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Portland History and the “Valentine Bandit”

posted: , by Abraham Schechter
tags: Library Collections | Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors | Art & Culture | Portland History

The photo below was our Valentine’s Day treat in 2010. Already two years ago! Notice the Library’s first-phase renovation was nearly done, as seen in the photo. Still, Portland’s mysterious Valentine Bandit saw fit to visit us!

Valentine’s Day 2010

Since Valentine’s Day 1976, each February 14th has greeted Portlanders with paper and banner-style valentine heart decorations. One year, Fort Gorges in Casco Bay was draped in a large valentine. This year, the huge heart banner is suspended on the Portland Museum of Art. Paper valentines, as usual, are taped on downtown shop windows- and along the front of the Library today.

Here’s an entry from the Portland Now blog about Portland’s annual Valentine phenomenon.

Today’s Portland Daily Sun features an article with some fascinating background about Valentine’s Day in Portland.


Portland History and Children’s Theatre of Maine

posted: , by Abraham Schechter
tags: Library Collections | Online Services | Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors | Art & Culture | Portland History

Children’s Theatre of Maine, beginning in 1924, is America’s oldest continuing children’s theatrical company. Some of their earliest performances were at the Elm Theatre which stood where the eastern portion of the Portland Public Library now stands! Children’s Theatre has a history filled with colorful highlights and milestones, and these are preserved in the Archives in the Portland Room and in the Library’s Digital Commons digitized collections.

CTM is now part of the Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine, on Free Street.

The image below shows a poster from a Children’s Theatre play in 1954, performed at Deering Oaks park.

The pictures immediately above and below were taken in 1948 (on Kodachrome film), at Redbank Village. The Children’s Theatre trailer stage even drew the attention of Life Magazine, and it was towed to Central Park for performances by the kids from Portland to New York audiences!

The above image shows a captivated audience in the 1940s, and the image below shows a Children’s Theatre member named Tony Shalhoub, helping a younger actor in 1975. Children’s Theatre history includes many celebrity actors and supporters- the latter including Bette Davis and Tony Randall.

Two images from the late 1990s – early 2000s: Above: an outdoor performance in Falmouth; Below: “The Emporer’s New Clothes,” performed at Nathan Clifford School.

Through their continuing history, Children’s Theatre has benefited from its energetic mentors. Below is an image from the early 1990s, as two young actors review a script with Lisa DiFranza.


Portland History : African-American community

posted: , by Abraham Schechter
tags: Library Collections | Adults | Seniors | Art & Culture | Portland History

February is Black History Month. Here are a few items from the Library’s Portland Room, the place to delve into the city’s many-faceted history.  Out collections include books, maps, periodicals, manuscripts, and photographic archives.

African-American history- in the city of Portland and the state of Maine- dates back to the early years of this city’s settlement.  The Portland Freedom Trail accentuates the city’s role in the anti-slavery Underground Railroad (see below).  One of the markers is just a few steps east of the Library on Monument Square, along Congress Street.

A new book, which includes a chronicle of the Civil Rights Movement, as it manifested here in Maine.

An item from our Archive, recently donated by the Portland NAACP.

In the above image, the family of a World War II veteran is posing for a Portland Press Herald photographer, in 1949.

Another Press Herald image. This one was taken in 1937.

This group photo was printed in the Press Herald in 1957.

Note the sheet music to a very famous song!

The above archival item advertised a sermon given by the Pastor of the Abyssinian Church of Portland, in 1853.

The Reverend Green had survived slavery.

The photo below shows the Green Memorial A.M.E. Church, on Munjoy Hill.

This church building was built in 1914, and is still prominently at the corner of

Sheridan Street and Monument Street.

(The photo was taken in 1961.)

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