Katy Perry papers, 1966-2012
Collection Scope and Content
The bulk of this collection is composed of drafts for articles and clippings of Perry’s numerous newspaper columns from 1966-2011. Also included are a few articles about Perry, as well as a biographical sketch, business card, senior thesis comparing Perry’s Pieces of Earth to Thoreau’s Walden, and approximately 44 VHS tape recordings of her television program, Our Towns, dated 1995-2004.
Katy Perry was born Catherine Luke in Millinocket, Maine, in 1920. She graduated from Stearns High School in 1938 and from Farmington State Normal School in 1941, and over the next few years taught in Millinocket, Milo, and Whitefield. In 1943 she married Bernard Perry and they lived briefly in Milo before settling in North Whitefield, where they raised their four sons and lived until 1959. That year they moved to Augusta for Bernard Perry’s job at the state veteran’s hospital, which provided housing for them.
Perry had begun freelance writing while living in Whitefield in the late 1940s. She began a daily interview show on WRDO Radio in Augusta in 1968, and recorded segments on local people and events. Perry later worked as a public relations specialist with the Maine Department of Human Services and co-anchored an educational program for underemployed Mainers in 1978. Upon her husband’s retirement in 1975, the couple had moved to Pittston and it was there that Bernard Perry died in 1981. Perry published her first book, Drinking from a Tin Cup, in 1980, and also that year she had begun publishing a weekly column in the Maine Sunday Telegram called “Around the Valley,” which she continued until 1984.
After the death of her husband Perry opened a craft shop in Hallowell with friends in 1982, and sold her interest in the business when she joined the Peace Corps, spending 1985-1987 in Belize. Upon her return from Central America, Perry resumed her journalism career, and for the past 20-plus years she has contributed many feature articles to a variety of local papers, as well as maintained a number of long-running weekly columns: “A Nickel’s Worth” in the Kennebec Journal (1988-1990); “View from the Cape” in the West Prince Graphic (Prince Edward Island, Canada, 1991-1997); and “Gatherings” and “Community Forum” in the Capital Weekly (Augusta, 1995-2011). From 1997 to 2003, Perry also hosted a local interest television show on Augusta’s Adelphia Channel 9 called “Our Towns.”
In addition to Drinking from a Tin Cup, she has published five more adult books: Only One Ice Box to Fill (1990), Mad Tuesdays (1992), Pieces of Earth (1994), Living on the Edge (2003), Years Pass, but Memories Last (Only as Long as We Do): Remembering Whitefield (2004) and three children’s books, My Grandmother Wears Crazy Hats (1992), The Laughing Lighthouse (1995) and Gardens Are For Looking (1996). She currently lives in Hallowell.