Notes from the Archives: Broadsides

by Nancy Noble, MHS archivist/cataloger

One of my favorite type of materials to catalog are broadsides. Usually, these are large sheets of paper printed on only one side and meant to be posted. In a variety of print faces, they convey information about public notices, resolutions, events, points of interest, or goods and services — telling more of the story that is the history of Maine.

Here are a few that I recently catalogued:

Receipts for dyeing woolen & cotton goods, Carefully arranged and adapted for Family use. This was printed by the Leviathan Print Establishment in 1855, for Hiram Bassett of Dexter, Maine. It has various recipes for different colors used for dyeing textiles. At the bottom it states: “Certificate. We, the undersigned would say, that we are well acquainted with Mr. Bassett, he has been employed by us 10 or 12 years as a practical Dyer… Farrar & Cutler, Amos Abbott & Co. Dexter May 18th, 1855.” (Broadside 112)

An historical point of interest: when in Maine don’t fail to visit the Longfellow Farm. This broadside, ca. 1930, invites visitors to the home of Stephen Longfellow, father of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (one of a line of Stephens who lived in Gorham). The broadside reads: “A very interesting old mansion, Longfellow Street, Gorham, two miles from Westbrook. This home came into possession of poet Longfellow’s family in 1761, Admission 25 cents.” (Broadside 113)

City Hall, Portland, Me.: Paderewski only matinee, Wednesday, January 3rd, 1900, at 2.30. The famous pianist, Ignace Jan Paderewski (1860-1941), performed at Portland’s City Hall in 1900. The broadside includes his portrait, as well as seating and price information. (Broadside 114)

Commonwealth of Massachusetts. State of the treasury, January 1st, 1819. The earliest broadside/document of this group was signed and dated: “Treasury Office, Boston. January 1st, 1819. Daniel Sargent, treasurer.” This document was created before Maine became a state in 1820. (Broadside 116)

Picturesque bits at Cushings. While probably not technically a broadside, since it came from a magazine, American Architect and Building News — no. 527 (Jan. 30, 1886) — it is printed on one side. It shows four buildings on Cushing Island in Casco Bay drawn by John Calvin Stevens, the Portland, Maine, architect: The Thaxter Cottage, Dakers, The Farm Buildings, The Farm House, and At the Ottawa. Probably hand-colored. (Broadside 117)

Henry W. Longfellow. Printed by Pellegrino DeSarno at Portland High School’s printing laboratory around 1957, it includes a portrait engraving of Longfellow and a quote by William Winter about Longfellow, taken from Compton’s Encyclopedia. (Broadside 118)

At auction, a Tan Yard with 200 vats and Water Power in Kennebunk-port. Part of this reads: “The owners of a major part of a large tanning establishment (erected and occupied by D.W. Lord & Co. till recently) having removed from this place, now offer the same at Public Auction, on the first day of April next, at 2 o’clock P.M.” Daniel W. Lord & Co. Kennebunk-port, March 6, 1840.” (Broadside 121)

Joint resolution recognizing the tragic expulsion of the residents of Malaga Island, Maine in 1912 and rededicating ourselves to the Maine ideals of tolerance, independence and equality for all peoples. This is probably not technically a broadside, since it probably isn’t meant to be posted, but more of a document (printed on one side). Dated April 7, 2010, it seeks to make resolution for a sad part of Maine’s past, which happened 100 years ago. It is signed by Millicent M. McFarland, Clerk of the House; Joy J. O’Brien, Secretary of State; Hannah M. Pingree, Speaker of the House of Representatives; Elizabeth H. Mitchell, President of the Senate; Herbert C. Adams, Representative of Portland, and Sponsor; Matthew Dunlap, Secretary of State. (Broadside 122)

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