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Curtis News June – August, 2013



When these lines were written, the last of the snow vanished from in front of my house. The next morning I spied the first crocuses outside Curtis Memorial Library. The signs of spring are becoming clearer and more numerous by the hour. But other signs of summer are also present, albeit hidden from view.
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One sure sign of summer in mid-coast Maine is the annual book sale sponsored by Curtis Friends. Preparations for this year’s sale have been underway since the week before last year’s sale. The 2012 event was a big success. Just ask anyone involved in putting it on and everyone who attended and they’ll confirm that assertion with gusto.

We anticipate a similar success for the 2013 sale. Here are the dates: the Friends Members Preview sale occurs on June 27, a Thursday. On June 28, 29, and 30, the public is invited to browse the aisles at Brunswick Junior High’s gym inspecting and, we hope, buying some of the 75,000 items we expect to have on display.

The variety of donations varies from year to year. While we pride ourselves on having the largest book sale in northern New England, we also believe our quality and prices can’t be beat.

This year we’ll have an especially fine selection of paperback fiction, social science, sports, and science fiction. If you like our art and architecture section, you’ll really be tickled this year. Simply put, it’s better than ever.


Our sale is more than an opportunity to find great books for great prices. It’s more than an event for volunteers and the community at large to come together and celebrate literacy and learning. It is far and away Curtis Memorial Library’s biggest fund raising event.

My father, a long-time library volunteer in his hometown of Coronado, Calif., says, “Good communities don’t just ‘happen,’ people make them happen.” When you come to our sale you’ll make our library stronger, and that in turn will make Brunswick, our wonderful little patch in Maine, a better place. — JR


I like horror novels. I read them frequently, and not just at the beach in the summer. The best part is that as a librarian I can read horror novels and not feel apologetic about it. It’s part of my job!
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People who don’t read horror novels always ask, “Why do you read those books?” I read them because they keep me intrigued from beginning to end. They create an atmosphere crackling with energy and expectation that hooks me into the story. The characters in good horror books are well-developed and interesting— no run-of-the-mill heroes in a book by Stephen King! Also, today’s horror books are often darkly funny and that appeals to my somewhat quirky sense of humor.


Which authors would I recommend to new horror readers? Start with Stephen King. He is still one of the best storytellers writing today. He develops characters who are complicated, but ultimately admirable. His stories veer off wildly just when you think you know what is going to happen next. He can dive into “blood and guts” horror without blinking an eye, but he can also write intriguing stories that are more psychologically scary than anything else. You will rarely be bored reading Stephen King and you will find that he is an extraordinarily skilled writer.

Dean Koontz is another favorite. His characters are interesting and sympathetic and usually just odd enough to capture your attention. Koontz is also obviously a dog lover (as am I), so that adds a fun and different element in his stories. Many of his books have “super dogs” (usually golden retrievers) that are key players in the story. Koontz books are also great because the good guys always win. Evil is conquered and the world is a bit better with his heroes in them. Unlike King whose books are long (usually more than 500 pages), Koontz books are short, making them a great summer read.

Joe Hill, the son of Stephen King, clearly inherited some of his father’s writing genes. While his character development is not yet as adept as his father’s, it is getting there fast. He has written two well-reviewed books (Heart-Shaped Box and Horns) and just came out with a new one (NOS4A2), which I’m happy to say has completely taken over all of my free time. Hill crafts intricate stories that build to a high level of intensity and keep you reading as fast as you can.

Finally, I would recommend the author Dan Simmons. He has written books in several different genres: horror, science fiction, mysteries. I enjoy them all, but his horror is particularly interesting because they often blend historical fiction with horror — The Terror and Drood are two good examples. For those readers who like their horror to have some link to the real world to make it a tiny bit believable, this is the author for you.

If you haven’t read a horror novel, give one a try. You might be “horrified” at what you’ve been missing! — ED

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What are you reading now?

Linda Arendt: Oak: The Frame of Civilization by William Bryant Logan. “This is a fascinating exploration of the role of oak trees throughout history. I have never been disappointed with a book from the staff recommended shelf.”
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Jenn Dolham

Jenn Dolham

Jeff Reynolds

Jeff Reynolds

Arden LeVasseur

Arden LeVasseur

Dorothy Corkhill  and Marilyn Nulman

Dorothy Corkhill and Marilyn Nulman

Jenn Dolham: Loki’s Wolves, a young adult novel by K. L. Anderson and M. A. Marr. “It is similar to Lightning Thief (by Rick Riorden) but it is Viking Mythology instead of Greek.”

Claire Holmblad: The Teeth May Smile but the Heart Does Not Forget: Murder and Memory in Uganda by Andrew Rice. “This was an exceptionally well-written book and important history.”

Jane Biscoe: Fireside, part of the Lakeshore Chronicles by Susan Wiggs. “I like her insight into her characters. She is incisive and forthright, yet kind.”

Judith Redwine: In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson. “This was a very frightening, yet captivating, true story.”

Jeff Reynolds : Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie. “In style and scope, it satisfies my criteria for a great book.”
Bill Millar: Liberty’s Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary War by Maya Jasanoff. “I had always wondered what happened to the Loyalist after the war. This gives an interesting historical perspective.”

Arden LeVasseur: Tapestry of Fortunes by Elizabeth Berg. “This author writes about very interesting themes and portrays her situations very realistically.”

Sheila Nacke: When We were the Kennedys by Monica Wood. “Lately I’ve been looking for Maine authors and this promises to be a good read.”
>Dorothy Corkhill: Giving up the Ghost: A Memoir by Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall. ”Her writing is unpredictable—a surprise on every page.”

Marilyn Nulman: “I’m in the midst of a mystery series by Ashley Gardner set in Regency London. The first book is The Hanover Square Affair. Her characters come alive and are brilliantly realized.”

Kermit Smyth: Tinkering With Eden: A Natural History of Exotic Species in America by Kim Todd. “The author tells several great stories of invasive species which I found very enlightening.”— PB

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Here is a list of resources and activities for you and your summer guests found only @ your library! Don’t miss your opportunity for fun and enlightenment with Curtis.
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1. Get a Museum Pass for free or reduced admission for a family group: Maine Wildlife Park (Gray), Children’s Museum (Portland) Maine State Museum (Augusta), Portland Museum of Art, Pejepscot Historical Society museums, Southworth Planetarium, Maine Maritime Museum (Bath), Boston Museum of Science and now the Maine State Aquarium in West Boothbay Harbor. Choose a day and get a voucher to the museum of your choice at the Lending Services Desk.

2. Borrow A Gadget: Special equipment checkouts are available, for library cardholders:

  • Orion Starblast 4.5” Telescope: A high tech telescope for your back yard (7-day checkout)
  • GPS Receiver: Use it for geocaching or exploring (3-week checkout)
  • Kill A Watt Kit: Electricity Usage Monitor will help you see how much electricity your AC unit uses, or any appliance (3-week checkout)

3. Borrow an e-book Reader: We have Kindles, Nooks and a Sony Digital Reader loaded with e-books — great for the beach or the hammock


4. Family Resource Handbook: Connect to the handbook online It is filled with suggestions for things to do and places to go. A new print edition is in the works.

5. Guidebooks: Check out books to help you find your way to out-of-the-way locations on the coast or anywhere in New England — hike, bike, paddle, walk or drive. Includes maps, recommendations and reviews.

6. Cool Off and Relax: Bring your lunch, sit inside to cool off in our café area, or sit outdoors in the Reading Garden. Find a nook to get away from your company, or bring them along.

7. Plan Some Great Summer Meals with recipes from a cookbook or magazine: Vegetarian, Vegan, Grilling and Bar-B-Q, and everything in between.

8. Come to a Library Program: Summer Reading Program for Kids or Teens (page 9), Summer Wisdom lectures Wednesday evenings in June, Cornerstones of Science (page 8) and more. Check the library calendar for details

9. Tour the Library Art Collection: Throughout the library is an eclectic collection of interesting pieces. See the Reference Librarian for a guide to the art.


10. Use Our free WiFi to Stay Connected: Bring your guests to Curtis to Skype with family back home. Use email and social media of all sorts. — MH

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Midcoast Senior College and Curtis have teamed up once again to present four illuminating lectures every Wednesday in June at 7:00 p.m. as part of the Summer Wisdom Series.
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June 5: The Evolution of Medical Education and Practice in Maine — From Plasters and Prayers to PET Scans and Prostheses with Richard Neiman, M.D.

June 12: Joshua Chamberlain: The Making of a Civil War Hero with Jane Fenderson Cabot

June 19: The Reverend Jacob Bailey: The Faith of a Loyalist with James S. Leamon

June 26: Abraham Lincoln, Hannibal Hamlin and the Civil War Vice Presidency — A New Look at an Almost Forgotten Figure in American History with Draper Hunt

This season Summer Wisdom is sponsored by Thornton Oaks.

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On Saturday, May 4, 90 members of the library community turned out for the 13th annual Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast.

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The short program included information about Little Free Libraries from Joyce Schmitt and awards galore, including the coveted Carolyn Johnson Volunteer Service Award. Wild Oats Bakery and Café catered the delicious breakfast. — PB

volunteer breakfast 1 volunteer breakfast 2
volunteer breakfast 3 volunteer breakfast 4

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Pam Galvin. Pam is the 2013 recipient of the Carolyn Johnson Volunteer Service Award. She has been involved in the library for decades as a Board member, building committee member, cataloger of library art and most recently as volunteer archivist preserving library documents and history.
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pam galvin

This annual award, sponsored by Curtis Friends, has been given for the past six years to a volunteer who has shown dedication to the library and a commitment to quality work.M

Named for Carolyn Johnson, an indefatigable member of the Curtis Friends board and champion of volunteerism, the award was created in Carolyn’s honor after her passing in 2005.

Past recipients have been Bob Kingsbury, Betty Wescott, Marilyn Nulman, Al and Karen Pasternak, Carol Stinson, Joan Llorente and June Coffin. Their names are listed on an engraved plaque in the lobby. — PB

books in honor

Books in Honor of Volunteers on display at the breakfast May 4. They are available for check out from the library.

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Once again, the Curtis Friends provided funds for the library to purchase books in honor of the volunteers who worked 50 hours or more during the past year. The books purchased have special book plates and were on display at the breakfast. Here are the honorees:
Dot Berner
Jane Biscoe
Barbara Burr
June Coffin
David Compton
Dorothy Corkhill
Donna Croxford
Hannah Dring
Joyce Freedman
Pamela Galvin
Tim Gardiner
Bob Gardner
Ariel Gourhan
Sally Greene
Annette Haas
Becky Hawkins
Scott Johnson,
Sally Jeanne Kappler
Bob Kingsbury
Joan Llorente
Lou Mazzamauro

Martha McBride
Jo McCartan
Anne Merrifield
Bill Millar
Susan Millar
Linda Millert
Jytte Monke
Nan Morrell
Sheila Nacke
Marilyn Nulman
Christina Oddleifson

Debora Price
Nan Rand
Lynn Reese
Susan Russell
Victoria Smith
Kermit Smyth
Carol Stinson
Emily Swan
Lois Thacker


Curtis is sharing information of interest to library members and the community at large on Twitter (@CurtisLibrary) via short messages called “tweets” which take only seconds to read.
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You can then— at your convenience — freely snap up these tweets which will promptly inform you about new books, new services, new displays, library hours, special events, reading recommendations, Curtis website resources and more.

Short and Tweet!

We send several messages a week that share tips on finding information online and answers to commonly asked questions.

Curtis Tweets often link to interesting news stories about books, reading, libraries and new technologies.


Do you have any questions, comments, or suggestions on how we can serve you better?

Twitter provides a very convenient — although not private — way to send them to us.

Posthaste Twitter Sign Up

  1. Sign up for an account at; it takes just a few minutes and you can use your home computer, mobile device or one of the library’s public PCs
  2. Travel to
  3. Click the “Follow” button

You can then speedily find out what’s happening at Curtis through Twitter on your computer and/or mobile device.

Need help with Twitter? Ask a Curtis librarian or email the library’s webmaster: — MG

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Our Community Health Information Partnership recently sponsored a Better Speech & Hearing Event at the library. During the Event, participants connected with information and resources to help deal with hearing loss, a commonly unaddressed problem.
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Audiologists Anna Strange, from Mid Coast Hospital and Cristin Richards from Parkview Adventist Medical Center noted that people often wait five to seven years after they recognize that they have issues before seeking help for hearing problems.

Maine Center on Deafness (MCD) brought a variety of adaptive phones and other devices along with applications to obtain a free adaptive phone (if you meet income requirements).

They demonstrated phones for people with limited mobility and those in the beginning stages of memory loss.

Some models are extra loud, some allow users to read captions/text, while others have extra-large buttons , visual ringers (flashers) or are voice activated speaker phones. A phone for a person at the beginning stages of memory loss features buttons with pictures of family members or friends and is programmed to dial the person in the picture.

If you have a family member who is hard of hearing, you might want to investigate the special fire alarms that vibrate or flash. The MCD even has a program to help landlords who rent to the hearing impaired. Landlords are now required by law to provide the special fire alarms for renters with hearing loss.

CHIP logo

MCD showed a sound amplification device with headphones that is particularly useful for a family member who needs the television set volume turned up to maximum. The device goes near the television and connects to a headset. The hearing-impaired family member can adjust the volume in the unit and family can lower the TV volume to a more comfortable level.

For more information, contact the Maine Center on Deafness at 800-639-3884 or – LO

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What’s your favorite memory of visiting a public library?

Leaving with a pile of books to read on summer vacation? Finding just the right research information for a term paper or how to start your own business? Attending story time, a provocative lecture, film, or art exhibit? Learning how to use a new publishing or movie software for the first time? Meeting up with friends for a game day, craft day or current events forum?

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curtis book fund goal is within reach

While Curtis offerings are many, books are still at the heart of what we do. This year’s Annual Book Fund goal is to raise $93,000 by the end of June to purchase over 13,000 new books and e-books to add to our collection of more than 145,000 volumes in all areas, including home and gardening, graphic novels, cookbooks, finance, local history, bestsellers and more.

Many of you have supported the Annual Book Fund already. THANK YOU! More than $85,000 has been donated to-date, with another $3,000 pledged by June 14. We’re just $5,000 shy of meeting this year’s goal.

All gifts/pledges for the Annual Fund received before June 30, 2013 will help us reach this goal and make more books and materials available to our community of readers.

Please visit to donate online, pick up a donation envelope in the lobby, mail a donation to the library at 23 Pleasant Street, Brunswick, Maine, 04011, or contact Development Associate Joyce Schmitt at 725-5242 ext. 219 or with any questions.

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Thank you for giving what you can, and joining us in making memories for tomorrow’s readers. EVERY gift truly makes a difference. — JS

Let’s keep the paper in the books! Consider a gift online at

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Touch a shark this summer! Visit the Maine State Aquarium using our new discount pass. With the pass, admission is $2.50 each for up to five people. (Children under 2-years-old are always welcome free of charge). Sharks not your speed?
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Cornerstones of Science program

Explore the tide pool touch tank or learn about lobsters. The Aquarium, in West Boothbay Harbor, will be open Saturday, May 25 – September 29. To reserve a pass, please call 725-5242, ext. 213.

This pilot program is sponsored by Cornerstones of Science.

The monarchs are back! Visit the Youth Services area in July and watch them grow. Plan to spend time outdoors with children or grandchildren this summer? Reserve the library telescope or check out an Explorer Pack from the children’s area to explore birds, trees, or insects. Find nature areas with free access.

Click the link on the library homepage, “Explore Brunswick, Harpswell & Surrounds.” This is an annotated Google map with nature trails, parks, conservations areas, forests, wetlands, bird sanctuaries and more. Attend an astronomy program this summer.

Coming in July or August (TBA): Starry Sky Flash Mob. Find us on Twitter and Facebook to learn when, where and what. Budding astronomers can learn about Buying a Telescope Wednesday, July 24 at 6:30 p.m.

COS logo

On Wednesday, July 10 at 6:30 p.m., join botanist Don Hudson to learn about Go Botany, a new tool from the New England Wild Flower Society. This hands-on workshop is appropriate for adults, teens and older children, accompanied by an adult, who enjoys nature. Free. No registration required.

Go Botany is designed to help users identify more than 1,200 different plants— advanced users can identify even more. You can use Go Botany outdoors in the field with a mobile device. Find Go Botany at — DM, LO

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Laser Tag, a Doctor Who party, henna for hands, creating art from maps, a flash mob to view the night sky at Crystal Spring Farm, making scrapbooks for children and their stuffed friends, NERF Turf, movie nights, and, of course, books, are all a part of the “Beneath the Surface” Teen Summer Program.

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There are two parts to “Beneath the Surface,” weekly events and a self-guided punch card to complete for prizes.

Weekly events include Monday Nights@the Movies, special events on certain Tuesdays and Thursdays, D & D and other games on Open Gaming Afternoons on Wednesdays, and Make It, Get Crafty on Fridays. NERF nights and the G-Force Laser Tag events will be held on Friday and Saturday after hours. Registration is required for many of these special events.


Teens entering 6th-12th grade are welcome to come to the library anytime beginning Wednesday, June 19 through July 31 and register to read 30 hours this summer and/or attend library events.

Every registrant will receive a free Portland Sea Dogs ticket. Everyone who completes the program will receive a prize packet containing books and other items, plus a raffle ticket for a chance to win one of several theme baskets, such as a Movie Goer’s Bowl filled with theater gift certificates, candy and popcorn or a Zombie Apocalypse Survival Kit containing everything you need — minus weapons — to survive a dead uprising.

For a complete listings of events, please visit — MMO

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Wednesday, June 19 through August 9
Children use a game board to complete reading-related activities throughout the summer, and track their progress with prizes along the way. A read-to-me version is available for younger children. Pick up a free Portland Sea Dogs ticket when you sign up! Preschool – Grade 5

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Thursday, June 20 at 10:30 a.m.
This exciting fusion of magic, comedy, and audience participation by magician Norman Ng is not to be missed! Mesmerizing fun for all ages—kids and adults.

Tuesday mornings at 10:30 a.m. beginning June 25
Look for Miss Robyn and hear stories outdoors at the Brunswick Mall.
Cancelled in case of rain.

Afternoons by appointment
Would you like to spend time reading to a friendly dog? Sign up for a session with China or Josie. Both dogs are very good listeners!
Call 725-5242 x225.

Additional Programs:

  • Chewonki Live Animal Events
  • Raising Monarch Butterflies
  • Make a Kaleidoscope with Heidi Boyd
  • Sing and Play with Miss Teresa
  • Musical Story Time with Jud Caswell
  • Earth Science with Mad Science
  • Dinosaurs and Pirates Puppet Show with Lindsay Bezich

For complete list of events, go to
Programs are free to the public, sponsored by Curtis Friends. — PJ


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The Orr’s Island Library will soon complete a nearly five-year building and renovation project. The original building, constructed as a library in 1905, has been expanded to include a nonfiction room and storage facility.

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The original reading room has been restored to its 1905 charm with lighting fixtures and look to match the new addition. The Orr’s Island Library now meets ADA standards and features a wheelchair lift and a new heating system. Thanks to broad and generous community support, the new and upgraded facilities have been fully funded and will celebrate its grand re-opening on August 18.

Making use of the new facilities, the library’s Board of Trustees and staff have begun a year-round series to be held on the first Thursday of each month. Programs cover a variety of topics of interest to the community from art to photography to local history. To receive monthly emails about programs sign up by emailing

Preparations have begun for the annual Book Sale and Fair held this year on Wednesday, August 7 at Lowell’s Cove. In addition to a large and diverse collection of books and CDs, the fair will include a white elephant table, activities for children, a bake sale, and lunch for purchase. The book sale will continue through Saturday, August 10. — LK

Orrs Island Library

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My grandfather was born in Canada. As a genealogist, I’ve always been interested in this side of my family, mostly because there is so little information about it. When I asked my dad about this situation, he always joked that we didn’t know much because we had a horse-thief on that side and no one wanted to talk about it.

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Well, of course, to the genealogist-in-training, that is like waving a red flag in front of a bull! I’ve spent many years trying to find that horse-thief, with no luck so far!

As a result of all this research I’ve discovered some helpful internet tools for the new genealogist who is focusing on Canada. Here are a few of the most important:

Cyndi’s List – If you are a beginner to genealogy, make sure you visit To use their words, it is “comprehensive, categorized & cross-referenced list of links that point you to genealogical research sites online.” It gives you a tremendous number of places to start researching your family tree and it includes genealogy links to resources for countries that don’t always have easy-to-access resources.

Canada GenWeb – — The GenWeb project started in 1996 with the common goal of collecting and distributing free genealogical data on the Web. There are GenWeb sites for many countries, including both the U.S. and Canada. It is one of the best ways of identifying what resources are available in Canada at the local level.

The Canadian County Digital Atlas Project – – Early on in my Canadian research, I realized that I had no idea where some of the geographical locations were that I needed to research. It became obvious that a good local map for the time period in question was critical. The Canadian County Digital Atlas helped me in that area. It provides maps from the time period down to the county and town level and it will let you search for individuals by name.

If you are interested in Canadian genealogy research make sure you check out the genealogy pages on the library’s website at Scroll down the page and you’ll find a link to Cyndi’s List and the Canada GenWeb project. Happy ancestor hunting! — ED

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Local author Richard Rubin is a familiar face at Curtis and other mid coast libraries. A resident of Bath, he spends much of his time at local libraries researching and writing.

Read Excerpt From CML Interview…

Rubin’s latest book, The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten War, chronicles his decade-long quest to interview the last living American veterans of World War I, all between the ages of 101 and 113, and capture their stories. This monumental task led Rubin across the United States and France, through archives, private collections, battlefields, literature, propaganda, and even music. All remaining veterans of the Great War are gone now, but combining oral history, cultural history and personal reporting, Rubin has skillfully and compassionately preserved their voices and memories, creating a fascinating history of the American experience in what was once called “the war to end all wars.”

Recently, he took time away from his busy writing schedule to sit down with Curtis to discuss his newest book. — SB

CML: Tell us about your book.

RR: My book is a history of the American experience in World War I. But it’s an unconventional history in that, instead of more traditional sources, I rely more heavily on artifacts of that war that are still in our midst, things we see every day but don’t notice, like records and sheet music, books and posters and monuments and street signs. Most of all, though, I relied on the stories of America’s last living World War I veterans, whom I interviewed over the course of a half decade or so starting in 2003. They, too, could be found in our midst, but were typically overlooked. Yet what stories they had to tell!

CML: What made you set out to find and interview World War I veterans?

RR: I’ve been interested in World War I since I was a child, but the thing that really set me on this search was that one afternoon in early 2003, I heard some fellow on the radio say that World War II veterans were dying at the rate of 1,000 per day, and that we really needed to get their stories down before they were all gone. I had originally intended to find maybe two or three and write up an article for Veterans Day, 2003, then move on to a totally different topic for my next book, but it took me so long to find just one living American WWI veteran — months — that I got mad and decided I’d just go find them all.

For the full text of the CML interview, go to Where you will also find links to his interview on WCSH-TV’s 207, and links to video clips of Rubin’s interviews with WWI veterans.

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Author Richard Rubin will speak and sign books on Thursday, June 18 at 7:00 p.m. in the Morrell Meeting Room. Copies of Mr. Rubin’s books will be on sale courtesy of Gulf of Maine Books.

Rubin’s newest is The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War (Houghton Mifflin, May 2013).

Rubin also wrote Confederacy of Silence. He has written for The Atlantic, New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Smithsonian, and New York Magazine.

This event is free and open to all, sponsored by Curtis Friends.



The Curtis community enjoyed working with the Little Free Library (LFL) project throughout the month of May. Little Free Libraries are small lending libraries stewarded by individuals, families, neighborhoods and businesses under the policy of “take a book/leave a book/always free!”

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The Building Trades students at Region 10 Technical High School built a replica of Curtis Library that was installed at the Brunswick Visitor Center (BVC).


In addition, these same students prepared 15 kits that individuals, families and neighbors assembled during a “community build day” at Curtis. Watch the web site for photos and information about where you can visit one of the completed LFLs in Brunswick and Harpswell.

A few kits are still available to build. Contact Joyce at 725-5242 ext. 219 or


Special thanks to, Region 10 Technical High School, Mike Lyne, and BVC; we also thank Hancock Lumber, Hammond Lumber and Lowe’s for donating many of the project’s materials. — JS


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