Every October, the Camden Public Library celebrates Discover History Month. The library is home to the Walsh History Center, where material of historical significance to the residents of Camden and Rockport is preserved. Tuesday, Oct. 4, at 6:30 p.m., History Center’s Director Ken Gross, will present a slideshow on “Nathan C. Fletcher’s Camden of 1884.”

Gross has curated a collection of vintage photos and maps to exhibit in the library’s Picker Room, organized around a history of Camden published in 1883 and 1884. This little-known history is the work of preacher Nathan C. Fletcher and was published serially in the Rockland Opinion as “The Annals of Camden.” The display in the Picker Room will complement the “Annals of Camden” and help tell the story of what life was like in Camden in the 1880s. The display will be on view from Oct. 3 through 30.

Bay View Street, 1882. Courtesy of Camden Public Library.


N.C. Fletcher was a Universalist minister who preached all over the Midcoast for three decades in the early 1800s. He became a businessman in 1854, starting in the lime industry and settling into being a pharmacist for the remainder of his career. He also served in the state legislature and on the Governor’s Council. He knew everyone worth knowing — and wrote an eyewitness history of Camden in 1883 and 1884.

Gross says, “We have a transcription of N.C. Fletcher’s ‘Annals of Camden,’ a history published in the newspaper from 1883 to 1884. N.C. Fletcher knew everyone in town, took himself on a tour of all of the industries, invited himself in, and described them from the inside. We will match photos from the 1880s with his descriptions, and give a tour of Camden, guided by pastor Nathan C. Fletcher.”

Employees of the Alden anchor factory on Camden harbor in 1888. Back row right to left: Samuel Ogier, Jr., Orrington Cross, Samuel Dunton, Cecil Currier, Frank Day, Colin McDonald, William Raye, Samuel Dyer, Silas Heal, Tom Nash, Ed. Prince. Front row R to L: Rowells Eldridge, Frank Prince, Roderick Cross, Merrill Richards, Luke Allen, Levi Tibbetts. Courtesy of Camden Public Library.  


“Nathan C. Fletcher’s Camden of 1884,” will specifically focus on Fletcher’s eyewitness account of Camden. The program will be available to a live audience at the library and simultaneously broadcast on Zoom. To attend in person, RSVP by email to jpierce@librarycamden.org; live attendance at the talk will be limited, to account for coronavirus restrictions. To attend via Zoom, visit the “What’s Happening” adult events calendar at librarycamden.org to register for a link.

For digital publication, the zoom registration link is: us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_RnblePu9QKehBrjOYW6drA.

More information about other programs in the Discover History Month series can be found at librarycamden.org.