Special Collections of the Maine State Library <br>and Maine State Archives</br>

Special Collections of the Maine State Library
and Maine State Archives

Maine State Library

The Special Collections of the Maine State Library includes maps, manuscripts, books and ephemera that contribute to a knowledge of the State, its people, its stories and its history. Featured collections listed below or click HERE to view all the items that have been digitized so far. If you have any questions or would like more information about any of the items please email the Maine State Library Reference Desk reference.desk@maine.gov or call (207) 287-5600.

The Maine Writers Correspondence Collection (MWC)

Works in this collection may be found in the library catalog. The idea of a Maine Author Collection originated with Henry Dunnack, a former State Librarian, who in the 1920s began to collect the literary works of Maine authors. For the purpose of this collection, a Maine author is broadly defined to include not only Maine natives, but also those who have become Maine residents, part-time residents, and authors writing about Maine. A unique file of correspondence with many of the authors adds to the value and interest of the collection, as do inscriptions in many of the books.

Myron Avery Collection

The Avery Collection is an outstanding collection of materials, gathered by the late Captain Myron H. Avery, relating to the Appalachian Trail, the Katahdin area and lumbering in northern Maine. The collection consists of paintings by George Hallowell along with pamphlets, slides, negatives and photographs covering the years 1876-1936. Among those contributing photographs to the collection were Fannie Hardy Eckstorm, Edward Draper, George Hallowell and the National Park Service. The collection also includes a large number of maps of the Katahdin and northern Maine area, and a chronological arrangement of Avery's correspondence. The Index to Articles, Books and Manuscripts in the Myron Avery Collection can be viewed online. Captain Myron Avery (1899-1952) was born in Lubec, Maine. He followed a career in the U.S. Navy, but his true avocation was the out-of-doors and mountain climbing. He was the first president of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and an enthusiastic developer of the Appalachian Trail in Maine.

Men of the Hour

In 1907 the Lewiston Journal produced Men of the Hour as told in Cartoon and Verse. The volume contained 152 caricatures depicting notable men in Maine. Each caricature was accompanied by a verse. From the details in the background of the cartoons and the content of the verses it was possible to identify some of the individuals honored; others remain a mystery.

Maine State Archives

The Maine State Archives, a bureau within the Department the of Secretary of State, maintains approximately 95 million pages of official State records considered to be permanently valuable. These include maps from the Land Office, photographs from the Dept. of Economic Development, trademarks registered with the Secretary of State, Civil War soldiers’ portraits returned to the Adjutant General and numerous gifts of historically important materials donated by individuals, to list a few. To browse all of the Archives' online holdings click HERE. Contact staff for questions regarding our holdings (207) 287-5790.

Alien Registrations

On June 14, 1940, Governor Lewis O. Barrows issued a proclamation stating that alien residents of Maine were required to register at their local town office. Over the next month over 30,000 people registered with their town. Overseen by the Adjutant General, the registrations were then collected by his office at which point the statistical data was extracted to create data sheets.

Joshua L. Chamberlain Correspondence

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (1828-1914) is best known for his heroic participation in the Battle of Gettysburg. Lieutenant Colonel Chamberlain led his 20th Maine Infantry in a desperate bayonet charge down Little Round Top on July 2, 1863. Fearing Chamberlain to be near death from wounds at Petersburg in 1864, General Ulysses Grant gave him a field promotion to Brigadier General. Surviving against all odds, Chamberlain received the Confederate surrender at Appomatox Court House, Virginia, in April 1865. Chamberlain served four terms as Maine's governor and later as president of Bowdoin College. This collection is part of a larger Civil War Collection within the Archives that includes photographs, diaries, hospital returns, among other materials.

World War I

The United States entered World War I on April 6, 1917, with a declaration of war from President Woodrow Wilson. Even before this, the likelihood of American involvement was beginning to increase, and the State of Maine began to take action. The National Guard was actively recruiting, and after President Wilson’s address to Congress on April 2, 1917, many Mainers enlisted. By summer, the Maine National Guard was called into Federal service. The Maine Governor and Legislature also took action, with the Legislature passing laws that benefited those who had enlisted and later establishing aid for those soldiers. Also, this collection contains material related to Maine's role in aiding Halifax, Nova Scotia after the catastrophic explosion on December 6, 1917.

Shared Collections

Within the holdings of the Maine State Library and Maine State Archives there are materials that overlap and that are interrelated. This can be by subject or material type.


The Maine State Library and Maine State Archives hold extensive collections of contemporary and historic maps of Maine and its environs. Maps from the Library include part of the Myron H. Avery Collection, a substantial number of USGS topographic maps of Maine. The Maine State Archives holdings are primarily from the now-defunct Land Office, the Department of Conservation and the Maine County Atlases. To view the Archives' Map Collection by subject click HERE.