The Maine Women Writers Collection was founded in 1959 by Grace Dow and Dorothy Healy to preserve and make available the writings of Maine women who had achieved literary recognition. Geographically, our holdings concern the state of Maine; Dawnland, the traditional territory of Wabanaki people; and the northern New England region. We collect the work of anyone who identifies as female, femme, transfeminine, or non-binary. While many of the people included in the Collection would self-identify as authors, many others are writers of unpublished material and producers of other forms of creative work.
The Collection includes rare and contemporary volumes, manuscript material, memorabilia, artifacts and artwork that illustrate peoples’ engagement with regional and national concerns, from the nineteenth century to the present. In addition to women’s literary and cultural production, our collecting areas include family and home life, suffrage and feminist activism, children’s literature, health and medicine, nature and the environment, indigenous peoples of the Northeast, and the history of reading and publishing. We seek to include the voices of women who might not traditionally have been part of the historical record, and to broaden the definitions of gender and writing that have steered past collecting.
We seek personal and literary papers of female/femme-identified people with a connection to Maine, along with unique manuscript materials documenting the lives and work of activists, artists, bloggers, community leaders, doctors, historians, journalists, members of the LGBTQIA community, mothers, playwrights, politicians, scientists, and tribal members. We are particularly interested in private writing, including correspondence (both analog and digital), diaries, blogs, journals, telegrams, commonplace books, shopping lists, receipts, recipes, and computer files. In addition to writing, we seek photographs, scrapbooks, artists’ books, oral history interviews, video and audio tapes, women’s organizations’ papers, and other forms of women’s cultural production. As writing has transformed to include blogging, tweeting, texting, and having a presence on numerous social media platforms, the Maine Women Writers Collection seeks to preserve the digital content that documents women’s daily lives. The devices that people use to produce content are valuable tools for research and scholarship, and we seek them as part of collections, along with materials hosted in the cloud. We also welcome legacy devices such as microcassette players, hard drives, and other items that can read digital content of multiple generations of records creators. We seek emails, drafts of writing, blog content, social media downloads, moving image and sound files and other types of digital files. In addition to paper records, we seek to preserve the digital records that will help us to tell the story of this dynamic time in history.