Trophies

LB2015.12.328
Harriet Hichborn Collection
Gift of the Stockton Springs Historical Society

Taxidermy became popular in the Victorian era when many people brought stuffed animals into their homes for decorations. Old-time residents remembered that the three Hichborn sisters had what they called a museum in their house—a room in which they displayed the many oddities that their father’s sea-going friends brought back with them from around the world. There were “shrunken skulls and exotic sea shells and many others things.” This display of stuffed Maine animals may have been part of the museum collection. A deer head is surrounded by birds and topped with a squirrel. The arrangement is framed by an open doorway and set against the dark interior of the house. The contrast of the interior dark with the exterior light is echoed in the contrast between the lifeless animals and the living cat crouched next to them.

Captain Clifford’s Store

LB2015.12.303
Harriet Hichborn Collection
Gift of the Stockton Springs Historical Society

Pattern and repetition are highlighted frequently in Hichborn’s work. This Valentine’s display in Captain Clifford’s store window consists of one repeating image: a woman peering out from a frame, the cover of the February 1910 edition of Woman’s Home Companion. The lead article, advertised next to the hearts at the bottom of the window, is “The Head or the Heart?” which cautions women to pay more attention to their loved ones than to their professional interests and pursuits. This perhaps speaks to Hichborn’s dilemma, as a skilled photographer who spent her life within her family home caring for an invalid sister. Also advertised on the store is Moxie, now the official soft drink of Maine. Moxie was an early example of a mass-produced soft drink with a brand name so pervasive that it became a commonly use word in its own right.

Disembarking from the ROCKLAND

LB2015.12.239
Harriet Hichborn Collection
Gift of the Stockton Springs Historical Society

The steamer ROCKLAND brought passengers from Boston to Kidder’s Point. Here, Hichborn has captured the flurry of arrival—those waiting and those moving forward, some with baskets, packages, and even a chicken—while the captain watches from the pilot house. Four women stand at the center of the photo, a study in contrast. The women stand still, while they are surrounded by people in motion. The two in back, bare-headed and clothed in black, are framed by the two standing forward, dressed in light-colored suits and wearing elaborate hats.

Hichborn’s father was a prominent shipbuilder, who built 42 ocean-going wooden ships and helped connect midcoast Maine with the wider world. Although Hichborn’s photos include some from Orono and Blue Hill, the record suggests that she spent almost all her life close to Stockton Springs and rarely ventured beyond. This photograph hints at the possibility of travel and the world beyond.

Kidder’s Point

LB2015.12.238
Harriet Hichborn Collection
Gift of the Stockton Springs Historical Society

In this photo, Hichborn skillfully uses line to create a sense of depth and motion. The parallel lines of the track and wooden boards of the wharf stretch diagonally across the foreground, converging towards the horizon. They draw our attention to a new generator, which has just begun to provide electricity to the wharves at Jellison Point and here, at Kidder’s Point. Flags hung horizontally blow in the wind, their motion contrasting with the still figures below, waiting for the first excursion steamer to arrive. Hichborn’s sister Faustina wrote in Historical Sketches of Stockton Springs, that “we look for the town’s prosperity to equal—yes—exceed—the olden days of the ship building and sea going.” Kidder’s Point and the soon-arriving excursion steamers were indications of this hope for prosperity.

Newport Band

LB2015.12.217
Harriet Hichborn Collection
Gift of the Stockton Springs Historical Society

Penobscot Park in Searsport was developed by the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad in 1905. It offered public bathing, boating and fishing, a merry-go-round, dining, and a dance pavilion. Residents and summer visitors alike came to enjoy the bands that traveled here from across the state. Here are pleasure seekers posing with the Newport Band. Notice the similarity in dress among the crowd, a sign of the developing consumer culture. The women are dressed alike, in suits with long skirts and white shirtwaists. Most of the men wear straw boaters, a popular summer hat. We wonder what the few exceptions—fedoras, caps, and one bowler hat—suggest about these individuals. Penobscot Park failed to develop into the resort its founders had hoped for and closed in 1927.

Oscar Noble House

LB2015.12.188
Harriet Hichborn Collection
Gift of the Stockton Springs Historical Society

Hichborn took many photos of houses, often viewed from an angle. Her photographs follow the convention of architectural perspective, which reduces distortion in vertical lines, allowing the houses to appear square and strong. Here is the house of Oscar Noble and his family. The diagonal of the fence leads our attention directly to Mrs. Nobel as she feeds her chickens. It is interesting to note that Mrs. Nobel is behind the fence and is thus connected to the house and separated from the viewer. Her husband and three daughters—Elsie, Mabel, and Evelyn—seem to recede and have become part of the background. In the early part of the 20th century, Stockton Springs was prosperous and attracted many new residents. According to the 1930 census, Oscar Noble was born in Sweden and immigrated to the U.S. in 1889.

Cape Jellison Docks

LB2015.12.74
Harriet Hichborn Collection
Gift of the Stockton Springs Historical Society

The docks of Cape Jellison were one of Hichborn’s favorite subjects. Between 1905 and 1907, town developers built three large wooden piers, turning a town of small factories and sawmills into a shipping hub. The Bangor and Aroostook Railroad connected the docks with Northern Maine. A warehouse held potatoes until they could be shipped south. In this photo, the diagonal line of the pier on the left leads the viewer’s eye to a wooden sailing ship that rests side by side with the steamship Millinocket.

As Hichborn’s sister Faustina noted in her Historical Sketches of Stockton Springs, the town was “born to the great heritage of an unexcelled harbor, achieving an enviable position as a shipbuilding town in the heyday of wooden sailing crafts, now apparently has future greatness thrust upon her…” The greatness foreseen by Faustina was cut short by a fire which destroyed the wharves in 1924.

“Crew” of STATE OF MAINE’S Sampan

LB2003.61.141
Joanna Colcord Collection
Gift of Nina Colcord

This photograph, taken in Hong Kong around 1900, showcases a more intimate view of a sampan, focusing on members of the “crew” that served Captain Colcord’s ship, the STATE OF MAINE, while she was in port. Captain Colcord frequently hired Chinese cooks and stewards to work on his vessel. Both Joanna and her brother Linc were fascinated by the many sailors, fishermen, merchants and families whom they met (and sometimes socialized with) during their time in Hong Kong. In an article about her seafaring childhood that she wrote for the Maine Sunday Telegram in 1939 Joanna recalled: “We played with the Chinese youngsters without a word of common language, swapped cake and candy for gaudy paper lanterns, fished and had a generally gorgeous time.” Joanna and Linc both developed a fairly cosmopolitan worldview from these interactions; later evidence of this is apparent in Joanna’s social work, her camera work, and in Linc’s published fiction, prose, and poetry.

Fishing Fleet, Green Island, Hong Kong

LB2003.61.1417
Joanna Colcord Collection
Gift of Nina Colcord

This photograph was part of the series of glass plate negatives Colcord made on the 1899-1901 voyages to Hong Kong with her parents. In this image, Colcord captured a fishing fleet of sampans—a style of flat-bottomed wooden boat common in East Asia—sailing around Green Island in Hong Kong. The distinct sails would have been quite colorful. In addition to socializing with local merchants, other shipboard families, ventures into port, and keeping up with schoolwork, Colcord passed the time writing letters to her brother Linc, then a student at the University of Orono, taking photographs, and collecting material for the scrapbooks she made as a souvenir of her journey. The scrapbooks, also in the museum’s collection, feature photographs and other ephemera that she purchased or collected while traveling, as well as small cyanotypes printed from her own glass plate negatives.

Two Women with Leprosy (St. Thomas?)

LB2003.61.1281
Joanna Colcord Collection
Gift of Nina Colcord

The two women in this photograph are suffering from leprosy, a disease that had been present in the Virgin Islands since at least 1841 (though it likely appeared during the slave trade), especially in St. Croix and St. Thomas. Looking closely at the photograph, one can see that the disease has affected the hands of both women, as well as their faces. A leprosarium was first opened in the Virgin Islands in 1888, with an improved facility built in 1910. Incidences of the disease were still prevalent on the islands in the 1920s, though they were declining. The Red Cross was active in helping to treat leprosy throughout the world, and Colcord’s photograph both highlights the effects of the disease, as well as the inherent dignity of these women who were suffering its ravages, often in isolation.

Likely St. Thomas

LB2003.61.1275
Joanna Colcord Collection
Gift of Nina Colcord

Many of Colcord’s photographs from her time in the Virgin Islands demonstrate a need for improved conditions in areas that were often impoverished as well as some of the desired outcomes of Red Cross interventions, including health education, medical examinations, nursing programs in local schools, and the establishment of libraries. Having spent so much of her youth traveling the world, Colcord had an inherent interest in cultures and the living and working conditions of those she encountered in her travels. This photograph of women and children of African descent, who have paused in their work of cleaning fish to look into Colcord’s lens, provides a glimpse into impoverished living conditions in St. Thomas, as well as a pride in appearance—note the spotless white dresses and aprons. Whether or not Colcord used her camera in the years between her 1899-1901 voyages and this series from 1920/1921, it is clear she retained her talent for composition.

Red Cross Worker in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

LB2003.61.1154
Joanna Colcord Collection
Gift of Nina Colcord

Outside of Searsport, Maine, and her association with sailors and sea shanties (she published Roll and Go: Songs of American Sailormen in 1938), Joanna Colcord was best known as an influential and nationally recognized social worker, administrator, and author of social policy, especially regarding public assistance during the Great Depression. In the summer of 1920, Colcord took a leave of absence from the New York Charity Organization Society, where she supervised twelve district offices, to head an expedition of social workers, librarians, and nurses from the American Red Cross to the recently acquired U.S. Virgin Islands (purchased from Denmark in 1916). Perhaps influenced by prominent social photographer Lewis Hine and his 1909 call for social workers to utilize the camera in the work, Colcord once again picked up her camera while she was in St. Thomas, documenting the physical presence of the Red Cross and their community efforts in the Virgin Islands, including signs and volunteers, as seen in this photograph.

At Diamond Rock, Martinique

LB2003.61.1092
Joanna Colcord Collection
Gift of Nina Colcord

This photograph, like many of Colcord’s images, was taken aboard ship, and features two women sitting on the deck and gazing upon Diamond Rock, an uninhabited island just south of the French island of Martinique, in the Caribbean Sea. The various competing lines and angles of chains, ropes, and railings featured in the composition of this photograph add visual interest, inviting the viewer to gaze, like the women on the deck, beyond the confines of the vessel.

Guadeloupe, Market Scene

LB2003.61.1069
Joanna Colcord Collection
Gift of Nina Colcord

Although we do not know exactly when Colcord photographed this market scene on the French island of Guadeloupe, located in the Caribbean, it was likely on the same voyage as the photograph taken of Diamond Rock in Martinique (which lay just over 100 miles to the north). Having spent so much time aboard ship gazing outward at her surroundings throughout her childhood at sea, Colcord would have been used to—literally—taking the long view. Indeed, many of her photographs were taken from locations where she could peer down on a scene and get a sweeping view of her surroundings—in this case, a busy market where natives were selling their wares (foodstuffs, handicrafts, etc.) to locals as well as foreign visitors like she and her family. Time spent studying this photograph will reveal dozens of smaller vignettes and the many behaviors practiced at such a market—hawking, looking, haggling, selling, and buying.

British Ship PHILOMENE (Fernie Line)

LB2003.61.1027
Joanna Colcord Collection
Gift of Nina Colcord

Joanna Colcord’s earliest known photographs within the museum’s collection were taken (on glass plates) between 1899 and 1901, on a series of voyages from Maine to Hong Kong aboard her father’s ship, the STATE OF MAINE, when she was about 18. This was the last series of voyages she took with her father and mother. Captain Colcord favored the China trade during the age of sail, and his ship carried case-oil (kerosene), which the Chinese used for lamp oil. This photograph of the British ship “Philomene,” owned by H. Fernie & Sons of Liverpool, reflects a view familiar to a captain’s daughter—a vessel navigating choppy seas, salt spray splashing onto the deck, and a horizon with no land in sight. When Colcord’s ship was anchored in Asian ports at the turn-of-the-century, it was quite common for other American and British ships to be docked at the same time; the captains and their families often socialized.

Gentlemen’s Outing

R2014.2.151
Ida Crie Collection
Courtesy of Alice Knight

Then as today, wherever people gathered, photographs were taken. We know nothing specific of this scene of men gathered at a rustic cottage, probably on a lake within a carriage ride from Rockland. This could easily have been a municipal bicycle club; such clubs were ubiquitous in the US during this time, the Golden Age of Bicycles. The presence of so many wheels gave the photographer a strong visual element of repetition to draw upon; furthermore, someone with a practiced eye wouldn’t have missed how the sweep of the crossed fishing poles echoes the curvature of the hammocks. Ida clearly knew how to compose, even when the elements in a scene were people.

Interlachen, FL.

R2014.2.706
Ida Crie Collection
Courtesy of Alice Knight

This striking image of a large snake coiled on a newspaper was also taken in Interlachen, Florida. The newspaper, however, is Rockland’s Courier Gazette (still in print) from sometime in March of 1898. Crie took photographs of things she found to be interesting or unusual and the heavily patterned snake provides a marked contrast with the black and white newsprint.

Near Interlachen, FL.

R2014.2.642
Ida Crie Collection
Courtesy of Alice Knight

Crie travelled to Florida on several occasions to visit with family in Interlachen—a once-popular citrus growing center and winter tourist haven first settled in the 1870s when the railroad was built. In addition to taking photographs of the Florida landscape and her family members, she also, on several occasions, photographed African Americans. In this post-Reconstruction image, four women and two men are gathered in front of a store, where brooms, among other items, are being sold. The group is aware that Crie is taking their photograph, and each individual acts differently in front of the camera—some deliberately looking—others intentionally looking away. Crie used her camera as a tool to better understand her surroundings, and like other Maine women photographers of this era, particularly Chansonetta Stanley Emmons of Kingfield, also chose to document the lives, labor, and living conditions of African Americans in the South.

Unknown Waders, Likely Crescent Beach, Owls Head, ME.

R2014.2.543
Ida Crie Collection
Courtesy of Alice Knight

According to her great-granddaughter, Ida brought her camera with her everywhere she went and thus was able to capture a variety of scenes of daily life in the Rockland area and beyond. In this photograph, likely taken on Crescent Beach in nearby Owls Head, three women have raised their long skirts to go wading. Their gaze suggests they are watching something in the water below. It is rare to see so much of a woman’s leg exposed in this era; it would have been considered quite bold.

Triplets Near Union, ME.

R2014.2.130
Ida Crie Collection
Courtesy of Alice Knight

When looking through Ida’s larger body of work, it is clear, like the twentieth century photographer Diane Arbus, that she had an eye for the unusual. In this photograph, she captured a set of triplets from Union, Maine, barefoot and dressed identically, with small wilted flowers in their buttonholes. Triplets were a relatively rare occurrence, and Ida’s great-granddaughter Alice Knight points out how unusual it would have been for all three siblings to survive to this age in those days.

Unidentified Family

R2014.2.81
Ida Crie Collection
Courtesy of Alice Knight

It was very common in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries for family portraits to be taken outside, in front of the family homestead. Part of the visual appeal of this multi-generational portrait is the fact that only the father is looking at Crie’s camera when she takes it. In our modern digital era, where family portraits can be re-taken and photo-shopped to ensure everyone is looking at the camera, this photograph serves as a poignant reminder of our desire to preserve the images of our loved ones, and how difficult such photographs can be to capture.

Unknown Parlor

R2014.2.27
Ida Crie Collection
Courtesy of Alice Knight

Like many turn-of-the-century female photographers, one way that Ida Crie used her camera was to provide a view of domestic interior spaces like this parlor in an unidentified Maine home. In the Victorian era of separate and gendered spheres, the family home was often a woman’s domain, and much time and effort was put into crafting this space. Parlors, the room where company would often sit, were spaces that reflected a family’s refined tastes and interests. They were also a space to display one’s possessions, handiwork, books, curios, and works of art. It was common for middle and upper class families of this era to bring the natural world into the parlor with plants, pressed flowers, and even stuffed animals like the owl peering from its perch atop of the mantle. Elements of this parlor, such as the marine painting and the fishing net, have a decidedly nautical flair and may represent the homeowner’s ties to the sea.

Ball Game, Sargentville, ME

LB2012.28.219
Catherine Marston Wood Collection
Gift of Diana Marston Wood

Even though baseball became a professional sport in the 1850s, at the end of the 19th century almost every Maine town, large and small, still had its own baseball team. Evie Barbour’s photo makes clear how little a town needed in order to play the game. Here the team has established a ballpark in an open field without any special equipment in sight. Even gloves and bases seem to be absent.

The men in their shirt sleeves gather to play and kibbutz while the women—protected from the sun by their hats and parasol—look on. One wonders if the little girl, so focused on the field at the moment of the pitch, wishes she could join the action.

You can glimpse the ocean beyond the trees—and the on-lookers and the players are spread across the horizon like another layer of the scenic view. The ballplayers and onlookers appear to be part of the landscape, creating a nostalgic portrayal of America’s national sport.

Yacht Race, Eagle Island, ME

LB2012.28.192
Catherine Marston Wood Collection
Gift of Diana Marston Wood

In this photo, Evie Barbour captures the quintessential Maine coast—sailboats and an island just off in the distance. By photographing the yacht race, Barbour is able to provide depth to the photo—you can almost imagine more boats in the distance.

Yacht racing began in the Netherlands in the 17th century and was brought here by the British to providing a means of social and recreational enrichment for the wealthy. But as the photo makes clear, you don’t have to be wealthy to enjoy the beauty of a race.

Eagle Island, seen in the distance, has its own special history. It was the summer home of Admiral Robert Edwin Peary who, in 1909, was the first person to reach the North Pole. The island is now a national historic site.