M. Elmer Montgomery

The mid-coast waterfronts and the ships that cruised their waters are the primary subjects of over 700 negatives made in the 1930’s and 40’s.

Download (PDF) “Elmer’s Camera,” a photo feature by Maynard Bray from WoodenBoat.

M. Elmer Montgomery was born in 1912 at Ingrahams Hill in what was then South Thomaston, Maine, now Owls Head. He graduated from nearby Rockland High School in 1928. He had a passion for boats and boat building and loved to spend his time by the Rockland waterfront. He took up photography for a short period of time and became skilled with a camera, making beautifully seen photographs of the boats that worked the waters of Midcoast Maine. During World War II he served in the Army Air Forces, and it was during this time that his interest in photography faded. In 1947 he married Helen Rogers and began working at the Rockland Loan and Building Administration, where he would ultimately become president. He continued in the banking industry until he retired in 1978. He died at the age of 85 in 1997.

Montgomery’s collection of 700+ negatives was donated in 2008 to the Penobscot Marine Museum by his cousin, Maynard Bray (who was named after his cousin Elmer). Maynard wanted to be sure that these photographs would be in a place that not only preserved them but also made them available to the interested public.

Memories of Cousin Elmer

by Maynard Bray, April 18, 1997

M. (for Maynard) Elmer Montgomery has been on my mind a lot this past week. He died just a week ago and was buried day before yesterday. I’ve been reviewing all the times spent with him and how very deeply he came to influence what I’ve become.

My father had great respect for Elmer’s manual skill even though he was far from a craftsman himself. Through frequent visits to Elmer’s “coop” at his parents’ place where he built ship models, I came to have that same appreciation. Partly because we had no car during the war years, the Bray family rarely went anywhere to visit, so our frequent walks from Mechanic Street to “the hill” on weekends were big occasions for me, and getting to go inside Elmer’s “coop” always was the highlight.

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