Arts & Literature

Robert B. Hall

Image of R.B. Hall

1858 - 1907. Robert B. Hall was born into a musical family on June 30, 1858 in Bowdoinham, Maine. His father was his first cornet instructor and he became an outstanding cornetist with tremendous playing range. Over his lifetime he was associated with many Maine bands and published more than 62 marches. In 1981, Governor Joseph Brennan proclaimed the last Saturday in June annually as R. B. Hall day.

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Marsden Hartley

Image of a Marsden Hartley painting

Marsden Hartley was one of a circle of American painters, Hartley’s broad range of subjects and varied styles reflect not only his changing artistic aims, A constant for the artist, was his love for the rugged environment of his home state, Maine. Born in Lewiston, Maine, as Edmund Hartley in 1877, he spent his youth in the care of an aunt. In 1893 he moved to Cleveland to join his father and stepmother, Martha Marsden, whose surname he adopted as his first name. Hartley received a scholarship to the Cleveland School of Art in 1898 and demonstrated such talent that he was awarded a five-year stipend to study art in New York. From 1899 to 1900 he took classes at William Merritt Chase's New York School of Art, and he attended the National Academy of Design from 1900 to 1904, painting landscapes in Maine during the summers. In Maine and New York, Hartley painted landscapes and still-lifes that reflect the influence of Cezanne, Matisse and Picasso, artists with whom he became familiar through his studies and contacts in avant-garde circles in New York.

Hartley found inspiration in the landscape, expressing the spiritual essence of nature, a theme he had explored for three decades. Except for trips to Nova Scotia (1935 and 1936), he lived in New York until 1937 from this point forward, Maine became Hartley’s permanent home, where he wrote poetry and created powerful landscapes and figure paintings inspired by the people and rugged coast and mountains of Maine. Duncan Phillips, who had sporadically bought Hartley's work since 1921, purchased six oils between 1939 and 1943, a time when the artist was ill, weak, and impoverished. Even at the end of his life, he continued to work in the remoteness of Maine; Hartley never lost his formal power and uncompromising sense of realism. He died in Ellsworth, Maine in 1943.

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Sarah Orne JewettSarah Orne Jewett image

1849-1909 Sarah Orne Jewett was born in South Berwick, Maine, where she lived her entire life. At age 19, Jewett published her first story in the Atlantic Monthly, and was soon encouraged by William Dean Howells to publish her stories as a book. Her career continued to rise steadily and she became one of the most prominent literary figures of her time. Though primarily known for her prose work, Jewett also left a small collection of poems, most of which were unpublished in her lifetime. Her poems are formal pieces, strongly rhymed and metered, and often deal with subject matter similar to her fiction—her hometown and the deeper meaning of its traditions.  

On September 3, 1902, Jewett was injured in a carriage accident that all but ended her writing career. She was paralyzed by a stroke in March 1909, and she died in her South Berwick home after suffering another stroke on June 24, 1909. The Georgian home of the Jewett family, built in 1774 overlooking Central Square at South Berwick, is now a National Historic Landmark and Historic New England museum, the Sarah Orne Jewett House.

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Stephen King

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1947 - Present. Born in Portland, Maine and educated at the University of Maine at Orono, Stephen King has established himself as one the world's most famous horror writers of our time. King's first taste of success came in 1974, when Doubleday Books published Carrie which became an immediate success and was later made into a feature length film. Over 100 million copies of King's books are in print, several of which have been made into popular movies.

Stephen lives in Maine and Florida with his wife, novelist Tabitha King. They are regular contributors to a number of charities including many libraries and have been honored locally for their philanthropic activities.

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Image of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Photo: Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-103577

1807 - 1882. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine and was educated at Bowdoin College. Longfellow became one of the best loved American poets of all time with works such as 'The Song of Hiawatha' and 'The Courtship of Miles Standish'. He earned great fame as one of the first poets to use themes of the American landscape and native American culture as the focus of his work. At the young age of 19, Longfellow was asked by Bowdoin College to serve as their chair of Modern Languages.

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Amy MacDonald

Amy MacDonald image

Photo Courtesy of Amy MacDonald

1951 - present. Amy MacDonald was born in Beverly, MA in 1951. She spent summers on Mt. Desert Island as a child and moved to Maine with her family in 1988. She is the author of several childrens books including Little Beaver and the Echo, Rachel Fister's Blister, Cousin Ruth's Tooth, and The Spider Who Created the World. Board books to her credit include the Let's Explore series. Amy is a teaching artist as part of the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts "Partners in Education" National Touring Program. She conducts professional development workshops for teachers and writing workshops for students.

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Edna St.Vincent Millay

Image of Edna St. Vincent Millay

Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs
Division, Arnold Genthe Collection: Negatives
and Transparencies, [reproduction number,
e.g., LC-G786-3452]

1892 - 1950. Born in Rockland, Edna St. Vincent Millay became one of this nation's most renowned poets of the 20th Century. Millay's literary career began in earnest in 1912 at the age of 20 when she entered her poem "Renascence" into a national poetry contest and won. She went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for her book the Harp - Weaver. Millay's poetry was well known for its feminist themes and images of sexual freedom.

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Edwin Arlington Robinson

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Born in Alna, Maine, Edwin Arlington Robinson is considered to be one of the most important poets of the first half of the twentieth century, ranking with the likes of T.S. Eliot, William Butler Yeats, Robert Frost, and William Carlos Williams.  He spent his early years in Gardiner, Maine where by the age of twenty knew that "I was doomed, or elected, or sentenced for life, to the writing of poetry".  Robinson came into the national spotlight when his book of poetry, Children of the Night came to the attention of President Theodore Roosevelt, who became an ardent supporter of Robinson.  He was awarded three Pulitzer Prizes for poetry, Collected Poems (1922), The Man Who Died Twice (1925) Tristam (1928). In all Robinson published twenty-eight books of poetry and several plays in his lifetime.

For more information visit the Edwin Arlington Robinson website.

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Harriet Beecher Stowe

Image of Harriet Beecher Stowe

Photo credit: Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-11212

1811 - 1896. During the time she lived in Maine, Harriet Beecher Stowe became one of the most important figures during the Civil War period by penning perhaps the most influential novel of its time. While living in Brunswick, Maine, Stowe was inspired to write Uncle Tom's Cabin, a story that was sympathetic towards the plight of slaves in the United States. Highly controversial, this novel stirred up emotions on both sides of the slavery issue and was often used as a symbol to rally the abolitionist movement.


For more information visit the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center website.

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E.B. White

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1899 - 1985. E.B. White is revered as one of the world's greatest authors of children's stories and prose. After writing such classic tales as Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan, White and his family moved from New York to a small farm in North Brooklin, Maine where he lived for 28 years.

For more information visit: Harper Collins Children's Books

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Andrew Wyeth

Andrew Wyeth

1917 - 2009. One of this country's foremost modern artists, Andrew Wyeth has captured the imaginations of millions of people with his entrancing images of Maine's landscape and her people. Many of Wyeth's paintings are displayed at the Farnsworth Gallery in Rockland, Maine. For more information visit the Wyeth Center.

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Jamie Wyeth

Image of James Browning Wyeth

Photo credit: Bill Lyons

1946 – Present. Jamie Wyeth divides his time between Maine and Chadds Ford, PA. His works are included in many public collections, including the National Gallery of Art, National Portrait Gallery, John F. Kennedy Library, and the Museum of Modern Art.

Jamie is the son of Andrew Wyeth and grandson of Newell Convers Wyeth. The Farnsworth Museum in Rockland includes a “Wyeth Center” one of only 2 centers in the country focusing on three generations of Wyeth works.

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