Edwin R. Starbird Papers
Arranged and described by Brenda Howitson Steeves
Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Department
Introduction and Summary Information
Collection Title: Edwin R. Starbird Papers.
Dates of the Collection: 1896, undated.
Provenance: Gift from Muriel Sanford in August 2005 with additions in November 2009.
Collection Number: MS 1058.
Box Numbers: 1 (formerly new accession 2005-0812a and 2009-1103a).
Size and Arrangement: The collection consists of one archival record carton of material (1.3 cubic feet).
Conservation Note: The collection has been re-housed in acid-free folders and an acid-free box, with the photographs housed in polypropylene sleeves.
Preferred Citation: Edwin R. Starbird Papers, Special Collections, Raymond H. Fogler Library, University of Maine.
Restrictions on Access and Use: Collection kept at Fogler Library's offsite storage facility. One week's notice required for retrieval.
The collection contains photographs taken by Edwin R. Starbird, a professional photographer in the late 19th and early 20th centuries specializing in views of the Maine woods.
Edwin Roland Starbird, son of Amos and Mary Jane Gilkey Starbird, was born on September 15, 1853, in Freeman, Maine. Amos Starbird operated a sawmill there which made shipping boxes for various food products. He also had mills at New Portland and Solon, Maine, and in Apopka, Florida; the Florida mill made boxes for shipping fruit.
Edwin Starbird started his working life as a teacher in towns near Freeman, but in the early 1880’s he began studying photography with Francis E. Stanley in Lewiston, Maine. Stanley, along with his twin brother, Freeman O. Stanley, was an inventor and photographer from Kingfield, Maine, who maintained a photography studio in Lewiston from 1880 to 1889. There he developed a formula which improved on the recently invented photographic dry plate process and began to manufacture the plates with his brother. The Stanleys then set up a factory in Watertown, Massachusetts, to manufacture the plates and later went on to develop and manufacture the Stanley Steamer automobile.
After his training with Francis E. Stanley, Edwin Starbird returned to Farmington, Maine, and opened a studio with his brother, Albert W. Starbird, in 1882. Albert left the business within two years, giving Edwin full control of the studio, which did both portrait and landscape photography. He soon began to take stereo views and photographs of the area around Rangeley Lake, including the wildlife and sporting camps in the region. Around 1883 he began a series of photographs known as the Woods of Maine series which came to include nearly 600 views of the Rangeley area as well as Moosehead Lake, the West Branch of the Penobscot River and other wilderness places. Starbird described the series as “… Photographic views of scenes in the hunting and fishing resorts in the interior, or woods of Maine. It is intended that this series shall cover all points of interest to sportsmen and hunters.” This photo project, which lasted until around 1903, required Starbird to spend months living in the woods and traveling to remote areas by canoe or on foot.
In 1892 Starbird left Farmington and opened a business in Brunswick, Maine, where he continued to work until 1911. While there he photographed many buildings at Bowdoin College as well as other scenes in the nearby towns of Bath and Topsham.
After closing his studio in Brunswick, Starbird moved to Apopka, Florida, where he died on July 23, 1921.
Scope and Content Note
The collection contains 62 photographs taken by Edwin R. Starbird, including 20 identified as part of his Woods of Maine series. It also contains a folder of Starbird family papers.
The photographs are arranged in the following categories: Woods of Maine series; Rangeley Lake views; Tim Pond and the Seven Ponds views; hunting photographs; photographs of Bath, Brunswick, Freeport, Topsham, etc.; other Maine photographs; and Florida photographs. The Box List which follows lists each photograph in the collection. Photograph titles enclosed in square brackets were either supplied by the donor, hand-written on the photograph, or abstracted from the catalog prepared by Starbird for the Woods of Maine. The significance of the numbers listed on some of the photographs is unknown. The majority of the photo mounts have “E.R. Starbird Photo, 78 Main St., Brunswick, Me.” inscribed on them.
The folder of Starbird family papers contains marriage certificates for Amos Starbird and Mary J. Gilkey, 1852; and for Edwin Starbird and Mattie A. Thompson, 1882; as well as a lease for a hall in Farmington, 1882, and other miscellaneous material.
Additional material was added to the collection in 2009, primarily photographs taken by Edwin Starbird of various members of the Starbird family both in Maine and in Florida. Details about people depicted in the photographs have been supplied by the collection’s donor, Muriel Sanford, and by Mary Elizabeth Wheeler of Apopka, Florida. Copies of legal and financial documents of the Starbird family as well as photographs of Strong, Maine are also included.
Woods of Maine Series
1 No.1362, Camp comfort at the Birches
2 The Birches [on Students’ Island]
3 No.1759, Cottages at the Birches [on Students’ Island]
4 No.2423, [A cabin at Round Mountain Lake]
5 No.2420, The cabins at Round Mountain Lake
6 No.1718, [A scene at Beaver Pond; Ed. Grant paddling a sportsman]
7 Snowman’s Beach at Kennebago [Lake]
8 No.1973, View north from Bald Mountain Camps
9 No.2183, The Rangeley Lake House
10 No.1787, The south veranda of the Rangeley Lake House
11 No.1695, [Golf course scene at Rangeley], c. 1
12 No.1695, [Golf course scene at Rangeley], c. 2
13 No.1110, A salmon weighing 11 lbs. caught in Rangeley Lake May 20th, 1896
14 No.2172, Cascades near the Rangeley Lake House
15 No.172, A moose on Baker Mountain
16 King and Bartlett Lake from the dining room
17 The wigwam at Camp Bemis, ME
18 The new cottage at Students’ Island, ME
19 Round Pond, Camp Bemis, ME
20 [Round Mountain Lake from the outlet]
Rangeley Lake Views
21 Up the Cupsuptic, from Camp Frye
22 [Scene of a woman standing on shore, fish net, guns and rowboat]
23 The new cottage [Three men and a woman out front]
24 Looking toward the outlet from north east shore
25 Looking up the lake, from near the outlet
Tim Pond and the Seven Ponds Views
26 The new camp at Big North West Pond
27 [Hunter with a deer in the snowy woods]
28 [Man with a bear in the woods]
29 [Man with a bear at camp]
30 No. 2119, “Great fun, this!” [Two men with a deer in the snowy woods]
Photographs of Bath, Brunswick, Freeport, Topsham, etc.
31 [Engine of the battleship “Georgia,” now building in Bath]
32 [Battleship “Georgia,” Bath Iron Works]
33 [Washington Street, Bath]
34 [Washington Street, Bath, ME]
35 [The Common, Bath, ME]
36 [Public Library, Bath]
37 [Lewiston Car Barn]
38 [Searles Science Building, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME]
39 [Searles Science Building, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME]
40 [Memorial Hall, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME]
41 [Entrance gates, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME]
42 [View up the river from Brunswick, water tower across river]
43 [Maine Street and Park Row, Brunswick, looking north to Cabot Mill]
44 [Casco Castle, Freeport, ME]
45 No.1927, The Edgemere at Pemaquid Harbor
46 [Topsham at Brunswick from Merrymeeting Park; Cow Island, center]
47 [Pejepscot Paper Mill, Topsham]
48 Androscoggin River at Topsham, freshet of 1896
49 [House in Topsham; present residence of Bela Norton, 1896]
50 [Topsham High School, taken 1890s]
51 [Topsham School – lower grades and high school, taken in the early 1890s]
52 [Topsham church picnic]
Other Maine Photographs
53 [Lake scene]
54 [Train track running through the woods]
55 [Large cottage with eight men on the front porch]
56 [A moose near West Branch Pond]
57 [Saw Mill, Apopka(?), Florida]
58 [Man in a melon field, Florida]
59 [Housing near a two-story building, Florida]
60 [Lumber mill scene near railroad tracks, Florida]
61 [Railroad train on a railroad bridge, Florida]
62 [Railroad train hauling logs, Florida]
63 Edwin R. Starbird: family papers
Additions to the collection in 2009
64 Photographs by Edwin Starbird, Farmington, Me. and Florida: unidentified people
65 Hinds, Minnie Ola and Mabel Olive
66 Unidentified (Hinds?)
67 Mason, Zelotes H. (Florida)
68 Starbird, Adelbert; Starbird, Austin Charles
69 Starbird, Albert and Leola, Alwyn and Gladys
70 Starbird, Amos and Mary Jane Gilkey Starbird
71 Starbird, Austin Charles
72 Starbird, Clinton
73 Starbird, Edwin, Mattie (Thompson) and Ralph
74 Starbird, Lionel
75 Starbird, Percival Linwood
76 Starbird, Ralph
77 Starbird, Ralph and “Aunt Mattie”
78 Starbird, Ralph and Edith
79 Starbird family
80 Miscellaneous family snapshots
81 Starbird family legal and financial documents
82 Strong, Maine: photographs and postcards
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (207) 581-1686 for further information.