Goodwin papers (MS 24)

Abstract: Business, personal and legal documents generated by various members of the Goodwin family. Particularly good at showing life around the Saco River wharves and the sea/shipping industry in the beginning of the 19th century.

History: The Goodwin family was one of the very early families of Biddeford, and included ships captains, tax collectors, justices of the peace, and notaries public. The Goodwins, in addition to Biddeford, were found in Kittery, Pepperellboro (Saco), Berwick and Boston. The collection as recorded in the 1980’s was significantly larger and included correspondence, personal papers and business and legal documents produced mainly by Capt. Thomas Goodwin, Capt. Nathaniel Goodwin, and Thomas Jefferson Goodwin. Prior to 2007, a large portion of this collection was dispersed, gifted or sold — no documentation exists as to the nature of disposition. What remains, however small, is still an incredibly rich snapshot of pre-textile industry Biddeford and Saco.


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Miscellaneous collection – Small manuscripts (MS 999)

Abstract: The Library’s Miscellaneous collection – Small manuscripts includes a variety of materials relating to the history of Biddeford and environs, from colonial times to the modern era. The collection is a “catch-all” for the numerous single item and very small collections, which while important and informative, do not warrant their own singular collection. These materials include a large portion of the Library’s 18th century holdings, and are a rich source of local and regional historical material.


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Painchaud’s Band research collection (MS 53)

Abstract:  Compiled by author and historian Joyce Butler of Kennebunk, Maine. It contains clippings, notes, and research materials, plus two drafts (one unpublished and one published) for a history of the Painchaud’s Band and its founder, Pierre Painchaud. The second draft was accepted for publication and appeared in the September 1977 issue of Down East Magazine.

History:  Pierre Painchaud (1852-1909) was Biddeford’s most famous musician, and the band he founded in the early 1870’s (which operated and performed for well over 100 years) was equally as famous in Maine and New England as its legendary founder. Joyce Butler (1933-) is a graduate of Boston University and has worked extensively in Maine’s cultural and historical communities. She has written and published numerous articles and books, including “Wildfire Loose: the Week Maine Burned”, the seminal work on Maine’s Fire of 1947. Mrs. Butler has won numerous accolades for her work. She resides in Kennebunk, Maine.


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Newspapers collection (MS 61)

Abstract: Collected single issue and bound volumes of newspapers, spanning over 200 years of mostly local news. Most of the papers come from Biddeford and Saco, however the collection also includes papers from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York and St. Paul, MN (bound in, probably by accident, with some other papers). There are also a large number of special commemorative papers for large fires, hurricanes, blizzards as well as local and state anniversaries.

History: The Biddeford area has been home to an active print industry since the early 19th century, possibly earlier, and there have been many papers printed for the citizenry. The current local daily, “The Journal Tribune” was established in 1884. Newspaper editors in Biddeford and Saco in the 19th century famously traded jabs in their respective papers over opinions and reporting. The publisher of the local French paper, Alfred Bonneau, was very active in local politics and a successful businessman as well. Please see each paper for printing and production information.


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George Thacher papers (MS 1)

The Thacher collection consists of a folio album containing an account between George Thacher and his nephew, Silas Lee; one photograph of George Thacher’s portrait, painted by Henry Williams; and eighteen pieces of correspondence. The correspondence includes a letter written to Thacher by Squire Samuel Peirson of Biddeford, another of Biddeford’s founding fathers.

Finding Aid
McArthur Library Catalog

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Salvas-Coulombe Theater Collection (MS 49)

Ad photo for Mystere Barton (1933)

Advertising image for play “Le Mystere Barton” (1933)

Abstract: For nearly forty years Joseph Jovite “J.J.” Salvas was actively engaged in the staging and direction of amateur theatrical productions. His companies were made up largely of Biddeford people, and they played to enthusiastic audiences in Biddeford and throughout New England. Felix Coulombe (his cousin, Conrad, as well as Mr. and Mrs. John B. Joncas), were amongst the many active members of this vibrant local theater community. The materials donated by Salvas and Coulombe make up the basis of this collection, which tells the story of Biddeford’s incredibly rich theatrical tradition.

Program/fan (1923)

Program/fan for play “Vieillir C’est Suffrir” which played at “L’Opera” June 5, 1923.

The photographs, posters and programs in the collection reveal some of the players and the well-known plays they appeared in. They form an interesting part of Biddeford’s social history, and showcase the talents of numerous local women and men who spent their non-working hours actively engaged in Biddeford’s cultural life.

Biography: Joseph Jovite “J.J.” Salvas (1894-1970) was born in Biddeford, the son of Rock and Malvina (Desautel) Salvas. He worked in the insurance and real estate business until his retirement in 1962. He was married to Marie Ella Amnotte in June 1915, and they had 5 children-four daughters and one son, all but one of which remained locally. Although his obituary makes no mention of his theatrical pursuits, Salvas was involved in acting, directing, and producing for nearly 40 years. [See finding aid for biographical information about the Coulombe cousins and J.B. Joncas.]


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Wilfrid Landry papers (MS 79)

Abstract: Scrapbook kept by Hon. Wilfrid A. Landry, mostly documenting his political activities during his years as mayor of Biddeford (1937-1940). Contains clippings, photographs, and other ephemera. Also contains family material, including greeting cards from his children and family pictures.

Biography: Wilfrid A. Landry (1889-1960), lifelong Biddeford resident, businessman, and former mayor. One of 14 children born to Joseph and Melvina (Gendron) Landry of Biddeford, Landry was educated in local schools. He operated Wilfrid Landry Furniture at 23 Alfred Street, Biddeford for 35 years, retiring in 1958. He served as city treasurer in 1936, and then as mayor from 1937-1940. He was a member of multiple fraternal organizations in the city and served on various boards and committees, including Webber hospital, Biddeford-Saco Water Company and Pepperell Trust Company. He died less than an hour after he had been elected president of the Pepperell Trust Company. He was married to Pauline (Ryan) Landry (1902-1940), a nurse, with whom he had two children: a daughter Patricia Ann Landry and a son Wilfrid Paul Landry.


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