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Early Maine Photography

Famous People

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Governor Enoch Lincoln

Enoch Lincoln, Paris
Enoch Lincoln, ParisItem Contributed by
Maine Historical Society

Governor Enoch Lincoln died in 1829, a decade before the invention of photography. Thus, his image is known only through portraits painted during his lifetime, including this one that has survived through a daguerreotype copy.

Born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1788, Enoch Lincoln came from a distinguished family in which his father Levi Lincoln was a leader in Massachusetts legal and political circles and his brother Levi Lincoln became governor of Massachusetts. Like his father and his brother, Enoch Lincoln attended Harvard and became a lawyer. Admitted to the bar in 1811, he started practicing law in Fryeburg, Maine in 1812, moving his office to Paris in 1819. Lincoln served as a Congressman from 1818 to 1826, when he resigned to run for governor. While governor, Lincoln worked to settle the Northeastern Boundary Dispute with Great Britain in Maine’s favor. During his third term, he traveled from Portland, then the state capital, to Augusta to speak at the cornerstone laying ceremony for the new State House. While there, he became ill and died on October 8, 1829. Reflecting the high esteem in which he was held by his fellow citizens, he was buried in Capitol Park, where his grave is marked by a granite tomb and monument. In addition to his public life, Governor Lincoln was a man of literary accomplishments, which included publishing poetry and historical research.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

HW Longfellow at Nahant, 1850
HW Longfellow at Nahant, 1850 Item Contributed by
Maine Historical Society

This rare glass stereo view shows a beardless Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) sitting on the porch of his cottage at the popular summer resort of Nahant, Massachusetts. By the time the Philadelphia photographer Frederick Langenheim took this picture in 1856, Longfellow had established an international reputation for his poetry. Born in Portland in 1807, he graduated from Bowdoin College in 1825 and taught modern languages there from 1829 to 1835. Called to Harvard in 1835, he taught modern languages there until 1854, when he resigned to devote himself to writing poetry. Widely read during his lifetime, Longfellow is best remembered for his books of verse based on American themes: Evangeline, The Song of Hiawatha, The Courtship of Miles Standish, and Tales of a Wayside Inn.

Rev. Samuel Longfellow, ca.1850
Rev. Samuel Longfellow, ca.1850Item Contributed by
Maine Historical Society

Reverend Samuel Longfellow

This daguerreotype by an unknown photographer conveys the image of the Reverend Samuel Longfellow (1819-1892), the younger brother of the poet. Born in Portland, Samuel graduated from Harvard in 1839 and from its Divinity School in 1846. From 1848 to 1882 he served Unitarian churches in Fall River, Massachusetts; Brooklyn, New York; and Germantown, Pennsylvania. He is remembered as a prolific writer of hymns, the compiler of collections of hymns, and the author of a vesper service. After the death of his brother Henry in 1882, Samuel retired from the ministry and moved to Cambridge to devote himself to writing a three volume biography of the poet.

Seba Smith, ca. 1860
Seba Smith, ca. 1860Item Contributed by
Maine Historical Society

Seba Smith

Seba Smith (1792-1868) gained national fame as a political satirist who wrote newspaper articles and books under the pen name of Major Jack Downing. A native of Buckfield, Smith rose from a modest rural background to graduate with honors from Bowdoin College in 1818. After a brief period of teaching and travel, he became a newspaper editor in Portland. In 1829 he started the Portland Courier, in which he published his Jack Downing letters. When the letters first appeared in book form in 1833, Smith’s brand of political writing captured national attention and launched his thirty-five year career as a widely read American humorist. He pioneered a homely form of commentary that paved the way for later humorists such as Sam Slick, Mr. Dooley, and Will Rogers. His wife Elizabeth Oakes Smith was a major literary figure in her own right. This ambrotype of Seba Smith was taken by Myron H. Kimball of New York.

Parker Cleaveland, 1855
Parker Cleaveland, 1855Item Contributed by
Maine Historical Society

Professor Parker Cleaveland

Parker Cleaveland (1780-1858) achieved an international reputation in the scientific community for his 1816 book Elementary Treatise on Mineralogy and Geology, the first American publication on the subject. A native of Byfield, Massachusetts, Cleaveland graduated from Harvard in 1799 and taught mathematics there until he joined the Bowdoin College faculty in 1805. In addition to math, Cleaveland gave courses in chemistry, geology, and medicine. As his professional reputation grew, he declined offers of positions at Harvard and other institutions, devoting himself to a lifetime of teaching at Bowdoin. When he died at the age of seventy-eight, in the fifty-third year of his professorship, the college estimated that he had taught more than two thousand students. This daguerreotype of Parker Cleaveland is similar to one in the Vickery-Shettleworth Collection by Benjamin F. Upton of Bath.