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Maine’s Mid-Century Moment Bicentennial Event | Jan 28

Maine’s Mid-Century Moment Bicentennial Event: Community Read of We Took to the Woods at Maine State Library

Community Read: We Took to the Woods, on January 28, 2020, in partnership with the Maine State Library is the first in a series of yearlong events highlighting Maine’s cultural history.

The University of Maine at Augusta is pleased to announce a yearlong program of events exploring the artists, writers, and innovators, who shaped and chronicled Maine’s mid-century cultural evolution. Maine’s Mid-Century Moment has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

On January 28, 2020, UMA will partner with the Maine State Library on a community read from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. focused on Louise Dickinson Rich’s bestselling 1942 memoir We Took to the Woods, facilitated by scholar Candace Kanes. Those familiar with this writing are encouraged to attend and those who have not and wish to participate in the discussion are encouraged to read We Took to the Woods, copies of which may be borrowed from the Maine State Library now through January 28.

Additionally, a variety of objects owned and used by Louise Dickinson Rich, including her typewriter and metal writing desk, will be displayed at the neighboring Maine State Museum. The museum will be open late and free of charge on the evening of January 28th.

While less well known today, We Took to the Woods proved to be a literary touchstone nationwide, garnering serialization in the pages of the Atlantic, selection by the Book-of-the-Month Club, multiple translations and re-issues, and even an Army edition. This work is one of the first rustication memoirs, blending humorous anecdotes about living off the grid with observations about Maine woods culture, flora, and fauna; generalized advice; musings on contemporary society; charming dog (and skunk!) stories; and the occasional recipe.

Events throughout 2020

For a full listing of the year’s events, please visit: Maine’s Mid-Century Moment. All events are free and open to the public. Please plan to take part in this yearlong celebration and exploration into mid-century Maine culture.

‘What do you know Campaign!’ seeks your input

Be a part of the celebration! Share your memories of Maine’s Mid-Century Moment through our What do you know Campaign! Oral histories are an important part of any community. If you have a story about a mid-century individual or experience please share it with us as we seek to illuminate the interconnectedness of the Maine experience at mid-century. Share your story »

About Candace Kanes

Image of Candace Kanes
Candace Kanes

Candace Kanes, a historian and former newspaper reporter and editor, became interested in people’s accounts of their time in the Maine outdoors while working as curator and historian of Maine Memory Network at the Maine Historical Society, trolling the archives for interesting photos and documents to put on the MMN website. Besides discovering dozens of such accounts – from Charles Turner’s ascent of Katahdin in 1804 – to journalist Emmie Bailey Whitney’s newspaper columns and her husband, G. Herbert Whitney’s photos of their hiking, camping, and climbing adventures in the 1930s– she read numerous books and articles that portrayed Maine through its outdoors pursuits, whether recreational or occupational. Kanes turned those discoveries into an exhibit, “Umbazooksus and Beyond: The Maine Woods Remembered” at Maine Historical Society in 2005, an online version of the exhibit, and a Let’s Talk About It reading series, “Defining Wilderness, Defining Maine” for the Maine Humanities. That series includes Louise Dickenson Rich’s best-selling account of her time in the Maine woods, We Took to the Woods, published in 1942.

This free public event on January 28th will take place from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Maine State Library, Second Floor, 230 State St, Augusta, ME. For more information, please contact Alison Maxell at the Maine State Library at 207-287-5631. Should inclement weather require the cancellation of this event, the snow date is February 4 at the same time and location.

For more information about National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor* please visit: http://www.neh.gov/. *Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in these programs, resources, and related websites, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.