New Year’s Resolutions – Archivally Inspired!

New Year’s Resolution to lose weight.

Whether or not you’re committing to New Year’s Resolutions (or Intentions) this year, here are some great photos from our Community Archives Room that might help inspire us all to stick to our ideals in 2017….

Lose Weight
Gardiner’s 1911 Police Force collectively weighed 2,800 pounds, winning a nationwide contest!
Save Money
Now Camden Savings Bank, Gardiner Savings Institution built their ultra-modern facility in the 1950s.

 

Eat Healthier
MacDonald’s Bakery opened in 1921 and operated for over 70 years where the Craft Beer Cellar is now.

 

Spend More Time Outdoors
Shown here in the 1920s, Spring Cove on the Brunswick Road was a summer hot spot for decades.
Read More
1947 Summer Reading participants at the Gardiner Public Library in what was then the Children’s Room and is now the Hazzard Reading Room.

 

Cut Down on Sweets
In 1923, Condos Candy Shop sold sweets where the Village Jeweler is now.

 

Carpool If You Can
This photo was taken in September 1940, just before the Sawyer Grain building (now Gardiner Feed) was built.

 

Get More Sleep
A young Gardiner man resting in his Bates College dormitory, c.1914.

 

Take a Class
The Kennebec School of Commerce operated in the upper floors of the bank building on the corner of Water and Church Streets from the mid-1930s through the 1940s and drew students from across the state.

 

Adopt a Pet
This 1920s cutie has ties to a Gardiner family and features prominently (along with many other dear pets) in their treasured scrapbook, which now lives in the Community Archives Room.
Make the Most of Less Than Perfect Situations
During the Flood of 1936 (just like those of 1896 and 1987), Gardiner folks temporarily adopted a Venetian lifestyle.
Shop Locally
Some of us still remember milk delivery from local farmers.  Today, this early 1900s Gardiner farmer could bring his wares to the Farmer’s Market or the Co-Op!

Start a Big Project You’ve Been Meaning to Do

Gardiner dug up and re-paved Water Street in the early 1980s.
 Keep a Journal / Learn a New Language
This 1896 journal was kept by a Gardiner man on River Avenue and donated by a later homeowner who discovered it — for the life of us, we have been unable to translate his unique shorthand.  Any ideas?
Stop and Smell the Roses (or Any Flowers)
This 1920s snapshot comes from a Gardiner family’s large collection of negatives, many of which we are seeing for the first time in all their glory  — thanks to our negative & slide scanner!
Exercise More
We have many old sports photos of Gardiner teams.  This one is simple titled “An Early Gardiner Baseball Nine” and is probably from the late 1800s.
Remember Important Dates
If you can’t get enough of historic Gardiner, you can enjoy even more beautiful photos AND stay on top of 2017 with a copy of our new calendar — still on sale at the library, Boys & Girls Club, and all around town for only $10.  All proceeds benefit the library and the Boys & Girls Club.
 
 
Happy New Year to All!!
 
– Dawn Thistle, Special Collections Librarian

 

Do you recognize any of these faces?

Woman, unknown year, Gardiner, Maine.
October is American Archives Month, so it couldn’t be more exciting or appropriate that we finally completed renovations of our Community Archives Room and moved back in last week!  We’re still shuffling some things around, settling into the space, and waiting for some furnishings – so, stay tuned for more!
In the meantime, some things never change.  As thorough as we try to be with documenting and recording information about historic items and photographs, mysteries will always exist. We have many unidentified portrait photographs in our collection and most offer very few clues as to who the subject is.
Children photographed by S.C. Stinson, a Gardiner Photographer who worked with the ambrotype process in the 1860s.
Most photographs, such as the cartes de visite and cabinet cards included here, include the name of the photographer and location of his or her studio.  These photographs were all taken (or reproduced) here in Gardiner, each by a different photographer. Although Gardiner had many photography studios over the years, we can identify a time frame in which images were produced by knowing when the photographers worked in town.  Newspapers and directory listings have helped us build such a timeline, but some photographers left and came back, others worked steadily for decades, and still more names keep coming out of the woodwork (like Hamlin, above).
Man, “Photographed by Clark,” 1860s.
Man, 1880; “Photographic Studio of Mrs. J.K. Barker.”
Fashions of clothing or hair, styles of furniture and set pieces, and also the format and design of the photograph itself provide additional clues.  Women’s hairstyles and men’s facial hair followed distinct trends through the years and clothing and props can indicate time frames, ethnicity, wealth, career, interests and more. 
 
Woman, early 1890s; J.S. Variel, photographer.
Child, early 1890s; A.W. Kimball, photographer.
Similarly, as photographic processing improved and changed, styles emerged to distinguish one print from another.  Colored borders became popular in the late 1880s and fancy edges emerged in the 1890s. Even the thickness of card stock can help determine the age of a photograph, as materials changed and advanced over the years. Coupling these details with our timeline of photographers working in Gardiner really helps in narrowing down years.  
 
Pup, 1890s; G.F. McIntosh, photographer.
 
Some photo albums or batches of images provide contextual clues, such as family resemblances or classmate connections. Unfortunately, without any contextual clues, we’re left only with facial recognition.  So, unless someone out there sees someone they “know” from the past, these folks and four-legged friends will remain mysteries for the ages.  
 
We hope you’ll tell us if you happen to recognize anyone above — and we have many more where these came from!  But the moral of the story is: be a part of history,
Label Your Photos (in pencilNO pens, post-its, or adhesives) Today!  
Happy American Archives Month!