[3 ALSs] Correspondence from Maine Politician and Historian, William Willis, Regarding Portland's New Public Library and the History of Kittery.
Portland, [ME]: 1837-1868. Very good collection, minor soiling and ink bleed, one tear at the fold, not affecting text. Item #44257
Collection contains three letters, spanning three decades of William Willis' political career.
The first, dated October 2, 1837 (1 pp.), is a brief request for the recipient to forward a letter for signature.
In the second letter, dated July 23, 1860, (2 pp.), Willis requests Dr. Fogg's assistance in obtaining original manuscripts pertaining to the history of Kittery.
In the third letter, of January 25, 1868, (2 pp.), Willis solicits for government publications for Portland's new Public Library.
William Willis (1794-1870) was a "lawyer who is considered the most important nineteenth-century Portland historian. He graduated from Harvard in 1813 and was admitted to the Suffolk bar in January of 1817. He practiced law in Boston until April of 1819, then moved his practice to Portland, ME in 1820. In 1835, he began a twenty-year partnership with William Pitt Fessenden. In 1849 he edited the Journals of the Rev. Thomas Smith and the Rev. Samuel Deane. Smith and Deane were the pastors of the First Parish Church in Portland. Their journals record their experiences from 1726-1814 and provide an invaluable view of 18th-century social and political life. The book is included in The Mirror of Maine: One Hundred Distinguished Books That Reveal the History of the State and the Life of Its People. Willis's political career included a term as state senator in 1855 and he served as Portland's mayor in 1857. Bowdoin College granted him an honorary degree in 1867" (Maine State Library: Maine Writers List).