Carroll Thayer Berry

Berry’s collection at the Penobscot Marine Museum consists of more than 9,000 negatives, 4,300 prints, hundreds of slides and 28 working sketches for wood block prints and screens.


Carroll Thayer Berry was a man of many talents — an able artist, illustrator, printmaker and photographer. He was born in 1886 in New Gloucester, Maine, but grew up in Portland, where he developed a love of the sea and sailing ships. After earning a degree in Naval Architecture at the University of Michigan in 1909, he worked for engineering firms in New York and Portland, then went to the Panama Canal as an inspection engineer. Deciding he wanted to be an artist, he studied at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts, then assisted with a set of murals for the Canal’s administration building. During the First World War, he served at the front in France with the US Army, and later illustrated magazine covers, then designed office space.

Mr. Berry and his wife, Janet, also an artist, returned to Maine from Chicago in the early 1930s to concentrate on their art careers. During World War II he completed a set of murals at the Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, then worked as a draftsman at the Camden (Maine) Shipping Co. In the late 1940s, at age 60, Mr. Berry took up photography. Over the next 20-plus years he produced an extensive collection of photographs of Maine’s Midcoast region which he donated to the Penobscot Marine Museum in 1977.

As one biographer put it, Carroll Berry was “genial to the core … modest and unassuming about his career … a center of gravitation” for both amateurs and professionals interested in art. He died in Rockport in 1978 at age 91.