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Remembering Historian Bill Jordan

posted: , by Abraham
tags: Adults | Art & Culture | Portland History
Bill Jordan 1994 PH 10_21 4

On July 11th, we lost a dear friend and contributor to the Portland Public Library, William Barnes Jordan Jr., who passed away at the age of 88. Bill was passionately curious about the history of Maine and Portland, and taught courses on that topic at two separate colleges for almost two decades.

Researchers in the Portland Room- among numerous other Maine history resource libraries, make regular use of Bill’s historic writing, including his History of Cape Elizabeth (seen below)

Bill Jordan 1

Bill also created an index of articles from several Portland newspaper runs, spanning the years of 1785 to 1835, known in the library by its nickname, the “Jordan Index”. A published copy of the index can also be found in the Portland Room, along with the handwritten reference cards he made and used during the creation of the Index. This is a tremendous source, resulting from his assiduous labors.

Bill Jordan 2 Bill Jordan 4 Bill Jordan 3 Bill Jordan 1994 PH 10_21 13

Below you’ll find a link to the Portland Press Herald article about William’s life and many good works.

(Contributed by Marc LeBourdais, PPL Technical Services, and Abraham A. Schechter, PPL Archivist.)

A Day to Remember at the Library

posted: , by Raminta Moore
tags: Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors | Art & Culture | Health | News | Portland History | Science & Technology

NamesHeartsmallPortland Public Library is a proud participant of Pride Week, and we are thrilled to be presenting an entire day of events dedicated to those affected by HIV/AIDS. On June 17 at the Main Library, PPL will host twelve panels of the AIDS Quilt presented by the NAMES Project of Northern New England. Conceived in 1985, by Cleve Jones, the Quilt was meant to commemorate those who had lost their lives to HIV/AIDS. Sadly, for many, the Quilt was the only opportunity for survivors to remember their loved ones.

For more on the Quilt, be sure to check out the book, The Quilt: Stories from the Names Project by Cindy Ruskin. The panels will be on display in the library for one day only, so be sure to stop by the Atrium and take a look.

Our afternoon author talk for that day is Deborah Freedman, author of Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt: Stories from Maine. Debb has traveled throughout our state for ten years sharing the Quilt and sharing the stories of the Quilt. Deborah Freedman will be speaking at noon in the Rines Auditorium. We are so happy to have her and her stories!

Throughout the day, staff from Apothecary by Design will be in the Library and available to discuss how they support current medical management of HIV/AIDS.

In the evening, PPL will host The Heart of the Story: Maine’s Response to HIV/AIDS. This panel discussion will focus on various aspects of the history of HIV/AIDS in Maine, as well as what is going on now for those living with the disease. Panelists include:

  • Crystal Gamet, who will speak about the Quilt
  • Ralph Cusack, who will speak about activism around HIV/AIDS
  • Charlie Grindle, who will give the prospective of a first responder
  • Dr. Lani Graham, who will discuss the public health aspects
  • Myles Rightmire, who will discuss the medical and health response
  • Kelly Arbor, who will give a personal perspective

This will definitely be an informative panel, which will be followed by a discussion between the audience and the panelists. PPL is truly excited to be hosting the second annual Pride week history event! For information on other Pride events happening throughout the month of June, check here.

Our June 17 events were made possible by the following great sponsors:

The Maine Equity Fund of the Maine Community Foundatio

Coffee by Design

Apothecary by Design

Pride Portland!

The Frannie Peabody Center

SAGE Maine

The Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine at USM – See more at:

The Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine at USM

The NAMES Project of Northern New England

M.E.S.H. (Maine Educationalists on Sexual Harmony)


Maine Equity Fund of the Maine Community Foundation – See more at:


The Heart of the Story: Maine’s Response to HIV/AIDS

Wednesday, June 17 – 6:30pm – 8:30pm

- See more at:

The Heart of the Story: Maine’s Response to HIV/AIDS

Wednesday, June 17 – 6:30pm – 8:30pm

- See more at:

The Heart of the Story: Maine’s Response to HIV/AIDS

Wednesday, June 17 – 6:30pm – 8:30pm

- See more at:

Kindergarten Teacher Training Workbooks on Display

posted: , by Gabrielle Daniello
tags: Exhibits & Displays | Adults | Portland History

Among the Portland Room’s many treasures are five scrapbooks, each one the color of dirty dishwater with a title embossed in gold on the front. The titles are: Cutting, Folding, Sewing, Weaving. (The fifth scrapbook is missing its cover.)

Cover of Marion Dana's workbook titled "Cutting"

Cover of one of the workbooks

All that we know about these books is that they are called “Kindergarten Teacher Training Workbooks” and that they were created by Marion P. Dana. Once you get past the unassuming covers, there are aesthetic delights inside: brown and yellow paper woven into intricate, geometric patterns in the Weaving scrapbook, simple stitched outlines of shapes in the Sewing book.


Page from the workbook titled "Sewing"

Page from the workbook titled “Sewing”

Marion Dana was born in Westbrook. After attending Wheaton College, she taught kindergarten, then went on to obtain both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in education from Columbia University in the early and mid-1920s. She taught for over 20 years at the teacher’s college in Buffalo, NY.

Were these notebooks created for one of Dana’s classes at Buffalo, for her own studies at Columbia, or during her days as a kindergarten teacher? We simply don’t know.

Page from the workbook titled "Weaving"

Page from the workbook titled “Weaving”

We do know a little bit about the recommended curriculum for kindergarten students in the early 20th century, thanks to a 1919 booklet published by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Education ( Teachers were expected to explore the following topics with their young scholars: Community Life and Nature Study, Manual Activities, Art, Language, Literature, Plays and Games, and Music. Cutting, weaving, and sewing are among the manual activities discussed. Sewing, for example, “is occasionally introduced for the production of articles which can be used by the child; for example, a pocketbook for the store play, a postman’s bag, etc. The simple overhand stitch is used. … The needs of the kindergarten dolls furnish a most natural and interesting motive.”

Dana’s workbooks are now on display on the Lower Level of the Main branch. When not on display, they are housed in the collections of the Portland Room. If anyone knows more about Marion Dana, we would love to hear from you. Please contact us at (207) 871-1700 x747 or

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