Androscoggin Historical Society

Discovery • preservation • dissemination of knowledge

History of the Androscoggin Historical Society

by Douglas I. Hodgkin

The Founding

We trace the roots of today’s Androscoggin Historical Society to an outing held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Bryant in Webster on 10 June 1922 by the Mary Dillingham Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The attendees admired the many historical articles in the home. After the picnic, some of the members helped the hostess clean up. The talk turned to the preservation of such historical treasures. In particular, Mrs. Helen Frye White and Mrs. Alice Frye Briggs expressed anxiety about what might happen to the things that had belonged to their father, the late Senator William P. Frye. They had the idea of establishing a permanent society with a museum.

At the next meeting of the DAR, they voted to establish such a Society. All DAR members were to be affiliated automatically.  The Society was incorporated on 20 November 1923. The Articles of Incorporation for the Androscoggin Historical and Antiquarian Society state the following: The purposes of said corporation are for promoting the study of the history of Androscoggin County and its citizens and preserving in its archives, records, relics and mementoes of that history, and increasing the interest of the citizens of Androscoggin County in the history of that County, …

The name was changed 24 April 1951 to Androscoggin Historical Society. On 12 April 1979, we became a public corporation. Moving from private to non-profit status enabled the Society to participate in grants under state and federal programs. In 1979, we obtained a tax-exempt number as a non-profit corporation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Initially, all members of the Mary Dillingham Chapter became voting members of the Society, with no fee. For all others, there was an initial membership fee of one dollar. Only later did we adopt annual dues. We still have a DAR representative on the Board, as required by the by-laws.

A Place to Call Home

At first, the society used a room on the third floor of the old part of the County Building. However, the collection grew so rapidly that this small room was inadequate. In 1924 the collection was moved to a much larger room on the third floor of the then Auburn city building (former Webster School) and opened formally on 4 June 1925. In 1929, the Lewiston Daily Sun reported that the historical society had outgrown its quarters; we needed new rooms, as those at City Building were too small. However, we remained until the mid-1930s, when we moved to the large room in our present quarters on the third floor of the new part of the courthouse.

In 1948, we discussed a permanent home for the Society.  Opportunity seemed to knock in 1950. In that year, Everett A. Davis deeded land and buildings at 83 High Street, Auburn, to the Society. The buildings were to be named the Davis-Wagg Museum in honor of Davis and his wife, Thirza Wagg Davis. Failing to raise funds for renovation and operation, in 1953, we sold the property and named the current museum in their honor. The sale of the Davis-Wagg House enabled us to obtain more display cases, safes, and fluorescent lights.

In 1966, the American Association for State and Local Historical Awards presented a certificate of merit after a review of our holdings. This was given for our phenomenal growth in the previous five years, “making it a model of all such societies in need of revitalization; particularly for the excellent classification and arrangement of its collections made under the supervision of its gifted curator, Clarence E. March.

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 Former Presidents of the

Androscoggin Historical Society

1923 Mrs. Annette P. Sturgis

1924 Reuel W. Smith

1925-1933 James E. Philoon

1933-1937 Charles P. Wight

1937-1939 Mrs. Emma Eaton

1939-1940 Mrs. William F. Schoppe

1940-1943 John E. Libby

1943-1946 Mrs. Verna H. Woodbury

1946-1947 Arnold G. Westerberg

1947-1950 Mrs. Isabel F. Marble

1950-1953 Clarence March

1953-1956 Everett H. Plummer

1956-1958 Harold Redding

1958-1961 Harry W. Rowe

1961-1964 Neil Donahue

1964-1971 Harry W. Rowe

1971-1981 John White

1981-1986 Gordon Windle

1986-1990 Harold Dutch

1990-1994 Douglas I. Hodgkin

1994-1996 Leslie M. Eastman

1996-2002 A. B. (Bob) Palmer Jr.

2002-2006 David Colby Young

2006-2008 W. Dennis Stires

2008-2009 Keith W. Brann

2009-2013 David Colby Young

2013-2015 Elizabeth Keene Young

2015-2017 Douglas I. Hodgkin

 

 

 

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Maine Senator - William P. Frye

address

Androscoggin Historical Society

2 Turner St., #8, (County Bldg)

Auburn, ME 04210

 

Phone 207-784-0586

Email info@androhist.org

Hours

Sunday: CLOSED

Monday - Tuesday: CLOSED

Wednesday - Thursday: 1 to 4:30pm

Friday: 1 to 4pm

Saturday: CLOSED

Your donation will help the Androscoggin Historical Society provide special presentations and maintain its priceless collection of photos, books, maps, and many artifacts that are fully accessible to schools and the public.

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