MHS Historian’s Forum: Investing in Empire: The Pejepscot Proprietors and their World
Saturday, August 7, 9:30 am – 12 pm ET
The Pejepscot Proprietors were one of the largest companies of elite land speculators that played an outsized role in colonizing the lands in what became the State of Maine in 1820. In the early eighteenth century, a handful of wealthy Boston families acquired the deed to a tract of land encompassing much of the state. The original proprietors and their descendants spent the next century luring colonists onto company towns to in order to improve the value of their claim. At the same time, the proprietors struggled to convince Indigenous Wabanakis, rival land companies, and even many of their own colonists to conform to their vision for mid-Maine.
In their quest to amass a fortune from their enterprise, the Pejepscot Proprietors left a rich trove of documents now held in the Maine Historical Society. Historians and other scholars from a wide range of disciplines have since made use of this collection to learn more about not only the proprietors themselves, but also Wabanaki people and colonists from all backgrounds.
Host Ian Saxine will speak with a roundtable featuring Michael Blaakman (Princeton University), Sara Damiano (Texas State University), Alexandra Montgomery (Mount Vernon) and Darren Ranco (University of Maine), who bring a diverse range of scholarly perspectives to bear on the Pejepscot Proprietors and the people they encountered. Panelists and the audience will view items from the collection while discussing topics including Indigenous land deeds, how companies like the Pejepscot Proprietors functioned, the creation of towns in Maine, using company records to uncover overlooked people in the archives, and much more. The program will include questions from the audience.
Cost: Free and open to the public, registration required.
Location: online via Zoom