DPLA Welcomes Digital Maine

By DPLA, December 13, 2017.

As we prepare to ring in a new year, we are pleased to share the collections of Digital Maine, which joins Oklahoma, Florida, Montana, Maryland, Michigan, and Illinois, as the seventh new partner whose collections have been added to DPLA in 2017. With Maine State Library at the helm, Digital Maine contributes state documents and records, dating back to the Revolutionary War, as well as materials from local libraries and historical societies across the state.

You’ll find some “classic Maine” materials like rocky coastlines, cold weather, and lobster recipes, but also look for the materials that uniquely represent the state’s many small towns and local communities. For example, this collection of glass plate photographs documents the rural logging town of Monson at the turn of the twentieth century.  Photographs and maps from Kittery, Maine’s Rice Public Library and other institutions record the happenings at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, which dates to 1800 and is the Navy’s oldest continually operating shipyard.

When exploring Maine’s materials by contributing institution, you’ll find collections like those of the historical societies of Stockholm and Orrington that uniquely document the individuals and families who lived and worked in these communities.

Digital Maine also offers materials that illuminate the intersection between the lives of its residents and national history. For example, view the Civil War enlistment records for Maine’s 23rd Infantry Company or read soldier Nathan S. Clark’s diary entry about his departure for service with the 20th Maine Regiment in Digital Maine’s Civil War materials. Diarist Nathan Clark and the 20th Maine went on to serve in several critical turning point Civil War battles including Antietam and Gettysburg.

Selected enlistment records from the 23rd Maine Company Descriptive Book, 1862, courtesy of the town of Buckfield.

“Forward to the seat of War… We marched from depot to the wharf where the transport Merrymack lay waiting for us. We went on board and soon after the 36th Mass Regt came on board the same craft twelve hundred strong, which finished to pack the transport to its utmost capacity.”

Excerpt from Nathan S. Clark’s diary, courtesy of Maine State Archives.


Finally, explore Maine State Archives’ extensive World War II-era alien registration records, produced after a 1940 proclamation requiring all foreign born residents of the state to register at their town office. The records were collected and analyzed by the state Adjutant General and now offer valuable material for family researchers and students of immigration history. Yet, this collection also reveals some citizens’ xenophobic attitudes towards foreigners and tendency for neighbors to turn on each other.  

In this letter, Kennebunkport’s Chair of the Board of Selectmen warns the Adjutant General that a “reliable boy” has reported a German-born youth who stated in private conversation that he might be inclined to fight for Germany instead of the United States should conflict arise. This letter is part of the Alien Registration collection, from Maine State Archives.

Dig into these collections and more from Digital Maine and join us in wishing a warm welcome to all of our new partners in 2017!