USA Famous People of Maine

Maine Biographies

Joshua L. Chamberlain (1828 - 1914) Civil War general, governor of Maine, president of Bowdoin College; born in Brewer. In 1861 Joshua Chamberlain was an obscure college professor. In 1863 he led the 20th Maine regiment ?/I've lc since I'm not sure regiment is the official title, referred to only as 20th in the defense of Little Round Top at Gettysburg. In 1865 he commanded a division in the Army of the Potomac with such skill that he was chosen to conduct the surrender ceremonies for since it was surrenner OF southern army the Army of Northern Virginia. Freelance writer Trulock presents a definitive biography of this distinguished citizen and Union officer. Chamberlain emerges from Trulock's pages as an unusually brave man who could think quickly and rationally under extreme stress. He was not a "born soldier," but he eventually became a master of war. Neither his presidency of Bowdoin College nor his four terms as governor of Maine seem to have defined him as did a few minutes at Gettysburg and a few hours in Virginia. In this, Chamberlain was an archetype of the generation that dismembered, then reknit, a country. He died at age 86 in 1914. • Joshua L. Chamberlain Books
Dorothea Dix (1802 - 1887) Humanitarian and social reformer; born in Hampden. Dorothea Dix was the most politically engaged woman of her generation, which was itself a remarkable tapestry of activists. An influential lobbyist as well as a paragon of the doctrine of female benevolence, she vividly illustrated the complexities of the "separate spheres" of politics and femininity. Her greatest legislative initiative, a campaign for federal land grants to endow state mental hospitals, assumed a central role in the public land controversies that intertwined with the slavery issues in Congress following the Mexican War. The passage of this legislation in 1854, and its subsequent veto by President Pierce, touched off the most protracted effort to override a veto that had yet taken place. • Dorothea Dix Books
Walter Van Tilburg Clark writer, East Oreland • Walter Van Tilburg Clark Books
Cyrus Curtis publisher, Portland • Cyrus Curtis Books
Dustin Farnum -Popular star of silent films, primarily Westerns.

Dustin Lancy Farnum (May 27, 1874 - July 3, 1929) was an American singer, dancer and an actor in silent movies during the early days of motion pictures. After a great success in a number of stage roles, in 1914 he landed his first film role in the movie 'Soldiers of Fortune', and later in Cecil B. DeMille's The Squaw Man. Although he played a wide variety of roles, he tended toward Westerns and became one of the biggest stars of the genre. He was married to actress Winifred Kingston. He also was the older brother of actor William Farnum. • Dustin Farnum Books •

John Ford (February 1, 1894 – August 31, 1973) An American film director of Irish heritage famous for both his westerns such as Stagecoach and The Searchers and adaptations of such classic 20th-century American novels as The Grapes of Wrath . His four Best Director Academy Awards (1935, 1940, 1941, 1952) is a record, although only one of those films, How Green Was My Valley, also won Best director, Cape Elizabeth

I don't know why anyone interested in the seminal American director, John Ford, would not find this book utterly fascinating. McBride illuminates Ford's early life and the beginnings of his long career with detailed care. He explores his problematic character with skill, compassion and insight without ever being patronizing and without ever holding back about the darkest aspects of Ford's personality and behavior. For instance, McBride makes it very clear that Ford does not deserve as much credit as he usually gets for what was really an ambivalent attitude toward the notorious Hollywood "blacklist" during the anti-communist hysteria of the 1940s and '50s.• John Ford Books • John Ford Films

Melville Fuller jurist, Augusta • Melville Fuller Books
Hannibal Hamlin (1809 - 1891) U.S. Vice-President during Abraham Lincoln's first term, and was a senator and a representative from Maine. Hamlin was born to Cyrus Hamlin and Anna Livermore in Paris, Maine. He is a descendant of James Hamlin in the sixth generation, who had settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1639. Hamlin was a great nephew of U.S. Senator Samuel Livermore II of New Hampshire,and a grandson of Stephen Emery, Maine's Attorney General in 1839–40.

Hamlin attended the district schools and Hebron Academy there, and later managed his father's farm. For the next few years he worked at several jobs: schoolmaster, cook, woodcutter, surveyor, manager of a weekly newspaper in Paris, and a compositor at a printer's office. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1833. He began practicing in Hampden, a suburb of Bangor, where he lived until 1848.• Hannibal Hamlin Books

Marsden Hartley painter, Lewiston • Marsden Hartley Books
Sarah Orne Jewett author, South Berwick • Sarah Orne Jewett Books
Stephen King (1947 - ) Writer whose novels often are made into motion pictures. Some works include The Shining, Salem's Lot, Carrie, Pet Sematary, and Midnight Shift; born in Portland. Millions of people have experienced the unnerving sensation of finding their own half-acknowledged nightmares dramatically realized in the pages of Stephen King's spine-tingling horror tales.

Now known worldwide for his horror creations in best-selling books and popular film adaptations, Stephen King spent years in obscurity trying to find his voice and his audience. For much of his career he chose to remain in the small-town Maine of his youth, far from glittering publishing and film centers, yet few American writers can now equal his hold on audiences worldwide. This biography traces King's evolution from would-be pulp magazine writer to master of his craft, whose work both epitomizes and transcends the horror genre. • Stephen King Books • Stephen King Films

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) Considered the most influential poet of his day with famous works such as “The Courtship of Miles Standish ” and “Evangeline ”; born in Portland. an American educator and poet whose works include "Paul Revere's Ride ", The Song of Hiawatha, and "Evangeline". He was also the first American to translate Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy and was one of the five Fireside Poets.

Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine, then part of Massachusetts, and studied at Bowdoin College. After spending time in Europe he became a professor at Bowdoin and, later, at Harvard College. His first major poetry collections were Voices of the Night (1839) and Ballads and Other Poems (1841). Longfellow retired from teaching in 1854 to focus on his writing, living the remainder of his life in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in a former headquarters of George Washington. His first wife, Mary Potter, died in 1835 after a miscarriage. His second wife, Frances Appleton, died in 1861 after sustaining burns from her dress catching fire. After her death, Longfellow had difficulty writing poetry for a time and focused on his translation. He died in 1882. • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Books

Hiram Stevens Maxim inventor, Sangerville • Hiram Stevens Maxim Books
Edna St. Vincent Millay poet, Rockland • Edna St. Vincent Millay Books
Marston Morse mathematician, Waterville • Marston Morse Books
Frank Munsey publisher, Mercer • Frank Munsey Books
Walter Piston composer, Rockland • Walter Piston Books
George Palmer Putnam publisher, Brunswick • George Palmer Putnam Books
Kenneth Roberts historical author, Kennebunk • Kenneth Roberts Books
Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869 - 1935) Poet; raised in Gardiner. "The best of Edwin Arlington Robinson's poetry rings with a lyrical and emotional purity and singularity that should assure his place as one of the treasured poets of his generation. His reputation has suffered neglect in recent decades, but a new, clear, meticulous, and perceptive biography incorporating much previously unavailable material is certainly to be welcomed, and Scott Donaldson's Edwin Arlington Robinson: A Poet's Life should help to revive appreciation for this solitary figure and the unique resonance of his work." -- W. S. Merwin, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry • Edwin Arlington Robinson Books
Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller (1908 - 1979) U.S. vice president; born in Bar Harbor."Looking at Nelson," Reich quotes a colleague as saying, "was like looking up close at an elephant. A lot of us saw a piece of the elephant, and some saw more of the elephant than others. But none of us saw the entire elephant." This elephantine first part of a two-volume life will have readers eager for the other half. No hagiographer, Reich (Financier: The Biography of Andre Meyer) sees "rampant ambition" propelling John D. Jr.'s second son, who refused to be merely one of his father's viceroys in the Rockefeller empire. To leverage his patrimony into external power and influence, he employed a personal engine "perpetually in overdrive," his confidence and his energy nourished by near royal status, extramarital sexual success, pep pills and tranquilizers, and unlimited money. Rockefeller's wealth would buy the industrious and talented staff that could develop ambitious schemes and sustain his frenetic pace in marketing them. In his 20s he was already master of the "awesome limestone forest" that was Rockefeller Center, and the Museum of Modern Art was his personal fiefdom. • Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller Books
Margaret Chase Smith (1897 - 1995) The first woman to be elected to both houses of Congress; born in Skowhegan. Hillary Clinton is not the first woman to run for president; one of those who came before her is Margaret Chase Smith, best known as the senator from Maine at a time when women in Congress were in scarce supply. But Smith also showed her mettle is many other ways. The book begins with Chase’s modest Maine upbringing and moves swiftly through her school days. Unable to afford college, she tried several jobs and considered her involvement in women’s organizations as her education. When her husband, a U.S. representative died, Smith took his seat and then, for the next 32 years, won her own elections and became a strong advocate for space exploration. One of her strongest moments came in 1950 when she spoke out against McCarthyism. Pleasant, if occasionally stiff watercolor-and-ink illustrations face each page of text, and helpful time lines ribbon the page bottoms. Plourde keeps the text brief and interesting, while an informative afterword fleshes out the biography. Grades 3-5. --Ilene Cooper • Margaret Chase Smith Books
Francis & Freelan Stanley inventors, Kingfield  • Francis & Freelan Stanley Books
Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811 - 1896), abolitionist and humanitarian, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin; lived in Brunswick.  Harriet Beecher Stowe, daughter of a preacher, married to a poor Biblical scholar, and mother of nine, had the early good fortune of an education at a school founded by her feminist older sister. To help support her family, Stowe began to write. In 1851, born of evangelical outrage against slavery, her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin made her famous. Today the very name conveys white paternalism and black passivity, but Hedrick points out that this unfairly ignores the "freedom narrative" of a book that had an electrifying effect on the abolitionist cause. When Abraham Lincoln met Stowe in 1862 he joked, "So you're the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war." Hedrick's illuminating biography of this remarkable woman won the 1995 Pulitzer Prize. • Harriet Beecher Stowe Books
John Hay Whitney publisher, Ellsworth • John Hay Whitney Books