The Champlain Society Transcriptions

handwritten notebooks

The Champlain Society journals are in the collection of the Mount Desert Island Historical Society.

In the Spring 2015 issue of Friends of Acadia Journal, Maureen Fournier, a seasonal ranger for Acadia, and I describe the experience of reading and digitizing the nineteenth-century notebooks of the Champlain Society.

From their notes, we can trace their movements across the island as they collected specimens, made observations, and talked to local residents about place names and legends. They provide an entertaining and at times hilarious window into the social life of Rusticators. We know the hills they summited and the trails they used; their sketches became some of the first published maps of Mount Desert Island. Their science is valid and valuable—researchers today are using their data to assess how the island has changed over the last century.

But we are motivated by another aspect of their story.

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