Our Collections

Map of MaineFogler Library’s Special Collections Department collects virtually all available printed bibliographical, historical, and descriptive works on the state as well as literary titles by Maine authors. The collection of published items — including books, pamphlets, state documents, and some non-print materials — provides extensive coverage of Maine’s cities, towns, counties, and its people and institutions. These printed resources are complemented by a substantial body of original source materials included in the department’s manuscript collections.

While the LibrarySearch Catalog remains the most comprehensive way to search for many of the books, maps, state documents and university publications in the department, we have developed an ArchivesSpace online database to allow for discovering material filed within the department’s manuscript collections, university records, and oral history interviews.  

Our Finding Aids are also available in DigitalCommons@UMaine.

Collection Descriptions

University Collection | Manuscript Collections | Northeast Archive of Folklore and Oral History | Maine Collection | Digital Collections | Maine Newspapers | Rare Books

University Collection

For more information about the University Archive, see our University Archive Research Guide.

University Records

The Special Collections Department houses the University Archives and actively collects university records of historical, administrative, or legal value.  Several collections are in the process of being organized and cataloged and many collections are included in the online collection of Finding Aids available in DigitalCommons@UMaine.

University Publications

Special Collections has also been a repository for university-related publications of the administration, academic departments, and faculty members.  This include annual reports, catalogs, directories, yearbooks, and many other task force reports that allow for research on trends and background of programs and initiatives at the university.  Some university publications are available online through DigitalCommons@UMaine.

Dissertations and Theses

Print copies of most University of Maine honors theses, masters theses, and doctoral dissertations are located in the Special Collections Department of Fogler Library.   Detailed information about accessing these materials is explained in the library’s Guide to Theses and Dissertations.  Electronic access to University of Maine theses and dissertations is available online through the ETD section of DigitalCommons@UMaine.  Current authors, once given clearance by the UMaine Graduate School, will also find ETD submission instructions online.

University of Maine Photo Archive

The University of Maine Photo Archive includes thousands of historic images of the University of Maine campus, activities, and portraits of staff and faculty. Over 3000 of these images are available online through DigitalCommons@UMaine.

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Manuscript Collections

The Special Collections manuscript collection currently houses over 1,900 cataloged collections which occupy several thousand linear feet of shelf space. These manuscripts cover a wide range of subjects reflecting historical events, business, education, the arts, and science. While many of these are Maine-related and as such are of interest to scholars of the region, others have important value to scholars and researchers nationally and internationally.

Search the collections:

Finding Aids for larger manuscript collections are available online at DigitalCommons@UMaine.

Manuscript collections may also be searched using the library’s ArchivesSpace database or LibrarySearch online catalog.

Information about Fogler’s manuscript collections has also been contributed to ArchiveGrid, and has been optimized to be discovered through general searches of the worldwide web.

Subject areas actively collected, along with the disciplines they support, are as follows:

Environmental History

Includes record of land-use by large land owners (e.g. railroads; utilities; and timber companies); records of tourism; farming; fisheries; mining; and other environment-centered industries; records of environmental organizations; papers of political figures involved in environmental issues; and data from environmental research at the University of Maine and other research institutions in the state.

Supports the following disciplines: Anthropology; Business; Economics; History; Historical Archaeology; Political Science; Ecology and Environmental Science; Forest Resources and Forest Ecosystem Studies; Geological Sciences; Maine Studies; Marine Biology; Marine Bio-Resources; Wildlife Ecology; Oceanography; Climate Studies; Sustainable Agriculture; Resource Economics and Policy; Pulp and Paper Technology; Parks; Recreation and Tourism.

The Maine Art and Literary Scene

The primary focus is on personal papers and institutional records that provide broad documentation on the creative arts in Maine, rather than just on an individual author or artist. Supports the following disciplines: English, History, Art and Art/History, Maine Studies, Franco-American Studies, Modern Language and Classics, Theater.

Gender Studies

Includes personal papers of women who are among the first of their gender in a profession in Maine; records of professional organizations in female-dominated professions; selected papers (especially diaries) that document the lives of women and men who did not have a prominent role in the public sphere; and records of male-only and female-only organizations. Supports the following disciplines: Anthropology, History, English, Maine Studies, Women’s Studies, Nursing.

Minority Cultures in Maine

Includes personal papers of community leaders, records of community organizations, and records of businesses that were owned by and/or catered to minority communities and which provide significant documentation of those communities. Supports the following disciplines: Anthropology, History, Franco-American Studies, Native American Studies, Black Studies, Maine Studies, Religious Studies, Modern Languages and Classics.

History of Education in Maine

Includes selected personal papers of educators, records of professional organizations, records of regional or district school administration, and the archives of the University of Maine. Supports the following disciplines: Education, History, Maine Studies,
Political Science.

Politics in Maine

Includes records of political organizations, especially those concerned with land-use or environmental issues, and the papers of political figures who exemplify the political scene in Maine or whose papers provide documentation for one of the five areas listed above (e.g., William S. Cohen Papers and Harriet Henry). Generally, we will not collect political papers that are primarily about local politics. Supports the following disciplines: History, Political Science, Maine Studies.

Labor History in Maine

Includes papers of labor leaders and organizers, records of unions, and of professional organizations. Supports the following disciplines: Labor Education, History, Maine Studies, Business, Political Science.

University Records

Special Collections seeks records from administrative and academic departments and student organizations that document the history of the University of Maine.  More information about contributing materials is available online in our Guide to the University Archive.

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Northeast Archive of Folklore and Oral History (NAFOH)

The Maine Folklife Center’s archive of oral history recordings, often referred to as the Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History or NAFOH, had been a large part of the Maine Folklife Center’s identity since well before its official founding in 1992. Collecting began in the 1950s with boxes of tapes, photos and type-written transcripts kept by their founder, Sandy Ives.

Most of the materials were transferred to the Library of Congress in 2012 with the goal of digitizing them for public access. Management of NAFOH materials was transferred to UMaine’s Raymond H. Fogler Library’s Special Collections Department in 2017. Special Collections holds digitized duplicates of NAFOH materials, as well as some additional items donated to the Folklife Center since the LOC transfer.

You can visit the library’s subject guide that has been prepared to provide more information about NAFOH.

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State of Maine Collection

This collection includes bibliographic, historical, and descriptive works on Maine as well as literary titles by Maine authors. A small number of early Maine imprints (pre-1820) can be found there. The collection consists of approximately 22,608 volumes on Maine history and literature. In addition the collection includes:

Early Maine Imprints (Pre-1820)

The library has a number of early Maine imprints that are primarily religious in nature. As there has been little use of these in the past, no sermons are purchased. However, they are accepted as gifts. Other pre-1820 imprints of a non-religious nature are purchased as they are offered by dealers.


In an effort to build a comprehensive collection, the definitions of Maine authors and Maine books are drawn very broadly. Maine authors are defined as:

  1. Those born in the state no matter how long they may have lived here;
  2. Those born elsewhere who lived some part of their life in the state;
  3. Residents of other places who regularly summered in Maine.

The Department has developed a list of authors fitting these criteria. This Maine author list is continually updated through examination of Maine periodicals and national biographical works. Once new authors are identified, their works are purchases retrospectively.

Fiction books with Maine settings or with story lines taking place entirely or substantially within the state are also included in the collection.

Maine State Documents

The Special Collections Department houses a comprehensive collection of documents issued by the State of Maine. Documents are acquired through the State documents depository system, and commercial vendors and as gifts. A number of state documents have been digitized and made available online in a DigitalMaine Repository. A brief list of some available documents include:

  • Laws of Maine, 1820-
  • Legislative Documents, 1837-
  • Public Documents, 1867-1954
  • Maine Revised Statutes Annotated, 1840-
  • Maine Reporter, Vol 1.-
  • Maine Key Number Digest
  • Maine Budgets, 1917-
  • Maine Rules of Court, 1959-
  • Vital Statistics, 1892-
  • Maine Department of Labor Reports, 1873-1970
  • Employment Situation, 1981-
  • Maine Employment and Earnings Statistical Handbook, 1981-
  • Joint Standing Committee Bill Summaries, 1989-
  • Maine State Government Annual Reports
  • Government Publications Checklist, 1941-


The Special Collections Department acquires one copy of all books in Maine-related subjects.

 Other Maine Printed Material

The following materials are also included in the library’s Special Collections:

  • Books by Maine authors for children;
  • Books printed in Maine but not related to Maine by subject or author bought together to show the history of publishing within the state;
  • Annual reports of businesses located in or having subsidiaries in Maine;
  • Newspapers published in Maine in paper and/or microfilm (5,500 reels);
  • Periodicals with Maine imprint and subject;
  • Maps related to Maine (over 3,000);
  • Pamphlets, booklets, brochures, unpublished works, and other ephemeral materials (approximately 5,000 pieces);
  • Reports of school administrative districts;
  • City record books.

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Digital Collections

Several collections are in the process of being digitized and made available through the University of Maine’s digital repository, providing worldwide access to materials from the Special Collections Department.  Please feel free to browse the Special Collections in DigitalCommons@UMaine.  Highlights from the digital collections include:

Bert Call Photographs

Bert Call was a professional photographer in Dexter, Maine, from 1887 to 1953. This collection provides digital access to images captured between 1914 and 1939 of outdoor scenes of mountains, lakes, woods and streams in the northern part of Maine. Included are shots from the Mt. Katahdin and Baxter State Park area, the Greenville and Moosehead Lake region, Mt. Desert Island and Bar Harbor, Aroostook and Piscataquis Counties, and the towns of Onawa and Dexter, Maine.

Fannie Hardy Eckstorm Papers

Fannie Hardy Eckstorm was born on June 18, 1865, in Brewer, Maine. The oldest of six children, she attended the public schools in Brewer and Abbott Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. Her interests included studies of Maine Indians, folklore, and natural history. The collection contains correspondence, writings, speeches and research files of Fannie Hardy Eckstorm. The correspondence is both personal and professional and includes items from prominent people in the fields of folklore, balladry, Indian studies, and Maine history.

General Maine History Photographs

The images in the General Maine History gallery include photographs and postcards that have been gathered from many of the library’s manuscript collections to make them available to support projects of researchers, authors, and students.

Guy Kendall Collection

Guy Kendall’s career as a race track photographer followed the course of Maine harness racing from 1924 through the peak of the sport’s popularity in the early 1940s. With the arrival of World War II, the popularity of harness racing started to wane. The collection documents the early careers of a number of drivers and horses inducted into the Immortals Hall of Fame at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y.  Digital files continue to be added to this collection.

Sanborn Maps of Maine

This collection provides digital access to a selection of the fire insurance maps published by the Sanborn Map Company that are housed in the Special Collections Department of Raymond H. Fogler Library. Maps found here include those created for Maine communities that were originally published before 1923.

WLBZ Radio Station Records

The WLBZ station records and audio recordings at the University of Maine’s Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Department reflect rapid growth and evolution of the station from the 1930s to the 1970s. Materials include station logs, items related to licensing and operations, and many audio recordings of locally recorded programming. This digital collection makes several of these audio recordings available along with accompanying transcribed text.

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Maine Newspapers

Many Maine newspapers are available on microfilm in the Government Documents and Microform area of Fogler Library. They can be viewed in the library on the first floor.

Special Collections houses paper copies of some Maine newspapers in the Library Annex. These newspapers can be made available for researchers with advance notice of one week. Because of the fragile nature of most papers, photocopying is generally not allowed but patrons may use a digital camera or cell phone to capture digital images (without a flash). In many cases, the holdings include only a few scattered issues of a particular newspaper.

These lists were a joint effort between Special Collections and the Microforms Department to provide information about Fogler Library’s newspaper holdings:

Maine Newspapers arranged by title

Maine Newspapers arranged by location of publisher

For holdings of current Maine newspapers, check the URSUS Catalog.  Those interested in early newspapers may also find the Library of Congress U.S. Newspaper Directory, 1690-Present to be a helpful resource.  Fogler Library’s holdings information was contributed to that national project.

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Rare Books

The books in this collection meet one of the following criteria:

  1. Published in Western Hemisphere before 1830;
  2. Published outside Western Hemisphere before 1800;
  3. Editions published before 1900 limited to 200 copies or less;
  4. Editions published after 1900 limited to 100 copies or less.

Clinton L. Cole Maritime History Collection

This is the library’s largest “named” collection. Clinton Cole donated the original 600 volume maritime library in 1936. Originally it had a worldwide scope but currently only books on seamanship, construction, and the North Atlantic/New England area are purchased.

Ezekiel Holmes Collection

The Holmes library was the original University collection. These books are integrated with other rare books.

The Ronald B. Levinson Collection

This 2,000 volume collection was a gift of Professor Emeritus and Mrs. Ronald B. Levinson. It is a collection of Western European imprints in the subject of philosophy. Most of the materials are now located the circulating collection. No additions are anticipated.

The O’Brien Collection of African-American History and Culture

This collection consists of 1,600 items and includes books on the social and political conditions resulting from the institution of slavery. Also included are books dealing with the Civil War: biographies, accounts of battles, material on abolitionists, and pamphlets containing speeches by ministers, politicians, and leading government officials.

The Dime Novels Collection

This collection was a gift of the Charles Burton Hamilton Estate. No additions are anticipated.

No books are routinely purchased in the rare book market. Books acquired through donation or through purchase as part of a collection needing special handling may be put into the Rare Book Collection.

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Contact Special Collections

UMaine Special Collections & Archives, 5729 Fogler Library, Orono, ME, 04469-5729

phone: 207.581.1686 | email: um.library.spc@maine.edu