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Below is a list of books and articles about Maine’s working-class history. Titles in bold are freely available online.

General Works on Maine Labor

Maine, Annual Report of the Bureau of Industrial and Labor Statistics. Augusta: The Bureau, 1888-1910.

Scontras, Charles, See everything by Charles Scontras.

Early Maine

Gardner, Carol, The Involuntary American: A Scottish Prisoner’s Journey to the New World. Yardley, PA: Westholme Publishing, 2019.

Taylor, Alan, Liberty Men and Great Proprietors: The Revolutionary Settlement on the Maine Frontier, 1760-1820. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990.

Loggers and Mill Workers

Getman, Julius G., The Betrayal of Local 14: Paperworkers, Politics, and Permanent Replacements. Ithaca, N.Y.: ILR Press, 1998.

Getman, Julius G., Strike! Xlibris, 2006. [A fictionalized account of the 1987-1988 IP strike.]

Jay-Livermore Falls Working Class History Project, Pain on Their Faces: Testimonies on the Paper Mill Strike, Jay, Maine, 1987-1988. New York: Apex Press, 1998.

Kellman, Peter, Divided We Fall: The Story of the Paperworker’s Union and the Future of Labor. New York: Apex Press, 2004.

Quarry Workers

Grindle, Roger L., Tombstones and Paving Blocks: The History of the Maine Granite Industry. Rockland, Me.: Courier-Gazette, 1977.

Grindle, Roger L., Quarry and Kiln: The Story of Maine’s Lime Industry. Rockland, Me.: Courier-Gazette, 1971.

Factory Workers

Bussel, Robert, From Harvard to the Ranks of Labor: Powers Hapgood and the American Working Class. University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999. [Contains information on the 1937 Lewiston-Auburn shoe strike.]

Shipyard Workers

Sanders, Michael S., The Yard: Building a Destroyer at the Bath Iron Works. New York: HarperCollins, 1999.

Healthcare Workers

Hart, Valerie, Susan Henderson, Juliana L’Heureux & Ann Sossong, Maine Nursing: Interviews and History on Caring and CompetenceCharleston, SC : The History Press, 2016.

Railroad Workers

Merriam, George H. “Craft Unions vs. Industrial Unions: The 1917 Strike at the Maine Central Railroad Shops in Waterville, Maine.” Maine History 27, 3 (1988): 142-160.

Women Workers

Toner, Carol. “‘Hard Work to Make Ends Meet’: Voices of Maine’s Working-Class Women in the Late Nineteenth Century.” Maine History 42, 1 (2004): 23-45.

Irish Workers

Barker, Matthew Jude, The Irish of Portland, Maine: A History of Forest City Hibernians. Charleston, SC : The History Press, 2014.

Connolly, Michael C., Seated by the Sea: The Maritime History of Portland, Maine, and Its Irish Longshoremen. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2010.

Mundy, James H., Hard Times, Hard Men: Maine and the Irish, 1830-1860. Scarborough, Me.: Harp Publications, 1990.

Nilsen, Kenneth E. “Thinking of Monday: The Irish Speakers of Portland, Maine.” Éire-Ireland 25, no. 1 (Spring 1990): 6-19.

Franco-American Workers

Bissonnette, Camille Lessard, Canuck and Other Stories, Edited by Rhea Côté Robbins. Brewer, Me. : Rheta Press, 2006.

Myall, James, “Poetry from the Lewiston Mills of 1909.” Parlez-Vous American? (blog). September 3, 2017.

Vermett, David, A Distinct Alien Race The Untold Story of Franco-Americans, Industrialization, Immigration, Religious Strife. Montréal : Baraka Book, 2018.

Enslaved People and Black Workers

Elgersman Lee, Maureen, Black Bangor: African Americans in a Maine Community, 1880-1950. Durham, N.H.: University of New Hampshire Press, 2005.

Price, H. H. and Gerald E. Talbot (eds.), Maine’s Visible Black History: The First Chronicle of Its People. Gardiner, ME: Tilbury House, 2006.

Stakeman, Randolph. “Slavery in Colonial Maine.” Maine History 27, 2 (1987): 58-81.

Wall, Patricia Q., Lives of Consequence: Blacks in Early Kittery & Berwick in the Massachusetts Province of Maine. Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Portsmouth Marine Society for the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail and the Portsmouth Historical Society, 2017.


Pritchard, Rebecca M., Jeremiah Hacker: Journalist, Anarchist, Abolitionist. Philadelphia, PA : Frayed Edge Press, 2019.

Scontras, Charles. “Norman Wallace Lermond and His Quest for the Cooperative Commonwealth.” Maine History 42, 2 (2005): 47-65.

Scontras, Charles, The Socialist Alternative: Utopian Movements and the Socialist Party of Maine, 1895-1914. Orono: Bureau of Labor Education, University of Maine, 1985.

Portland’s Working Class

Babcock, Richard H., “The Decline of Artisan Republicanism in Portland, Maine, 1825-1850.” The New England Quarterly 63, no. 1 (March 1990): 3-34.

Babcock, Richard H., “The Rise and Fall of Portland’s Waterfront 1850-1920.” Maine Historical Society Quarterly 22, no. 2 (Fall 1982): 63-98.

Babcock, Richard H., “Will You Walk? Yes, We’ll Walk!: Popular Support for a Street Railway Strike in Portland, Maine.” Labor History 35, no. 3 (June 1994): 372-398.

Conforti, Joseph A., editor, Creating Portland: History and Place in Northern New England. Durham, N.H.: University of New Hampshire Press, 2005. [See in particular chapter by Eileen Eagan.]

Labor” in Portland City Guide, compiled by workers of the Writers’ Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Maine, 86-92. Portland: The Forest City Printing Company, 1940.

MacMillan, Thomas R., “A ‘Real Social & Political Revolution’: Nativism, Class Conflict, and Urban Reform in Portland, Maine (1840-1923).” Master’s thesis, University of Maine, 2018.