To the Editor: Moments of gratitude  



To the Editor: 

As a member of the Jesup Memorial Library Capital Campaign Honorary Committee, I strongly encourage your readers to donate to the recent community engagement stage of fundraising. Like me, you may recall the many occasions when this library provided within its century-old walls exactly the resource you needed.  

My 2016 Friends of Acadia publication, “Creating Acadia National Park: the Biography of George Bucknam Dorr,”had its foundation stones gathered from the Jesup’s underappreciated microfilm collections. 

Fifteen years earlier when my research began, I had to scrutinize late 19th-century minutes from the Bar Harbor Village Improvement Association as well as decades of newspaper accounts of local activity in The Mount Desert Herald, The Bar Harbor Record and the Bar Harbor Times.While scattered years were available at a few island locations – and only on MDI in many cases – the original paper format had been compressed into a pre-digital format known as microfilm.  

Microfilm is a preservation medium of scaled-down images, usually 35 mm reproductions that are one twenty-fifth of their original size. Expensive desktop reader-printers contain a translucent screen displaying images from an advancing reel of images, each capable of being copied by an internal printer. However, there was no search capacity! References to Mr. Dorr required attention to each sentence within each paragraph. 

This piece of Jesup’s technology was relegated to a basement corner, where I spent many days over successive summers scrolling the 600 images contained in each reel. I was able to uncover Dorr ‘s early land conservation activities in the two decades prior to the formation of the 1901 county land trust which assembled the donations that signaled the beginnings of the park – details that were not documented elsewhere. 

This microfilm research shaped the evolution of subsequent research, public presentations and publications. Most of these historic newspapers were since then placed on long-term loan to archives scattered throughout Maine. 

I am grateful that they will be reunited in the inaugural Special Collections and Archive area of the Jesup addition. There they will be supplemented by exciting new archival collections that I had a hand securing. I hope you will reflect on your own moments of gratitude within the walls of the Jesup, prompting a donation that will help the community in the years ahead.  

 

Ronald H. Epp 

Farmington, Conn. 

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