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Wakefield Family Papers

Identifier: SpC MS 0609

Scope and Contents

The Wakefield family papers contain primarily the business records of O.H. Wakefield and his son, Ralph J. Wakefield, and reflect their involvement in the lumber business in Lowell, Maine.

The papers are arranged in two series: Papers of O.H. Wakefield and Papers of Ralph J. Wakefield. There are no sub-series.

The papers of O.H. Wakefield consist mainly of financial records, especially daybooks, 1884-1917, of activities in the general store and the lumber business. Ledgers, 1878-1890; a lumber book, 1879-1899, of lumber cut and sawed; and a memo book of spool bar accounts reflect Wakefield's primary occupation.

The papers of Ralph J. Wakefield are more extensive and focus primarily on his activities in buying lumber and selling lumber products. The series opens with information about Wakefield's assets and accounts, tax information, and leases and legal documents, 1920-1947. A section of correspondence, 1920-1945, follows. Correspondents include N.C. Fogg, Bangor, dealers in lumber, box shooks and pulpwood; Penobscot Snow Shoe Co., Milford, Maine; Johnson Lumber Co., Manchester, N.H.; and Old Town Canoe Co., Old Town, Maine. The letters discuss the needs of the companies for various wood products, the availability of these products, prices, etc.

A group of invoices, 1917-1949, contains bills to Wakefield for groceries, dry-goods, mill and lumbering supplies, machinery and equipment. Files of equipment catalogs contain information on a variety of mill and lumbering machinery and supplies. Daybooks and ledgers, 1904-1912, provide financial information about both the general store and the lumbering business. Files of lumber accounts and scalers' reports contain primarily Wakefield's notes about his lumber business.

The series ends with miscellaneous printed material belonging to Ralph Wakefield, most concerning the lumber business.


  • Creation: 1868-1962
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1884-1940


Restrictions on Access

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

Use Restrictions

Information on literary rights available in the Library.

Biographical Note

The collection contains the business records of Orick (O.H.) Wakefield and his son, Ralph J. Wakefield. The Wakefields were residents of Lowell, Maine.

O.H. Wakefield was a son of Elbridge G. Wakefield, who came to Lowell from Steuben, Maine, in 1855 and a few years later purchased a mill and mill site on the Passadumkeag River in Lowell. The Wakefields milled grain and corn meal and manufactured lumber, shingles, lath, spools and spool bars. O.H. Wakefield's letterhead later lists him as a dealer in long and short lumber. O.H. Wakefield operated this mill until approximately 1910. He also owned a grocery store in Lowell.

O.H. Wakefield married Helen E. Douglas of Lincoln and had two children: Ralph J. and Harrison P. He served on the Board of Selectmen in Lowell in 1881 and 1882 and was postmaster at East Lowell. He was also a master of Horeb Lodge F. and A.M. and a master of Eskutassis Grange, Patrons of Husbandry.

O.H. Wakefield died in 1917.

Ralph J. Wakefield, born in Kingman, Maine, came to Lowell with his father as a child and lived there for the rest of his life. He was educated at Beal Business School in Bangor. He and his father operated sawmills together, and Ralph continued to saw lumber and shingles until the 1940's. He was also involved in cutting and selling pulpwood. In 1919, he bought a rafting wedge business in Lowell. A letterhead from 1923 lists him as a manufacturer of Penobscot rafting wedges, long lumber, shingles and spool stock. He held many public offices in Lowell, including First and Second Selectman, Town Treasurer, Town Clerk, and Superintendent of Schools; his service extended through six decades, from 1892 to 1952. He also served as chairman of the Liberty Loan Committee for Lowell in 1918.


1.4 linear feet (2 boxes)

2 ledgers

Language of Materials



Business records of Orick (O.H.) Wakefield and his son, Ralph J. Wakefield. The Wakefields were residents of Lowell, Maine.

Conservation Note

The collection has been re-housed in acid-free folders and boxes. Documents have been surface cleaned as needed and metal fasteners removed.

Immediate Source of Acquisition


Guide to the Wakefield Family Papers
Box And Folder List Available
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