William Barry will discuss the evolution of Pineland from its origins at the dawn of the 20th century as a home for Maine’s so called “feeble minded” citizens (later termed special needs individuals). The emphasis will be on his years fresh out of the university as a teacher’s aid at Pineland and in the context of two solid books, Pineland’s Past: The First Hundred Years by journalist Richard s Kimball (Libra Foundation, 2001) and Voices of Pineland: Eugenics, Social Reform and Legacy of “feeble mindedness” in Maine by Prof. Stephen P. Murphy, USM (Information Age Publishing Inc., 2011). This talk will not address the present 1000-acre recreation center and farm, but will provide a useful overview of special care attitudes in Maine against the international backdrop and will also point out archival material in institutions around the state.
About the speaker: Willam Barry, a Portland resident, is a research historian, book reviewer, editor, and freelance writer. He has also been a guest curator for a number of art and historical exhibits. These include 'Women Pioneers in Maine Art' (1981), 'Made in Maine: Michael Waterman' (1988), and 'Rum Riot and Reform: Maine and the History of American Drinking' (1999; with Nan Cumming). His research and writing specialties are local and regional art, history and literature. He received an M.A. in American Cultural History from the University of Vermont. After his graduation in 1974, he was employed as Curator of Research at the Portland Museum of Art until the late 1970s. He now works as library research assistant for the Maine Historical Society (MHS) in Portland, and in 2005 was awarded the Neal Woodside Allen Jr., History Award by the MHS, recognizing and honoring outstanding contributions to the field of Maine history. Barry has been a frequent contributor to periodicals including Down East, Portland magazine, Antiques, and Maine History.
Free and open to the public, registration required, limited to 500 attendees.