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Portland History

Portland Public Library is the top research and preservation resource for the history of the Greater Portland area. Based in the Portland Room, our special collections are rich with printed books, archival documents, manuscripts, local periodicals, maps, photographs, and directories that showcase the history and development of the city of Portland.

The Portland History Team collects, preserves, and provides access to Portland-related special collections.  The team conserves archival artifacts and offers an array of documentation about the life of Portland including its residents, activities, businesses, and the physical attributes of the city.  The Portland History Team manages the Portland Room, which is a welcoming research space, and is an active community partner with local researchers, educators, archivists, historians, and educational institutions serving all age groups to preserve and tell Portland’s narrative history.

Call For Presenters: Makers @ PPL
image courtesy of flickr user OZinOH

The inaugural Makers @ PPL event is happening here on Saturday, April 25, 2015 from 11am to 4pm. The community is invited to respond to the Call for Presenters from December 1 through January 15, via this form: http://bit.ly/1vsVoFc.

Maker culture is a movement that emerged from the do-it-yourself community. This attitude that people can best learn new skills through hands on experimentation has been embraced by open source computer advocates, manufacturers looking for ways to renew interest in craftsmanship, and librarians and educators who advocate for information sharing and engagement with the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, math).

Community focused interaction around making has proven to be one of the best ways to incubate and develop ideas. With that, Portland Public Library is excited to announce the first Makers @ PPL event— an opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds to come together and learn about all the creative opportunities right here in Portland.

The themed tracks of the event have a broad appeal—Creative Arts, Science & Technology, Entrepreneurship, Food & Drink, and Local History. This event is designed to expose people to a variety of topics, ideas, and new materials, and the hope is that people will not only walk away with a bag full of creations, but with a profound sense of having learned something new.

Related Programs & Events »
Children’s Theatre of Maine Archive

Launched in 1924 by the Junior League of Portland to bring “good theatre to children,” the Children’s Theatre of Maine is America’s oldest continuing children’s theatre. Drawing the attention of Bette Davis and Gary Merrill, the Children’s Theatre gained notoriety in the 1950s. Former CTM actors include Linda Lavin, Judd Nelson, Tony Shalhoub, and Andrea Martin. The Theatre archives are now available for research in the Portland Room and some pieces are also in our Digital Commons online collection.

Related Items in our Catalog »
Jewish Oral History Project

The library’s Portland Room holds a special collection of recordings of interviews with Portland’s elder Jewish community members. The first set, made by Konnilyn G. Feig in 1976 and 1977, comprises the Portland Jewish Oral History Project and includes the original recordings and print transcripts. In partnership with the comprehensive Documenting Maine Jewry project, the Library also provides online access to an ongoing collection of contemporary interviews made by the local Jewish community itself.

Related Items in our Catalog »
Related Online Resources »
Portland Press Herald Still Film Negative Collection

The Portland Public Library manages the 1936-2003 photographic still film negative collection  from the Portland Press Herald, an immense documentation of Portland’s history through the lens of the daily newspaper’s photography. PPL is conserving and indexing the collection of 800,000 images and selectively scanning them for photo essays on the Life of the Library Blog, the Main Library’s “Aerial Portland” exhibit, and our Digital Commons online collection.

Goodwin and Richards Historical Atlases Online

Two historic atlases of Portland are now available online in our Digital Commons collection. Goodwin Atlas: 1882 covers revaluation plans of Portland produced by City Engineer William A. Goodwin in 1882. The 82 large-format plates show lots, streets, addresses, property owners, and more during the aftermath of the Great Fire of 1866 and 1900 when the city boundaries extended.

Richards Atlas: 1914 contains 24 double-page color maps of Portland and South Portland, documenting property lots, buildings, owners’ names, electric and steam railways, sewer lines, water mains, etc.

Related Items in our Catalog »
Up Next at the Library:
Apr25
Makers @ PPL11:00am - 4:00pm
Main Library
From the PPL blog:
Picturing Portland : Portland Public Conversation #3 – Dec 9th (7:30 am coffee / 8:00 am start)
The Choose Civility initiative invites readers to reflect on the issue as we look to 2015!   More »
Announcing the Call for Presenters: Makers @ PPL
Call for Presenters: Makers @ PPL! Share your skills, creative pursuits, and knowledge!   More »
Participating in Portland: a Portland Public Conversation
Join the Choose Civility Initiative in a public conversation on volunteerism in Portland.   More »
Contact the team leader
Abraham Schechter   Email »
Portland History Librarian
207-871-1700 x747
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