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Special Collections: Guide to the John Franklin Day Papers

Arranged and described by Brenda Howitson Steeves

April 2008

Collection title: John Franklin Day Papers
Provenance: Gift of Helen M. Day in 1974
Collection number: MS 129
Dates of collection: 1908-1974
Size of collection: 11 boxes
Restrictions on access and use: Kept at Fogler Library's offsite storage building. One week's notice required for retrieval.


John Franklin Day was born in 1884 in Wesley, Maine, the son of Joel and Catherine Breen Day. As a young man he worked in the woods and sawmills in Maine as well as in sardine factories and grocery stores. In his twenties, he attended the East Maine Conference Seminary in Bucksport, Maine, and Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, where he majored in English literature and poetry, graduating in 1914. He spent his career in the insurance industry, working as an agent and then as director of sales for the New England Mutual Life Insurance Company in Boston.

He was also an author and a poet, publishing a novel, East of Katahdin, in 1949, and Facets of the Mind, a privately printed book of poetry, in 1957. He was involved in various literary activities in Boston and served as president of the Boston Authors Club and the Boston Shakespeare Club. He was also a member of the Browning Society of Boston, the Lake Placid Club, the Longwood Cricket Club, the New England Poetry Society and the Bostonian Society, among others.

Day married Helen Moore, a mental health nurse and counselor, in 1948; Day's first marriage had ended in divorce. In addition to their home in Boston, the Days owned a cabin in Ashby, Massachusetts. Beginning in 1928, Day also leased land from the Eastern Pulp Wood Company and built a hunting camp on Todd Brook. Later he and his brothers started a camp called Tomah Stream Hunters Club in Princeton, Maine, remaining involved in this venture until 1970. He and his wife summered and later lived in Seal Cove in Tremont, Maine, where John Day died on July 3, 1972.

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains the personal papers of John Franklin Day, an insurance agent, writer and poet.

The collection begins with Day's personal correspondence, dating from the 1920s through the 1960s and arranged alphabetically by correspondent. The correspondence reflects Day's literary interests and his efforts to publish his work, as well as his activities in various social organizations in Boston. An index to correspondents presumably prepared by Helen Day accompanies the letters. The correspondence is followed by Day's personal files, arranged alphabetically and containing information about the East Maine Conference Seminary in Bucksport, the Day family, the Tomah Stream Hunters Club, Wesleyan University and other subjects. Also included in this section is information about Day's personal finances and several years of his daily diaries as well as photographs of his activities. Many of the items in the collection contain explanatory annotations provided by Day's wife Helen.

The collection also includes files about Day's writing, including a partial manuscript copy of his novel, East of Katahdin, and related correspondence; poems and essays; and various manuscripts of other writings.

The collection contains several boxes of client files from John Day's career in insurance. These files were restricted until January 1, 2000 by Helen M. Day, the collection's donor.

The researcher may also want to consult the Helen M. Day Papers (MS 128), also owned by the Special Collections Department.

Contents of Boxes

Box 1


1 Index of friends and associates of John F. Day

2 Letters: A-C

3 Letters: Leo W. Bayles

4-5 Boston Authors Club: Letters, bulletins, membership lists, etc.

6 Letters: D-G

7 Letters: H-K

8 Letters: L-O

9 Letters: P-R

10 Letters: S-U

11 Letters: V-Y

12 John Franklin Day as I lovingly remember him by Helen Moore Day, June 1974

13 Letters of sympathy, 1972

14 Addresses and speeches of John Day

15 Ashby, Mass.

16 Biographical data

17 Boston Authors Club

18 Boston Browning Society

19 Boston Shakespeare Club

20 Bostonian Society

21 Bucksport Seminary: John Day report cards, programs, etc.

22 Bucksport Seminary: The Ariel, 1910, published by students of East Maine Conference Seminary, Bucksport, Maine

23-24 Bucksport Seminary pictures: Class of 1909 and 1910

25 Bucksport photos

26 Business expenses, etc. 1929-1963 (ledger)

Box 2

1 Records of investments and income

2 Records of insurance

3 College essays

4 Day family history

5-6 Day family reunion

7-8 Day family photos

9 Deeds: Princeton property and Ashby camp and land

10 Diary, 1908

11 Diaries, 1921-1924

12 Diaries, 1935-1937

13 Diaries, 1941-1943, 1945

14 Diaries, 1952, 1959

15 Diaries, 1960-1964

16 Miscellaneous memo books

17 Falmouth publishers

18 Hamilton Trust

19 Hartford Fire Insurance Co. plaque, 1934

20 Illnesses

21 Income tax, Mass., 1949-1963

22 Loans: Bucksport Seminary and Wesleyan University

23 Lumberjacking

24 Membership cards

25 Memorabilia

26 Miscellaneous data

27 New England Mutual Life Insurance Co.: Certificate and medal

28 New England Mutual Life Insurance Co. miscellaneous information

29 Passamaquoddy Indians: newspaper clipping, 1967

30 Photos: Canoe trip, 1934, with Harold Cooley

31 Photos: Helmar Island

32 Photos: Miscellaneous

33 Photos: Summers Agency, N.E. Mutual Insurance Co., Boston, Mass.

Box 3

1 Photo: Unidentified [Wesleyan?]

2 Postcard album: Scenes of Maine and Massachusetts

3 Miscellaneous postcards

4 Round Table

5 Sigma Alpha Epsilon: Photos, etc.

6 Todd Brook Camp, 1960s

7-13 Tomah Stream Hunters Club: Correspondence, financial reports, etc., 1935-1970

14 Tomah Stream leases, receipts and correspondence

15 Tomah Stream Hunters Club account book, 1935-1961

16 Tomah photos

17 Big Lake and Tomah Stream photos, 1930s and 1940s

18-19 Wesleyan University

20 Wesleyan University: Programs, memorabilia, etc.

21 Wesleyan University: The gym key

22 Wesleyan University: Vesper service programs, 1912-1914

23 Wesleyan song book, 1906

24 Olla Podrida, 1914 (Wesleyan yearbook)

Box 4

1 Olla Podrida, 1915

2 Wesleyan reunions

3 Wesleyan University: Remembrances of John Day's death, 1973

Writings of John Day

3a Building a Nation, 1966

4 Dramatic creations

5 East of Katahdin: manuscript copy, pages 1-133

6-7 East of Katahdin: Correspondence, etc., 1949-1960

8 East of Katahdin: Letters regarding East of Katahdin being made into a movie, 1949-1970

9 Essays and other writings

10 Essay on insurance business

11 Facets of the mind

12 Manuscripts, finished

13 Manuscripts, unfinished

14 New Year greeting plate

15 Poems, published

16 Poems, unpublished

17 Poetry written by John Day

18 Poems: Letters re publishing

19 Under an alien flag: Correspondence, etc., 1950s-1960s

20 Under an alien flag: manuscript copy

Box 5

Oversized items

Phonograph record: Mr. John Franklin Day interviewed by Agnes Gibbs, September 15, 1950 (conclusion)

Phonograph records: The poems of John F. Day read for the author by Alice Mansur

Packard, April, 1955

Scrapbook, ca. 1904-1913

Box 6

Client files, A-C

Box 7

Client files, C-G

Box 8

Client files, G-L

Box 9

Client files, M-R

Box 10

Client files, R-W

Box 11

Deceased client files, A-W

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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