(Belfast, ME) The public is warmly invited to a special Labor Day weekend launch party at Left Bank Books. On Saturday, September 3, at 7:00 pm, the shop will celebrate the release of a beautiful and captivating new book, Maine on Glass: The Early Twentieth Century in Glass Plate Photography. The book is co-authored by three of Maine’s most highly regarded historians – Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr., Maine State Historian; Kevin Johnson, Penobscot Marine Museum photo archivist; and Bill Bunting, Maine’s foremost interpreter of historical images – all of whom will be at this free event.

About the Book

Maine on Glass is a history of early 20th-century Maine as seen through the glass-plate photography archives of the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Company (EIC), and is one of the most highly anticipated regional books published this year. Each of the 200 photographs (all 16 of Maine’s counties are represented) is accompanied by text that is always informative, cleverly written, and often amusing.

From the photo “Belfast Tearoom and Camps”:

“The farmland with water views along Route 1 from Belfast to Searsport was ideally suited for the planting of camp grounds, and is today motel strip development. Kennebunkport author Kenneth Roberts, writing in the 1930s, had little regard for auto tourists, or the changes they brought upon the land, including ’unsightly nests of overnight camps that huddle in fields as though some debauched summer hotel, on the loose, had paused on a dark night and given birth to the result of a messalliance with a sentry box.'”

Belfast plays a lead role in Maine on Glass because in 1900, the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Company’s founder, Rudolph Cassens, married the daughter of a prominent Belfast businessman. Kevin Johnson writes, “The timing of Cassens’ decision to start a postcard business was perfect. Postcards had become an absolute rage. Comparable to email, texting, or Instagram, the postcard was a new, informal way of communicating with brief text and an image.”

In 1905, seven billion postcards were sent worldwide. We learn from the Belfast newspaper The Republican Journal in 1923 that “Comparatively few people in Belfast realize the volume of business transacted by [EIC]. . . .it has averaged between 70,000 and 75,000 postcards in a week. . .and also has three men traveling on the road, by automobile.”

Reading Maine on Glass is like taking a road trip in an antique automobile and slipping in and out of the decades between 1909 and the early 1950s. Along the way, the reader-tourist visits boomtowns and migrant labor camps, people at work and play, farms and factories, lobster smacks and loggers, hotels and boarding houses, resorts and hunting lodges, board-and-batten one roomers and opulent homes, quarries and river ferries, summer camps and village schools, airplanes and schooners, brass bands and ship launchings.

The three guides for this delightful trip – Shettleworth, Johnson, and Bunting – are the best in the business. Left Bank Books predicts that Maine on Glass will be one of its best-selling books for the upcoming holiday season and beyond.

The bookshop is expecting a full house for this free event, and reservations are strongly encouraged. For more information or to reserve signed copies ($29.95), please call 207-338-9009 or email [email protected]. The shop is open daily.

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