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American Archives Month – Historical Research of Maine Businesses & Industries

posted: , by Cindy Dykes
tags: About the Library | Library Collections | Online Services | Adults | Teens | Seniors | Business | Portland History

The Portland Room and Archives has several resources that are useful when researching the history of a given business or industry. The Maine Register is a business directory covering the State of Maine. It is organized by county and then towns within the county. Included is a classified business index and a manufacturers’ section, which includes the names and locations of businesses as well as the names of owners or principal officers, purchasing agents and sales offices. There are also a lot of other fun facts included as well, for example, how the counties voted for governor and presidential candidates in election years, and current postage rates.

The Annual Report of the Bureau of Industrial and Labor Statistics for the State of Maine, covering 1887-1910, often contain extensive reports on industries in Maine in a given year. The 1890 edition is dedicated to agriculture and the strikes among the granite workers that year.

Another great print resource is Edward H. Elwell’s 1875 edition “The Successful Business Houses of Portland.” Organized by type of business and then business names, he gives a history of the business and goods they sell or manufacture.


Charles F. Guptill & Co. ca. 1910
from the Portland Room Photo Archives

Sometimes information about businesses can be gleaned from viewing the PPL’s Picture and Photo Collections.

The newspapers can be sources of information for this type of research. There are two indexes that can be used. The Jordan Index covers sixteen newspapers, primarily published in Portland, between 1785-1835. The Maine News Index covers the Press Herald newspapers between 1945-1992. After 1992, the newspapers can be found in the Maine Newsstand database.

Finally, check out PPL’s Digital Commons. Much of what you find here are abstracts of articles the Portland Room has in print. We have also digitized the 1882 Goodwin Atlas and the 1914 Richards Atlas, that show streets, addresses, footprints of buildings and what the buildings are made of, as well as a print copy of 1957 Sanborn fire insurance map.

Talk Like a Pirate

posted: , by Brandie Burrows
tags: Online Services | Adults | Language Learning

pirate2Shiver me timbers—it’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Celebrated annually on Sept. 19, this yo-ho-ho-holiday began in 1995 and was created by Oregon friends John Baur and Mark Summers. It has since become a cult phenomenon, giving swashbuckers the opportunity to yell out “Arrr!” and “Blimey!” for an entire day.

Ahoy matey, need help with your pirate knowledge? Portland Public Library has you covered. Use this list to read up on your pirates. If you are looking to learn some phrases, you can use the creators’ webpage, they even have a page of Pirate Pickup lines, or check out this pirate glossary. But to become a true expert in Pirate speak, try our free language programMango Languages. There is an entire course dedicated to learning to speak like a Pirate. The first lesson is “Captain’s Orders” and the conversational goals include: Call Someone Names, Express Surprise, Give Sailing Commands, Greet a Friend and a Superior, and Pay a Compliment. So give it a try today and surprise your friends with ye knowledge of pirates and pirate language.



New Website Navigation Bar

posted: , by Kathleen Spahn
tags: About the Library | Online Services | Adults | Kids & Families | Seniors

As part of a larger plan to make our website more accessible on tablets and smartphones, the Library is launching some changes to the blue navigation bar at the top of the pages. As part of these changes the patron account information known as “My PPL” has moved to the top right corner of the page. Now there is just one place to go for all your patron information: borrowing/renewing, lists, profile, and settings.

You’ll also notice that drop-down menus no longer appear when you hover over them. Instead, when you click on a tab the menu drops down and stays down until you make a selection.

A few other highlights include:

  • “Using the Library” has been renamed “How do I…” and includes a link to the Classic Catalog.
  • We are putting greater emphasis on our electronic resources elibraryby featuring them under a new tab labeled “eLibrary”. The Library invests in a wide variety of content – streaming video & music, audiobooks, and eBooks, language learning and test-taking practice, and of course research databases – all available from anywhere 24/7. We hope that by increasing their visibility we will increase the number of people who discover and make use of them.
  • The Locations tab now includes more detail about the Main Library to give greater visibility to the Lewis Art Gallery and the Portland History Room.
  • A new “For You” tab lists Adults, Teens, and Children & Families at the top level.
  • Under Programs & Events, we have included a new direct link to Book Groups so these can be found more easily!

All the catalog and patron pages will be completely responsive now, meaning they will resize and be optimized for working well on any size screen — from phone to computer. We plan to make similar changes to some of our other pages over time. Until then we hope this will improve your experience with our website no matter how you reach us.

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