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Special Collections: Guide to the Walter L. Arnold Papers

Arranged and described by Brenda Howitson Steeves

Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Department

June 2004

Introduction and Summary Information

Collection Title: Walter L. Arnold Papers.

Dates of the Collection: 1893-1980 (inclusive); 1920-1959 (bulk).

Provenance: The Arnold papers were a gift to the Special Collections Department, Raymond H. Fogler Library, University of Maine from Walter Arnold in 1971 and subsequent years.

Collection Number: MS 23.

Box Numbers: 1-6 (formerly Boxes 68-71a).

Size and Arrangement: The collection consists of four archival record cartons and two document boxes of material (6.0 cubic feet).

Conservation Note: The collection has been re-housed in acid-free folders and boxes.

Preferred Citation: Walter L. Arnold Papers, Special Collections, Raymond H. Fogler Library, University of Maine.

Restrictions on Access and Use: Kept at Fogler Library's offsite storage facility. One week's notice required for retrieval.


The collection contains the personal papers and business records of Walter L. Arnold, a businessman, guide, fur trader, trapper and author from Greenville, Maine.

Walter Arnold was born in 1894 in Willimantic, Maine, the son of Alonzo and Alice Arnold. His father was a market hunter in the 1870’s, and as a young man Walter hunted, trapped and guided with his father. After service in World War I, he started a mail order business, selling trapping supplies and animal trapping scents and lures nation-wide. In the late 1930’s, he also worked for Campbell-Fairbanks Expositions, installing trapping exhibits for sportsmen’s shows in New York and Boston. He was one of the original founders of the Maine Trappers Association and served as its president, secretary and treasurer, as well as the editor of its newsletter, Maine Trapper. He was the author of several books about trapping and preparing scents as well as numerous articles published in trapping and hunting magazines and newspapers. His book, Professional Trapping, which appeared in four editions between 1935 and 1947, was widely used by state and federal officials to train trappers to handle troublesome wild animals

In 1959 he sold his business to Oscar Cronk of Wiscasset and went back to the woods, living by himself until 1980 in one of the northern townships of Maine, a place accessible only by snowmobile or airplane. His life became the subject of many articles in various magazines and newspapers, and the book, Goodbye Mountain Man by Donald Anderson featured him and his lifestyle.

Walter Arnold remained active until his death in 1980. As he put it in a letter to the Fogler Library Special Collections Department in 1971, “I am not like all these woods hermits you hear about that sit around, grow fat and pass on. I am 78 and still do probably more hard work summer and winter than nearly all the men in the state do at the age of 45.”

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains diaries, letters and bills, business catalogs, books and articles by and about Walter Arnold, as well as a small group of books owned by him. Arnold was very much aware of the historical value of his papers and carefully annotated many items in the collection, giving insight into their history and meaning.

Walter Arnold kept a daily diary from 1919 through 1976 in which he recorded his activities, the weather, and the wildlife he saw and hunted. Written in his vivid style, the diaries give a clear picture of his long and adventuresome life. He also kept two scrapbooks throughout his life which contain photographs, correspondence, information about other trappers all over the country, articles he wrote, etc. One of them also contains extensive information about the exhibits he installed at various sportsmen’s shows.

A large part of the collection is made up of letters and bills, 1912-1980. Much of the correspondence is from trappers nation-wide who did business with Arnold and became his friends, including many he had never met in person. Found with the correspondence are lists of Arnold’s supplies and equipment and an inventory of items on hand at the start of each business season. Arnold’s mail-order business catalogs from the 1920’s through 1956 are also included in the collection, as well as many advertisements, catalogs and price lists of companies with which Arnold did business.

Arnold kept both draft copies of the numerous articles he wrote as well as the magazines in which they appeared. The collection also contains copies of the books he wrote, including the four editions of Professional Trapping. A small group of books and magazines owned by Walter Arnold has also been kept with the collection because of the context they provide.

Box List

Box 1


1                      Obituary of Walter Arnold and letter from Elaine Arnold Robinson, 1980

2                      Daily calendar, 1919

3                      Diaries, 1920’s

4                      Diaries, 1930’s

5-6                   Diaries, 1940’s

7                      Diaries, 1950’s

8                      Diaries, 1960’s

9                      Diaries, 1966-1970

10                    Diary, 1970

11                    Diaries, 1971-1972

12                    Diary, 1972

13                    Diary, 1973

14                    Diary, 1974

15                    Diary, 1975

Box 2

1                      Diary, 1976

Scrapbook       Scrapbook compiled by Walter Arnold, 1952-1960’s [Located physically in Box 6]

Scrapbook       Scrapbook “mostly about the 3 winters I furnished a log camp, trapper’s exhibit at the Boston and the New York sports shows” [Located physically in Box 6]

2                      Letters and bills, 1912-1916, 1918-1919

3                      Letters and bills, 1920-1923

4                      Letters and bills, 1924-1925

5                      Letters and bills, 1926-1927

6                      Letters and bills, 1928-1929

7                      Letters and bills, 1930-1931

8                      Letters and bills, 1932-1935

9                      Letters and bills, 1936-1937

10                    Letters and bills, 1938-1939

11                    Letters and bills, 1940-1942

12                    Letters and bills, 1943-1946

13                    Letters and bills, 1947-1949

14                    Letters and bills, 1950-1953

15                    Letters and bills, 1954-1956

Box 3 Folder

1                      Letters and bills, 1961-1965

2                      Letters and bills, 1970-1980

3                      Sam White clippings and letters, 1970’s

4                      Letters and bills, A-J, undated

5                      Letters and bills, K-W, undated

6                      Holiday letters from Walter Arnold

7                      Yearly earnings and fish caught, 1915-1952

8                      Ledger, 1950’s-1960’s

9                      Walter Arnold’s business catalogs, 1920’s

10                    Walter Arnold’s business catalogs, 1930’s

11                    Walter Arnold’s business catalogs, 1940’s

12                    Walter Arnold’s business catalog, 1958-1959

13                    Walter Arnold’s business circulars

14-15               Miscellaneous circulars and advertisements for other businesses

16-17               Catalogs and price lists for other businesses

18                    Statistics re furs, etc., 1940-1949

19                    Guide’s licenses

20                    Military records, World War I and II

21                    Selective Service medal, World War II

22                    Record kept by Walter L. Arnold, Supr., Borestone Mt. Hatchway, 1917-1918

23                    Maine Trappers Assoc. constitution, by-laws, etc.

24                    Maine Trapper, 1948-1958

25                    Rules governing the organization and operation of ATA [American Trappers Assoc.] locals

26                    Miscellaneous articles by Walter Arnold

27                    Arnold’s professional fox trapping, by WA, 1973

28                    Hunter, trader, trapper, 1934-1937, with articles by WA

29                    Hunter, trader, trapper, outdoorsman, 1938, with articles by WA

30                    North American trapper, 1938, with article by WA

31                    The Northland trapper, 1930, by WA

32                    Professional trapping, 1935; 2nd ed., 1939, by WA

Box 4

1                      Professional trapping, 3rd ed., 1944, by WA

2                      Professional trapping, 4th ed., 1947, by WA

3                      Professional trapping ... beaver, by WA

4                      Professional trapping ... bobcat, by WA

Box 4 cont.

5                      Professional trapping ... mink and muskrat methods, by WA

6                      The steel trap by WA

7                      Trapping, 1921, by WA

8                      As I remember life at Borestone [Mountain Fox Ranch] by WA

9                      Ghost town at Caribou Bog; submission to Down East, by WA

10                      Unpublished drafts of articles, A-G, by WA:

                    About scents

                    Allagash waters, Part 1 and 2

                    Backwoods trapline

                    Bear pay me a visit

                    Camp stoves

                    A complicated performance

                    Conservation and beaver

                    Dirt sets

                    Fall trapping

                    Fishing news

                    For the common good

                    Forty years with small-mouth

                    Fox and scent

                    Fur and meat

                    Glory or dollars

                    Gum pails rattle again


11                      Unpublished drafts of articles, I-O, by WA:

                    I worked around log haulers

                    Lady luck

                    The last trip

                    Life on the trap line

                    The lone trapper, parts I and 2

                    Looking ahead

                    Maine black-cat

                    Me and Paul

                    Mink raising, parts 1, 2, and 3

                    More about ‘cats

                    Much ado about cats

                    The muskrat

                    Musks, herbs and oils

                    Old eagle eye

                    The otter

                    Out of the past

Box 4 cont.


12                      Unpublished articles, P-T, by WA:

                    The paying pages

                    Preparedness, no. 2

                    Ramming about the woods

                    Saucy mink

                    Sir Reynard, parts 1 and 2

                    Some notes on the fisher

                    Stoves for trappers

                    Tales we tell

                    That all-around gun

                    Then and now

                    Those troublesome‘cats

                    Timely hints

                    Tonquin and Siberian musk

                    The trapper and his problems

                    Trapping equipment

                    Trapping tricks

                    Traps, gum pails and guns

                    Traveling in traffic

                    Trout and bees

13                      Unpublished articles, U-W, by WA:

                    Useful hints to trappers, no. 1

                    Watch that breath

                    The water set for fox


                    Wings over the woods

                    Winter beaver sets

14                      Miscellaneous articles by WA

15-16               Articles about Walter Arnold

17                      Newspaper clippings about furs, trapping, etc.

Books and magazines belonging to Walter Arnold

18                    American Forests, Oct., 1953

19                    Brown’s fox book, undated

20                    Conner, J.D. The art of trapping, 1923

21                    Davis, Jesse J. Facts about minks, undated

22                    Devoe, Luther J. Fox and coyote trapping: the mystery method, 1944

23                    Frieman, Kenneth E. Expert skunk and opossum trapping

24-32               Fur-Fish-Game, 1929-1964

Box 5


1                      Fur-Fish-Game, 1969-1971

2                      Gotch, Frank. Wrestling, 1908

3                      Hawbaker, S. Stanley. Red and grey foxes: how to trap them, 1947

4                      Hunter, trader, trapper, 1914-1915

5                      Keith, E.F. Foxology: a complete guide to successful fox trapping, undated

6                      Kreps, E.H. Woodcraft, 1923

7                      Lindroos, Ray W. Practical farmland trapping, 1946

8                      Louisiana Dept. of Conservation. The fur animals of Louisiana, 1931

9                      Michigan State Dept. of Conservation. Game Division: reprint from eleventh biennial report, 1941-1942                           + other pamphlets

10                    Narratives of trapping life, 1922

11                    National Board of Fur Farm Organizations. Facts and figures on the United States, 1949?

12                    New Mexico Dept. of Game and Fish. Practical predator control, 1936

13                    North, Nov.-Dec., 1966

14                    North Dakota State Game and Fish Dept. Annual reports, 1942-1947

15                    Oregon State Game Commission Bulletin, 1946

16                    Palmer, Ralph S. Rufus Philbrook, trapper, 1949; The whitetail deer of Tomhegan Camps, Maine,
                         with added notes on fecundity
, 1951

17                    The Pennsylvania trapper, 1958

18                    Pete Rickard’s fox trapping methods, undated

19                    Profitable outdoor pursuits, 1922

20                    Scribner’s lumber & log book, 1893

21                    Seeback, Harry. Scientific bag punching, 1905

22                    Selected vaudeville jokes, undated

23                    Singleton, Ray. Deodorizing the skunk by surgery, 1947

24                    Stephens, Gard. Trapping tips for rural trappers, 1934

25                    The trapper’s companion, 1919

26                    The trapper’s hand book, 1923

27                    Trapping as a profession, 1922

28                    Miscellaneous magazine articles, etc.

Box 6


Box 7

Items added to the collection in 2011


1-2                 Letters and bills, 1930s-1970s

3-4                 Letters and bills, 1940s-1970s

5-6                 Letters and bills, 1960s-1970s

7                    Diary, 1968

8                    Diary, 1969

9                    Journal, 1958-1959 + records of mail order business, 1919-1958

Finding Aids for selected manuscript collections in the Special Collections Department at Fogler Library are accessible online in URSUS, in a browsable Guide to Manuscript Collections. Please contact Special Collections at or (207) 581-1686 for further information.

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Special Collections Staff: | Revised: 03/17/2015
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