Vinalhaven, Me. 1893. George E. Norris.

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Vinalhaven, Me. 1893.

Brockton, Mass.: George E. Norris, 1893. Photogravure, 15.5” x 21” plus margins. CONDITION: Good, faint toning from previous matting, some surface losses to image with a few small areas touched in.

A very scarce view of the Maine island town of Vinalhaven, located in Penobscot Bay, once an important center of the granite industry.

Vinalhaven Village, with its many buildings clustered around the harbor, appears in the foreground and two active granite quarries can be seen nearby. A variety of vessels occupy the harbor. In the distance numerous islands dot Penobscot Bay and the Camden Hills appear on the horizon. A key at the bottom identifies thirty-five buildings, granite quarries, etc., including M. F. Lenfest, Blacksmithing; Bodwell Granite Co.’s General Store; Vinalhaven Drug Store; W. S. Vinal, Hammer Mfr.; Hiram Shirley, Fruits, Cigars, Etc., and many others.

In his Gazetteer of the State of Maine, published in 1886, George Varney noted:

Vinalhaven has a bold shore; yet running in between projecting bluffs, are good harbors on every side. One of the best of these is Carver’s Harbor, in the southern extremity of the island, where also is the principal village….The manufactures are meal, flour, lumber, canned lobsters, horse-nets, harnesses, boots and shoes. Large quantities of granite are quarried here, and the Bodwell Granite Company has a polishing-mill for this material. The rock of the island is chiefly a blue and gray granite.

An article in the Rockland Opinion (June 7, 1893), reported view artist George Norris’s presence on the island when he was making his preparatory drawings:

The individual who has been making himself so free upon the premises of the citizens, marking with a pencil on a roll which he carried, the past week, is Mr. Geo. E. Norris of Brockton, Mass., who contemplates publishing a sketch of Vinalhaven to be reproduced by the photogravure method upon plate paper. This answers the many questions that have been asked while he has been here. 

George E. Norris (1855–1926), a resident of Brockton, Massachusetts, began his career as a publisher of bird’s eye views in 1882 in partnership with Albert F. Poole, publishing some ten New Hampshire views drawn by Poole in their first year of operation together. In 1884 he began working with Henry Wellge, producing approximately fifty views through 1886, most drawn by Wellge but a few likely drawn by Norris. In 1887 he began publishing under his own name alone, using the Burleigh Litho. Establishment of Troy, New York as his printer. Most of these views he drew himself. Reps credits Norris with 135 views. We have handled another view by Norris unrecorded by Reps, Littlejohn’s and Cousin’s Islands, Casco Bay, Maine (1898), bringing the total number of Norris views to 135 and showing that he was active a year longer than Reps suggests.

Worldcat records just one copy of this view, at the Boston Public Library. Another copy is held by the Maine Historic Preservation Commission.

A scarce and lovely view of this important Maine island town.

REFERENCES: Reps 1253, recording only the copy at BPL; Podmaniczky, Christine B. and Earle G. Shettleworth Jr. Through a Bird’s Eye: Nineteenth Century Views of Maine (Rockland, ME: Farnsworth Art Museum, 1981), p. 44 (also citing the BPL copy, which was used for this exhibition).

Item #7027

On Hold

Price: $2,750.00

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