Kevin Johnson, photo archivist for the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport, Maine will present “Dover-Foxcroft: The Postcard View; Selections from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Company” live via Zoom at 6 pm on Thursday, August 20 as part of the Thompson Free Library’s Maine Bicentennial Speaker Series. The slide show and talk will consist of the story of the postcard company as well as the historical views of Dover-Foxcroft as well as Milo.

This event is free and open to the public. To participate, join the Zoom meeting online at: https://networkmaine.zoom.us/j/87901260181 (Meeting ID: 879 0126 0181) You can also dial in by phone at: 1-646-876-9923.

The Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Company was founded in 1909 in Belfast, Maine by Rudolph Herman Cassens. Cassens’ goal was to photograph small towns and rural areas from Maine to California, producing “real photo” postcards that would be valued for promoting tourism. Cassens did not fulfill his dream of photographing the entire country, but his company did produce over 50,000 glass plate negatives of New England and Upstate New York between 1909 and 1947. The collection is full of historic businesses, family homes and local landmarks.

The images are fascinating on many levels. They take viewers back in time to when the roads were still dirt, horse drawn carriages outnumbered cars, coastlines were undeveloped, and elms lined the streets.

Main Street, Dover-Foxcroft

The collection is now part of the archives of the Penobscot Marine Museum and continues to grow as more negatives that “escaped” from the collection are located and acquired. The collection is being digitized and more than 100,0000 thousand images can now be viewed on the museum’s website in their online database www.PenobscotMarineMuseum.org.

The collection was featured in Maine On Glass, authored by Earle Shettleworth, William H. Bunting and Kevin Johnson and published by Tilbury House in 2016. A documentary film, the Northeast By Easternwas made by Wiscasset filmmaker Sumner McKane, also in 2016.

“Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” Many of us are familiar with philosopher Edmund Burke’s quote (or variations/paraphrases thereof). But Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano has a more colloquial twist: “History never really says goodbye. History says, ‘See you later.’”

This August, Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft takes us back in time to explore a monumental societal shift, local landmarks and landscapes, and brings awareness to our history-making present. Also on tap, a wide variety of activities and programs to expand the mind and move the body.

If you like your discussions deep, don’t miss TFL’s Philosophy Circle Friday, August 7 at 3:30 p.m. and Friday, August 21 at 3:30 p.m. Both sessions will be online—and (hopefully) invigorating.

It’s hard to disentangle the past from the present. Current events and history are intertwined. Exploring the past can give today at least some context and understanding. The three-part Maine Humanities Council Summer Discussion Project, “From DC to Dover-Foxcroft: The Long Road to Women’s Suffrage” will focus on important but lesser known chapters in the history of suffrage, addressing themes of power, inequality, and resilience through readings and film clips. TFL, D-F Historical Society, and facilitator Cindy Freeman Cyr have teamed up to bring you this free online program via Zoom. This group will meet Tuesdays, 5:30-7 p.m. on August 11, 25, and September 8. (To register, please contact TFL.)

Did you realize that Tai Chi combines concentration with slow, gentle, continuous movement to improve balance, strength, coordination, and a general sense of well-being? Join us outdoors at TFL on Wednesday, August 12 at 1:30 p.m. (rain date: August 19 at 1:30) for Tai Chi 101 as certified instructor Lilian Mahan guides us through breathing exercises, meditation, and basic Sun and Yang style forms. Participants should be independently mobile, wear face coverings, and will be asked to sign a liability form. No prior experience is needed.

Thursday, August 13 at 4 p.m. The Maine Community Archives Collaborative will host a statewide public Zoom event, All in This Together: Preserving Maine’s COVID-19 Memories to share information about our libraries’ COVID-19 collecting projects and answer questions from community members. It’s a great way to see items that have been collected and learn how to contribute. (For the Zoom link, visit: https://mainestatelibrary.omeka.net)

At 6 p.m. on August 13, TFL’s Reading Group will meet online to talk about The Maine Woods by Henry David Thoreau. Imagine yourself climbing up the “cloud factory” (a.k.a. Katahdin) in 1846. New members are welcome, contact the library for the Zoom link and a copy of the book. TFL’s Teen Book Club will meet outside at 3 p.m. on Thursday, August 20. Come prepared to discuss a book you’ve recently read. (Participation counts towards FA’s reading requirement; rain date is August 21 at 3).

In celebration of Maine’s Bicentennial, Penobscot Marine Museum photo archivist Kevin Johnson hosts an online interactive presentation on the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Company at 6 p.m. on Thursday, August 20. He will share photographs from Dover-Foxcroft (& some nearby towns) and ask the audience to share their stories and insights about the local scenes, filling in details about these distinctive images.

We have extended the deadline for our TFL Community Zine. Submissions (via email or snail mail) are due by Friday, August 28 so channel your creativity and send us art, short stories, photos, reviews, poetry, etc. that reflect or reveal your passion.

Summer reading continues until Monday, August 31. This year’s program is a virtual challenge using the website Beanstack and it’s open to all ages. If you are a participant and have earned an award (ice cream or farmer’s market), please stop by the library and pick up your coupon.

Have fun family adventures across from SeDoMoCha and at The Law Farm where story walks are still up (through August 31) and waiting to be read and enjoyed as you stroll through nature.

We’re all in this together. The pandemic’s impact on each person is different. The peaks, surges, plateaus, and declines vary. But all over the planet we are living and breathing this unfolding experience. The shopkeeper where I worked before COVID hit was fond of saying, “Everyone has a story.” Now we each have a unique treasure trove of them worth telling. No matter how big or small, mundane or tragic, direct or indirect. Future historians will appreciate it.

Balancing opening the library with keeping everyone as safe as possible is a challenge. Thank you to all our patrons and visitors for their cooperation, patience, understanding, and sense of humor. Quite honestly, we never thought we’d be asking people to spritz with hand sanitizer made at a Maine distillery known for their gin as they step into the library…but here we are. SYL.

TFL is open—with special COVID-19 precautions—Tues.-Fri. 9-5. Curbside service is also available during those hours. For more info (including how to participate in virtual programs), visit our website (https://www.thompson.lib.me.us), Facebook page, or contact us at thompsonfreelibrary@gmail.com, 207/564-3350, or 186 E. Main St. Dover-Foxcroft, ME 04426. WiFi is available 24/7 in the TFL parking lot. Find us on Instagram @tf_library.

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From DC to Dover-Foxcroft: The Long Road to Women’s Suffrage, a Maine Humanities Council Discussion Project

Join Thompson Free Library, Dover-Foxcroft Historical Society, and facilitator Cindy Freeman Cyr as we examine the Woman’s Suffrage Movement nationally, in Maine, and here in Dover-Foxcroft. Readings and film clips will explore important but lesser known chapters in the history of suffrage, addressing issues of power, inequality, and resilience.

This program is free; all readings provided. Discussions will be held online via Zoom on Tuesdays August 11, August 25, and September 8 from 5:30-7:00.

To register, please contact Thompson Free Library at 207-564-3350 or thompsonfreelibrary@gmail.com.

The Discussion Project is a new, flexible text-based discussion program that meets the needs of Maine communities, whether working independently or as part of an organization. Working closely with Maine Humanities Council staff, communities bring their Discussion Project to life, using an MHC-prepared plan or creating their own.

The State of Maine and the Ku Klux Klan. It’s an improbable antithesis, but not only did the KKK take root in Maine in the 1920s, the group’s first daylight parade in America was held Sept. 3, 1923, in nearby Milo. The parade made newspaper headlines across the country, heralding the possibility of “klaverns” across the Northern states.

This astonishing time in Maine’s history, left out of textbooks for nearly 100 years, will be explored by author Mark Alan Leslie as part of Thompson Free Library’s Bicentennial Speaker Series at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 18.

“Milo, Dexter, Newport and Bangor-Brewer were hotbeds of KKK activity in the 1920s,” Leslie said. “I’m certain that when the Klan held its first state conclave in a forest outside Waterville in 1923, some from this area were among the 15,000 who attended.”

Indeed, the Klan reached such heights that it helped elect Governor Ralph Owen Brewster, the mayors of Rockland, Saco, Bath and Westbrook, the Speaker of the Maine House and a number of other political and law-enforcement leaders.

An estimated 19 percent of the state’s population supported the Southern-based secret society, Leslie said, adding, “While few African-Americans lived in Maine at that time, the KKK’s targets were French-Canadians, Catholics and Irish and Polish immigrants as well as Jews.

In his talk “Maine Burning: The Ku Klux Klan Invasion” Leslie will tell the tale of the extraordinary rise and fall of this organization which, now and again, still makes headlines in Maine today.

This event is free and open to the public. To participate, join the Zoom meeting on Thursday, June 18 at 6 pm: https://networkmaine.zoom.us/j/84237161160 (Meeting ID: 842 3716 1160) You can also dial in by phone at: 1-646-876-9923.

The Crossing by Mark Alan Leslie

The Monmouth resident’s fictional novel, The Crossing, is a sweeping — and ultimately uplifting — look at the KKK’s impact on a small western Maine town in 1923.

The AFA Journal called Leslie “a seasoned wordsmith…in the class of John Grisham” and the Midwest Book Review termed his insights into world politics and culture “staggering and frighteningly realistic.”

Leslie earned Featured Book status from Publishers Weekly for his 2015 book, True North: Tice’s Story, a novel about the Underground Railroad in Maine.

Thompson Free Library will host Susan Pinette, Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures and Director of Franco American Programs at the University of Maine, live via Zoom at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 28.

Dr. Pinette’s talk “The French People of Maine: Who are they and how did they get here?” will provide an overview of Franco American communities in Maine. She will present the history of their migrations to New England, their settlement, and discuss some of the current issues they face.

This event is free and open to the public. To participate, join the Zoom meeting online at: https://networkmaine.zoom.us/j/86272308023 (Meeting ID: 862 7230 8023) You can also dial in by phone at: 1-646-876-9923.

Susan Pinette

Susan Pinette was born and raised in Maine. She received her doctorate in French at the University of California, Irvine. Her research examines contemporary Franco American literature, where she shows its significance to the broader arenas of North American Francophone communities and American studies.

Thompson Free Library’s Maine Bicentennial Speaker Series is supported by a Maine Bicentennial Community Grant and will explore topics and perspectives sometimes overlooked in traditional narratives of our state’s history.