The Olive Tree
Nicholas Smith, distinguished historian of Native American life and culture visited the Fogler Library on Thursday, 12 October. Smith was a founding member of the Maine Archaeological Society and the Ethnomusicology Society. His field work among the Maliseet and other Wabanaki groups has continued for over 50 years. Smith’s presentation, “In the Right Place at the Right Time,” was held in the Special Collections department.
Smith is a graduate of the University of Maine and worked in Fogler Library as an undergraduate before being encouraged to go on to Columbia University where he earned a degree in Library Science. Smith became particularly interested in documents and manuscripts pertaining to the Wabanaki, and when a bundle of more than 100 related manuscripts was found at the Museum of the American Indian Huntington Free Library, Smith was asked to assess their research value, organize them, and lead the effort to preserve them. Smith’s field work has included opportunities to view and record the Penobscot and Passamaquoddy Chief-Making Ceremonies and interview some of the last people who were married in the traditional fashion in Maliseet villages.
Smith has produced and published an impressive array of scholarship on Wabanaki history and culture, both within peer-reviewed journals and in other venues. The majority of his publications appear in the Papers of the Algonquian Conference which is an annual publication on Native peoples of the greater Northeast region. He has also collaborated with leading ethnohistorians in the field, including Dr. Alice Nash. Some of his recent publications begin to fill the void in twentieth-century Wabanaki history in Maine. Throughout his lifetime work, Mr. Smith has acquired a truly incredible collection photographs, interviews, and material culture from his field work in many Wabanaki communities and among the James Bay Cree in northern Quebec, of which only a small portion he has used in his own publications.
In addition to his numerous publications, Nicholas Smith has compiled the largest and most comprehensive computerized annotated bibliography on Wabanaki peoples, entitled WABIB. The geographic coverage of this remarkable resource encompasses present-day northern New England, the Maritime Provinces, and Quebec, a region that includes the traditional homelands of the Penobscots, Passamaquoddies, Maliseets, Mi’kmaqs, and Abenakis. Well over 1,000 pages with almost 5,000 entries, WABIB continues to grow in length. The entries include academic monographs, journal articles, old and current newspaper articles, rare books and original manuscript collections at various archives and other depositories, photograph collections, interviews with Native peoples, and individual field notes.
Nicholas Smith values the professional collaboration process with the Native communities and he is a leader in Native American civil rights in Maine. While current ethical standards in Native American Studies call for cross-cultural collaboration between Indian communities and scholars, Mr. Smith has worked with Native communities for over the past fifty years. He worked with the late Maliseet scholar Dr. Peter Paul (1902-1989) from the Woodstock Reserve, in western New Brunswick, Penobscot elder and dance leader Sylvester Neptune from Indian Island, and Passamaquoddy hunter and respected leader Sebattis Tomah from Indian Township, Maine. His initial contacts persist today and he actively collaborates with tribal historians including James E. Francis (Penobscot) and Donald G. Soctomah (Passamaquoddy). Mr. Smith’s professional and personal ties to Wabanaki communities are especially strong in Maine. Well ahead of his time, Mr. Smith currently serves on a committee that advances Native American civil rights in Maine. He is extremely generous with his time, helping academic colleagues and Wabanaki peoples alike.
Selected documents and photographs from Smith’s collection were displayed during the event.
Gathering at Fogler Library Celebrates Maine Literary Magazine
Several individuals who were there at the beginnings of Maine’s foremost literary journal, the Puckerbrush Review, gathered to tell its story and to celebrate its achievements in publishing Maine authors and in bringing international authors to Maine readers over the better part of three decades. The event, A Proliferation of Puckerbrush: Celebrating 28 Years of the Puckerbrush Review, took place in the Special Collections Department of Fogler Library at the University of Maine, Tuesday, October 17 at 3:00 p.m.
Several presentations told the story of what the Puckerbrush Review and its founder Constance Hunting did for literature in Maine and how the Review connected Maine to the wider literary world, the world of such luminaries as Bloomsbury writer and painter Angelica Garnett, poet Phillip Booth, author Mary McCarthy, and the legendary May Sarton.
The story was told by several of the journal’s contributors, including writer Sandy Phippen and poet/critic Burt Hatlen, and by some of the authors who Puckerbrush Review launched and published: Tony Brinkley and Sandra Hutchison. Local poet Kathleen Ellis will present a word collage highlighting various aspects of the Review’s many-faceted achievement. Sam Hunting, son of the late Constance Hunting, will speak about the future of the Review. A memorial issue, dedicated to Constance Hunting, who began the journal in 1978, was presented at the meeting.
Fogler Friends had a very special opportunity when the Library hosted a reception for visiting Iranian graphic novelist, Marjane Satrapi. Held in the University Club on October 19th, the reception was co-sponsored with the Women in the Curriculum and Women’s Studies Program and featured a selection of Persian food prepared by Lily Alavi and Elham Khavari.
Satrapi participated in an afternoon session, "A Conversation with Marjane Satrapi," hosted by reporter Alicia Anstead of the Bangor Daily News. Her evening talk, held in the Donald P. Corbett Business building, was titled "Iran in the Revolution and After: Graphic Novelist Marjane Satrapi Reflects on Her Life and Work."
Satrapi was born in 1969 and lived in Tehran until she was sent to Switzerland at the age of 14. Her most famous work is "Persepolis," an autobiographical account of a childhood and adolescence shaped by the Iranian Revolution. The work was published in four volumes in France, where it was compared to Art Spiegelman’s "Maus" and won numerous prestigious comic book awards. Other books by Satrapi include "Embroideries" and "Chicken and Plums," as well as several children’s books.
Satrapi now lives in Paris, where her illustrations appear regularly in magazines and newspapers. She also writes an occasional piece for the New York Times.
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