The Bethel Historical recently announced the publication of State Grange Historian Stanley R. Howe’s WILLIAM BINGHAM 2ND: A LIFE. (Paperback, 190 pages). Although born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1879, William Bingham, 2nd would eventually adopt Bethel, Maine as his home for most of his life.
From his uncle, Oliver Hazard Payne (1839-1917), he and his siblings would inherit a fortune that made him at one time, the wealthiest person in Maine. He spent his life as a philanthropist supporting a wide variety of causes from building hospitals and supporting educational institutions in several places around the world. Most of the buildings at Bethel’s Gould Academy were financed with Bingham gifts. He also provided scholarships to deserving students. Former Maine Governor and Senator Edmund S. Muskie’s legal education, for example, at Cornell University, was funded by Will Bingham, who rarely appeared in public and avoided publicity. At one time, he was Bates College’s largest donor. Today three foundations bearing his name carry on his philanthropic legacy. Information on acquiring this book can be obtained by calling the Bethel Historical Society at (207) 824-2908 or going to its website: www.bethelhistorical.org and visiting the online Museum Shop. The mailing address for the Society is P.O. Box 12, Bethel, Maine 04217.