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Maine History: Primary Sources

Primary Sources

Maine Memory Network
Maine's Statewide Digital Museum

Brunswick Region Resources (a Bowdoin Library Guide)

BIW Legacy Vault, Bath Iron Works, an "archive of photographs, plans and ephemera that chronicles our contribution to American shipbuilding".

Digital Collections at the University of Maine System Libraries
Variety of digital collections, including Maine State Documents, some Maine Town Reports, the William S. Cohen Papers, fisheries and forestry reports.

Maine History Web Resources, Maine State Library.

Maine Archives Interactive includes:

  • Executive Council Records 1820-1840, index
  • Legislation 1820-1865. Includes "all of the laws that have been passed, including Public Laws, Private and Special Laws and Resolves, as well as records from the Legislative Graveyard (the requests for laws that did not pass the Legislature)."
  • Miscellaneous Filings of Municipal Records. "a collection of records found throughout many different State Agency files, including the Secretary of State, Adjutant General, Land Office, etc. Whenever records pertaining to a town were found, we entered the information into this database."
  • Court Cases. Court index for: Kennebec County Supreme Judicial Court (1799-1850), Washington County District Court (1839-1845), and York County Court of Common Pleas and Sessions (1695-1760).
  • Maps. Index "to more than 8000 maps in the Maine State Archives holdings".
  • Town Microfilms. "The Archives has over 700 microfilm reels of town records, the vast majority of them having been filmed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the 1950's. The records of the earlier Maine towns date back to the seventeenth century and the microfilmed records for most of the towns end in the 1890's. They consist primarily of births, marriages, deaths, and marriage intentions but in some instances include town meeting and business matters."
  • Movies
  • State of Maine Minor Civil Divisions Legal History Resources. "Index traces the legal evolution from 1652 to 2000 of minor civil divisions."
  • Photographs, "primarily scenic images taken by George French for himself and the Department of Economic Development (1920's-1950's); and photo images of Maine Senate Presidents from portraits and photographs (1820-1980's)."
  • Newspapers in Maine, "the result of a statewide survey conducted in 1995-98".

Sanborn Maps: Maine, 1867-1970
Available both online and in microfilm, the Sanborn Insurance Company's maps from the 19th century depict homes, businesses, farm fields and other features of towns.

Ancestry Library
Census schedules, vital records, directories, photos, and more of individuals from North America, Europe, Australia, and other countries. (Sources for Census Schedules (including names) at Bowdoin.)

Documentary history of the state of Maine (Some volumes available online from HathiTrust.)
Published by the Maine Historical Society, aided by appropriations from the state, 1869-1916.

Historical magazines and journals

American Periodicals Series Online
Full text of American Magazines and Journals of the Nineteenth Century

American Periodicals Series
Coverage: 1740-1900

Poole's Index To Periodical Literature (print)
Main Per Index
Online via HathiTrust.
Subject index to British and American periodicals of the nineteenth century. Bowdoin Library owns many of these nineteenth century periodicals in its collections. Coverage: 1802-1906

Nineteenth century readers' guide to periodical literature, 1890-1899, with supplementary indexing
Primarily American
Main Per Index

Readers' Guide Retrospective , 1890-1982 (online)
Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature, 1983- (online)
Main Per Index, 1900-2012 (print)
Index to a broad range of U.S. general interest magazines and journals.

Humanities and Social Sciences Index Retrospective
This bibliographic database covers some of the best known scholarly journals and numerous lesser known specialized magazines in a broad array of humanities and social sciences topics. Coverage: 1907-1984

Federal documents

U.S. Congressional Serial Set (online)
Gov Docs Y1.1/2: (Print volumes)
The U.S. Congressional Serial Set is comprised of thousands of sequentially numbered volumes containing congressionally-produced reports and documents. In the 19th century, many executive agency documents were published in the Serial Set as well, making it an extraordinarily rich source of primary documents for American History and culture.

Historical Statistics of the United States.
Comprehensive, searchable collection of statistics, including 37,000+ data sets that can be downloaded. A historical supplement to the Statistical Abstract of the United States. A great place to start looking for data. Footnotes to tables lead you to more detailed or more current data. The introduction to each section provides a helpful summary of major sources. Previous editions are available from the Census Bureau, HathiTrust, and elsewhere online and in print.

American Memory: Historical Collections for the National Digital Library
Web site from the Library of Congress with images and texts for American History.

Fishing communities of the United States, 2006. National Marine Fisheries Service.
Includes a snapshot of Maine, a list of fishing communities and ports in Maine, and a regional summary.

Maine and local documents

Public Documents of the State of Maine, 1840-1940
Governor's message and executive agency reports--Agriculture, Health, Transportation, etc.
To identify and locate these documents, use our guide on Maine State Documents.

Maine register, state yearbook and legislative manual
Main Libr JK2831
Lists state and town officials, town populations, businesses and information on local and state agencies. Some volumes are also available via HathiTrust, Internet Archive, and Google Books.

Maine Town Annual Reports
The Library has a collection of paper annual Maine town reports (town government's accounting to the taxpayers of the spending of tax money) in the Govt Doc Maine collection. Some date from as early as 1846. The University of Maine at Orono has digitized a portion of the Maine town reports. Both the Library's and UMO's collections are incomplete. Check CBBcat, MaineCat, and Maine Town Documents online. For Brunswick, check Brunswick Town Reports from 1834 to 1973.

Archives of the Legislature of Maine : legislative index series 1820-1825
Govt Doc Maine A70.22 820-825

Archives of the Legislature of Maine : legislative index series 1826-1830
Govt Doc Maine A70.22 825-830

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