Connie Baxter Marlow

Since I’m headed to Baxter State Park later today, I thought I’d post a little something about an exciting photo exhibit currently on display at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, which coincides with a series of events celebrating Katahdin and Baxter State Park in southern Maine.

Connie Baxter Marlow

“Inspiration Katahdin!” a photographic exhibition of images and ideas by Percival Baxter’s great grand niece Connie Baxter Marlow, will be on display Aug. 7-24 in the LaMarche Gallery of Bowdoin College. The exhibit is being displayed in conjunction with the Governor Baxter Wilderness Legacy Golden Anniversary celebration, which will be held in Portland on Aug. 22.

“Forever wild, Maine’s majestic mountain inspired Percival Baxter to wilderness preservation, Henry David Thoreau to exalt the sublime, the Wabanaki Indians to revere its spirit.” – “Inspiration Katadhin!” press release.

The exhibition is the result of Marlow’s quest to discover the motivations of her visionary Baxter ancestors to perform deeds of extraordinary generosity. She aims to bring together ideas about Mount Katahdin and Baxter State Park though images and words, combining these elements into a vision of a world in balance.

The exhibition features photographs from Marlow’s book Greatest Mountain: Katahdin’s Wilderness first published in 1972 by Scrimshaw Press, a San Francisco-based fine art publisher to honor the vision of her “Uncle Percy” in establishing Baxter State Park and creating a way for man and wilderness to enrich each other in mutually beneficial ways.  The Second Edition was published by Down East in 1976. And an expanded edition was published by Tilbury House in 1999.

“In times of great change, when the future is unknown, a new point of view can serve to lift one’s thinking above the clouds, where a clear mind and an open heart will see and feel a world it never knew was there.” Marlow wrote on the dust jacket of the 1999 edition of Greatest Mountain.

This echoes her famous uncle’s 1921 declaration: “Katahdin raises its head aloft, unafraid of the passing storm, and is typical of the rugged character of the people of Maine. The establishment of Baxter State Park will lay the foundation of a policy whereby the present generation will deliver a great inheritance to the generations to come.”

A series of events will complement this exhibit: 

• “Thoreau the Futurist and the Emerging Human,” a performance piece 7:30-9:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 16, at Frontier Café in Brunswick. Set on the banks of the Allagash River after a long day’s paddle, this performance piece will include several readings and clips from “The American Evolution: Voices of America.” In the performance, Andrew Cameron Bailey is Thoreau, James Neptune is Joseph Polis, Thoreau’s Indian guide and hero, and Marlow will act as commentator. Suggested donation is $10.

• “The Political Thoreau Visioning a True Democracy,” film screening and discussion, 10 a.m. to noon, Friday, Aug. 17, at Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick. Screening: “The American Evolution: Voices of American Series,” “Thoreau on Civil Disobedience, the Individual and the Evolution of Democracy,” and “The Societal Implications of the Oneness of Creation.“  Free, donations appreciated.

• “Thoreau the Futurist and the Emerging Human,” performance piece, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 17, at The Art Gallery, University of New England , 716 Stevens Ave. Portland. Set on the banks of the Allagash River after a long day’s paddle, this performance piece will include several readings and clips from “The American Evolution: Voices of America.” In the performance, Andrew Cameron Bailey is Thoreau, James Neptune is Joseph Polis, Thoreau’s Indian guide and hero, and Marlow will act as commentator. Suggested donation is $10.

• “The Mystical Thoreau, Katahdin, Wabanaki Vision,” film screening and discussion of parts 2, 4 and 5 of “The American Evolution: Voices of America Series,” 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, at Curtis Memoral Library, 23 Pleasant St. Brunswick. Bring lunch. Free, donations appreciated.

• “Katahdin: Spiritual Highlands” with Maria Girouard, Penobscot Indian, historian, and former director of cultural and historic preservation for the Penobscot Indian Nation, 3-5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18 at Curtis Memorial Library, Brunswick. Free, donations appreciated. Through legends, history, personal accounts, and song, Girouard will discuss the three ingredients of sacred space, and will highlight the ancient cultural and spiritual relationship between the Penobscot Indians and Katahdin.
• Exhibition Reception: “The Baxter/Bowdoin Connection” and “Percival, Maine’s Visionary,” a performance by Sarah Pletts and “A Man of Many Colors” original song by Laura Campbell, 5-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 21, at LaMarche Gallery, Smith Union, Bowdoin College. Earle Shettleworth, Maine State Historian and Jack Baxter, 92, former Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, will share the role this notable Maine family has played in the evolution of Bowdoin College. Howard Whitcomb, co-author of the new book “Baxter State Park and Katahdin” will be a part of the Q & A. Refreshments will be available.
• Booksigning of “Greatest Mountain: Katahdin’s Wilderness” Wednesday, Aug. 22, Gov. Baxter Day, 12:30- 2 p.m. with Marlow at Longfellow Books in Portland.
Greatest Mountain: Katahdin’s Wilderness” is out of print, but a limited number of copies will be available at the following locations:
• Brunswick: Gulf of Maine
• Portland: Longfellow Books, Maine Historical Society, Leapin’ Lizards
• Millinocket: North Woods Trading Post, North Light Gallery, Baxter State Park Headquarters
• Indian Island: Penobscot Tribal MuseumFor information about “The American Evolution,” visit www.TheAmericanEvolution.comwww.YouTube.com/TheAmericanEvolution; Governor Baxter Wilderness Legacy Golden Anniversary: www.FriendsofBaxter.org;.

Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn Sarnacki is a Maine outdoors writer and the author of three Maine hiking guidebooks including “Family Friendly Hikes in Maine.” Find her on Twitter and Facebook @1minhikegirl. You can also...