AUGUSTA — The University of Maine at Augusta has announced a yearlong program of events exploring the artists, writers and innovators, who shaped and chronicled Maine’s mid-century cultural evolution. The series of events, “Maine’s Mid-Century Moment,” has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

On Tuesday, Jan. 28, UMA will partner with the Maine State Library on a community read focused on Louise Dickinson Rich’s bestselling 1942 memoir, “We Took to the Woods,” facilitated by scholar Candace Kanes at the Maine State Library. Those familiar with this writing are encouraged to attend and those who have not and wish to participate in the discussion are encouraged to read the book beforehand. Copies may be borrowed from the Maine State Library. Should inclement weather require the cancellation of the event, the snow date is Feb. 4 at the same time and location.

Additionally, a variety of objects owned and used by Louise Dickinson Rich, including her typewriter and metal writing desk, will be displayed at the neighboring Maine State Museum. The museum will be open late and free of charge the evening of Jan. 28.

While less well known today, “We Took to the Woods” proved to be a literary touchstone nationwide, garnering serialization in the pages of the Atlantic, selection by the Book-of-the-Month Club, multiple translations and re-issues, and even an Army edition. This work is one of the first rustication memoirs, blending humorous anecdotes about living off the grid with observations about Maine woods culture, flora and fauna; generalized advice; musings on contemporary society; charming dog (and skunk!) stories; and the occasional recipe.

For a full listing of the year’s events, visit  All events are free and open to the public.

Be a part of the celebration.  Share memories of Maine’s Mid-Century Moment through the What do you know Campaign. Oral histories are an important part of any community.  Those who have a story about a mid-century individual or experience are asked to share it at


Candace Kanes, a historian and former newspaper reporter and editor, became interested in people’s accounts of their time in the Maine outdoors while working as curator and historian of Maine Memory Network at the Maine Historical Society, trolling the archives for interesting photos and documents to put on the MMN website. Besides discovering dozens of such accounts — from Charles Turner’s ascent of Katahdin in 1804 — to journalist Emmie Bailey Whitney’s newspaper columns and her husband G. Herbert Whitney’s photos of their hiking, camping and climbing adventures in the 1930s — she read numerous books and articles that portrayed Maine through its outdoors pursuits, whether recreational or occupational.

Kanes turned those discoveries into an exhibit, “Umbazooksus and Beyond: The Maine Woods Remembered,” at the Maine Historical Society in 2005, an online version of the exhibit, and a Let’s Talk About It reading series, “Defining Wilderness, Defining Maine,” for the Maine Humanities. That series includes “We Took to the Woods.”

For more information about National Endowment for the Humanities, visit For more information on UMA, visit

Maine State Library is at 230 State St. For more information, contact Alison Maxell, Maine State Library, at 207-287-5631 or visit

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