BETHEL — The Bethel Historical Society is currently engaged in an effort to survey and evaluate its extensive museum, library and archival collections. To allow the time necessary to carry out the work, and recognizing the need for additional storage space for the society’s holdings, a temporary moratorium on new gifts — with allowance for exceptions  — has been authorized by the board of trustees.

Recently, the society was made aware of the sale at auction of a rare, 1835 “schoolgirl” map of Oxford County that was hand drawn by Lydia D. Carter of Bethel. The daughter of Dr. Timothy Carter, the town’s first settled physician, Lydia Carter was born in 1823 and was about 12 years old when she drew the 10- by 18-inch map of Oxford County as it then existed.

As it turned out, the map was acquired at the auction by someone who recognized its value as a significant local artifact that should be preserved in the society’s collection. Through the collaborative efforts of Norman and Sylvia Clanton and Auctioneer Joe Gaidis, the map was purchased from the buyer and made available to the Bethel Historical Society, which was able to make use funds set aside for the occasional purchase of exceptional historic items to acquire the piece.

Further information about the Bethel Historical Society and its activities is available on the society’s website at or by calling 824-2908.

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