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Edith Gardner and Family Papers

Identifier: SpC MS 1783

Scope and Contents

The Edith Gardner and Family Papers, 1852-1981, are primarily about Edith Gardner but also includes other family members’ papers. Edith was a student at the Abbott Academy, in Andover, Massachusetts, and was married to George H. Merriam III and then Ray Tobey. Edith was from Dennysville, Maine and lived in Worcester, Massachusetts during her marriage to George H. Merriam III. This collection includes diaries, correspondence, photographs and financial records that follow the Gardner family of Dennsyville, Maine from 1852-1981 and provides a glimpse into a Northeastern Maine family during this era. Additional items of interest include business records for the A.L.R. Gradner Co., the sheet music from the Dennysville Brass Band and documents and a Victory Medal from Ray Tobey’s service in the Army during World War I.


  • 1852-1981


Conditions Governing Access

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

Conditions Governing Use

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

Biographical Note

Edith Howard Gardner was born on May 1, 1889, to Fred L. Gardner and Mary S. Gardner. Edith was the oldest of four children and resided in Dennsyville, Maine with her family until 1906. Edith left to attend Abbott Academy in Andover, Massachusetts and returned to Dennsyville in 1909 after completing her schooling. While at Abbott Academy she studied the violin, which she continued to pursue throughout her life by teaching the violin and participating in recitals.

Edith’s father, Fred L. Gardner was the son of A.L.R. Gardner, who owned the A.L.R. Gardner Co. a general store in Dennsyville, Maine. Edith worked at the A.L.R. Gardner Co. store when she resided in Maine between her time spent at Abbott Academy.

After meeting George H. Merriam III, Edith and George married, August 18, 1921. Edith resided in Worcester, Massachusetts with George until his death in 1944. Edith and George had one son, George H. Merriam IV, born May, 17, 1922. After her husband, George, died, Edtih moved back to Maine and married a friend of both hers and George, Ray Tobey, on June 22, 1948. Edith and Ray resided at the Pine Cone Farm, in Fairfield, Maine. Edith passed away in Waterville, Maine following a long illness on July 24, 1975.

Historical Note

In 1871 A.L.R. Gardner began operating a general store in Dennysville, Maine, with the assistance of two of his four sons, Edwin R. and Fred L. In addition to handling the usual merchandise of a country store, the Gardners were dealers of coal, grain, stoves, shingles (pine, spruce, and cedar), and farm implements, as well as crockery, agateware, and even fine Austrian china. After the settling of A.L.R. Gardner's estate in 1902, the A.L.R. Gardner Company was formed with Edwin R. Gardner serving as treasurer, clerk, and manager; Fred L. Gardner, president; and the rest of the family, directors. During 1909-1910 Gardner's store was extensively remodeled. After the death of Edwin Gardner in 1918, Fred L. Gardner became clerk, treasurer, and manager, and his brother, Charles, served as president. During later years Fred L.'s son, Louis, became involved in the store business, which he carried on after his father's death in 1944. The store eventually was closed, and the building was razed in 1961.


7.5 linear feet (8 boxes)

1 folio folder (2 items)

Language of Materials



The Edith Gardner and Family Papers is a collection of diaries, correspondence, photographs, and financial records that follow the Gardner family of Dennsyville, Maine from 1852-1981. Within the collection are business records for the A.L.R. Gardner Co. and the sheet music from the Dennysville Brass Band.


There was no coherent organization of the Edith Gardner and Family Papers when they arrived at the Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Department. They have been arranged in series based on their document type: Correspondence and Personal Papers, Diaries, Photographs and Scrapbooks, A.L.R. Gardner Co. Records, Dennysville Brass Band Papers, and Miscellaneous.

This collection is arranged in six series with subseries: I. Correspondence and Personal Papers, II. Diaries, III. Photographs and Scrapbooks, IV. A.L.R. Gardner Co. Papers, V. Dennsyville Brass Band Papers, and VI. Miscellaneous.

Series I is divided into five subseries: 1. Edith Gardner, 2. George Merriam III, 3. Ray Tobey, 4. Geroge Merriam IV, 5. Family. Series II is divided into four subseries: 1. Fred L. Gardner Diaries, 2. Edith Gardner Diaries, 3. George Merriam III Diaries, 4. Family Diaries. Series III is divided into seven subseries: 1. Gardner Family Photographs, 2. Merriam Family Photographs, 3. Tobey Family Photographs, 4. Memory books, 5. Autographs Books, 6. Guest Books, 7. Miscellaneous.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Merriam Family, received December 2001.

Related Materials

Researcher may wish to consult the A.L.R. Gardner Company Store Records, SpC MS 0195, for further information. Please contact Special Collections Librarian for assistance.


The processing of this collection was made possible by "Putting History to Work," grant funded student internship program via the University of Maine System and intern Kari Beaty.

Guide to the Edith Gardner and Family Papers
Box And Folder List Available
Kari Beaty
August 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined 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