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:

New Stuff

Franco-American history series revisted

Class portrait showing the 6th grade class of St. Joseph's School, Biddeford for 1943. 27 girls and 2 nuns in habits.
Image 3154. Sixth grade class of St. Joseph’s School, Biddeford, 1943 (27 girls and 2 nuns, none are identified)

In 1972-1973 the Journal published a series of articles by the excellent Franco-American historian, Michael Guignard. This was prior to the publication of his unequaled work, “La Foi – La Langue – La Culture: The Franco-Americans of Biddeford, Maine”. I came across this series while searching for articles on Israel Shevenell this week, and I wanted to bring them to light so they can be read and enjoyed by all again.

Articles in the series

“French-Canadians First Came To Biddeford In The 1830’s, ” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Aug. 11, 1972.

“Israel Shevenell Was Biddeford’s First French Voter,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Aug. 18, 1972.

“Controversy Marked The Early History Of St. Joseph’s Parish,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Aug. 25, 1972.

“Pastors Were Tenacious In Building Up St. Joseph’s Parish,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Sep. 1, 1972.

“St. Andre’s Parish Reveres Monseigneur Decary’s Memory,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Sep. 8, 1972.

“Parochial Schools Were Established To Preserve French Culture,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Sep. 15, 1972.

“Parish Schools Add Teeth to Discipline,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Sep. 22, 1972.

“Early Parochial Students Had To Forget Their Age,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Sep. 29, 1972.

“St. Louis High School Felt Financial Pinch,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Oct. 6, 1972.

“Parochial Schools Are On The Wane,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Oct. 16, 1972.

“High School Students Had To Go To Canada,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Oct. 30, 1972.

“Alumni Did Much For St. Louis High School,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Nov. 18, 1972.

“French-Canadian Newspapers: Press Preserver Of Traditions,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Jul. 16, 1973.

“French-Canadian Newspapers: Protestants Behind Local Paper,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Jul. 17, 1973.

“Early Publications Short-Lived,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Jul. 18, 1973.

“French-Canadian Newspapers: Mr. Zero Famous Native Son ,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Jul. 19, 1973.

“French-Canadian Newspapers: ‘La Justice’ Spanned Half Century,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Jul. 20, 1973.

“French-Canadian Newspapers: Editor Bonneau Multi-Talented,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Jul. 21, 1973.

“In La Justice: Anti-Yankee Views Explored,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Aug. 17, 1973.

“La Justice Dealt With Behavior,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Aug. 18, 1973.

“La Justice Tells: Discipline Is Key To Child Rearing,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Aug. 20, 1973.