University of New England - Innovation for a Healthier Planet

Alta Ashley collection, 1969-1995

Full finding aid (pdf)

Collection Scope and Content

The collection includes an obituary, articles, photographs, a resume and a copy of a booklet authored by Ashley entitled The Monhegan Ice Pond. There is also a small amount of material relating to Monhegan Island.

Biographical/Historical Note

Alta Ashley was born May 5, 1905 in Boston. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College and received a Ph.D. in 1932 from the University of Cincinnati before getting a medical degree. Dr. Ashley moved to Maine in 1951 to work for the Department of Health and Welfare. She also served as a director of Augusta General Hospital. In 1969, she moved to Monhegan Island, where she had a family practice until her retirement in 1975. She was very active in the community, serving as the island’s clerk, tax collector, health officer, medical examiner, school physician and unofficial historian. In the 1970s and 80s, Ashley wrote for three local newspapers and had several articles published in magazines, including Down East. In the 1980s she started Grey Gull Publications and wrote three books about Monhegan Island. She produced a pamphlet about the island for visitors and was active in various theater and art organizations, exhibiting some of her paintings locally. Ashley died December 15, 1991 at the age of 86 in Damariscotta, Maine.