It happened this day : August 1, 1939. At the brink of World War II, the battleship U.S.S. New York stopped in Portland Harbor, preparing to patrol the North Atlantic.
On August 1, 1939, the U.S.S. New York anchored in Portland Harbor to give the men on board a week’s liberty, apparently much to the delight of the local girls, or, as an effusive reporter called them, “Portland’s pulchritudinous lassies.” The battleship carried 371 Naval Academy midshipmen, 755 enlisted men, and 57 officers who had been engaged in training exercises at sea.
The photo above was taken near the Grand Trunk Railroad pier, along eastern Commercial Street.
While the midshipmen enjoyed a tea dance at the Portland Country Club, readers of the Evening Express and the Portland Press Herald learned that the British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, had a “dark but still hopeful view of the international picture” (see story in the far right column). Chamberlain’s policy of appeasement would end with Hitler’s invasion of Poland, exactly one month after these photographs were taken. Britain and France declared war on Germany on September 3, 1939.
During the war, the U.S.S. New York participated in convoy operations. Once the war had ended, she served as a target during atomic bomb tests in the Marshall Islands in July of 1946, after which she was too radioactive for further service and was decommissioned.
Here are the original camera images which were used in the Portland Evening Express article, showing crew members of the U.S.S. New York plying their musical talents, and baking in the large ship’s kitchen.
Above: Exercising on rowing machines on deck.
Below: Writing letters home, and catching up on reading, aboard the U.S.S. New York
For a hint of what life was like for our midshipmen in 1860, stop by the Portland Room and take a look at the Regulations of the United States Naval Academy (call number 359.0071 U58 1860)
As we reach the weekend that follows 4th-of-July weekend, it’s time to celebrate Maine’s own and much-loved Moxie! Moxie Fest is this weekend, as always, in Lisbon Falls, Maine. In fact, the root beer-like soda, invented in 1884 by Dr. Augustin Thompson (of Union, Maine), was declared the Maine State Beverage in 2005. Maine is surely the heart of Moxie country, and we all know that Maine libraries have moxie!
Moxie and Monument Square, with the Library at center.
To help celebrate the annual Moxie Festival, here are some images to encourage the enjoyment and study (yes, research is enjoyable, too!) of the fabled 19th century remedy / modern soft drink.
Moxie can surely be researched in the Portland Room, which produces the Maine News Index, navigating through microfilmed newspapers and hardcopy local periodical imprints.
As well, here are 2 popular Moxie references we have here in the Library:
Snapshots from the Moxie Parade, in 2011
The Moxie Mobile, which is actually steered from a “horseback” seat!
Moxie Man stopped long enough for me to take his picture- and to offer his prescription to cure all that ails!
All of Lisbon Falls gets into the spirit !
During Moxie Fest, the Kennebec Fruit Company (the Moxie birthplace store) serves Moxie ice cream and splendid Moxie floats.
From the Portland Public Library Archives
Checking out the Moxie supply, in 1947.
Moxie Fest, in 1984. Reading up on the goods!
Moxie Fest, 1984. At the wheel of the Moxie Mobile.
Moxie Fest, 1984. Moxie expert, Mr. Frank Anicetti, packing up a purchase at Kennebec Fruit Company store.
Willie Nelson, playing a concert at Portland’s Cumberland County Civic Center, June 21, 1985. Willie’s Moxie hat tells us he knows what’s what!
Have a Wicked Good Weekend !
Whether you’re writing, reading, or enjoying parades and the outdoors, enjoy-
and know you’re always welcome at the Portland Public Library !
Along with the 1882 Goodwin Atlas, which we have recently conserved, digitally scanned, and posted on the Library’s Digital Commons site, now you may view, research, and download the 1914 Richards Atlas of Portland. Like Goodwin, Richards is a footprint atlas, which means that each built structure and land parcel is outlined on this series of maps- which includes every street in the city of Portland, along with contiguous portions of South Portland and Casco Bay islands.
Just as 1882 shows us the pre-Deering merger Portland, 1914 shows Portland in its second decade as the merged city with amended street name changes.
Deering Oaks Park, in 1914.
Notice the difference in the pond’s contour, compared to now, as well as that of Forest Avenue. At the top center is the old Portland Stoneware Company.
Screen shot from the Digital Commons portal for the Richards Atlas.
The original Richards Atlas has long been a very popular item in the Portland Room’s collections, such that our reference copy required some major conservation work, prior to digitization and continued research access. All the conservation work was done in the Portland Room.
Richards Atlas plates were removed from an unsalvageable binding, and thoroughly cleaned before any further treatments.
Removing the embrittled hinges, and preparing the plate halves to be joined in registration with the map’s lines.
Above and below: Richards Atlas plates had been on facing pages, with wide gutter-margins in between. For this project, the facing pages were joined together with acid-free, long-fibered Japanese kozo tissue and methylcellulose adhesive from the verso sides of the composite plate. Thus the viewing experience is now seamless- both in person, and in the digital scans.
Repairs on the verso (rear) sides, with handmade kozo tissue.
Repairing a loss in the original paper, using kozo tissue.
Above photo : The cleaned and repaired maps in their new archival box.
Below : The Richards Atlas conservation project provided many teachable moments for a Brandeis University intern, studying library and archival sciences. The maps have all been encapsulated in polyester mylar film enclosures.
A detail from one of the digitized scans, showing the Stroudwater area of Portland. Can you recognize where the historic Tate House is?
In the digitized version of the Richards Atlas, we encoded the names of the maps’ respective Portland neighborhoods of coverage. Thus, the maps can be searched by neighborhood. Major city landmarks are also included, to help ease the research.
A researcher in the Portland Room, using the conserved original maps.
Enjoy these, either online or here in the Portland Room!