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LibraryGeorge J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives


William Willis Papers, 1837-1958 (bulk 1862-1869).


0.25 linear feet.

Catalog Number: M189

Agency History / Biographical Note:
William Willis, a Portland lawyer, historian and politician, was the partner of William Pitt Fessenden. He was state senator in 1855 and mayor of Portland in 1857, president of the Maine Historical Society (1856-65), and president of the Maine Central Railroad. Always interested in public service, Willis accepted many positions with charitable organizations, or special public appointments. In 1867 Bowdoin awarded him an honorary degree.

The author of several short articles, many published in the Collections of the Maine Historical Society which he edited, Willis is best remembered for A History of the Law, the Courts and the Lawyers of Maine (1863), and The History of Portland, from its First Settlement ... (1831-33).

Scope and Content:
The collection consists mostly of correspondence (1837-69) dealing with the history of Maine, approximately a dozen more letters concerning Willis's interests in Maine railroads; together with drafts of his writings, and information on the estates of Willis and his wife.

His correspondents included William Allen, Thomas Bulfinch, Henry B. Dawson, Charles Deane, George E. Ellis, William Pitt Fessenden, Reuben A. Guild, John A. Poor, George H. Preble, Elizabeth Oakes Prince Smith and Joseph Williamson. More extensive correspondence (eight or more letters) was with Edward Ballard, Brunswick clergyman; Edward E. Bourne, Kennebunk lawyer; Alpheus Spring Packard, Bowdoin professor; John H. Sheppard, Boston lawyer and librarian of the New England Historical and Genealogical Society; Harrison Whitman, Massachusetts clergyman; and Leonard Woods, Bowdoin president.

Provenance:

Cite as: William Willis Papers, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library.
Access Restrictions: None.

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