The Woman’s Literary Union was organized in 1889. The organization’s stated goal was to promote the intellectual life of its members through lectures, entertainment, and community work. The Portland Room has a small collection of pamphlets and ephemera pertaining to this organization, which we have digitized and uploaded to the library’s Digital Commons platform: http://digitalcommons.portlandlibrary.com/wlu/
Though small in scope, the collection offers tantalizing glimpses into the lives of some of the city’s women. It also provides opportunities to explore other online historical resources.
Annual Dues Receipt
For example, Mrs. Hubbard’s annual dues receipt gives her address. A photograph of her house as it appeared in 1924, a year after the date on this receipt, can be seen on the Maine Memory Network web site. The digitization of the 1924 tax photographs was a collaborative project involving the City of Portland, the Maine Historical Society, and the Portland Public Library.
Gail Laughlin, whose name appears on a 1926 list of officers, had an illustrious career as a lawyer, women’s rights advocate, and politician. You can see census entries and city directory listings for her by accessing Ancestry.com through the Portland Public Library’s computers (http://www.portlandlibrary.com/research/) (Incidentally, you can also find a photograph of her house in the 1924 tax records collection.)
We did not pursue every lead in the collection or track down every name. We leave that for other researchers. We just hope the collection will spark interest or get you curious about other historical collections. As always, call us (207-871-1700 x747), email us (firstname.lastname@example.org), or stop by if you are curious about Portland history or library resources!
The Portland Room is open Monday-Thursday 10am-7pm and Friday 10am-6pm.
The Portland Public Library is celebrating Pride Month with exciting and informative exhibits, films, and events. Here’s a run-down of what’s going on with Pride at PPL in June, as well as some resources you can access all year round:
Saturday, June 21,look for PPL’s Bookmobile in the Pride Parade! Volunteers from the PPL staff and community will be marching with the Bookmobile and passing out bookmarks with lists of great LGBT-related reads. We’ll have a special display of PPL’s Pride-related materials on the Bookmobile ready to be checked out when the parade stops at Deering Oaks.
If you duck away from the crowds on June 21, the Main Library will be having a Pride Film Festival, showing classic titles all day in the Rines Auditorium.
Pride-related films will also be showing on Thursday nights at the Main Library each week in June.
In addition to our calendar of special events and programming, Pride Month is a great time to explore the library’s historic and up-to-the-minute collections.
Another archive we’re tapping into during Pride Week is the Portland Press Herald Still-Film Negative Collection. A display of photographs from past Pride Weeks (including some shots from Portland’s very first Pride Parade in 1987) will grace the hallways of the Main Library around the Lewis Gallery.
Our staff have created handy catalog lists of Pride-related resources from throughout the library for Children, Teens, and Adults (which you can check out any month of the year!).
● Our Reader’s Advisory team offers a list that celebrates Pride at PPL: Fiction, including Stonewall Award winners as well as other complex and compelling works that tackle love, gender, sex, identity, and more. Take home a copy of Kim Fu’s just-released 2014 novel, “For Today I am a Boy;” 2013 Stonewall Winner Ellis Avery’s “The Last Nude;” or pick up a classic like Leslie Feinberg’s “Stone Butch Blues.”
Remember, these lists are just a selection of materials at the library! Sleuth our catalog or check in with the librarians and staff at the Main Branch, Burbank, Peaks, Riverton, and on the Bookmobile for more resources and information.
That’s a wrap! As always, we look forward to seeing you at PPL.
In honor of National Poetry Month, the Portland Room’s intrepid intern, Harper Wray Chance, has pulled together a charming exhibit of some gems from our collections. Books on display include Martin Steingesser’s Brothers of Morning and Betsy Sholl’s Rough Cradle. (Don’t miss the opportunity to hear Sholl speak about her work on April 10 at the Maine Women Writers Collection at UNE, http://www.une.edu/mwwc/conferences/authorseries.cfm)
Elizabeth Coatsworth, the well-known writer of children’s books, explores a darker side of life in the slightly sinister poems of The Creaking Stair. As she writes in the poem titled By Command, “the nightmares are waiting.” The book is illustrated by W.A. Dwiggins, an illustrator, book designer, and typographer. For this volume, he used an experimental typeface of his own design that he had not yet named.
Also on display is a book by Nathaniel Parker Willis. Willis’ father founded the early Portland newspaper, the Eastern Argus, available on microfilm in the Portland Room. Willis himself was a prolific and popular journalist, poet, and editor.
A page from Julia H. May’s Songs from the Woods of Maine showing the poem “The Happy Hills of Strong.”
These and the other books in the exhibit represent just a tiny portion of what we have on the shelves of the Portland Room. We invite you to stop by, take a look, read a poem or two. While you’re here, take a look at our display of old children’s books, as well, and our ongoing display of items from the Maine Charitable Mechanic Association. The Portland Room is located on the 2nd floor – come on in! We are open Monday-Thursday 10-7 and Friday 10-6.