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Maine Folklife Center

NAFOH: Wabanaki

Here we have finding aids for collections of accessions focused on arts and crafts. As some of these collections were created around a theme (rather than based on a single donation or class), there is some overlap in the collections.


MF 042 Frederick Pratson Collection
Number of accession: 3
Dates when interviews were conducted: 1972
Time period covered: Early to mid 20th Century
Principal interviewer: Frederick Pratson
Finding aides: Transcripts
Access restrictions: None
Description: Independent collection of folklore material contributed to the Maine Folklife Center by Frederick Pratson. Contains interviews in connection with donor’s “Oral and Visual History and Talent Development Program Among Indians and Inshore Fishing People of the State of Maine, The Canadian Maritime Provinces, and Quebec,” done under the sponsorship of the New England-Atlantic Provinces-Quebec Center at the University of Maine (Orono), 1972. The interviewees were a group of Nova Scotia fishermen, a Maine lumberjack, and a Micmac chief living on the Indian Island Reservation in New Brunswick.


MF 079 Molly Spotted Elk Collection
Number of accessions: 3
Dates when interviews were conducted: 1977 & 1999
Time period covered: 20th century
Access restrictions: yes
Description: Molly Spotted Elk (b. 1903) was the stage name of Mary Alice “Molliedellis” Nelson, a Penobscot Indian woman from Maine who entered the world of vaudeville and entertainment at a young age. In the late 1920s she starred in a motion picture, “The Silent Enemy” filmed in northern Canada. She became a dancer on the Paris stage and married a French journalist, but was forced to flee the country during the German occupation in World War II. This collection consists of three accessions. NA 1116, donated by Molly Spotted Elk’s daughter, Jean Moore of Old Town, Maine, in 1977 includes photocopies of some of Molly Spotted Elk’s writings, including a draft of a book entitled “Katahdin: Wigwam’s Tales of the Abnaki Tribes” (15 stories – 236 pp.); a story, “Plump-Plump” (45 pp.); a play, “The Captive”; an informant’s history about Santu; sheet music; Indian words for part of the body; short stories. The originals of these materials are part of NA2573.


MF 084 Linda Gilbert Collection of Penobscot Indian Music
Number of accessions: 2
Dates when interviews were conducted: 1976
Principal interviewers: Linda Gilbert
Finding aides: brief indexes
Access restrictions: NA1062 (copyright retained by interviewee and interviewer)
Description: This collection consists of two brief tape-recorded interviews conducted by Davenport apparently for her master’s thesis on Penobscot Indian Music. In all, Davenport interviewed thirty-two informants but most were not recorded. For more information see Music Among the Contemporary Penobscot Indians, (MA Thesis, University of Illinois, 1977), available in the MFC library.


MF 141 ANT 426 Native American Folklore
Number of accessions: 8
Dates when interviews were conducted: 2005-2010
Time period covered: late 20th century
Principal interviewer: various
Finding aides: none
Access restrictions: For a few of the accessions the copyright is retained by interviewees.
Description: This collection consists of 8 research papers written for ANT 426 Native American Folklore, a course taught by Pauleena MacDougall at the University of Maine in Orono during the fall of 2005, 2006, and 2010. Topics covered in the papers included: Wabanaki spirit guides, basket making, creation myths involving Gluskabe, Passamaquoddy stories for children, Wabanaki medicinal plants and traditional healers, and Passamaquoddy Wampum Records.


MF 153 David Slagger Collection
Number of accessions: 12
Dates when interviews were conducted: 2008-2011
Time period covered: later half of 20th century
Principal interviewers: David Slagger
Finding aides: transcripts
Access restrictions: some do not have release forms
Description: This collection consists of twelve interviews that concern the 1980 Indian Land Claims Settlement Act. Conducted by David Slagger, the interviews explore various tribal, state, federal, legal, and historical perspectives on the legislation, as well as opinions on the long term cultural and economic effects.