Maine Historical Society



On-Demand Programs

Shredding Paper: The Rise and Fall of Maine's Mighty Paper Industry
A book talk with Michael G. Hillard

Recorded on May 4, 2021

From the early twentieth century until the 1960s, Maine led the nation in paper production. Local paper companies in Maine dominated the political landscape, controlling economic, workplace, land use, and water use policies. The state could have earned a reputation as the Detroit of paper production, however, the industry eventually slid toward failure. What happened? Shredding Paper describes the industry's colorful origins, depicts its unusual character as industrial workplace, unwraps the changing US political economy since 1960, uncovers how the paper industry defined and interacted with labor relations, and peels away the layers of history that encompassed the rise and fall of Maine's mighty paper industry. Dr. Michael Hillard discusses how his book deconstructs the paper industry's unusual technological and economic histories and examines the many contributing factors surrounding how Maine became a paper powerhouse and then lost that position to changing times and foreign interests.

Purchase the book from our MHS store.