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The first farmers

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Primary and Secondary Sources for
Researching Agriculture in Maine

Those interested in the history of Maine agriculture will find an extensive literature available for further reading.

Secondary sources include:

  • Clarence A. Day's A History of Maine Agriculture, 1604-1860 (Orono, 1954) and Farming in Maine, 1860-1940 (Orono, 1963) survey not only Maine agriculture but also Maine rural life generally.
  • Harold F. Wilson's The Hill Country of Northern New England (New York, 1936);
  • Howard S. Russell's A long, Deep Furrow (Hanover, N.H., 1982); and the Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife's annual Proceedings for 1986, titled The Farm (Boston, 1988), provide information on Maine agriculture in the context of New England history. The bibliography contained in the latter volume is extremely valuable.
  • Hal S. Barron's Those Who Stayed Behind (Cambridge, 1984), a study of the upland Vermont town of Chelsea, suggests themes applicable to village society in western Maine.
  • Alan Taylor's scholarly Liberty Men and Great Proprietors (Chapel Hill, 1990) offers insight into political and social life in rural central Maine, while Laurel Thatcher Ulrich's A Midwife's Tale (New York, 1991), Nancy F. Cott's The Bonds of Womanhood (New Haven, 1977), and Carolyn Merchant's Ecological Revolutions (Chapel Hill, 1989) provide feminist perspectives on early nineteenth-century rural society and agriculture in Maine and northern New England.
  • Maine: The Pine Tree State from Prehistory to the Present (University of Maine Press, 1995) provides a contemporaty, comprehensive look at the history of Maine.
  • Early local histories, used critically and interpretively, can also yield a wealth of detail about rural life.

Primary sources on Maine agriculture include:

  • farm diaries,
  • account books, and
  • journals, which may be found in such repositories as the University of Maine's Special Collections Department of the Fogler Library, the Maine Historical Society, and the Bethel Historical Society.

  • The Dublin Seminar's The Farm offers a sampling of northeastern diaries and journals arranged geographically.
  • The Maine Farmer (1833-1924), one of New England's most important agricultural newspapers, contains information on farm methods, technologies, rural attitudes and opinions, crops, and politics.
  • The annual reports of the Secretary of the Maine Board of Agriculture, particularly the Fifth (1860), Twelfth (1867), and Eighteenth (1873), contain information on a variety of topics related to farming and rural life.
  • Travel literature, autobiographies and youth literature, particularly the stories of Elijah Kellogg and C.A. Stephens, also provide insight into everyday life on the Maine farm in the nineteenth century, as do the oral histories collected at the Northeast Archives of Folklore at the University of Maine.

    This list adapted from Maine: The Pine Tree State from Prehistory to the Present.


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THE FIRST FARMERS | AGRICULTURE ORGANIZES | AGRICULTURE TODAY | FEATURED INTERVIEWS | TRANSCRIPT

HISTORY TIMELINE | ARTS & CULTURE TIMELINE | NATIVE AMERICAN CULTURE | CLASSROOM | HISTORY LINKS | SITE INDEX

HOME: The Story of Maine on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network was made in partnership with the Maine State Museum. Major funding was provided by the  Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency committed to fostering innovation, leadership and a lifetime of learning. Additional funding provided by Elsie Viles.
Major funding for previous seasons of  HOME: The Story of Maine was made possible by a grant from Rural Development, a part of the USDA. Special support is provided by The Maine State Museum and Northeast Historic Films.