New Stuff

Text of the poem “To Governor Hill by A Mill Hand” (1902)

Laconia Division Spinning Frames and workers, 1910

As promised, here is the text of the poem I read for the library on YouTube for Poetry month! This original poem appeared in the Nightly Comet (Biddeford, Maine) newspaper, February 19, 1902:

The actual author of the poem is unknown; however the Nightly Comet’s editor was noted local writer Mrs. Estelle Tatterson, and it is possible that she wrote it (but we’ll probably never know for sure).

You can browse the full run of the Nightly Comet at our Biddeford Historic Newspaper Archive.

And if you haven’t been following us on YouTube, Facebook, etc. then below is the video I made for your viewing enjoyment. I’m glad I got to bring the history to our Poetry Month offerings!

Visit the library’s YouTube channel for more history content by me!

New Stuff

Reading local history @ home

Folks who are home during this time are taking the opportunity to catch up on their “To Read” lists – and for many of us that includes local history books! Here are 3 which you can access fully online…

A History and Stories of Biddeford by Dane Yorke (McArthur Public Library, 1994). Published in late 1940’s, this book has some dated points-of-view, especially the Native American narratives. However the timeline, index, and overall simple writing and storytelling make this a continued go-to for a pre-WWII overview of Biddeford.

A Brief History of Biddeford by Emma R. Bouthillette (History Press, 2017). The most up-to-date local history work on Biddeford, it updates and dives into the details of Biddeford history, as well as bridging the gap post-WWII left by the Yorke book.

Images of America: Biddeford by Charles L. Butler (Arcadia Publishing, 2003). The “best-of-the-best” tour of numerous local photograph collections by an imminent Biddeford historian. With rich details and excellent storytelling, this book is a lovely walk through Biddeford’s highlights.


  • “A History and Stories of Biddeford” is made available to read online or download to your device of choice! Posted with permission of McArthur Public Library.
  • All other titles on this post made available by the publisher(s): Arcadia Publishing and The History Press.
  • *While Arcadia Publishing/The History Press graciously allow readers to view their materials in full on their website, please do consider purchasing the books that you love to support the authors and their work, if it’s within your means.
Folks reading, sewing
Image 927. Painting Lesson, 1887 (McArthur Library collections)

LOOKING FOR MORE? These topical books aren’t about Biddeford specifically, but you will find Biddeford stories in both. If you are interested in a topic not found here, send us an email and we’ll see what we can find for you! Many of the newest titles are not available online so we’ll do our best.



New Stuff, Ponderings

100 years ago, it was the Spanish Flu…

Nurses at Webber Hospital in 1912
Nurses and patients at the Webber Hospital, Biddeford in 1912 (McArthur Library Image 1056a)

A historical perspective can be reassuring, when you realize that others have been through tough times as well and they came out the other side. In 1918 the world was battling an epidemic of Spanish Flu (along with WWI). That year, our local schools were closed, people were advised to keep to themselves, and if they started feeling stir crazy? Go for a walk in the country. Even the Acton Fair was closed to keep folks safe. It’s pretty interesting to see the similarities, and to remember that this affected our grandparents and great-grandparents generation, who had access to far fewer resources and conveniences than we do today…and yet, they made it. Without stockpiles of toilet paper, even! But I digress…here are a couple of papers that caught my eye, and I hope you find them interesting too.

Biddeford Weekly Journal, Page3, 1918-10-04 look for “INFLUENZA IN BIDDEFORD”

Weekly Record, Page3, 1918-09-20 look for “ONE DOCTOR HAS THREE CASES”

Don’t forget, you can always access these  newspapers, plus all kinds of other interesting local history materials at

Take care!

New Stuff, Resources

New edition of the Franco American literary/arts journal “Résonance” now available online

Marie-Joseph Academy students on a postcard titled "Atelier de peinture - Art Room, Biddeford Pool, Maine"
Art students at Marie-Joseph Academy, Biddeford Pool, circa 1950 (Carr.0153)

The wonderful new-ish journal Résonance, a publication made possible by the Franco American Programs of the University of Maine, has published it’s second volume. It is freely available online thanks to the University, and is full of prose, poetry, reviews and more.

View/download Résonance, Vol. 2 (2020)

To learn more about Résonance you can access the full journal website at the following URL –

New Stuff, Updates

Webber Hospital (etc.) Auxiliary records accessible

Cardiac Capers program (1965)

When the SMHC Auxiliary disbanded in 2019, their records came to the library so that they may be preserved for the future and remain accessible to the community. The collection is now fully processed and accessible to the public for study and research.

You can access the finding aid, collection abstract and preservation information via the Catalog, and via the Archives section of our local history site

We are pleased to be able to provide a home to this important collection, and to preserve the story of the remarkable people who served the health and wellness needs of the Biddeford community for over 100 years.

New Stuff

National Register Sites – Mapped!

In Spring 2019 I learned about Story Maps, and so this summer I decided to make an interactive map showing all of Biddeford’s National Register of Historic Places sites. Mobile and desktop friendly, it will bring you to all the National Register locations in our fair city. All mistakes and omissions are mine, but as of January 2020 it should be up-to-date. Enjoy!!

Here is a short link, for your convenience:

Events, Ponderings

My bittersweet adieu to the Journal

Today the Journal Tribune will publish it’s last issue, and then cease to be. I read Drew McMullin’s farewell essay in this yesterdays edition, and it revived the lump that has been in my throat since I learned our newspaper is being tossed. Why? Because it is not a moneymaker, and that is all that matters. I have to admit, I’m pretty upset and so very sad about this whole situation. Biddeford is doing amazing things, and has been doing everything right, and still we couldn’t save our local paper…of course I wonder if we had a fair chance to fight for it. Pay up or else, I guess.

But I’m going to try and keep my disappointment and accusations to myself, because the purpose of me writing this is a need to say something good. I need to convey my deep appreciation for the Journal Tribune, in all its forms, and for all the Journal staff who have ever served our community.

To the past and current staff of the Journal: Do you know that we use your work almost every day at the library? Do you know that we all rely on the work you’ve done to tell the innumerable stories of our city? Births, deaths, marriages, divorces, accidents, fires, triumphs, mysteries, successes, defeats, they are all there, and always have been. Do you know how often the words “Let’s check in the Journal” or some variation of which, have been and are uttered by the librarians of Biddeford? I can only imagine it has ever been so.

We have relied on you, and we are afraid of a future without you. There’s room in the out-of-town papers for the big Biddeford and Saco stories, but what about the little ones? Will the free weekly that is supposed to suffice have room enough amongst the all-important ads for all the little things that make our towns home? When people pass away will their loved ones still have an affordable option to have an obituary printed? I know from experience that a Press Herald obit costs quite a bit more than the Journal did – hundreds of dollars for a modest sized remembrance. Will people in Biddeford and Saco and surrounding towns be able to afford to have their loved ones remembered one last time?

What about in 10 years, or 20 years, when someone wants to learn about the how and why of our choices today in Biddeford – Saco? Will they be able to find that information locally, for free? Or will they have to pay an online service? Or will they have to go to Portland? Or Augusta? Can you even get to Augusta from here without a car?? I don’t know that you can, not easily anyway.

The thing is, our community newspaper is not just a business, it is NOT all about dollars and cents. It is so much more than that, it is the living memory of all of us, in a format that is almost universally accessible. It’s the memory of me, and you, and my kids, and your kids and grandkids. It is our grandparents, or the grandparents of your neighbors up the street, or of all the folks that have lived in your building or your block. It’s all the honor rolls, playoff games, new businesses, and programs at the libraries.

I am so grateful to all of the amazing editors and reporters that I’ve come to know over my 13 years here at the library. I am so sorry that your hard work has come to this, and I promise you that we will keep your words and images alive. I promise that we will do our best to care for and preserve the Journal Tribune and make it accessible to all forever. I wish I could do more. I’m glad I have it within my power to do something, at least.

Thank you for being a part of my story. I won’t forget you.