Do you have ancestors from Maine or an interest in the history of Maine? We are pleased to announce the addition of new papers from Lewiston, Portland, Augusta, Waterville, and Brunswick to our archives.
This year the Sun Journal in Lewiston celebrates its 175th anniversary! From its humble beginnings as Lewiston’s first weekly paper in 1847, the Sun Journal moved to a daily publication in 1861 as the Lewiston Daily Evening Journal. The Journal merged with competitor The Sun in 1989, and today the Sun Journal has a daily circulation of 12,500, making it one of the leading dailies in the state. Our archives date back to 1861, just five days after President Abraham Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to enlist in the Civil War. The paper reported on the feeling of unity as citizens volunteered by the thousands.
The Androscoggin River runs right through Lewiston, and in the mid-1800s, workers (many of them Irish immigrants) built a system of canals that powered textile mills. Young women from the surrounding countryside moved to Lewiston to supply the labor that operated the mills. They were known as “Yankee mill girls.” The mills helped Lewiston transition from an agricultural village to Maine’s leading textile center. When the Civil War broke out, Lewiston’s textile mills continued to prosper, thanks to early business leaders who had anticipated war and stockpiled vast amounts of cotton. The mills helped supply uniforms to Union soldiers.
The pages of the Sun Journal contain fascinating stories that capture a snapshot of time in the history of Lewiston. One example is the Sun Journal’s “Sandman Club.” In 1916, the paper formed a club and published nighttime stories to connect with its young readers. To join the club, children had to follow the rules, including promises to obey parents, be truthful, and be kind to animals. In return, club members received an enamel pin and hundreds of stories intended just for them. Sandman Club activities soon expanded beyond reading to include parties and trips to the theater. In July 1916, a thousand young children joined the Sandman on a march through Lewiston on the Fourth of July. Later the Sandman Club’s activities shifted to include service. When WWI began, the Red Cross extended an urgent call to collect peach pits. Government scientists had discovered that peach pits helped produce a charcoal substance used to make gas masks. In response, the Red Cross Stone and Shell Committee held a contest and offered prizes to the girl and boy from the Sandman Club that collected the most pits.
The Sun Journal has chronicled 175 years of history in Lewiston and the surrounding area. You can make new discoveries in all of our new Maine papers from the following cities:
Sun Journal 1861-2022
The Lewiston Daily Sun 1893-1989
Lewiston Falls Journal 1862-1863
Evening Express 1971-1991
Portland Press Herald 1835 – 2022
Evening Express 1887-1971
Kennebec Journal 1870-2022
Kennebec Journal 1825-1913
Morning Sentinel 1904-2022
Maine Say 1989
The Times Record 2018-2022
Explore nearly 200 years of history in these new Maine papers today on Newspapers.com™!