Jan 142017

Many Grangers in Maine have met Chris Hadsel from Curtains Without Borders–she has visited a number of Grange Halls here in Maine and been extremely helpful with information and assistance relative to the curtains found in many Grange Halls. She and her colleges have just released a video entitled, Conserving Historic State Curtains.  (Click the title to view.) It’s quite informative and covers a wide variety of topics… a great resource for those who wish to be good stewards of these works of art!

You’ll also find additional information on the Curtains Without Borders website.

Jan 112017

Maine State Grange Historian Stan Howe of Bethel was recently named to the Distinguished Members List of the Organization of American Historians, the largest professional society dedicated to the teaching and study of American History in the United States. Founded in 1907, the mission of this organization is” to promote excellence in the scholarship. teaching and the presentation of American history, and to encourage wide discussion of historical questions and the equitable treatment of all practitioners of history.” The OAH includes more than 7800 historians working in the United States and abroad as university professors, teachers, archivists, museum curators, public historians, students and other practitioners of history. Howe was encouraged to join the OAH as a graduate student at the University of Connecticut in 1966 by his advisor Professor A. William Hogulund.

In addition to possessing a wealth of knowledge about the Grange in Maine, Stan is a frequent contributor to our “In search of…” Page and responds promptly to requests for help with research. We congratulate him on this accomplishment and thank him for his contributions!

Dec 302016

We introduced the “in search of” page a while back… a page designed to bring people who are searching for information together with people who have it! I’m happy to report another success! This time an inquiry about a former Grange in Gardiner has been answered with many thanks to MSG Historian Stanley Howe and Clyde Berry, a member of the historical committee. Check out the page… see if you have some knowledge that others just might be searching for.

Oct 252016

stan-howe-001State Grange Historian Stanley R. Howe of Bethel was recently honored by the American Historical Association with a certificate commemorating his fifty years of membership in the Association, which is the largest and oldest society of historians and professors in the United States.

Organized at Saratoga, New York in 1884 and incorporated by act of Congress in 1889, the organization publishes its American Historical Review five times annually. Its purpose is “for the promotion of historical studies, the collection and preservation of historical manuscripts and for kindred purposes in the interest of American history and of history in America; reporting annually to Congress through the Smithsonian Institution and depositing its collections in the United States National Museum and the Library of Congress.”  For his fifty year record, the Association granted Howe a free lifetime membership.  During his professional career, Howe who holds graduate degrees in history from the universities of Connecticut and Maine has written and lectured widely on many topics. He is also the author of a history of the Maine State Grange published by that organization in 1994.

For a short history of the Grange in Maine written by Stanley Howe visit Maine An Encyclopedia. Used copies of A Fair Field and No Favor: A Concise History of the Maine State Grange can often be found through Amazon and used book dealers.

Grangers will also find a “special edition” of the Bethel Historical Society Newsletter interesting… the entire issue is about Granges in Maine.

Oct 202016
Quick Tip

Quick tips are ideas for making Granges more effective and efficient. Submit yours today!

Wow! While I don’t keep statistics, I’m pretty sure my recent “Exploring Traditions” column generated more email than any other post or column I can recall–at least in recent times. I’m not bragging, but the feedback triggered an idea. Maybe we should change the way we talk?

I’ve written before about how we refer to the ritual and degree work–and I know how difficult it is to change habits. But what would happen if we tried to change the way we refer to both? We currently have a number of different expressions like “We are doing the ritual” and “Have you taken the degrees?”

Should we, could we instead say things like “We are celebrating the ritual!” and “Have you celebrated the degrees?”

Linguists tell us that language often reflects the way we think, but it’s also true that the way we talk affects the way we think. One reason I’ve never particularly liked the question “Have you taken (or received) the degrees?” is that it’s passive and suggests the degrees are something that happen to someone. I believe the degrees are a celebration of agriculture and what it teaches us!

I’m not going to change the title of my column–it’s long enough already. But we really should be “Exploring and celebrating the Grange way of life.” It’s awesome!


Jun 062016

by Walter Boomsma, Communications Directorquestion-mark-1019993_1280

We occasionally receive inquiries from individuals regarding the Grange in Maine. Sometimes these inquiries are historical in nature and take the form of questions such as “Whatever happened to…?” Sometimes we receive inquiries regarding past events or individuals who perhaps played a significant role in Grange History. While we do not have the resources to conduct research, as a courtesy, we’ll share the question and try to be helpful.

“In search of…” is an experiment–a free service of the Maine State Grange website, available to all who are seeking information concerning the Grange and Grangers, Grange Halls, etc. — past and present — in Maine. We make no guarantees, but offer this opportunity for you to post a brief description of Grange-related information you are seeking. All inquiries are subject to review and editing and we reserve the right to reject any requests deemed inappropriate. Please note that you must include contact information in the form of an email address and/or telephone number. Submit your request here: Help me find…  Visit the page regularly to see what’s posted and how you might be able to help. Grangers are helpful, right!?


Jun 062016

Excelsior Grange in Poland will be having an open house for the public June 18th in recognition of the fact that the Grange hall was recently placed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The Grange has been a gathering place for people of the area since it was built in 1914. The hall is the second building erected on the site by Excelsior Grange as the original building was destroyed by fire in 1913. The hall will be open to the public 4-6 PM. Refreshments will be served at 6 PM.

There will be a program at 7 PM. Doug Hodgkin, retired Bates history professor and noted authority on Grange history, will speak about the early days of the Grange movement in Androscoggin County and the role those Granges played in the formation of the Maine State Grange. He will have books with him that he has written about Grange history. Excelsior Grange, organized in 1874, was the fifth Grange organized in Maine and is today the oldest continuously operating Grange in the state.

Also that night there will be a reunion of all former Excelsior Junior Grange members and part of the program will be devoted to them. There will be a slide show of Junior Grange activities from the past and other program items presented by former members. It will be a great opportunity for former members to reminisce and catch up on where life has taken them since their Junior Grange days.

The entire program is open to the public and should be of interest to anyone who would like to know more about Grange history.

May 132016

150  Anniversary LogoToday we unveil the logo for the 150th Anniversary Celebration of the Grange.  Next year, Dec. 4, 2017, is the 150th birthday of the Grange and we truly hope that every Grange at every level and every member takes part in the celebration.  From today, (572 days before the Grange’s big birthday) through the entire year of 2018 and beyond, we hope you will use this approved logo as part of your Grange’s messaging. We will soon have merchandise with the logo, but we also encourage your Grange to use the logo on your own t-shirts, bags and other material that you produce or wish to have to let everyone know your Grange pride and about our organization’s long and amazing past, present and future.

Please click and follow the link to get to 150th Celebration Logo GRAPHIC STANDARDS guide (please read and have any of your folks who receive the logo read) and all the acceptable use files.

Most people will use the JPG or GIF files, however, printers often wish to have the EPS files.  All of these (for all acceptable versions of the logo’s use) are found at this link. If you wish to make changes to the file other than those presented as acceptable options, you must contact the National Grange Communications Director at communicationsatnationalgrangedotorg  (communicationsatnationalgrangedotorg)   before doing so.

The National Grange would LOVE to collect samples of everything the logo is used on and anecdotes about the way your Grange, community or family is celebrating 150 years of Grange.  If you or your Grange produces a t-shirt or mug or any other physical product that includes the logo, we hope that you will please send one to the National Office so we may display it at the National Grange Convention in 2017 (Spokane, Wash.) and use it as a silent auction item. Packages should be shipped to National Grange, 1616 H St. NW, Washington, DC 20006. Please note on the package ATTN: 150th Celebration.

Mar 292016
L--R Fairview Grange Master Kay Young, Community Citizen Nancy Clark, Maine State Grange Master Rick Grotton.

L–R, Fairview Grange Master Kay Young, Community Citizen Nancy Clark, Maine State Grange Master Rick Grotton.

Fairview Grange #342 held a double-header Thursday night, March 24 when we celebrated our 118th anniversary with invited Grange guests from the area and also presented Nicky Clark, Smithfield’s Administrative Assistant with the Grange Citizen of the Year recognition award. Nicky was at the center of the successful Smithfield 175th weeklong celebration in addition to her other duties and was recognized for her “can do” spirit and her perpetual smile. State Grange Master Rick Grotton presented the certificate.  Selectpersons and Smithfield town officials along with friends and family of Nicky rounded out the well-wishers giving us well over fifty people in attendance. A special thank you goes to State Master Rick Grotton and the area Granges who attended.

Grange member David Hartford gave a talk on the history of the Granges in Smithfield. We’re now housed in Grange hall number 3. Fairview Grange suffered two fires over the years. The first time the hall burned to the ground and the second time the hall was so severely damaged had to be demolished. The current Grange Hall was built in 1986 in less than eight months by Grange members and locals.

We held a separate event Friday, March 25 from 6:00 -9:00 p.m. with guitarist Dave Mello performing. Since the hall  was already filled with Grange members and guests of Citizen of the year recipient Nicky Clark on Thursday night, we also hosted an event on Friday night, free and open to the public with a birthday cake and refreshments as a way to engage locals. We plan for our Grange to have an open door policy as a way to show locals how much fun can be had here. Our hall is clean, bright and welcoming. Dave captivated the crowd with his mastery of the guitar(s) and stringed instruments. Grangers and attendees joined in singing “Happy Birthday” to Grange member  David Hartford (over 70 years as a Grange member) who turned 80 on Sunday. Rumor has it the 118th birthday decorations and balloons may have found their way to David’s driveway and mailbox after the event late that evening! Great fun!

Webmaster note: An interesting trivia question: what is the newest Grange Hall erected in Maine? Anyone know the answer?

Mar 032016

Here’s another example of an exciting Grange with an added twist–you’ll learn the answer to a great Maine Trivia Question!

First check out the WABI-TV5 story that aired before the event: http://wabi.tv/2016/02/29/smithfields-leap-year-birthday/. That’s when you’ll learn that Smithfield is the only town in Maine that was “born” on a leap year day some 175 years ago. Fairview Grange members took advantage of the town’s birthday to host a celebration that included lots of friendship, community, and even featured a special DVD presentation developed by Fairview Grange Member Shelby Watson, daughter of Overseer Rick Watson.

Rick noted that the program exceeded all expectations. “We set up for 80 and ended up getting out more chairs as we approached 100 people. Everyone loved the idea of the event, my daughter’s DVD, the food, and the chance to get out in the middle of the winter and socialize.”

This seems like another great example of a Grange supporting community while honoring history and tradition. The birthday cake looked pretty good too!

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