Every October, the Camden Public Library celebrates “Discover History Month.” The library is home to the Walsh History Center, where material of historical significance to the residents of Camden and Rockport is preserved. This year, Ken Gross, the History Center’s Director, has curated a collection of vintage photos and maps to exhibit in the library’s Picker Room, organized around a history of Camden published in 1883 and 1884. This little-known history is the work of preacher Nathan C. Fletcher and was published serially in the Rockland Opinion as “The Annals of Camden.” The display in the Picker Room will complement the “Annals of Camden” and help tell the story of what life was like in Camden in the 1880s. The display will be on view from October 3 through 30.
N.C. Fletcher was a Universalist minister who preached all over the midcoast for three decades in the early 1800s. He became a businessman in 1854, starting in the lime industry and settling into being a pharmacist for the remainder of his career. He also served in the state legislature and on the Governor’s Council. He knew everyone worth knowing — and wrote an eyewitness history of Camden in 1883 and 1884.
To illustrate the history, Gross will present a slideshow on Tuesday, October 4, at 6:30 pm. The talk, “Nathan C. Fletcher’s Camden of 1884,” will specifically focus on Fletcher’s eyewitness account of Camden. The program will be available to a live audience at the library and simultaneously broadcast on Zoom. To attend in person, please RSVP by email to email@example.com; live attendance at the talk will be limited, to account for coronavirus restrictions. To attend via Zoom, please visit the “What’s Happening” adult events calendar at librarycamden.org to register for a link. FOR DIGITAL PUBLICATION, HERE IS THE ZOOM REGISTRATION LINK: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_RnblePu9QKehBrjOYW6drA
Gross says, “We have a transcription of N.C. Fletcher’s ‘Annals of Camden’, a history published in the newspaper from 1883 to 1884. N.C. Fletcher knew everyone in town, took himself on a tour of all of the industries, invited himself in, and described them from the inside. We will match photos from the 1880s with his descriptions, and give a tour of Camden, guided by pastor Nathan C. Fletcher.”
Camden Public Library’s “Discover History Month” series is generously sponsored by The Smiling Cow. More information about other programs in the series can be found at librarycamden.org.