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Special Collections: Guide to the Ellen Wight Shields Papers

Arranged and described by Brenda Howitson Steeves

Collection title: Ellen Wight Shields Papers
Collection number: MS 464
Dates of collection:
Size of collection: 2 boxes


Ellen Wight Shields was born in Canada on June 26, 1889, and moved to Bangor, Maine, with her family as a small child. She graduated from Doe’s College and as a young woman was left with three nieces and a nephew to care for, two of whom she later adopted. Ellen Wight married Thomas O. Shields in 1931 and they had two children. Thomas Shields died in 1945 and in 1952 Ellen Shields and her family moved to Connecticut, where she worked as a bookkeeper. She later moved to Winterport, Maine, and died on January 20, 1977, in Gardiner, Maine.

Ellen Shields published a volume of poetry entitled River Driver’s Song and Other Lyrics in 1969. The introduction to that book notes that “her poems reflect her love of nature, animals and birds, her pride in America, her love for Maine, and her deep religious feeling.” She also wrote music and the collection contains copies of many of her writings and songs.

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains Ellen Shields’ diaries from 1955-1972 and a small amount of her personal correspondence. It also contains financial information, check registers and cashbooks of her personal expenditures from the 1950’s to the 1970’s. Also included are many poems and songs written by Ellen Shields.

Contents of Boxes

Box 1


1-11     Diaries, 1955-1972(?), undated

12        Personal correspondence, 1950's-1970's

13        Personal correspondence re River Driver’s Song, etc.

14        Copies of The River Driver's Song and Other Lyrics

15-22    Poetry of Ellen Shields

Box 2 

1-2       Original songs of Ellen Shields

3          Song writings guides, etc.

4          Living Thoughts by Henry S.C. Cummings, 1966

5-6       Audiocassettes of Ellen Shields

7          Business letters, 1950-1972

8          Check registers, 1960’s-1970’s

9          Miscellaneous financial documents

10-13     Cashbooks, 1950’s-1970’s

14        Financial notebook, 1960’s

Finding Aids for selected manuscript collections in the Special Collections Department at Fogler Library are accessible online in URSUS, in a browsable Guide to Manuscript Collections. Please contact Special Collections at or (207) 581-1686 for further information.

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Special Collections Staff: | Revised: 03/31/2015
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