Penobscot Marine Museum To Preserve
Maine's History In Photos
Announces Campaign to Acquire 7,500 Rare Glass-Plate Negatives
Street View, So. Brooksville, ME: from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co. collection at the Penobscot Marine Museum. The museum is working to acquire additional images from the Maine postcard publisher to complete the historic collection.
April 21, 2010 -- Penobscot Marine Museum has announced a campaign to acquire 7,500 glass plate photographic negatives that document Maine towns from the early 20th century. The acquisition will bring the museum a big step closer to completing its important collection of photographs from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Company. The museum is seeking donations from individuals and local businesses to help it aquire the collection.
"If we meet our goal, these remaining negatives will make the Eastern collection one of the largest and most significant coherent collections of historic photography from this region and era," said Kevin Johnson, the museum's photography archivist. "It will be a valuable resource for educators, historians, genealogists, and anyone interested in New England history."
The museum has already received pledges for approximately half the funds needed to acquire the collection, which documents more than 230 cities, towns and villages in Maine, as well as towns in other northeast states. Click here to download an index of the Maine towns and the number of negatives from each. Individuals and businesses can "adopt" a town for a donation of $10 per negative.
Founded in Belfast, Maine, in 1909, the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co. published "real photo postcards" with images taken by its own photographers throughout New England. The negatives, mostly on old-style glass plates, represent a fragile and irreplaceable record of the region's physical and cultural history up to the early 1950s.
Since 2007, when it acquired the bulk of the Eastern Illustrating collection through a generous donation, Penobscot Marine Museum has been steadily compiling pieces of the collection which had "escaped" over the previous decades. Currently the collection contains more than 40,000 negatives. The museum is scanning them with the help of volunteers, and plans to make the images available online later this year. Donations can be made by contacting the museum at (207) 548-2529 or online.
Penobscot Marine Museum maintains nationally significant collections of marine art and artifacts, ship models, historic photographs, and the largest display of historic small craft in Maine. Founded in 1936, it is Maine's oldest maritime museum. Housed in 13 historic buildings including ship captains' homes, an early town hall, and two boat houses, the campus represents a bustling coastal village during the Age of Sail. Activities and exhibits for children and a busy schedule of year-round programs make it a special place for family visits.