FARMINGTON – Two University of Maine professors, Allen Flint and Gary F. Elwell, will speak at Franklin Memorial Hospital’s Ben Franklin Education Center at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14, on the life of Elizabeth Akers Allen, a native of Strong, who was best known for writing the popular poem, “Rock Me to Sleep Mother.”

The talk is being held in celebration of the recently completed historical display in the center’s Allen Room, which brings to life the contributions of the poetess and journalist. The display of photographs, memorabilia, and artifacts serves to preserve the history and character of the conference room’s namesake.

Elizabeth Akers Allen’s roots stemmed from Franklin County. Born in Strong, Allen lived in Farmington Falls during her teenage years. At the age of 15, her first piece of poetry was published in the Olive Tree.

Her first book of poems, “Forest Buds,” was published in 1856. Her popular poem, “Rock Me to Sleep Mother,” was published in the Saturday Evening Post in 1860. Later that same year, it was put to music.

Flint is Professor Emeritus at the University of Maine at Farmington, where he taught for 26 years. His degrees are in American studies, with an emphasis on 19th century American literature. His publications and papers have been primarily on the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, but also include diverse subjects like Black American literature and Col. Robert Gould Shaw. He is working on a study of Allen.

Elwell is a part-time instructor for the University of Maine System in Civil War history and Portland Civil War history. His research for the publication, “By Land By Sea: Portland Civil War Leaders,” led him to his interest in Allen. A freelance writer, he is especially interested in the unpublished works of Allen.

The presentation, free and open to the public, will take place in the Bass Room. Refreshments will be available after the program. Attendees will also be encouraged to visit the Allen room to see the display.

For more information, contact Maureen Goudreau at 779-2471 or Catherine Merrow at 779-2750.


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