by Nancy Noble, Archivist/Cataloger
Back in March, while I looked out the window onto the Longfellow Garden and saw only mud and snow, inside my office a collection of Maine summer camps pamphlets came across my desk, and my world was suddenly full of sunshine, warmth, and visions of young campers, enjoying lakeside adventures. Now that we are on the cusp of summertime, those images are once again close to reality.
The pamphlets were donated to MHS from the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley. Four of the five pamphlets represent the Luther Gulick Camps on Sebago Lake. Dating from around 1917 to 1923, the brochures entice young people to come join them for the summer with pictures such as “Mrs. Gulick and her three daughters in camp fire costume, making fire with the rubbing sticks,” “The ‘tug of war’ is different from most, for here the defeated end gets a ducking,” or “Each girl is given an automobile trip to the ocean with a swim in the breakers of the Atlantic.”
One brochure, dating from 1923, lists items in a “necessary outfit,” which includes:
- two pairs of dark blue bloomers
- three white middy blouses (unbleached blouses without color trimming)
- four French peasant blue blouses
- scarlet bathing suit
- a bathing cap
- black middy tie, scarlet middy tie
- six pairs black stockings
- a Southwester hat
A note states that “all necessary outfits must be secured from our official outfitters, Camp Supplies, Inc.” (located in Boston).
The Luther Gulick Camps were founded by Dr. Luther Halsey Gulick and Charlotte Vetter Gulick in 1907. Wohelo, which still exists and is run by family members, is comprised of two girls’ residential camps – Little Wohelo (ages 6-12) and Sebago Wohelo (ages 12-16).
There was also a Camp Timanous for Boys, which was founded in 1916 by the Gulicks – a card announcing the camp can be found with one of the pamphlets. This camp too, still exists. Another brochure is for the “Sebago-Wohelo Camps,” another variation of the name. The fifth pamphlet that came with the collection is for the White Mountain Camp (1917), which was also located in South Casco, Maine, on Sebago Lake. It was founded in 1907.
Maine Historical Society has a large collection of pamphlets about camps in Maine, especially those that existed in the early 20th century (and many of which continue to this day). You can find these by searching our online catalog under Camps – Maine.