AUGUSTA — The governor’s Blaine House was adorned Friday not just with holiday decorations but also with displays and items commemorating women in Maine history and the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the state.

Decorations were once again set up by the Kennebec Valley Garden Club, which has been decorating the Blaine House for more than 35 years. They met early this summer to interpret Gov. Janet Mills’ theme of “Women in Maine History” and procured pieces from across the state showcasing the work of notable stateswomen, outdoorswomen, poets, singers and more.

Mills led a tour of the house on Friday. The front foyer is dedicated to the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in Maine, getting the right to vote. The front reception room’s theme is “Land, Water and Wilderness,” paying tribute to naturalists, farmers, writers and gardeners including Celia Thaxter, Sarah Orne Jewett, Helen Nearing and Kate Furbish.

The sun room, dedicated to arts and letters, features Dahlov Ipcar’s handmade ornaments and a soft sculpture Okapi, “Sacred Grove” over the fireplace. The room also features Edna St. Vincent Millay’s yearbook from Megunticook High School, courtesy of the Edna St. Vincent Millay homestead in Rockland; books of poetry and prose, courtesy of Merrill’s Bookshop in Hallowell; and the magnolia theme from her iconic photo at Vassar. Lastly, the room features the ostrich plume on the top of the tree that is part of the costume Lilian Nordica is wearing in a picture on the piano, a scrapbook full of articles and ephemera, a photo of her as “Columbia” in the suffrage fight and many of her recordings remastered.

Other displays in the study, billiard room and family dining room include mementos to lighthouse keeper Abbie Burgess and other items on loan from the Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland; a dedication to Cornelia “Flyrod” Crosby, the first Maine guide; and a dedication to “the four Mollys,” based on the “Four Mollys: Women of the Dawn,” an exhibition opening Jan. 31 at the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor.

The formal dining room, dedicated to former U.S. Sen. Margaret Chase Smith (a close family friend of Mills) and Maine’s military, pays tribute to “The Lady of Maine” with a nod to her love of red roses, historic photographs and honorary oak leaf wreaths for her service on the armed forces committee.


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