Leeds Historical Society
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2011 Update
Contributions to the Collection:
I want to begin by thanking a few special people who gave financial gifts this year in support of our work: Faith Burnham, and Bob and Kay Lynn
We’ve received a number of related to the south Leeds: Gary Smith (Richard Pease’s nephew) sent a number of scanned photos including the “East Lawn” guest house, Keene’s Corner schoolhouse, and railroad station, and Virginia Krickler gave more pictures of the school and children at Keene’s Corner.
Gerald Hartford donated a scrapbook of his time as Fire Chief and some school board minutes.
Thanks to Ian Ormon and Richard Fochtmann for delivery of some archival quality metal shelving (6 – 3” sections) and a podium not longer in use from Bates College.
Terri Castonguay presented us with a copy of a paper she’d written about the Howard Peace Monument.  It is interesting to see the names of all the Leeds men who’d served in the Civil War, not just the names inscribed on the monument.
Marilyn Burgess dropped off a 1962 book for children titled, The Story of Maine for Young Readers, for our use.

Community Programming:
We presented the Boston Cane to Marion Additon at her 95th birthday party this summer.  Thanks to Pam for a wonderful article about it in the paper, and to Ian for updating the recipient plaque at the Town Office.
This past year’s Veteran’s Day program was very well attended.  Thanks to all who came and participated especially the student council members from LCS, Rodney Jennings, Rev. Steve Hasting, and the Slab City Boys.
Our collaboration with the School continues as we annually do a brief program for them on the one-room schoolhouses, participate in local field trips and work on developing a Leeds-centered community curriculum unit.

Highlights of our Activities:
Usually through email requests, but also from requests through the Town Office, we continue to help people in town and out with genealogical needs by consulting our extensive historic database on residents. (Thanks to R. Fochtmann for that work!)
We prepared a short report on the history and current activities of the Historical Society for the inclusion in the comprehensive plan review document as requested by the Leeds committee.
The University of Maine’s Special Collections contacted us to purchased a copy of the Leeds Bicentennial booklet and a photocopy of Carl Geores’ Journal of Faith to add to their collection pertaining to Leeds which already includes Stinchfield’s and Lynn” histories.
In order to document and understand more about some local historically significant places, we made field trips to what once was the Leeds Methodist church on Quaker Ridge which still has amazing murals done by Harry Cochrane around 1886, leading us to also look at East Monmouth church to see how it might have been originally setup.  We also went to the Grange and photographed the suspended projection booth as well as the graffiti walls listing the plays, actors and years of the performance.

Future plans:
We have a number of publishing efforts underway:  a small booklet based on our program and interviews about the one-room, reprinting of Taken From the Ground, a handy one page map and GPS locations for each of our cemeteries among others.
Maine Historical Society newsletter mentioned the happy circumstance of Debbie Burgess Litalien founding our contributed photo of Lizzie Fitch and Will Burgess through a Google search which led her to the Maine Memory site.  “Imagine my surprise … I am Clyde’s daughter, Deborah, 3rd child. I have never seen this picture before.  Mom and Dad have been gone for many years.”   This is the very reason we will be adding more photos and parts of our collection to the State’s digital network which will make it accessible to so many more people. 
We will be working with the Androscoggin County HS to participate in Maine’s Civil War Sesquicentennial culminating in the summer of 2013.  The theme is post-war and they thought we could contribute information on the Kemps and the Peace Monument, at least. 
We are beginning to finally tackle the renovations of the inside of the History Center to ultimately make it space for public programming and to give today’s school children a small sense of how a one-room schoolhouse might have been setup.
Though we continue to do some interviewing (thankfully we interviewed Louise Grant before it was too late) we recognize that we will never be able to capture as many of the memories that we’d like by this means, so… we are planning to hold Historical Sharing Sessions organized around the various historical divisions of the town to gather stories, memories, share photographs and generally celebrate the distinctions and activities of each out.  Look for the upcoming announcement in the paper and please join us in this celebration.

-- Laura Juraska, president of Leeds Historical Society