Ron Epp

Dorr biography debuts at Jesup



BAR HARBOR — The launch of the first biography of George B. Dorr ever written, “Creating Acadia National Park: the Biography of George Bucknam Dorr” by Ronald Epp, will take place at the Jesup Memorial Library on Thursday, April 7, at 6:30 p.m. Friends of Acadia and the Jesup are hosting the event.

DORR_EPP_CoverZ_Dorr-Down.inddAlthough he is known as the “Father of Acadia,” Dorr’s contributions to the American environmental movement have gone largely unacknowledged. This biography is the story of Dorr’s pioneering role in the establishment and development of a unique conservation model that dovetailed with the evolution of the National Park Service, which shares its 2016 centennial with Acadia National Park. Dorr also was instrumental in the founding of many organizations on Mount Desert Island and is the “godfather” of the Jesup Memorial Library, as he secured the funds for the building and drew up the plans. Granite from his quarry makes up the foundation of the building.

The book is based on research both in the United States and abroad, including federal, state and private archives, along with newly discovered and uncatalogued sources. Epp uncovered and inventoried hidden collections of documents relating to the history of Acadia National Park, including work done at the Jesup Memorial Library.

“This book reveals the fascinating story of Dorr’s collaboration with Harvard College president Charles W. Eliot and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr. to make Acadia the first national park on the East Coast in 1916,” said Judith B. Tankard, landscape historian and author of “Beatrix Farrand: Private Gardens, Public Landscapes.” “Dorr’s elite upbringing, independent spirit and dedication to preservation make fascinating reading.”

Epp is a historian and professor and served as a consultant for the Ken Burns documentary “America’s Best Idea: the National Parks.” His research over the last two decades into the Massachusetts families that influenced the development of conservation philanthropy has resulted in numerous talks and publications for Acadia National Park, the Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations, the Mount Desert Island Historical Society and many other organizations.

Event co-sponsor Sherman’s will sell books, published by Friends of Acadia. This event is part of the Acadia National Park Centennial celebration. There will be a reception before the talk. Contact the Jesup at 288-4245 or kchagnon@jesuplibrary.org.

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