Notes from the Archives: Calendars in the Collection

By Nancy Noble, MHS Archivist/Cataloger


Yurt Foundation calendar featuring artwork by Barbara Cooney, children’s book author and illustrator.

Maine Historical Society now has over 50 calendars in our library collection, thanks in part to a recent donation from Earle G. Shettleworth Jr. Many were created by local historical societies, often in celebration of the town’s bicentennial. These include Bangor, Bath, Bethel, Bucksport, East Machias, Fort Kent, Guilford, Oakfield, Orono, Somerville, Topsham, Whitefield, and Yarmouth. Others were created by libraries, businesses, churches, and civic organizations. Most of these history-oriented calendars include historic photos.

Other are more artistic in nature, such as the photography-oriented scenic calendars produced by Down East, and art calendars, including those created by Ann Kilham and Kate Libby.


Stearns Hill Farm calendar

Some of the more unusual examples include “A year in the life of Zoe: A Monhegan Island, Maine lobster boat captain,” bachelor lobstermen and women, and a nude calendar created by the McLaughlin Foundation featuring black and white portraits of McLaughlin Garden members and staff in the garden—whoever said calendars were boring? Other subjects include patriotism, wedding dresses, yurts, and agricultural fairs.


Swift’s Premium Calendar

One of my favorite calendars was created to raise money to repair a circa 1820 barn at the Stearns Hill Farm in West Paris, the home to the Stearns family for seven generations. This lovely calendar features artwork by Jane Porter Gibson and Mary Gibson Williams, and includes excerpts from the diary of Will Stearns (1867-1945) who spent his life on the farm.

Our oldest calendar is the Swift’s Premium Calendar from 1911 that has lithographs of scenes from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poems. The largest calendars are probably our Canal National Bank calendars from the 1940s, which include Portland scenes, and measure as large as 60 x 38 cm.

Click here to see the catalog records for these calendars.

mhs-2017-calendar-coverDon’t miss the 2017 Maine Historical Society calendar! This custom-designed 12-month calendar features beautiful images from the MHS collections, historical dates, holidays, and interesting facts about Maine’s history. Buy online or at the MHS Museum Store.


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