Walsh History Center

Tribute to Barbara Dyer

We lost a significant portion of Camden history this winter, in the passing of Barbara Dyer on February 2, 2022. Barbara Dyer was the town’s historian, who contributed dozens of books, articles, and stories to the town’s history; but more than that, she was a repository and resource and a character to defer to for any question that might come up about Camden and its people. She was 97.

Her recollections were always sharp and clear and delivered with a twinkle of the eye. She taught about Camden history and encouraged her townspeople to take history into account.

She was always ready to help with questions, and her memory was clear and sharp. She will be missed more than we can say, for her knowledge and her helpfulness and the place she still holds in Camden’s character. She knew all the stories, not only the ones from the history books and the ones from the newspapers, but the family stories and from working at the harbor for so many years, and from living in Camden and living so much of the history herself.

The book Memories of Camden was dedicated to Barbara Dyer. As it said in the dedication, “[To] Barbara F. Dyer — historian, teacher, author. Without her love for this town and her untiring and selfless efforts, this book [and so much more!] would still be a ‘hoped-for-thing’ instead of a reality. Barbara sparked this book and kept it alive whenever the embers faded. . . . Barbara’s intimate knowledge of our common heritage went into every picture. Her practiced pen and eye are here on every page. Barbara, we thank you.” [1991]

Photos: Some of the books, scrapbooks, postcards, and other records in the Camden Library’s History Walsh Center, from the hand of Barbara Dyer.

Barbara Dyer at her “retirement” from Wayfarer Marine in 1986 after 23 years.

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Welcome to the Walsh History Center at the Camden Public Library. Our goal is to care for material of historical significance to the residents of Camden and Rockport. We have a vast collection of historical photos and documents.  Come browse our newspaper and map collection, trace your roots, or look up your family  in Camden & Rockport high school yearbooks (1896-present)!

We have recently added some very helpful new features:

Camden Herald Archives Online!

The Camden Public Library, with the assistance of funding from private donors and the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation, has successfully digitized the first 127 years of the Camden Herald Archives. Click on this link to go to the archives. You will be able to enter a search term, and a span of years, to instantly find references in the historical record. If you want to copy a passage of text, it is easy to download the page in PDF format and then you can highlight and copy the relevant passages. [The balance of the archives will be digitized and posted in 2022.]

House Research Guide

We have also added a very helpful “House Research Guide” for those who want to begin a thorough research about their house. The guide has step-by-step information on how to make use of the Knox County Registry of deeds, as well as essential history and links to helpful sources such as Camden’s online tax maps. Click here to download a PDF of the Camden House Research Guide. (Thanks to researcher Jennifer Gromada for compiling the Guide!)

Camden Historic Building Data

Another new feature: the “Camden Historic Building Data” is a document with dates of construction and other information on most of the residences in Camden. The information is compiled from tax maps, Historic District maps, Chamber of Commerce maps, and Historic Resources research. Click here for a PDF of the data; click here for the same document in Excel format. Note that there is a definition of the column heads at the bottom of the document. (Thanks to volunteer Rhonda Ryznar for compiling the Historic Building Data!)

Click an image for links to other topics:

 

                                            

HOURS:
Monday – Thursday, and second and fourth Saturdays:
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Call for an appointment, 236-3440

Please remember us when cleaning out your attic!  If you aren’t ready to part with family treasures like photos, letters, and diaries but want to help add to the story of our towns, bring them in and staff can quickly scan them and return them to you, or give you a digital copy in return for originals.

Archival holdings:

  • Camden Garden Club
  • Camden Herald Archives
  • High school yearbooks
  • Historical photographs and postcards
  • Knox Mill collection
  • Local maps
  • Manuscripts
  • Oral histories
  • Blueprints of town-owned properties
  • Town histories and reports
  • Vital records

Contact Information

(207) 236-3440

info@librarycamden.org