MHS Historian’s Forum on Architectural Collections

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Library Finding Aids Moving Online

Arthur Waterman in front of Maine Motors Co. The finding aid for the Waterman Wolf family collection at MHS is the first to go online.

MHS is committed to making information about its collections as broadly accessible as possible. The full catalog is available online, and we are now turning our attention to finding aids.

Finding aids outline the contents and structure of manuscript collections. There are currently approximately 500 finding aids for MHS collections available in print to researchers who visit the Brown Library. Our goal is to make those finding aids available online in a variety of formats that are easy to find and use.

Library staff attached the first, for the Waterman and Wolf family collection, to a Minerva catalog record. (The finding aid is a downloadable PDF linked from the top of the record.) We are mapping out the process and resources needed to get the rest of our finding aids online. Soon to come: the finding aid for the John Calvin Stevens collection.

Crowd cycles in for John Calvin Stevens + Bicycle History talk and ride

June 14, 2011. Group Bicycle Tour

Walking past Maine Historical Society on Thursday afternoon (7/14) one may have thought we had turned into a bicycle museum. A high-wheel bicycle, along with other vintage and contemporary bikes, were lined up along the iron fences surrounding the Wadsworth-Longfellow House; riders were inside the lecture hall, listening to Sam Shupe give a talk. Shupe is a recent USM graduate, who wrote his history thesis on John Calvin Stevens and the art and history of bicycling in Maine. Under the wing of State Historian Earle Shettleworth, Jr., Shupe conducted his research across Maine- including at the Maine Historical Society library. He submitted his thesis for publication to the International Cycling History Conference, where it was accepted and in May he traveled to Paris, France to join their annual conference and present the paper. This fall Shupe will begin a PhD program in history at Boston University.

In a nearly full lecture hall, Shupe presented his paper once again to a lively crowd that included history buffs, cycling enthusiasts, and John Calvin Stevens admirers. His animated lecture, “I am an Old Wheelman”: John Calvin Stevens and the Art of Bicycling in Maine 1880-1900 kept the audience entertained as he displayed fascinating photographs and illustrations of bicycles, industry and shops, cycling clubs, John Calvin Stevens on bicycles along with sketches by the famed Portland architect.

After a brief Q&A, Shupe led 40 cyclists through the streets of Portland’s West End- stopping at points to discuss the architecture of several Stevens’ designed homes that were on the route map. The group of riders was diverse in age, interests, and choice of bicycle. Taking over the streets en masse, we rode leisurely under the warm afternoon sun, swapping stories of bicycle trips across Maine and Europe, discussing Steven’s architecture, and generally enjoying ourselves. Below are photos from the afternoon’s event.

Dani Fazio, Image Services Coordinator, Maine Historical Society

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