A Timely Addition to the Museum’s Collection
Governor Brewster’s guestbook and the 1925 Governor’s Conference book will be on view at the Blaine House in Augusta throughout the month of July 2022. Click here to book a tour.
Thanks to a donation by the Friends of the Blaine House, the Maine State Museum has received a unique guestbook that gives an inside look at the official life of Maine Governor Ralph Owen Brewster, who held office from 1925-1929.
The guestbook opens with an inscription and signatures of attendees at a Blaine House luncheon, held during the 1925 National Governors Conference. Brewster hosted the gathering, centered at Poland Spring and attended by twenty-two state governors. Among the notables were Al Smith, governor of New York and 1928 presidential candidate, and Nellie Tayloe Ross, governor of Wyoming and the first woman elected to govern a state.
In this photo from the 1925 conference at Poland Spring, Governor Nellie Tayloe Ross is in the back row near the center, wearing a dark hat. Governor Ralph Owen Brewster is in the front row, fifth from the left.
Governor Janet Mills will host the National Governors Association Summer Meeting in Portland this year from July 13 – 15. Attendees visiting the Blaine House during that meeting will be able to view the Brewster guestbook, a remarkable memento of their predecessors’ work nearly 100 years ago.
Brewster used the guestbook throughout his life for political and personal events including the opening of the 74th U.S Congress in 1935 (he served in the U.S. House from 1935-1941 and in the U.S. Senate from 1942-1952), and the Roosevelt inaugural in 1937. Brewster often recorded notes on trips he attended including those to Mount Katahdin in 1934, the Allagash in 1935, and on events at Lakewood Theater to see actress Cornelia Otis Skinner in 1954, and a talk about the Arctic by Rear Admiral Donald MacMillan in 1955. MacMillan and his wife Miriam both signed the book.
The guestbook is rich in the history and people of Maine with notes and signatures by an endless list of governors, senators, congressmen, and businessmen. Following Brewster’s death in 1961, his son Charles continued to use the book for seven years, filling it with remembrances of his father.
Along with Governor Brewster’s guestbook, the Friends of the Blaine House also donated Brewster’s personal copy of Maine Invites You, the souvenir book given to each member of the 1925 National Governors’ Conference at Poland Spring. The book comes with a hand-lettered title page and personal inscription, and features tipped-in photographs of the attending governors at Poland Spring, the Blaine House exterior, and the State House in Augusta.