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Special Collections: Guide to the Pine Island Camp Records

Arranged and described by Brenda Howitson Steeves
Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Department
September 2004
Introduction and Summary Information
Collection Title: Pine Island Camp Records.
Dates of the Collection: 1902-1987 (inclusive); 1950-1970 (bulk).
Provenance: Gift from E.L. Swan in the 1970’s.
Collection Number: MS 410.
Box Numbers: 1-8 (formerly Boxes 793-803).
Size and Arrangement: The collection consists of 8 archival record cartons and two document boxes (7.5 cubic feet) + 1.0 linear feet of ledgers.
Conservation Note: The collection has been re-housed in acid-free folders and boxes. Photographs have been housed in polypropylene sleeves.
Preferred Citation: Pine Island Camp Records, 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 records of the Pine Island Camp, a summer camp for boys in the Belgrade Lakes region of Maine.
Pine Island Camp traces its history to 1892 when the three-acre island on which it stands was purchased by Florence Colby. In 1902 her son Clarence Colby founded Pine Island Camp, which opened with one camper, Sidney Lovett, later chaplain at Yale University. In 1908 the camp was purchased by Dr. Eugene L. Swan and his friend Raymond Kaign; the men had worked together at a camp in New York State. Dr. Swan was born in 1876 in Franklin, Maine, had a medical practice in Brooklyn, New York, and had been serving as a camp doctor at one of the first summer camps in New York State. In 1921 Dr. Swan became the sole owner of the camp. His enthusiasm, charisma, and love of the outdoor life led to its immediate success. It attracted campers primarily from New England and New York but also enrolled boys from across the country. The number of campers increased and the camp succeeded financially until the Great Depression and World War II. By the end of the war, the number of campers had diminished significantly. At this point, Dr. Swan’s oldest son, Eugene L. Swan, Jr., known as Jun, became the director. Jun was born in 1909 and had been serving as Assistant Headmaster of the Collegiate School in New York City. In 1946 he and his two brothers purchased the camp from their father and increased the enrollment. In 1957 the Swans purchased most of Whitehead Island, which is located between Rockland and Tenants Harbor, and established a separate program there; they received the deed to Whitehead Island Light and its land in 1997.
In 1969 the camp instituted a formal Board of Directors to insure its continuity. Until a fire in 1995 destroyed many of its buildings, the camp in many ways had remained as it was at its founding: remote, without electricity, continuing the rituals and ceremonies established by Dr. Swan. After the fire, with donations from former campers, the camp was able to re-build and modernize, installing electricity and conforming to modern health codes.
Pine Island Camp celebrated its centennial in 2002 and continues to offer boys 9 to 15 a traditional summer camp experience, with activities such as swimming, kayaking, sailing, archery, tennis and woodcraft. Its website states its purpose clearly: “To give boys a healthful and beneficial summer outing, to clarify their minds and reinvigorate their bodies, to give them new life and new strength – in a word, to afford them an opportunity for re-creation, not merely recreation .”
The researcher may also want to consult Pine Island Camp: The First One Hundred Years, written in 2002 to mark the Camp’s centennial year.
Scope and Content Note
The collection contains records of the Pine Island Camp including correspondence, applications from campers, and financial records. The collection also contains an extensive group of photographs of campers and camp activities.
The collection is arranged in four series: I. Administrative files, II. Information about campers, III. Financial records, and IV. Photographs. The material had been re-foldered by library staff at some previous date; folder headings assigned then have for the most part been retained.
Series I, Administrative files, is arranged in alphabetical order and contains files generated by the Swans in running the camp. Found here are such things as correspondence, camp brochures and advertisements, lists of contacts, newsletters, deeds and mortgages, and tax records. Also included are files kept by Philip Cate in the early part of the 20th century; Cate was senior counselor and later the camp’s Boston representative.
Series II, Information about campers, contains a camp logbook kept in 1906 which describes daily camp activities. It also includes camper and staff files dating from the 1950’s and 1960’s which contain enrollment applications and correspondence with parents. Arranged alphabetically, the files cover only surnames beginning with A through H.
Series III, Financial information, includes ledgers from 1967 to 1975 listing fees accrued by campers for laundry, stamps, soap, and incidental supplies. It also contains cashbooks, petty cash registers, and bills and receipts for purchases of supplies for running the camp itself, giving a detailed picture of the day-to-day operation of the business side of such a venture.
Series IV, Photographs, contains both photographs and negatives. Early group photographs of campers and staff are included as are undated photographs of camp activities. These are arranged alphabetically by subject and picture activities such as archery, baseball, fishing, riflery, sailing, and woodcraft as well as camp buildings and views of Pine Island itself. Nitrate negatives found in the collection have been separated from safety negatives and are kept in Box 9.
Box List
Please note: All items designated as ledger(s) are kept in wall storage area.
Series I: Administrative files
Box 1
1 Correspondence from G. Briggs, 1973
2 Correspondence, minutes, 1973
3 Correspondence, etc., 1974
4 Minutes, etc., 1975
5 Minutes, salary info., etc., 1976
6-16 Correspondence, etc., 1977-1987
17 Advertising information, 1974
18 Brochures
19 Camper requirements, 1948
20 Directions for overnight hike, 1951
21 Kababa file, 1973
22 Leadership training, 1973
23 Lists of contacts, 1928, 1938, 1953, 1955-1956
24 List of contacts, 1947
25 List of new prospects, 1951-1955
26 List of visitors, 1938
27 Nature program, 1958
28 News clippings
29 Notebook: Mrs. E.L. Swan’s book, 1922
30 Property deeds, mortgages, etc., 1902-
31 Orders and equipment data; menu book, 1951
32 Pine Needle, 1978-1988
33 Request for permission, 1951
34 Screen print, 70th anniversary, 1972
35 Sprite sailboat brochure, 1959
36 Tax records, 1945-1946
37 Tax records, 1956
38 Tax records, 1961-1963
39 Tax records, 1964
 Box 2

1-4 Tax records, 1966-1972
5 Trips, 1938
Philip Cate files
6 Margaret Hussey correspondence, 1929-1930
7 Katherine L. Jacobus correspondence, 1926-1928
8 Frances Kobbe correspondence, 1930
9 R.E. Miller correspondence, 1930
10 E.L. Swan correspondence, 1915-1931
11 Ripley Swan correspondence, 1930
12 Camp reunion, 1922
13 Camper lists, 1914-1932
14 Decennial fund drive, 1915-1918
15 E.L. Swan passwords, 1920(?)
16 Golden anniversary, 1952
17 Honk library construction details, 1946-1968
18 Memorial building, 1920-1924
19 Midget camp press release
20 Photos
21 Transportation information, 1923-1929
Series II: Information about campers
22 Camp logbook, 1906
23-36 Camper and staff files, A-G
Box 3
1-3 Camper and staff files, H
Ledger Fees for campers, 1952-1954 (1 vol.)
4-15 Fees for campers, 1967-1975
Series III: Financial records
16 Account book, 1949-1955
Ledgers Cashbooks, 1947-1967 (3 vols.)
Ledgers Camp expenses, 1948-1973 (4 vols.)
17-21 Check stubs, 1967-1971
Box 4
1-7 Check registers, 1971-1975
Ledger Voucher register, 1947-1955 (1 vol.)
9-11 Petty cash registers, 1966-1968
12-15 Voucher record, 1968-1971
16 Receipts, 1974
17 Voucher register, 1975
18-24 Incoming bills, 1963, 1966-1974, A-B
Box 5
1-18 Incoming bills, 1963-1974, B-N
Box 6
1-17 Incoming bills, 1963-1974, N-Z
18 Repairs on vehicles, 1975
19 Salary advance requests, 1976
20 Receipts, food, 1975
Series IV: Photographs
Box 7
1 Camp photos, 1908, 1914/15
2 Camp photo, 1912
3 Dining hall, 1912 [located physically in Box 10]
4 Staff photo, 1912
5 Camp photo, 1927 [located physically in Box 10]
6 Camp road photo, 1927 [located physically in Box 10]
7 Camp photo, 1928 [located physically in Box 10]
8 Camp photos, 1920’s
9 Camp photos, 1930’s
10 Camp photos, 1940’s
11 Camp photos, 1950’s
12 Camp photos, 1950’s
13 Mounted candid photos, 1950’s
14 Camp photo, 1955
15 Camp photo, 1956
16 Camp photos, early 1960’s
17 Camp photos, late 1960’s
18 Camp photos, 1970’s
19 Drawing by Mike Monahan, 1970 [located physically in Box 10]
20 Camp photos, undated, A
21 Camp photos, undated, B-C
22 Camp photos, undated, C-H
23 Camp photos, undated, I-M
24 Camp photos, undated, P-R
25 Camp photos, undated, S(a)
26 Camp photos, undated, S(w)
27 Camp photos, undated, T
28 Camp photos, undated, V-W
29 Photo album, Rangeley, etc., Pine Island, 1906-
Box 8
1 Camp negatives, 1927
2 Camp negatives, 1930’s (safety)
3 Camp negatives, 1940-1946
4 Camp negatives, 1947-1949
5 Camp negatives, 1950’s
6 Camp negatives, 1960-1964
7 Camp negatives, 1966-1969
8 Camp negatives, late 1960’s-1970’s
9 Camp negatives, 1970-1973
10 Camp negatives, undated
11 Camp negatives, staff photos et. al, undated
12-16 Camp negatives, undated
Box 9
Nitrate negatives
Box 10
Oversized photographs listed in Box 7

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: 03/23/2015
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