from the Lyman Family Papers)

Florence Porter Lyman (1870-1960) was born into the Chapin Moodey family in the late 19th century. She married Charles Wendell Porter, a Northampton lawyer who spent his summers in Northern Maine, in 1894. After her first husband’s death in 1899 she continued to spend her summers in Maine. She then married Frank Lyman of the prominent Lyman family in 1903. They had three children together and lived in both Northampton and Brooklyn. During her summers in Northern Maine, Florence Porter Lyman stayed in touch with her many family and friends who lived in Massachusetts and New York.

This collection contains almost forty years of Florence Porter Lyman’s in-coming correspondence. Letters refer primarily to domestic matters including: her first husband’s train accident and death, her engagement and re-marriage to Frank Lyman, and the birth of her three children.

Subjects

  • Northampton (Mass.)--History
  • Northampton (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Perry (Me.)--History
  • Perry (Me.)--Social life and customs

Contributors

  • Lyman, Frank, 1852-1938
  • Porter, Charles Wendell, 1866-1899

Types of material

  • Correspondence
Mercantile House (Portland, Me.)

Mercantile House Ledger

1792-1804
1 vol. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 285

Firm based in Portland, Maine, that supplied “merchandize” to local merchants in Maine, as well as in several locations in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and northeastern Massachusetts. Firm undertook international “adventures” as well. Ledger includes general accounts for merchandise, bills receivable and payable, cash, profit and loss, storage, and truckage, as well as accounts generated with certain ships.

Subjects

  • Maine--Commerce--18th century
  • Maine--Commerce--Massachusetts--18th century
  • Maine--Commerce--New Hampshire--18th century
  • Massachusetts--Commerce--Maine--18th century
  • Merchants--Maine--Portland--18th century
  • New Hampshire--Commerce--Maine--18th century
  • Portland (Me.)--Commerce--18th century
  • Shipping--Accounting--18th century
  • Storage and moving trade--Maine--18th century

Types of material

  • Account books
Portland Granite Company

Portland Granite Company Records

1836
1 vol. 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 648 bd

Three months after it was incorporated by the state of Maine in March 1836, the Portland Granite Company acquired 17 acres of land from Seth Clark in Westbrook, Me., and began its quarrying operation. With 160 shares of common stock, the company’s members elected a board of three directors (Henry Iseley, M.P. Sawyer, and George Clark), with Henry R. Stickney serving as Treasurer and Secretary.

Recorded in a bound ledger, the records of the Portland Granite Company provide slender, but critical documentation of the organization of a significant quarrying operation. Included are the formal act of incorporation for the company, a record of approval by the corporation to accept their charter; a list of company by-laws; approval for the distribution of stock to members of the company (160 shares); and an agreement with Seth Clark to purchase 17 acres in Westbrook for the operation. The records were apparently kept by Stickney.

Subjects

  • Granite industry and trade--Maine
  • Gravestones--Maine

Contributors

  • Stickney, Henry Rolfe, 1799-1887

Types of material

  • Ledgers (Account books)
Rotundo, Barbara

Barbara Rotundo Photograph Collection

ca.1970-2004
9 boxes 10 linear feet
Call no.: PH 050
Image of

A long-time member of the English Department at the University of Albany, Barbara Rotundo was a 1942 graduate in economics at Mount Holyoke College. After the death of her husband, Joseph in 1953, Rotundo became one of the first female faculty members at Union College, and after earning a master’s degree in English at Cornell University and a doctorate in American Literature from Syracuse University, she served as an associate professor of English at the University of Albany, where she founded one of the first university writing programs in the United States. Avocationally, she was a stalwart member of the Association for Gravestone Studies, helping to broaden its scope beyond its the Colonial period to include the Victorian era. Her research included the rural cemetery movement, Mount Auburn Cemetery, white bronze (zinc) markers, and ethnic folk gravestones. Her research in these fields was presented on dozens of occasions to annual meetings of AGS, the American Culture Association, and The Pioneer America Society. In 1989, after residing in Schenectady for forty-six years, she retired to Belmont, NH, where she died in December 2004.

Consisting primarily of thousands of color slides (most digitized) and related research notebooks, the Rotundo collection is a major visual record of Victorian grave markers in the United States. The notebooks and slides are arranged by state, with an emphasis on the eastern states, and white bronze (zinc) markers also are represented in photographs and a separate research notebook. The collection also includes several rare or privately published books.

Subjects

  • Cemeteries--New York (State)
  • Gravestones--New Jersey
  • Gravestones--New York (State)
  • Gravestones--Pennsylvania

Contributors

  • Rotundo, Barbara

Types of material

  • Photographs
Thacher-Channing families

Thacher-Channing Family Papers

1757-1930
3 boxes, books 22.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1005
Image of Stephen Thacher, ca.1853
Stephen Thacher, ca.1853

A graduate of Yale, failed schoolmaster, and politically-connected customs collector in eastern Maine during the antebellum period, Stephen Thacher raised a large family with grand intellectual ambitions. Thacher’s sons made the most of their collegiate educations in their careers in law and the ministry, his eldest daughter Mary married Thomas Wentworth Higginson, while a granddaughter Alice Thacher married the Harvard historian Edward Channing, son of William Ellery Channing and nephew of Margaret Fuller.

These relics of a prominent New England family contain nearly 150 letters, dozens of photographs and other visual materials, and a large assortment of books from three generations of Thachers and Channings. The letters are a rich resource for understanding the life of Stephen Thacher from the uncertainty of youth in Connecticut to political and financial success in the ports of eastern Maine. Assembled by Stephen’s son Peter, the collection includes a number of noteworthy items, including an excellent letter from Timothy Goodwin in July 1775, describing his experiences during the failed expedition on Quebec and the retreat to Crown Point, and a series of letters from Congressman Martin Kinsley on the major issues of the day, including the extension of slavery to the territories and formation of the state of Maine.

Gift of Ben Forbes and Fran Soto, 2017

Subjects

  • Channing family
  • Maine--Politics and government--19th century
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--19th century
  • Thacher family

Types of material

  • Ambrotypes
  • Daguerreotypes
  • Photographs
  • Silhouettes
Thomes, John B.

John B. Thomes Contract Bridge Collection

1929-1936
5 vols. 0.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 874
Image of Shepard Club, ca.1934 (Thomas standing, second from right)
Shepard Club, ca.1934 (Thomas standing, second from right)

An enthusiast for contract bridge, John Bidwell Thomes was at his playing peak when the new game was sweeping the nation in popularity. In 1931, Thomes and his fellow Portland aficionados organized what may be the first state-wide contract bridge conference in their native state of Maine, just three years after formation of the American Bridge League and prior to creation of the present-day New England Bridge Conference.

Thomes indicated that these five typewritten volumes were originally intended as a means of preserving a record of “some hands that were quite remarkable,” holding out hope that his project might develop into a book that might be called “Adventures at the bridge table.” Simultaneously a record of the games themselves and the strategy and tactics pursued, these volumes are equally a record of the early formation of a bridge conference in New England and its first tournaments. The league included both men’s and women’s teams.

Subjects

  • Contract bridge
  • Contract bridge--Tournaments--Maine

Contributors

  • Shepard Club (Portland, Me.)
  • Shepard, E. V. (Edward Valentine), 1866-

Types of material

  • Correspondence
  • Photographs
Turner, Abel

Abel Turner, The Life and Travels of Abel Turner

1839
451p. 0.2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 708 bd

As a young man in Foxcroft, Maine, Abel Turner was caught up in the evangelical revivals and converted to Free Will Baptism, becoming a minister by the age of 21. Beginning in the backwoods settlements, Turner spent the better part of a decade attempting to “convert sinners” in Piscataquis and Penobscot Counties and the in the Burned-Over District of New York state, from Utica to Penn Yan and Cattaraugus County.

Written for his wife, Abel Turner’s long and detailed autobiography is a remarkable record of a young Free Will Baptist minister’s labors during the Second Great Awakening. Beginning with his childhood in Maine and his conversion experience, the manuscript provides insight into Turner’s experiences preaching in the rough-hewn interior settlements of Maine and the Burned-Over District of New York from roughly 1821 through 1839. In addition to some wonderful commentary on evangelical religion in the heart of the Awakening and on Turner’s own spiritual development, the memoir includes fascinating descriptions of the towns and people he met along the way.

Subjects

  • Free Will Baptists (1727-1935)--Clergy
  • Maine--History--19th century
  • New York (State)--History--19th century
  • Second Great Awakening--Maine--History
  • Second Great Awakening--New York (State)--History

Contributors

  • Turner, Abel

Types of material

  • Autobiographies
U.S. Interstate Commerce Commission. Bureau of Valuation

U.S. Interstate Commerce Commission, Bureau of Valuation, Engineering Report upon the Boston and Maine Railroad Company

1931
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 641

Chartered in 1835, the Boston and Maine Railroad was one of the largest and most successful railroad operations in northern New England for over a century, hauling both freight and passengers. The Railway began a slow decline as early as the 1930s with the decline in manufacturing in the region and later with the decline of passenger service. It came through a bankruptcy in 1970 and continues as a non-operating ward of Pan Am Railways.

This collection consists of blueprint valuations of the assets of the Boston and Maine Railroad, compiled by the Bureau of Valuation of the U.S. Interstate Commerce Commission in 1931.

Subjects

  • Boston and Maine Railroad
  • Railroads--New England
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