Notes from the Archives: The Gould Family

By Tessa Surette, MHS Volunteer

Another family’s story has emerged from the unprocessed collections: the Gould family. The collection consists primarily of three generations: Theodore Gould (1873-1966), his son Charles Edwin Gould Sr. (1909-1990), and Charles’s son Charles Gould Jr. (1944-).

Coll. 2880 letter from Susan to Theodore Dec. 9th, 1907
Letter from Susan to Theodore, dated December 9, 1907. This is the first letter from Susan that is not addressed to “Mr. Gould” but is addressed to “Theodore.” She writes, “My dear ‘Theodore’: Is this the way in which you would like to have me accept your new way of addressing me?”

Theodore Gould was born in Portland, Maine to Amelia (Twitchell) and John Mead Gould. He married Susan Francis Hill (“Daisy”) in North Berwick in 1908. Theodore and Susan had two children, Charles Edwin Gould Sr. and Althea Chase Gould. Of note in this collection are letters written by Susan to Theodore before and during their marriage. These letters offer detailed and interesting insight into the evolution of their relationship.

Coll. 2880 Charles E. Gould and Althea Chase Gould as children
Photograph of “Charles Edwin Gould, Age 7 years, 5 months – and Althea Chase Gould, Age 1 year, 11 months. Portland, Maine, May, 1917

Charles Edwin Gould Sr., son of Theodore and Susan, attended Bowdoin College but transferred to Lowell Textile Institute to learn the mill business. However, his family’s mill, the North Berwick Company, was later sold and Charles went into banking at the First National Bank of Biddeford. He married Elizabeth Prince (1915-1987) in 1941 and they had two children, Charles Edwin Gould Jr. and Susan Kennison Gould, later Hennessey. Charles’s letters to Elizabeth during his service in World War II are preserved in this collection, as well as correspondence with his children.

Coll. 2880 Charles E. Gould as a young man
Charles Edwin Gould Sr. as a young man. On verso of photograph: “Charles & the Green P., March 1930

Charles Edwin Gould Jr. grew up in Kennebunkport. He is a collector, dealer and authority of the author P.G. Wodehouse. He attended Phillips Exeter and Hebron Academy and graduated from Bowdoin College in 1967. He married Carolyn (Skidmore) Mayhew (1944-1986) in 1968. He went on to a career teaching English at Hebron Academy and Kent School. In addition to correspondence with his parents, there are also thirty years’ worth of Charles’ elaborate rhyming Christmas cards in this collection.

The heart of this collection is correspondence. However, this collection also includes diaries, photographs, notes and drawings from Lowell Textile Institute, documents regarding North Berwick Company, newspaper clippings and legal documents among others.

Coll. 2880 Christmas letter from Charles Gould Jr. inside


The Lomax Folk Project

lomax group 8-1

Join us Tuesday, June 13 for an evening of live music from the Lomax Folk Project, a five-piece band performing songs collected and archived by John and Alan Lomax for the American Archive of Folk Music. This evening’s performance will highlight music gathered in Maine.

John and Alan Lomax pioneered recording folklore by traveling across the United States. The father-son duo interviewed, recorded and learned from artists such as Leadbelly, Jean Ritchie and Muddy Waters. Together, they helped shape American music by influencing such artists as Jeff Buckley, Mumford and Sons, and Ed Sherran; all of whom have recorded folk classics from the Lomax collection. Hannah Grantham and Amanda Ekery created the Lomax Folk Project to commemorate the 150th anniversary of John Lomax in 2017 and celebrate American Folk Music with audiences. The Project’s mission is to inform audiences of the vibrant music history in their own backyards.

The Lomax Folk Project explores the vast repertoire recorded by the Lomaxes for the American Archive of Folk Music, located at the Library of Congress. This five-piece band—Amanda Ekery, voice, piano, arranger; Hannah Grantham, voice, musicologist; Daniel Raney, bass; Sam Talmadge, guitar; and Julian Loida, percussion—recreates these classics and invites audiences to learn about the artists, history and stories behind the music, and even join in! Ekery has arranged each of the songs, some being performed in an authentic way and some being reimagined with new harmony and melodic figures. Grantham, a musicologist, has researched the history of each song and spent years compiling stories about the artists, instrumentation, and time periods.

“What’s cool about the Lomax Folk Project is we not only share the musical aspect of American Folk but also share the stories about the songs and how this music is relevant now,” says Ekery. “We get the audience involved teaching them parts to sing along and clap with throughout the show, so they are involved in making music as well.”

Event is free for MHS Members; $8 general admission. Visit to register.

3rd annual Magical History Tour is One for the Ages!

Thank you to all of the venues, volunteers, sponsors – and especially our guests – for making the 3rd annual Magical History Tour one for the ages!

This year we explored The American Legion Andrews Post 17, Chapman National Bank / Time & Temperature Building, Church of the Sacred Heart, Circus Maine / Thompson’s Point, Cross Jewelers, Forest City Boxing Gym / Fork Food Lab, Longfellow Rolls Royce, State Theatre, Waynflete School, and the winner of our People’s Choice site from the past two years, the City Hall Clock Tower. For those who weren’t able to join us or didn’t get to visit all the locations, see below for historical information on each site.

And don’t forget to keep sharing your awesome photos from the Tour with us on social media using #MHSTour. Below are some from our Communications Manager throughout the day – he wasn’t able to visit all the sites so help us collect ’em all with images of your own!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


The American Legion, Andrews Post 17

History of the Structure:

23 Deering Street, designed by renowned Portland architect John Calvin Stevens was built for Fred E. Allen in 1898. Originally designed as a double house (although built as a single family), the two and half story Colonial Revival home was occupied by the Allen’s until the death of Mrs. Harriet Allen in 1925. Mrs. Allen’s executor sold the home to Karl Seaholm, who in turn sold it to The American Legion Harold T. Andrews Post, 17, in 1926 for the sum of $1 and other considerations. Mr. Seaholm never occupied the home, making the Post the second occupant.

While designed as a double house, or two-family home, there is no evidence of residents other than Fred Allen and his wife Harriet. The couple did not have children, and there appears to be no evidence of renters or other use.

The Dining Room: In 1996, the major Hollywood film, was made here. “The Preacher’s Wife”–a romantic comedy directed by Penny Marshall, starred Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston.  They filmed a skating scene in Deering Oaks Park, but due to warm weather than year, had to make snow for the scene. This building’s dining room (on the tour) was used as the preacher’s office in the film.

Continue reading “3rd annual Magical History Tour is One for the Ages!”

Hit The Ground Bidding!


It’s that time of year! The Magical History Tour—the biggest and most fantastic of Maine Historical Society events—is taking place Saturday, May 13 from 10am-4pm. This year’s exploration of historical gems that are usually closed to the public will celebrate Portland’s creative legacy—a rich history of art, entertainment, and architecture. The locations are kept top secret until the night before as they’re revealed at Mr. Longfellow’s Cocktail Party on Friday, May 12 at the State Theatre.

During the party, auctioneer Tom Saturley, President of Tranzon Auction Properties, will preside over a dazzling live auction—consult the list below and get your bids in a row! Check back for updates as the list grows. Guests at the Party will also enjoy a silent auction featuring food, travel, games, and adventures, scrumptious light fare including a complimentary signature cocktail, and a full cash bar available throughout the evening. Mr. Longfellow’s Cocktail Party promises to be a night to remember.

13rollsl__mediumLongfellow 1913 Rolls Royce Car Ride & Museum Membership

Enjoy a ride in Maine history! This 1913 Rolls Royce was originally owned by Alice Mary Longfellow, daughter of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. She is known as “grave Alice” from her father’s poem “The Children’s Hour.” This fabulous vehicle is now in the collections of the Owl’s Head Transportation Museum—and you have a chance to ride in it! Bring three friends and let the OHTM staff take you for a ride around Portland on May 13, or make an appointment to visit Owl’s Head one day this summer for a ride along the coast!

DoIExclusive MHS Artifact Viewing and Dinner Party for 10

Enjoy a rare opportunity to see first-hand and up close historic collections of national significance, as well as iconic Maine collections. The exhibited items are rarely seen in public, and demonstrate the richness of MHS’s 200-year collecting history. Items will include our rare copy of the Declaration of Independence, a lock of George Washington’s hair, and the famous Richmond Island coins. The intimate event includes a private viewing in the Society’s Brown Library hosted by Jamie Rice, MHS Director of Library Services and followed by a full-course candlelight dinner in the Longfellow Garden that is custom designed by Dandelion Catering with wine donated from Old Port Wine & Cigar. Get your history-loving friends together for an experience guaranteed to amaze! 

Curate Your Own Exhibition at MHS

Working with Chef Curator Kate McBrien, you will curate a small museum exhibition on a topic of your choice. The exhibition will be on view to the public for the months of February and March 2018 in our Showcase Gallery, with an Opening Reception for family and friends. Have a collection or an interest in history that you’ve always wanted to share? Now’s your chance!

Chebeague Island Inn

Enjoy a Weekend Getaway at Chebeague Island Inn, one of the few remaining inns that once dotted the Maine coast. A two-night stay for two this summer in an Ocean View room (with a private bath), complimentary gourmet breakfast, afternoon tea & house made pastries, (and daily turndown service). Step back in time, unplug (there are absolutely no TVs or phones) and unwind: read in our Great Room, sip cocktails on the Inn’s wrap around porch, enjoy the 9-hole course at the Great Chebeague Golf Club, explore the island on bicycle. Chebeague Island Inn, with its ocean views and spectacular sunsets, offers a magical, elegant, and uniquely Maine setting for your weekend getaway.

screen-shot-2016-05-18-at-11-33-57-amSugarloaf Summer Vacation

Sugarloaf may be renowned for its winter adventures, but the splendor of Carrabassett Valley in summer is no less stunning. Included in this package is two nights in a condo on the mountain (sleeps 6), a round of golf for two people, and a half-hour scenic flight from Sugarloaf Aviation offering unmatched perspectives of this gorgeously rugged part of Maine.

Bromage Family Camp

Enjoy a weeklong stay at the beautiful lakeside camp of MHS Executive Director Steve Bromage, located in Winthrop. The experience includes a one-week stay (camp sleeps 8) with access to two kayaks and a canoe for enjoying fishing or just the relaxing sights and sounds of nature.

1103px-Portland_Sea_Dogs.svgSea Dogs First Pitch & 1/2 Inning on the Radio

Throw out a ceremonial first pitch at a Sea Dogs game of your choice, and then spend an inning in the radio broadcast booth, helping announce the game! The package includes four Box Seat tickets.

Silent Auction Items include:

Fun and Adventure in Portland

  • Sea kayak tour to Fort Gorges with Portland Paddle ($104)
  • Maine Brew Bus adventure ($150)
  • Maine Escape Games gift certificate ($50)

Wine & Dine

  • Private wine tasting ($200)
  • Cellardoor wine pairing ($300)
  • Dinner for four with personal chef Sue Ellen Sevigny ($300)

Home & Garden

  • Two L.L.Bean Adirondack Chairs ($600)Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 3.52.42 PM
  • Longfellow Lilacs (3) ($100 each)
  • Skillins gift certificate ($50)
  • Fogg Lighting gift card ($150)
  • Cross Jewelers ($450)
  • Portrait photo shoot with Dan D’Ippolito ($250)

Mind, Body & Soul

  • Personal trainer sessions with Susan Naber ($300)
  • Float Harder sensory deprivation relaxation experience ($65)
  • Maine Center for Acupuncture gift certificates (3) ($50 each)

Take Me…

  • To the Circus: One-week summer camp experience at Circus Maine for kids ($350)
  • Out to the Ballgame: Sea Dogs Skybox ($640)
  • Outside: Maine Huts & Trails Family Membership ($100)

That’s Entertainment

  • Tickets (2) to a show of your choice at the State Theatre ($75)
  • Tickets (2) to Portland Stage ($86)
  • Tickets (2) to Aura to see Trombone Shorty on June 17 ($80)

Weekend Getaways

  • Sugarloaf Ski Vacation – enjoy Maine’s premier ski resort for four days and three nights during Maine’s February school vacation week ($1,500)
  • Press Hotel two-night stay and breakfast for two at Union ($850)
  • Luggage from TripQuipment ($550)
  • Stay at Claybrook Mountain Lodge ($220)

Creative Portlanders

  • Custom-made “Maine History” porcelain cups (2) by internationally celebrated potter Ayumi Horie ($225 & $150)
  • Custom-made bag by Margaret Hourigan ($100)

Love in the Archives


By Nancy Noble, MHS Archivist/Cataloger

coll-2941-valentineI recently processed a collection which warmed my heart on a cold winter’s day: Alice Gehring’s diaries. Alice, and her physician husband Edwin, lived on Ocean Avenue in Portland, and had three children: Marcia (born in 1906), John (born 1908), and Jane (born 1915). As with many of our family collections, the love shines through the pages of these diaries, tenderly kept by Alice over the years, with some additions by Edwin.

coll-2941-letter-to-alice-from-her-mother-in-lawI love the sweet note written by Edwin’s mother Catharine upon their engagement in 1901:

“Dear Miss Chamberlin,

Words can hardly express the joy and satisfaction that thrilled my heart, upon learning that yours and Edwin’s first and only real and sincere love for one another, had after years of suspence and agony, taken its natural and legitimate course, and ripened into an engagement. Ever since I met you for the first time, I have always admired you, and wished that your affections for one another might have been uninterrupted. Although the course of true love never did run smooth, all’s well that ends well. I am very happy over Edwin’s good fortune in winning such a pure and lovely girl, as a companion for life, and very grateful to your parents and yourself, that you have all forgiven and accepted him, into your heart and home again. May our heavenly Father protect, guide and bless you both, is the sincere wish of Edwin’s mother. In extending you a most hearty welcome into our family, I am sincerely yours

Sept 18/01                            Mrs. Catharine Gehring”

In one volume, Alice talks about her wedding presents, including a gift from “Dear Edwin” who gave her an “exquisite crescent pin, with a diamond in the center and pearls graduating to the tip ends.” (The donor, Alice’s granddaughter, still has this pin). Thecoll-2941-jane-and-john-bouker-wedding-photo wedding on September 10, 1904, after a long courtship, was captured not only in Alice’s diaries, but in newspaper clippings and photographs.

The love between Alice and Edwin continued over the years. In 1908, as Alice celebrated her 30th birthday, she notes: “Marcia was excitedly amused on my birthday when Edwin kissed me 30 times, adding he wished I was 50 yrs. old, that he might add 20 more kisses (decided to anyway).”

coll-2941-nancy-smith-weddingLove continues into the next generation, as the Gehring daughters marry. A photo of beaming Jane and her new husband John Griswold Bouker is accompanied by a newspaper clipping with the headline “Miss Jane Gehring will be wed Friday in navy and white dress.” This simple wedding in 1938 is in contrast to Nancy Smith’s wedding (Marcia’s daughter) – Nancy married Donald Durkee at a candlelight service in a Unitarian Church in Lynn, Massachusetts. Nancy’s gown was “ivory candlelight faille taffeta with butterfly bustle back cap sleeves, and long matching mitts.” Nancy and Donald were happily married for 62 years until her death in 2011.

Maine Historical Society has many family collections full of love – not only romantic love, but love of family. Click here for more on this collection.

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.

Notes from the Archives: A.W. Harmon, Blacksmith Poet

By Nancy Noble, MHS Archivist/Cataloger

I spent the past six months (off and on) cataloging broadsides. These treasures are now individually cataloged in our library catalog, Minerva (

At least fifteen of these broadsides are poems written by A. W. Harmon (1812 – 1901) of Scarborough. His subjects range from the great themes of the Civil War to his everyday life, including being laid up for three years due to injury.

The Civil War poems include “Columbia Mourns for Major Gen. Hiram G. Berry.” Hiram Gregory Berry, born in Rockland, was an American politician and general in the Army of the Potomac during the War. He was killed in Chancellorsville in 1863. Another Civil War casualty was Elmer Ephraim Ellsworth, whom Harmon writes about in “Death of Colonel Ellsworth.” Ellsworth was best known as the first conspicuous casualty of the Civil War, when he was killed in the process of removing a Confederate flag from the roof of a Virginia hotel. “Naval Expedition” is about the Battle of Port Royal, one of the earliest amphibious operations of the War.


Other subjects that inspired Harmon include the Great Fire of Portland in 1866 (“Great Conflagration in Portland, July 4, 1866”), Ireland and the Fenian Brotherhood (“Freedom for Ireland”), a shipwreck (“Loss of the Steamship Atlantic: from five to six hundred lives sacrificed”), an Indian massacre (“Sixty Families Massacred by the Blackfoot Indians”), and Bangor (“Things about Bangor”).

6676Harmon’s more personal writing includes poems about his religious conversion (“The Conversion of A. W. Harmon”), his eye surgery (“Verses composed by A. W. Harmon, concerning his sickness, caused by an operation in his eyes”), his brother’s drowning (“The death of William Harmon”), and my favorite: “Pity the sorrowful, composed by A. W. Harmon, concerning his sickness, caused by lifting, which injured his spine, affecting his head and eyesight badly, confining him to his bed and a dark room for three years.”

Good people all, I pray draw near
Attend awhile and you shall hear
What pain and anguish seized my head,
And threw me down on a sick bed.

Affecting thus my eyesight bad.
And causing me to feel quite sad;
Shut up in a dark room, and I
Could not behold the earth and sky.

While others could their friends behold,
And travel round from pole to pole;
Enjoy themselves from day to day,
In a dark room I had to lay.

I cannot see as others see,
One thing appears like two to me;
Had I ten thousand, with delight
I’d give it all for health and sight.

Engaged at Blacksmith’s work was I,
With eager hopes and spirits high;
Hopes, master of my trade to be,
But, ah, how soon my hopes did flee!

And I grew sick and had to leave,
Could work no more, which did me grieve;
My spine was injured, and my sight
Grew dimmer thro’ from morn to night.

Dreary and lonesome, every day
Distress and anguish on me lay;
One glimmering hope was left me still,
In life some place I yet should fill.

Was to my bed three years confined,
With inflammation on my spine.
Ah! Who my feelings can relate.
Or thus imagine my sad fate?

Six months in a dark room I lay,
My strength was wasting fast away;
Knew nothing what was going on,
My intellectual powers were gone.

Distress and anguish filled my breast,
I could obtain but little rest;
Affected badly was my sight,
Yet hope from me took not her flight.

Better to give than to withhold,
We in the Bible are so told.
God loves the give, the free man,
Who helps the needy when he can.

It makes one wonder how he and his family were able to survive while he was not able to work for this long period of time.


So who is this prolific blacksmith poet? Abner Warren Harmon, born in Bucksport,  was a carriage blacksmith in Scarborough.  He and his wife Lydia had 5 children: William, Cassie, Maria, Eldorah, and Velzorah (the latter two certainly sound like the names of a poet’s daughters). Unfortunately, we’ll probably never know any more about him, or how a blacksmith came to be a poet, including publishing his own poetry, often set to music, as broadsides. I am thankful that the broadsides survived, so we can enjoy them to this day.

See the Minerva records for these broadsides by A. W. Harmon.