Joshua W. Curtis, Jr. Collection
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Credit: Joshua W. Curtis, Jr. Collection, Northeast Historic Film. Cutting block ice, Searsport, ME, 1939-1940.
Credit: Joshua W. Curtis, Jr. Collection, Northeast Historic Film. Cutting block ice, Searsport, ME, 1939-1940.
Primary Format and Extent
film (2,400 ft.) : si., b&w, col. ; 16 mm.
Collection Date Range
1939 - 1949
The Joshua W. Curtis, Jr. Collection consists of 7 reels of 16 mm. film shot between 1939 and 1949. While offering views of family life, this collection also provides records of community and work life in Maine. The collection offers records of winter sports including skiing and dog sledding, parades, fishing, hunting, boating, and visits to areas in and around Searsport. Visits include golfing in Northport, Maine, and a trip to Fort Knox in Bucksport, Maine. Notably, the collection depicts ice harvesting (the cutting and storage of ice blocks) and various shots devoted to the training and work of the Searsport Fire Department.
Biographical/Historical Notes
Joshua W. Curtis, Jr. was born in 1925, and attended school in Searsport, Maine, graduating in 1943 as valedictorian of his high school class. He entered the U.S. Army in 1943, serving in the Medical Corps. After being discharged, he attended Bowdoin College, graduating in 1950 cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He then served another tour of duty in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He served in both the European and Pacific theaters and received three campaign stars. After his discharge he lived in South Portland, Maine, where he taught history at Mahoney Junior High for 31 years. He retired to his family home in Searsport, Maine, where he was active in the First Congregational Church. He took pride in the restoration and maintenance of the church organ. The new vestry was named Curtis Hall in honor of him and his father. He was also well known as a town historian; hobbies included photography, playing the piano, and flower gardening. He passed away in March of 2008.

Searsport History

“Searsport was settled in the late 18th Century and incorporated as a town in 1845. It has nearly 10 miles of coastline on Penobscot Bay, which has been a major influence on the town's development. Sears Island, over 900 acres in size, is connected to the mainland by a causeway.

During Searsport's early history, its major industry was shipbuilding and cargo handling. The seaport town was famous for its sea captains in the mid-1800s and was once home to ten percent of all American deep-water shipmasters.
Petroleum product shipping and handling supplemented the chemical industry during the Korean conflict. Fuel, lumber, paper and chemicals continue to arrive and depart from the seaport.

Northeast Historic Film
The Collection is open for research.
Condition Governing Reproduction and Use
Authorization to reuse and/or reproduce must be obtained from Northeast Historic Film. See for more information.
Items in this collection: 15
Showing 1 - 10 of 15:
1) [Joshua W. Curtis, Jr.—home movies] Reel 1
On a grassy field in the winter, people play with a dog and converse with each other. In a more residential area, a car leaves an alley. A young man plows snow from his yard. There is a...more
2) [Joshua W. Curtis, Jr.—home movies] Reel 2
Family and friends picnic on grass. People watch as a group of young boys in track uniforms race down the street. It is winter and a road is covered with snow. A woman and her son stand...more
3) [Joshua W. Curtis, Jr.—home movies] Reel 3
Girls stand outside brick building. Boats on river. Children camping and excitedly jumping up and down. Chickens and goats in barn. Men unsuccessfully attempt to extinguish truck fire....more
4) [Joshua W. Curtis, Jr.—home movies] Reel 4
Men and women in small room converse and hold tennis rackets. Horses feed on grass in field. Woman gathers berries. Woman sits next to a goat. Sailboats on river. Young man smiles for c...more
5) [Joshua W. Curtis, Jr.—home movies] Reel 5
Father and son stand in woods. Husband stands with wife. Mother and son walk down the street. Ducks swim. African American man and son. African American woman stands on porch. Father an...more
6) [Joshua W. Curtis, Jr.—home movies] Reel 6
Family drives to top of cliff for a picnic. Waves crash against the rock. Woman feeds food to squirrel. This is probably Schoodic peninsula, part of Acadia National Park. Men play golf...more
7) [Joshua W. Curtis, Jr.—home movies] Reel 7
Man shovels snow in front yard. Cabin burning. Searsport fire truck. Firemen hose fire. Tractor picks up dirt. Woman picks flowers. Wharf. Men in front of campus building. A stone house...more
8) [Joshua W. Curtis, Jr.--home movies] Reel 1, Accession 2486
Footage of streets and houses in a small town intercut with a few shots of an old man and a dog. A few shots of boys posing in their graduation caps and gowns. A few shots of a man ch...more
9) [Joshua W. Curtis, Jr.--home movies] Reel 2, Accession 2486
Footage of ladies at a tea party outside. A few shots of a shoreline, including some women on the rocks by the shore. A shot of women outside. A shot of a pig in a pen. A shot of a...more
10) [Joshua W. Curtis, Jr.--home movies] Reel 3, Accession 2486
A few shots of four women, including the women doing a kick line and petting a dog. A shot of a field of flowers. A few shots of a waterfall. A shot of a scenic landscape with hills...more
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