Maine Historical Society



A Past Exhibit

Early Maine Photography, 1840-1870

September 25, 2015 - January 16, 2016
MHS Brown Library

exhibit graphic

Within the short span of a quarter century, photography became an integral part of life in Maine. Between 1840 and 1870, photography in its various forms recorded the appearance of individual Mainers as well as Maine itself. A host of pioneer photographers left us a precious visual legacy of Maine people and places which so enriches our understanding of the state's past. To celebrate the technological and artistic achievement of photography, and to better understand its impact on Maine, Maine Historical Society (MHS) opened the Early Maine Photography, 1840-1870 exhibition on September 25, 2016.

All images featured in Early Maine Photography were of Maine subjects or were made by Maine photographers between 1840 and 1870. The exhibition explored the meaning of the images, and dove into the notion of how early photographs provided the background and context for the culture we live in today.

Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr., Maine's State Historian and an authority on Maine photography, was curator of this exhibition, which was part of the Maine Photo Project, a statewide collaboration among museums, historical societies, photographers, and collectors that brought Maine's photographic heritage to national attention. Throughout 2015, more than 30 organizations offered exhibitions and public programs that explored the best of Maine photography -- from early documentary images to contemporary art forms. MHS holds the largest and most comprehensive collection of the earliest images of Maine, and its exhibition provided a historic framework for the overall Maine Photo Project activities.

Exhibition Poster

See and purchase the unique book featuring many photographs that appeared in the exhibit. Maine Photography A History 1840-2015.