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Walter Lewellen Arnold Papers

Identifier: SpC MS 0023

Scope and Contents

The collection contains diaries, letters, and bills, business catalogs, books and articles by and about Walter Arnold, as well as a small group of books owned by him. Arnold was very much aware of the historical value of his papers and carefully annotated many items in the collection, giving insight into their history and meaning.

Walter Arnold kept a daily diary from 1919 through 1976 in which he recorded his activities, the weather, and the wildlife he saw and hunted. Written in his vivid style, the diaries give a clear picture of his long and adventuresome life. He also kept two scrapbooks throughout his life which contain photographs, correspondence, information about other trappers all over the country, articles he wrote, etc. One of them also contains extensive information about the exhibits he installed at various sportsmen's shows.

A large part of the collection is made up of letters and bills, 1912-1980. Much of the correspondence is from trappers nation-wide who did business with Arnold and became his friends, including many he had never met in person. Found with the correspondence are lists of Arnold's supplies and equipment and an inventory of items on hand at the start of each business season. Arnold's mail-order catalogs from the 1920s through 1956 are also included in the collection, as well as many advertisements, catalogs and price lists of companies with which Arnold did business.

Arnold kept both draft copies of the numerous articles he wrote as well as the magazines in which they appeared. The collection also contains copies of the books he wrote, including the four editions of "Professional Trapping." A small group of books and magazines owned by Walter Arnold has also been kept with the collection because of the context they provide.


  • Creation: 1893 - 1980
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1920 - 1959


Restrictions on Access

Kept at Fogler Library's offsite storage facility. One week's notice required for retrieval.

Restrictions on Use

Rights assessment remains the responsibilty of the researcher. No known restrictions.

Biographical Note

Walter Arnold was born in 1894 in Willimantic, Maine, the son of Alonzo and Alice Arnold. His father was a market hunter in the 1870s, and as a young man Walter hunted, trapped and guided with his father. After service in World War I, he started a mail order business, selling trapping supplies and animal trapping scents and lures nation-wide. In the late 1930s, he also worked for Campbell-Fairbanks Expositions, installing trapping exhibits for sportsmen's shows in New York and Boston. He was one of the original founders of the Maine Trappers Association and served as its president, secretary, and treasurer, as well as the editor of its newsletter, Maine Trapper. He was the author of several books about trapping and preparing scents as well as numerous articles published in trapping and hunting magazines and newspapers. His book, "Professional Trapping," which appeared in four editions between 1935 and 1947, was widely used by state and federal officials to train trappers to handle troublesome wild animals.

In 1959 he sold his business to Oscar Cronk of Wiscasset and went back to the woods, living by himself until 1980 in one of the northern townships of Maine, a place accessible only by snowmobile or airplane. His life became the subject of many articles in various magazines and newspapers, and the book, "Goodbye Mountain Man," by Donald Anderson featured him and his life style.

Walter Arnold remained active until his death in 1980. As he put it in a letter to the Fogler Library Special Collections Department in 1971, "I am not like all these woods hermits you hear about that sit around, grow fat and pass on. I am 78 and still do probably more hard work summer and winter than nearly all the men in the state do at the age of 45."


6 cubic feet

Language of Materials



Personal papers and business records of Walter L. Arnold, a businessman, guide, fur trader, trapper and author from Greenville, Maine.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Arnold papers were a gift to the Special Collections Department, Raymond H. Fogler Library, University of Maine from Walter Arnold in 1971 and subsequent years; 2022 addition, gift of Sandra Ridel.

Guide to the Walter Lewellen Arnold Papers
Box And Folder List Available
September 2004
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for uncoded script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Repository

5729 Raymond H. Fogler Library
University of Maine
Orono ME 04469-5729 United States