What is a Maine Story? The Maine Woods

The Maine Woods have inspired generations of writing, both fiction and non-fiction. (A search of the keywords “Maine Woods” returns hundreds of results from the library's catalog.)

One of the most well-known is The Maine Woods by Henry David Thoreau. Over a period of three years, Thoreau made three trips to the largely unexplored woods of Maine. He climbed mountains, paddled a canoe by moonlight, and dined on cedar beer, hemlock tea and moose lips. He detailed his observations from these trips in The Maine Woods.

“What a wilderness walk for a man to take alone!…Here was traveling of the old heroic kind over the unaltered face of nature.” -Henry David Thoreau


The Maine woods have also, of course, played a significant role in the state's paper and logging industries. From the National Association of State Foresters website:

“Maine has the largest contiguous block of undeveloped forestland east of the Mississippi. Maine’s resilient forests have been harvested for wood products for over 200 years, yet 90% of the state remains forested – the highest percentage in the country and we have largely maintained our forest biodiversity. We also have a long history of multiple-use management on private land and a tradition of free public access to private land.”

Leyland Whipple's lantern slides below (circa 1890-1945) depict scenes from Maine's logging history.

Leyland Whipple was a Bangor photographer, composer, and high school band leader. He produced glass lantern slides, many hand-colored, which were projected for entertainment and educational purposes. The slides in this series depict Maine landmarks and landscapes, outdoor recreation, logging operations, the papermaking process, wildlife, agriculture, and historical scenes.

View more slides on the Bangor Community Digital Commons.