Blaine House Collection


Silver
Tourmaline-Necklace
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Busts, Statues & Sculptures

  
Plaster Bust of Lord Byron

Bust of Lord ByronGeorge Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, known as Lord Byron, was a British Romantic movement poet in the early 1800s.  The town of Byron, Maine is named after him and was incorporated in 1833, nine years after his death. This bust dates to the Blaine family’s occupation of the house.

MSM Unnumbered

Clocks

 Wingate ClockMilliken Clock Face
Wingate ClockFrederic Wingate of Augusta created this clock in 1806.  On the face is the number 15; it was one of the earlier clocks Wingate made. A Massachusetts native, Wingate moved to what would become Maine not long before he made this clock. Clockmaker Benjamin Swan was his apprentice. MSM 2007.21.1 

Documents

 
Letter from Gov. Barrows

In this undated letter, Governor Lewis O. Barrows explains the history of the Blaine House.  The letter is also signed by Margaret Blaine Damrosch and Harriet Blaine Beale, James G. Blaine’s daughters. Like Blaine, Barrows was a Republican. He was the governor of Maine from 1937 through 1940.

MSM 79.40.68

 

Furniture & Mirrors

 
Over-mantle Mirrors

Over Mantle MirrorsBoth of these over-mantle mirrors have been in the Blaine House since the Blaines lived in it. However, the two are not the same age. The mirror over the eastern mantle in the Reception Room dates to the first half of the 1800s. That over the west mantle was made later. It was probably commissioned or purchased by the Blaines in the mid-to-late 1800s.

MSM 79.40.3 (top) and 79.40.9

 

Paintings & Prints

 
Augusta State Hospital from the River

Augusta State Hospital PaintingOil painting attributed to Charles Codman Circa 1840

Augusta State Hospital, later called the Augusta Mental Health Institute, is featured in the background of this painting. The hospital’s location, directly across the Kennebec River from the State House, was planned to ensure that it would never be forgotten by the governor or legislature.  At the time this painting was completed, the State Hospital was called Maine Insane Hospital. It was built of Hallowell granite and opened its doors in 1840. The painting is attributed to Charles Codman, a Portland artist who died in 1842. The first owner of the Blaine House, Captain Hall, would have seen rafts of his logs on the river, similar to those in the lower left of the painting.

MSM 77.84.1

 

Silver & Dishes

  
USS Maine Silver Set

SilverGorham Silver made this set of serving dishes for the US Navy in 1895. Matthew Nicholson, in the employ of jewelry firm Henry P. Lowell of Augusta, engraved the set.  In the late 1800s, the Navy commissioned silver for each captain’s quarters. Maine had been a “dry” state (where liquor was not allowed) since 1851. The story is told that, although the ship had no direct affiliation with the state of Maine, the Navy commissioned a soup tureen and two vegetable dishes rather than a punch bowl for the USS Maine in acknowledgment of this. In fact, however, Navy ships were also “dry” at the time the silver was commissioned.

The USS Maine blew up in Havana Harbor on February 15, 1898, setting the stage for the Spanish-American War. The silver was recovered from the wreck of the ship, cleaned, and repaired. The Navy sent the tureen and vegetable dishes to the State of Maine together with a silver loving cup with antler handles that Mainers living in New Orleans had given to the captain of the Maine a few years before the explosion. In the 1990s, the Navy commissioned the nuclear submarine USS Maine (SSBN741A).  At that time, the Navy donated this silver set to the people of Maine. The new Maine sails with the loving cup with antler handles.

MSM 79.40.84.1-.3  

Other Historical Artifacts

  
The Maine Tourmaline Necklace

Tourmaline Necklace, Photo by Jeff ScovilGoldsmith Addison W. Saunders crafted this necklace in the 1970s using tourmalines mined in Maine. It was presented to the people of the State of Maine, with the intention that it be worn by the First Lady—and now by Maine’s first woman Governor—on official State occasions. The necklace is made exclusively from Maine minerals: the gold was panned in the Swift River by Mr. and Mrs. Alton S. Bradford, and the tourmaline came from the Dunton Quarry in Newry. Cross Jewelers donated a matching set of earrings in 2009.

MSM 77.33.1 (necklace), and 2009.70.1 (earrings) photo by Jeff Scovil

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Home of Maine's Governors since 1919.
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