Cover art for book “Dear Parent” by local historian Douglas Hodgkin.

AUBURN — Anyone who lives in the Twin Cities knows all about Edward Little, the high school.

But not everyone knows about Edward Little, the man.

Former Bates College professor Doug Hodgkin is out to correct that with a new book titled “Dear Parent: A Biography and Letters of Edward Little.”

Turns out there’s a lot to know.

According to a news release: “Edward Little (1773-1849) is best-known for having founded Lewiston Falls Academy, which became Edward Little High School. Less well- known is the role of the Little family in founding what became High Street Congregational Church, as well as bridges, railroads and the mills at the falls, until the latter were taken over by Boston-based investors.

“After a career in Newburyport, Mass., and Portland, Maine, Little came in 1826 at the age of fifty-three, to settle in Danville, now Auburn, Maine. He built his house the next year. Andrew Giddinge, a local diarist, termed the house ‘The Mansion,’ which it certainly was, compared to the few houses that existed in the village. Edward’s father and brother were concerned that the house was ‘extravagant.'”

Hodgkin, president of the Androscoggin Historical Society, said he began working on the book in the summer of 2015 after an intern spent 240 hours transcribing letters Little had written to his father after moving to Maine.

The letters led Hodgkin on a quest to piece together a timeline of Little’s life, a quest that led him to libraries and historical societies in Maine and Massachusetts.

“It was great to find out more about this person who figured so prominently in our history,” Hodgkin said.

His book explores Little’s successes and setbacks, including an embargo that affected his business dealings ahead of the War of 1812, and a massive fire that destroyed several of Little’s business interests.

On Feb. 21, Hodgkin will hold his first book-signing in Little’s former home. The house at 217 Main St. is occupied by CPA Robert Grieshaber. According to Hodgkin, Grieshaber is fully aware of the historic significance of the building in which he does business.

“The society is delighted with Grieshaber’s current stewardship of the house and his willingness to open the house for this event,” Hodgkin said. “Bob has been very supportive of the historical society’s work on this project.”

The signing will be held from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21.

Edward Little built his home at 217 Main St. in Auburn in 1827.

“Dear Parent: A Biography and Letters of Edward Little” is a 262-page paperback being sold for $20. The book is available at the society’s office in the Androscoggin County Building. The book is also being offered for sale at Victor News on Park Street in Lewiston, at the Bates College bookstore and at Gulf of Maine Books in Brunswick. The book can be purchased online from the Maine Historical Society Store in Portland. For more information call 784-0586.

A book-signing will take place from 4 to 5:30 p.m.. Tuesday, Feb. 21, at Edward Little’s former home at 217 Main St., Auburn.

Douglas Hodgkin

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