Well, it may not officially be winter on the calendar, but on Long Island winter has arrived, with snow on Thanksgiving. So, to celebrate the season, we have a lovely winter exhibit of snowmen, collected over the years by Penny Murley. Stop by the small exhibit case, between the library and small meeting room, and say hello to this wonderful collection of snowmen.
A recent vacation in the Adirondack mountains of New York found us, as usual, visiting libraries.
Some we only saw from the outside: the lovely stone library in Brandt Lake is no longer used as a library, but offers a picturesque photo opportunity.
Lake Placid’s library was located on the main street, and offered a box of “free” stuff on the porch steps.
Raquette Lake’s library had steps from the water and tucked in a grove of trees.
But some libraries we were able to visit inside. One was the Adirondack Museum’s library. Yes, the museum had closed for the season a month earlier, but thanks to a brilliant tip from a friend, I had previously e-mailed the librarian, Dr. Jerold Pepper, to ask for a tour. Jerry not only showed us his wonderful library full of great books and fabulous manuscripts, highlighting such characters as Winslow Homer and the Roosevelts, but he also gave us a behind the scenes tour of the closed exhibits, including boats, carriages, and sleds. There are some interesting commonalities between Maine and the Adirondacks, including history and art. (Both Rockwell Kent and Winslow Homer spent time in Maine and the Adirondacks). We also enjoyed Jerry’s perspective on life in that region, an area “forever wild.”
We also stopped into The William Chapman White Memorial Room/Adirondack Research Center in the basement of the Saranac Lake Free Library, and chatted with the slightly overwhelmed looking librarian, who was cataloging tuberculosis patient cards. Saranac Lake was known as “the Western Hemisphere’s foremost center for the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis,” from the 1890s through 1950s.
Both libraries gave us a glimpse into the history of the area. Visiting libraries on vacation can be a great opportunity to get a flavor of the community, whether exploring exhibits or meeting people in the community, including visitors who come to our own island library.
Here is a fun website to peruse through:
Founded in July 2010 by writer A. N. Devers, Writers’ Houses is an online publication dedicated to the exploring writers’ spaces and art of literary pilgrimage. It includes houses all around the world, even Kenya! (Karen Blixen House and Museum).
One of these days I will make it a goal to visit all these houses. But for now, you can start with two in Maine: the Sarah Orne Jewett House in South Berwick and the Wadsworth-Longfellow House in Portland, home of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
My birthday road trip this year was to Hope, Freedom, Liberty, and Union. My favorite of these wonderfully named towns was Union, with its beautiful downtown common. There were several visual cues in the common referring to “Come Spring,” a novel by Ben Ames Williams published in 1940, which tells the tale of the first settlers of Union, then known as “Sterlingtown.” Sterlingtown became incorporated as Union in 1780, when there were 19 families. “Come Spring” fictionalizes the story of these families.
Despite being 866 pages, the book kept me interested throughout with good characters, humor, and mostly the wonderful descriptions of every day life in these early days of Maine settlement. It also contains one of the longest courtships I’ve ever read in fiction, a wonderful love story, and a strong and likeable main female character.
In Union’s common is a map of Sterlingtown, which can be found in the book endpages, as well as a plaque under a tree dedicated to Ben Ames Williams (1889 – 1953). What a treat to “discover” a Maine author (Williams vacationed in Maine, and set several of his works there) whom I have not read, especially after visiting Union. I need to return there again, now that I’ve read this book that further explores the history of Union.
My husband, daughter, and I enjoyed a wonderful boat cruise aboard the Blue Nun motoring around Casco Bay last Tuesday evening courtesy of Steve and Chris McDuffie. They generously donated the trip as a raffle fundraiser for the Long Island Library and my husband won the prize. Steve asked us where we wanted to go and since we had never seen Portland Head and Two Lights from “the other side,” we decided to boat down the coast to Cape Elizabeth.
The weather was perfect with a warm breeze and clear skies. Chris surprised us with some delicious snacks and my husband was able to snap several beautiful photographs of the area. As I took in the surrounding landscape and wildlife with binoculars, my daughter quizzed Chris on the local history and happenings of the islands.
On the return leg of the trip, we spotted the new Nova Star ferry coming in to dock at Portland’s Ocean Gateway Pier and a friendly harbor seal poked his head up to check us out. Steve took us around the back side of Peaks Island and with one last look at Fort Gorges, we got back to Portland just in time to take in a lovely sunset. We all had a marvelous time. Thank you to the McDuffies for making a two-hour boat ride such a memorable occasion.
Deborah Clark, Raymond, ME (with photographs by Craig Clark)
As the new consultant for the Southern Maine Library District, I have been visiting all the public libraries in Cumberland, York, and southern Oxford Counties. The Art & Soul Festival provided the perfect opportunity for me to tour the Long Island Community Library, meet the staff and trustees, as well as learn a little about island living. I was so impressed by the efforts of those I met (Library Director Nancy Jordan, trustees Nancy Noble, Patty Temple, and Connie Brayley, and organizer Mary McAleney) and by the strong community support for the library event.
I especially liked the “Bling Room” with fun costume jewelry for sale and bought a nice patriotic pin. My husband and I browsed the book sale and art auction offerings and while I was speaking with library staff, my husband was persuaded by student volunteers to buy some raffle tickets. We couldn’t stay for the drawings as we needed to catch our ferry back to Portland and were shocked to hear later that he had won one of the gift baskets! Thanks everyone for the great visit to the island.
Deborah A. Clark,
Maine State Library
This collection of pottery, on loan from Carl and Pauline Silveri, represents Portland and local Maine potters from about 1840 to the early 1920s, including E. Swasey & Company of Portland ME, a company which at one time was one of New England’s most prolific pottery works and today is all but forgotten.
Eban Swasey was a potter who apprenticed in Exeter NH in the mid-1800s. In 1875 he and his partner, Rufus Lamson, moved to Portland ME and established the Portland Earthen Ware Manufactory, producing redware. Swasey and Lamson eventually went their separate ways, and in 1890 Swasey established E. Swasey & Co. at 273 Commercial Street in Portland.
In 1897, Swasey’s youngest son Perley joined the company, which became a sizeable enterprise by the turn of the century. Eban died in 1906, but the business carried on until finally sputtering out of business in the Depression. The factory buildings are still there on Commercial Street – refurbished and with the “E. Swasey” logos freshly restored on the end of the mill, they serve today as an office park.
There are also documents in the exhibit related to the E. Swasey & Co. Other Portland pottery companies in the exhibit include J.E. Goold and Geo. A. Young Co.
10 more days until Art & Soul, our annual fundraiser for the Long Island Community Library. Here are our intrepid library volunteers selling raffle tickets on July 4th, at the Long Island Fourth of July parade. The winning raffle tickets will buy you a wonderful themed basket, or a personalized cruise on the bay.
Stop by the library and see the kid’s rainy day basket, a blueberry bucket filled with surprises donated by Ivy Hall Gift Shop (Evergreen United Methodist Church outreach), a Maine Lottery Tree, a chocolate basket, a lobster bake basket, an Irish basket, and a mailboat run basket.
AND the FIRST ticket drawn will be treated to an afternoon trip around Casco Bay with Steve and Chris McDuffie on the BLUE NUN. Room for six, destination to be determined by Captain and winner and weather.
Tickets are 3 for $5.00 (stapled together) or $2.00 per ticket. The tickets are sold at the library, from library volunteers & from Mary McAleney, 207-799-4306, email@example.com
See you in 10 days!
ART & SOUL Festival
Long Island Community Library
Long Island Library & Learning Center
Saturday, July 19, 2014, 10-2
At 2pm: Raffle drawings, silent auction results and books $1.00 a bag
Books— Fiction, fact and fantasy
Jewelry— Baubles, beads and bling
Raffle— Bountiful baskets, plenty of prizes
Raffle Tickets sold at the library, library volunteers &
Mary McAleney 207-799-4306 firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to seeing you there (and thank you for supporting our library)
The Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance (MWPA) announced the winners of the 2014 Maine Literary Awards.
The winners for book awards included Roxana Robinson for “Sparta” in fiction; Al Lamanda for “Sunrise” in crime fiction; Mark D. Diehl for “Seventeen: Book One” in speculative fiction; Lincoln Paine for “The Sea and Civilization” in nonfiction; Peter Korn for “Why We Make Things and Why it Matters” in memoir; Christian Barter for “In Someone Else’s House” in poetry; Lynn Plourde for “You’re Wearing THAT to School?!” in children’s; Maria Padian for “Out of Nowhere” in young adult; Martha White for “E.B. White on Dogs” in anthology; Reeser Manley and Marjorie Peronto for “New England Gardener’s Year” in the John N. Cole Award for Maine-themed nonfiction; and Elizabeth W. Garber and Michael Weymouth for “Maine (Island Time)” for excellence in publishing.
For more information see: