February Meeting, 1951

    A STATED Meeting of the Society was held at the Club of Odd Volumes, No. 77 Mount Vernon Street, Boston, on Thursday, 15 February 1951, at three o’clock in the afternoon, the President, Augustus Peabody Loring, Jr., in the chair.

    The records of the last Stated Meeting were read and approved.

    The Corresponding Secretary reported the receipt of letters from Mr. John Phillips Coolidge, Mr. Bertram Kimball Little, Mr. David Britton Little, Mr. David Pingree Wheatland and Mr. Stephen Wheatland accepting election to Resident Membership, and from Mr. Bernhard Knollenberg accepting election to Corresponding Membership in the Society.

    The President reported the death on 8 January 1951 of Ogden Codman, a Resident Member; that on 5 February 1951 of Robert Francis Seybolt, a Corresponding Member, and that on 9 February 1951 of Harold Hitchings Burbank, a Resident Member of the Society.

    Mr. Gordon Thaxter Banks, of Shirley, Mr. Buchanan Charles, of North Andover, Mr. I. Bernard Cohen, of Cambridge, Mr. Dennis Aloysius Dooley, of Boston, Mr. William Henry Harrison, of Harvard, Mr. David Milton Kendall McKibbin, of Boston, Mr. David Thompson Watson McCord, of Boston, the Reverend Richard Donald Pierce, of Boston, and Mr. Vernon Dale Tate, of Hingham, were elected Resident Members; the Reverend Arthur Adams, of Hartford, Connecticut, was elected a Non-Resident Member; Mr. Marion Vernon Brewington, of Cambridge, Maryland, was elected a Corresponding Member; and Mr. Julian Parks Boyd, of Princeton, New Jersey, and Mr. Douglas Southall Freeman, of Richmond, Virginia, were elected Honorary Members of the Society.

    Mr. Wendell Stanwood Hadlock read a paper entitled:

    The Islesford Museum

    MANY of the members of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts were personally acquainted with William Otis Sawtelle, the founder and creator of the Islesford Historical Museum, Islesford, Maine, and his writings. Therefore the activities and plans for the eventual development of the Islesford Historical Museum is of interest to the members of this Society and other students doing research in the field of colonial history relating to the then eastern lands of Massachusetts, Acadia and Nova Scotia.

    In 1948 the Islesford Historical Museum and collection, together with 1.3 acres of land, was added to Acadia National Park. The museum building, in which is housed the entire collection of manuscripts, books and early colonial materials gathered from the Cranberry Isles and adjacent region, consists of three rooms and a central hallway. The building, erected in 1927, is made of brick and granite, with slate roof, and was made possible by the generous contributions of Dr. Sawtelle’s friends.

    The hallway of the museum building has a flagstone floor with brick sidewalls and with arching doorways leading to rooms on either side. The two rooms flanking the hallway were used by Dr. Sawtelle for exhibition and library purposes. At the extreme end of the central hall, but at a slight elevation, is a rear wing which houses the material gathered from the early settlers and inhabitants of the Cranberry Isles.

    For a number of years after the death of Dr. Sawtelle and before the property was acquired by the National Park Service little or no care was given to the materials within the museum, and, consequently, the dampness caused deterioration of valuable materials and manuscripts. In 1949 the museum was open to the general public, and the arrangement of exhibits followed as closely as possible the previous pattern as set by Dr. Sawtelle.

    The large entrance corridor was given over to the display of prints, paintings, drawings and photographs of the various commercial ships plying the waters of the Mount Desert Island region.

    The room to the right of the entrance corridor exhibits prints, photostats, maps and pictures relating to the early colonial history of Acadia, Nova Scotia and Eastern Massachusetts. In this room are also found prints of the personages who played an important part in the history of the area mentioned above.

    The left of the entrance corridor is the library which contains a valuable collection of books relating to this region as well as other prints and photostatic material dealing with the English phase of Maine history and more particularly the land grants in Maine. The library is unique, for one of its size, in that it contains the working tools necessary for detailed study of this phase of history for which the museum was intended. Among the books may be found:

    The Report of the Acadia Commissioners, 1755; John Maurice O’Brien, The Powers and Duties of the Town Officers as Contained in the Statutes of Maine (Brunswick, 1822); Colonel Paul Dudley Sargent (Privately printed, 1920); Pierre de Charlevoix, Histoire et description générale de la Nouvelle France (Paris, 1744) and J. G. Shea translation; Lahontan, Voyages (2nd ed., Amsterdam, 1705); James Sullivan, History of the District of Maine (Boston, I. Thomas, 1795), one copy with ii p. Index printed from mss. of John Wingate Thornton; Joseph Williamson, Bibliography of the State of Maine (Portland, 1896), an annotated copy; Lorenzo Sabine, Biographical Sketches of the Loyalists of the American Revolution (Boston, 1864); Beamish Murdock, A History of Nova Scotia or Acadia (Halifax, 1863); Samuel Purchas, Hakluytus Posthumous or Purchas him Pilgrimes (Glasgow, 1905–1907), 20 volumes; Marc Lescarbot, Nova Francia, translated by H. Biggar (New York, 1928).

    The Cranberry Isles Room at the end of the entrance corridor displays documents relating to the history of the town of Cranberry Isles and tools and materials used by the early settlers of the islands. One section is given over to display of fishing gear, another to cooper’s tools used in the manufacture of barrels and hogsheads of the fishing industry, and in various other parts of the room may be found household utensils of a coastal town in the 1800’s.

    As the museum is now arranged it is necessary that each visitor or group of visitors to the museum be personally guided and told the story of the displays. It is the desire of the National Park Service to modernize the Islesford Historical Museum so that it will conform to the standards of other museums within the park service. It has been suggested that the museum be arranged so that it will be in so far as possible self-explanatory and present a well-rounded story to the general public. The main entrance or the lobby would be given over entirely to the early shipping activities of this region and a special exhibit dealing with shipping. The room to the right of the entrance corridor would be given over entirely to colonial history and early United States history. Such displays in this room would consist of:

    1. 1. Basque fishing activities in colonial Maine.
    2. 2. Early discoveries and explorations.
    3. 3. Historic map of Mount Desert Region.
    4. 4. De Monts’ colony on St. Croix Island, 1604–1605.
    5. 5. French activity in early colonial period.
    6. 6. Jesuit Mission at St. Sauveur, Mount Desert Island, 1613.
    7. 7. English activity in this region.
    8. 8. Popham colony.
    9. 9. Land grants on Mount Desert Island.
    10. 10. Early land grants of Maine.

    The room directly across from the corridor will be a library room without any exhibits. It is planned that this room shall be a combined library-reading room with all of the manuscripts, historical records and reference material available to responsible students. It is hoped that all information in the museum will be cataloged and indexed.

    The Island room at the end of the corridor will be devoted entirely to the history of the Cranberry Isles from its earliest mention in historic records down to the present time. Special exhibits will consist of the following:

    1. 1. Early kitchen, the fireplace and the necessary utensils of the early 1800’s.
    2. 2. History of the Cranberry Isles supported by the early town records.
    3. 3. Fishing activities and fishing gear used.
    4. 4. Exhibit of the activities of lobstering.
    5. 5. Shoemaking with cobbler’s bench, tools and wares.
    6. 6. The cooper’s trade. The tools and methods employed in the manufacture of hogsheads and barrels for fishing industry.
    7. 7. Exhibits of John Gilley and Sam Hadlock.
    8. 8. Relief map of Little Cranberry Island and the waterfront activities of 100 years ago.1

    Mr. Samuel Eliot Morison described the new text of the Bradford history that he was then preparing. This was published in 1952 by Alfred A. Knopf.