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, Updates

19th c. Main Street Maps!

Detail from the 1884 map – Main near Franklin Street!

As mentioned in the May 16th Biddeford-Saco Courier, we are thrilled to a virtual unveilling of the two maps we recently had conserved and digitized by the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) in North Andover, Mass. (The maps are super huge, and we are still trying to figure out how to display them in real life…stay tuned for that!)

Both maps are a wonderful records of Biddeford’s Main Street Historic District, which has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 2009. (Oh and also portions of that little area called the Mills Historic District? Also on National Register? You probably haven’t heard about it though…) 😛

You can find full records of each map in the library’s catalog – but we’ve got digital copies right here for you to download and enjoy absolutely free, thanks to the support of the AWESOME Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation. ENJOY!

(Psst…the maps are huge, so be prepared if you aren’t downloading from a fast network…)


Events, New Stuff, Updates

October is (sorta) Family History Month!

Picture2Hey so October is unofficially the official month where we celebrate Family History in the U.S.A.! (Note of explanation: OK, so FHM is an official thing in Australia, and some states and municipalities in the U.S. have designated it as a permanent thing; the U.S. Senate declared October “Family History Month” in 2001 then again in 2005– but for those years only. That’s official enough for us, so we’ll just go with it.)


And we want you to know there are TONS of resources, both online and here in the library, for those interested in researching, preserving and sharing their own family history. 

So, in honor of Family History Month, we’ve got all kinds of things happening.

  • On the blog/social media sites: we will feature two upcoming posts with resources: “Caring For Your Family Treasures” and then “Sharing + Preserving Your Family Stories”.
  • In the library: we have several great programs that connect with the theme of Family History (check out the calendar of events), and there will also be a display upstairs of handouts and books available on Family History, Doing Genealogy, Caring For Family Treasures and Sharing + Preserving Your Family Stories.


Events, Updates

Amateur Newspapers – Resources


I was so pleased to get the chance to speak about the Walter Perkins Amateur Newspaper exhibit at Maine Historical Society today, and ramble a bit to a group of captive listeners! 🙂

In any event, I do hope everyone got a little something from the talk; whether it was an appreciation for creative youth culture, or a first glimpse into the workings of a digitization project. Here are links to the various web-based resources I mentioned…enjoy!

Events, Updates

Personal Digital Archiving: RESOURCES!

Folks, we had a great turnout for our Pass It On: Personal Digital Archiving Day workshops last week! It was really exciting to see so many folks interested in learning more about how to preserve and provide access to their digital legacies.  As promised, here are links to the video which I *meant* to show at each session, as well as links to other resources for archiving your digital materials. (Much of the content of the Library of Congress pages are what was in the handouts distributed at the presentation; however there are also bonus materials, videos, and podcasts to be found as well!)

Why Digital Preservation is Important for You [VIDEO]

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS-Archiving Personal Photographs
NATIONAL ARCHIVES-Digitizing Photo Collections
AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION-Preserving Your Digital Photographs [webinar]


LIBRARY OF CONGRESS-Personal Digital Records
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS-Archiving Websites


The Jefferson Street Church will live on (at the library!)

Well, by now I think everyone in town is well aware of the sad state of this building, and that in the near future it will no longer be a part of our cityscape. [For the record, I got to go inside it to take some pictures when I heard it was coming down, and folks, it was SCARY BAD in there. Sometimes you just have to know when to start fresh, and *this* fervent history lover agrees that this was the right thing to do here.]  

This, friends, is why we work to create and preserve a rich historical record of our dear city. If you’re interested in learning about this building, and the people associated with it, you know where to come.

  • The online History Index refers to numerous stories which appeared in the local papers about this church (scroll down to look under CHURCHES–FREE WILL BAPTIST and further on under  CHURCHES–UNITED BAPTIST.)
  • We have images up on Maine Memory Network of the church in 1955 and the reverend who was serving in 1895, Rev. Musgrove (who just happens to look kind of like Gerald McRaney–remember Simon & Simon?!?)
  • And just this week I digitized our copy of the Jefferson Street Baptist Church directory from 1926 and added it to our growing library of archival resources on the Internet Archive, which is fully downloadable and readable in multiple formats.

This is just a taste of what we have, and you can access even more here at the library (especially the newspaper articles, which are usually a treasure trove of information). We continue to try and to pull even more resources together to add to our “BUILDINGS + BLOCKS” binder, to make it easier for folks to locate materials which may live in several different collections.

In any event, be assured that there are people who are working to make sure that as time moves forward, one will be able to look back on where we have come from.

The only thing new in the world is the history you don’t know.  ~Harry S. Truman


That old map magic

Well, the conservation work on the 1848 map of the Lands of the Saco Water Power Company (a.k.a. all of downtown Biddeford and Saco), financed by an IMLS American Heritage Preservation grant, was completed last fall; the facsimile copy was framed by the fabulous folks at Saco Frame Center and now hangs for public view in the Henrietta Carroll Room here at the library.

Map as it hangs in the Carroll Room, McArthur Library
Map as it hangs in the Carroll Room, McArthur Library.

The original map, put back together and encapsulated, is snug in the locked flat file, safe and sound for (we hope) another 164 years. Already we have had the opportunity to share the map scan with patrons who are doing research on the mills, the water works, and downtown. How awesome is that? But now we can share it with the world. Check it out!