The world at your fingertips right in your neighborhood.
Portland Public Library’s mission is to serve the Greater Portland Community by providing a diverse collection of books and other resources, with access to information resources worldwide. The library’s services support the educational, informational, and recreational interests of all community members.
The general municipal election on November 5th is coming quickly. Are you registered, researched and ready?
How do you register to vote? You fill out a voter registration card. You can register until/on Election Day. You must register in person and must show ID and proof of where you live. (21-A MRSA §121)Where do you register to vote? You can register to vote at your town office or city hall, or through any Motor Vehicle branch office. Completed voter registration cards may be hand delivered (it is too late to mail a voter registration card) to your town office or city hall, or to the Secretary of State’s Office in Augusta.
Go to Maine.gov for voter information look up; to find out who the candidates are in your district. Also, if you live in Portland you can look up your district information on the city’s webpage.
Read theMaine Citizens Guide to the Referendum Election – inside this booklet, you will find the referendum questions, the legislation each question represents, a summary of the intent and content of the legislation, an explanation of the significance of a “yes” or “no” vote, and much more information.
Find sample ballots on the City of Portland webpage, here you will find local candidates names and also a summary on Question 1 re: recreational use of marijuana by adults ages 21 and older. ***Since the ballot is different for each town, look for voter information and a sample ballot on your town’s website. Sample ballots may not be available very far in advance of the election. If your town has not posted a sample ballot, you can call them and ask them to do so. Find contact information for your town on the State of Maine website.
Use your PPL card to access library databases including Global Issues in Context (a colorful wealth of resources explaining the background and viewpoints necessary for understanding global issues, conflicts, and events), Opposing Viewpoints (an online resource covering today’s hottest social issues) and the Maine Newsstand (an index to and full text coverage of five Maine newspapers).
Voting smart is important. Have questions? Visit your local library!
When not being used in the Lewis Gallery, our nineteenth-century vitrines (glass display cases) are hosting displays from our collection in the Main Library Lower Level – Information Desk area. Our first display, on view now through November, is a selection of sheet music from the Portland Room Archives.
In the nineteenth and early twentieth century musical life revolved around the family piano, and sheet music was provided for home performing mostly from publishers in New York’s Tin Pan Alley. But most large cities had their own small music publishers (who were usually instrument and sheet music sellers) and many songwriters would publish with local firms or simply publish their own works.
Portland could boast several such publishers, including the Paine family, whose most distinguished member, John Knowles Paine, was Harvard’s first Professor of Music. J.K.’s father Jacob and uncle William sold instruments and music at 113 Middle Street. The Paines published many of the compositions of Hermann Kotzschmar, the leading Portland musician of the period. Cressey and Allen had a music shop at 566 Congress Street; Cressey was also a composer and published many of his own pieces.
Many of the compositions featured in our exhibit were on local subjects: dance pieces named for Portland landmarks: the Forest City Polka, the Diamond Cove Waltz, and others in that vein. Others were hymns to local pride: Somewhere in Maine, Down in Maine. Patriotic compositions were standbys of the home music collection, and we have several from the Civil War to World War II.
We’ve included two items published “away”. The first, Kathleen Mavourneen, was a sentimental pseudo-Irish ballad popularized by tenor John McCormick. It was written by Frederick Nicholls Crouch, an English musician who lived and taught in Portland until his secessionist leanings made him unpopular in 1861; he joined a Virginia regiment as a trumpeter. The other New York publication is perhaps the most familiar college song of the 1920s, Rudy Vallee’s Maine Stein Song.
We hope that local music lovers, local history buffs, and everybody else will stop by the lower level and see this exhibit!
City directories provide a wealth of information that can help you with your family history research. Published annually, they consist of alphabetical listings of residents, with their home address and, often, their occupation. Beginning in 1882 in Portland, Maine, they also include an alphabetical listing of streets along with the residents (heads of household) at each address. The directories also list businesses, organizations, associations, the names and addresses of teachers, fire department officials, and various state, county, and city officials and administrators.
Here is a sample listing from 1920 and how to decode it:
Amburg Angus (Annice) stevedore h 152 Newbury
Angus Amburg and his wife Annice lived at 152 Newbury Street. Angus worked as a stevedore. They might have had children, but there is no other Amburg listed with the same address, so it is unlikely there were any adult male children living with them at the time. (Here is where you would have to consult other sources, such as the 1920 Census, for example, to flesh out the picture.)
A few notes of caution:
*Women were not listed in early directories, unless the woman was widowed or owned her own business.
*They may contain spelling or transcription errors. For example, the 1920 directory shows that Fabbio Ciconi lived at 8 Newbury Street. The address listing for 8 Newbury, however, lists a Tabbio Cicome. Same man? Probably, but as with any research, you will want to keep your critical senses sharp.
*Many streets in Portland were renumbered in the 1870s.
*And, finally, listen to the tone of exasperation in the introduction to the 1895 edition, written by the publishers: “Our canvassers meet with many obstacles. Addresses that are right to-day are wrong to-morrow, and persons fail to report changes when made after they have been visited. Persons whose judgment should teach them the folly of such a course are careless about giving information…”
That said, there is still an abundance of information to be had from the Directories. Be prepared to spend some time, though – they can be strangely addictive!
The Portland Room has Portland City Directories from 1823 to the present (with some missing years), as well as a few Directories for the islands and surrounding towns.