The Olive Tree
The Maine history collections at Fogler Library continue to grow and add more
important information about the state and itís histoy. One of the recent
additions to our archives is the Edwin R. Starbird papers. This collection
contains photographs taken by Edwin R. Starbird, a professional photographer in
the late 19th and early 20th centuries, specializing in views of the Maine
woods. Included are 62 photographs taken by Starbird, including 20 identified as
part of his Woods of Maine series. It also contains a folder of Starbird family
papers which includes marriage certificates for Amos Starbird and Mary J. Gilkey,
1852; and for Edwin Starbird and Mattie A. Thompson, 1882; as well as a lease
for a hall in Farmington, 1882, and other miscellaneous material. This
fascinating collection is a gift from Muriel Sanford, former head of Special
The collection of photographs are arranged in the following categories: Woods of Maine series; Rangeley Lake views; Tim Pond and the Seven Ponds views; hunting photographs; photographs of Bath, Brunswick, Freeport, Topsham, etc.; other Maine photographs; and Florida photographs.
Edwin Roland Starbird, son of Amos and Mary Jane Gilkey Starbird, was born on September 15, 1853, in Freeman, Maine. He started his working life as a teacher in towns near Freeman, but in the early 1880's he began studying photography with Francis E. Stanley in Lewiston, Maine. After his training he returned to Farmington, Maine and opened a studio which did both portrait and landscape photography. He soon began to take stereo views and photographs of the area around Rangeley Lake, including the wildlife and sporting camps in the region. Around 1883 he began a series of photographs known as the Woods of Maine series which came to include nearly 600 views of the Rangeley area as well as Moosehead Lake, the West Branch of the Penobscot River and other wilderness places. This photo project, which lasted until around 1903, required Starbird to spend months living in the woods and traveling to remote areas by canoe or on foot. In 1892 he left Farmington and opened a business in Brunswick, Maine, where he continued to work until 1911. While there he photographed many buildings at Bowdoin College as well as other scenes in the nearby towns of Bath and Topsham. After closing his studio in Brunswick, he moved to Apopka, Florida, where he died on July 23, 1921.
A finding aid for the collection is available in Special Collections Department and on the Special Collections web site. For more information, contact Richard Hollinger, head of Special Collections, at 581-1688 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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