Maine’s Mid-Century Moment

Our somewhat delayed NEH-funded bicentennial program is getting a virtual makeover!

While we had hoped to commemorate Maine’s bicentennial with a set of in-person events, the pandemic had other plans. However, we have now streamlined and retooled our program and now present a set of virtual events illuminating 20th-century Maine culture with a focus on the mid-century era.

Please join us for the following VIRTUAL programs (unless otherwise noted), all free and open to the public.


Calendar of Events


Our Way Down EastAuthor Highlight: Elinor Graham

June 24, 2021 | 6:30 pm

hosted by the Freeport Historical Society

In 1934 Maryland native Elinor Graham moved with her husband to a saltwater farm in Freeport, Maine. They had met in the Provincetown theater scene, fallen in love, and married in Mexico, before embarking on their new adventure in rural life. Graham’s popular 1943 memoir Our Way Down East depicts the years that she and her husband attempted to homestead in Maine. This event features a conversation and slides about the mid-century Maine author with her daughter, Lani Graham, and Lisa Botshon, UMA Professor of English.

Here is a recording of the event.


Elizabeth Arden’s Maine Chance Spa

June 30th, 2021 | 7:00 p.m.

hosted by the Belgrade Historical Society

A discussion and slides by Lisa Walker, Associate Professor of English at the University of Southern Maine, who has conducted research on Arden’s spa, a mid-century Maine destination for socialites and movie stars. Here is a recording of the event.


Northeast Historic FilmNortheast Historic Film Screening in Bucksport

July 14, 2021/ 7:00 p.m.

This event will feature a curated program of Maine mid-century films. Subjects include the logging industry, suburban Maine life, and Maine agriculture. Together, these amateur and professionally shot shorts and fragments help tell a visual story about life in Maine during the mid-century era. This event will be in person at the Alamo Theater in Bucksport. Please follow current protocols for public health.


Mid-Century Visual Culture: Issues and Institutions

hosted by the Colby College Museum of Art

August 12, 2021  5:30-7:00 pm

A panel of Maine-based scholars and critics will address a broad spectrum of Maine visual culture in the mid-century era. Topics include Ashley Bryant and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, William Zorach’s sculpture in Bath, the emergence of Maine postcards, and the Ogunquit art colony. Registration is required.


The Little LocksmithAuthor Highlight: Katharine Butler Hathaway

hosted by the Castine Historical Society

August 24, 2021 | 7:00-8:30pm

The town of Castine inspired Hathaway’s 1943 work The Little Locksmith, a memoir about her disability and transformation once she bought a large historic Maine house into which she welcomed friends, family and lovers. This event will include talks and slides by Chris Austin, Hathaway’s great nephew, and Abby Clouse-Radigan, who is writing a biography on the author. Registration is required.


Postponed Event

The following event has been temporarily postponed due to the response to COVID-19 and the limits on public gatherings. Updates will be provided once the event is rescheduled.

Indigenous Mid-Century Maine

Panel will explore significant Wabanaki people, cultures, and policies in the 20th century.