AUGUSTA — The University of Maine at Augusta will partner with the University of New England to present an online panel discussion at 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, focused on three authors represented in the archives of the Maine Women Writers Collection at UNE’s Josephine S. Abplanalp Library. Participating in the panel will be Ellen Taylor, professor of English (UMA); Lisa Botshon, professor of English (UMA); and Joseph Conforti, distinguished professor emeritus (USM). Jennifer S. Tuttle, professor of English at UNE and the director of the MWWC, will facilitate the panel discussion.

The three writers from the MWWC archives who will be highlighted in this program are Elizabeth Coatsworth, Katharine Butler Hathaway, and Mary Ellen Chase.

Coatsworth, who called Chimney Farm in Damariscotta her home for most of her adult life, was a best-selling children’s book writer, poet, novelist and essayist on rural Maine living. Popular during her lifetime, she won the Newbery award for her children’s book “The Cat Who Went to Heaven” (1930) and wrote over 90 books between 1910 and 1976. Taylor will discuss her MWWC archival findings as they relate to Coatsworth’s travels in the Far East and their influence in writing her celebrated children’s book.

Lisa Botshon will give a talk entitled “Katharine Butler Hathaway: The Queer Modernism of The Little Locksmith.” The first excerpt of Katharine Butler Hathaway’s enduring 1943 memoir The Little Locksmith was published in the Atlantic Monthly in 1942. The account of the ways in which this diminutive woman, who had been indelibly marked by spinal tuberculosis as a child, was able to liberate herself from conservative ideas about female autonomy, sexuality, and art through the purchase of a house in Castine, Maine, resonated with readers worldwide. This talk will consider how her memoir demonstrates that radical modernist ideas can be created in the rural reaches of Maine through, in part, building upon earlier iterations of queer New England women’s culture.

Conforti will discuss Chase, who was born and raised in Maine. The author of over 30 books, she wrote a great deal of Maine-based fiction, including the bestselling novel “Windswept” (1941). In a 1936 interview in the Portland Sunday Telegram, Chase declared that she wrote “largely because I want to acquaint others with the background of Maine life, with the splendid character of Maine people, and with the unsurpassed loveliness of Maine fields, shores and sea.”

This event, originally scheduled for March but postponed due to COVID-19, is part of University of Maine at Augusta’s bicentennial events exploring the artists, writers and innovators who shaped and chronicled Maine’s mid-century cultural evolution. Maine’s Mid-Century Moment has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

For more information, contact Cathleen Miller, curator, Maine Women Writers Collection, at (207) 221-4334 or visit The event is open to the public; however, an RSVP is required at

The MWWC was founded in 1959 by Grace Dow and Dorothy Healy to preserve and make available the writings of Maine women who had achieved literary recognition. Geographically, holdings concern the state of Maine; Dawnland, the traditional territory of Wabanaki people; and the northern New England region, collecting the work of anyone who identifies as female, femme, transfeminine or nonbinary. For more information, visit

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