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Brooklin Boat Building Collection

Identifier: MF157

Scope and Contents

Interviews about boat building in Brooklin, Maine conducted by Maine Folklife Center's Pauleena MacDougal. Interviewees are George Allen, Frank Day Jr., Eric Dow, Wade Dow, Gilford W. Full, Havilah “Haddie” Hawkins, Brian Larkin, Brion Rieff, James F. “Jimmy” Steele, J. Steven White.

Also included: 35 photographs (P09157 - P09175, P09271 - P09286): Brooklin, Hawkins, Sails and Peapods, Brooklin School, Joel White.


  • Creation: 2003-2004


Conditions Governing Access

For digitized items free from access restrictions, we are working to upload this material (pdfs, mp3s, jpgs) for public access, but it is an ongoing project. If you don’t find what you are looking for here, contact Special Collections (

Conditions Governing Use

Rights assessment remains the responsibility of the researcher. Known restrictions on na3292.


1 box

10 items (digital)

Language of Materials



NAFOH MF157 Box 1 of 1:

MF157 Folder 1: background research and CDs. Contains copies of background/supplementary research including an article “Remembering Jimmy Steele” by Bill Mayher and a 1940 census record. Also contains audio CD that has the audio for NA3287, NA3292, and NA3294 on it.

NA3286 George Allen interviewed by Pauleena MacDougall on December 12, 2003, at his home in Brooklin, Maine. Allen speaks about living in Brooklin, Maine, on a land grant given to his family by the King of England; working for Bill Sargent of the Southwest Harbor Boatyard; working at the Bar Harbor mill; working for Joe White at his boatyard; working for Webber Cove Boatyard; the schooner “Steven Taylor;” working aboard the “Victory Chimes” under Captain Frederick Boyd Guild; building a Pinky with Bill Brown; materials used in building the Summertime; labor provided by Hurricane Island Outward Bound, College of the Atlantic, Victory Chimes crew members and Maine Waterways; history of the Pinky boat; Howard Shapelle’s Smithsonian blueprints for the Pinky; reasons for its name; design, history, and features of the Pinky; beaching-out; boating superstitions; name changes, pigs, and the color blue bringing bad luck aboard ship; Arnold Day’s boatyard and his father and grandfather, Frank Day and Jean Day; June Day of the Benjamin River Boatyard; Hugh Guy of the Penobscot Museum in Searsport, Maine; ideas for program for school children involving schooners; curing the masts; muffin and tea breaks with rooming and boarding laborers; putting the Summertime in the water; Bill Brown’s work on the “Mary Day” as first mate; recording A Maine Pot Hellion and Swearing in the Bushes records with the Burt and I group; Paul Sullivan of variety show fame; Alan Beamis; Airline Road from Brewer to Calais, Maine. Text: 28 page transcript. Recording: mfc_na3286_cd0891_01 - mfc_na3286_cd0891_13 67 minutes.

NA3287 Frank Day Jr., interviewed by Pauleena MacDougall, May 24, 2004, at his boatyard in Brooklin, Maine. Day talks about his grandfather Eugene Day and his boat shop; rowboat construction; government contracts to build boats during World War II; building lobster boats; building pleasure boats; peapod boats; Fancy Wiggins of Rockland, Maine; peapod boat design; boat building for a paraplegic; boat building since 1943; freight and passenger boats for the Army in World War II in Stonington, Maine; military service in the Army during World War II; fiberglass and wooden boats; employee boat builder John Dunbar; buying a motorboat from Robert McCloskey; fishing; boat building equipment. Text: 10 pp. transcript. Recordings: mfc_na3287_cd0892_01 21 minutes.

NA3288 Eric Dow, interviewed by Pauleena MacDougall on March 2, 2004, in Dow’s shop in Brooklin, Maine. Dow talks about boat building in Brooklin, Maine; learning boat building at the Marine Trade Center in Lubec, Maine; instructors Doug Dodge and Ernie Bryerly; building power lobster boats; teaching model design; wooden boat builders on Beal’s Island; friendship sloops; boat builder Tony Diess of Rhode Island; the Day family; wooden and fiberglass peapod boat building; Joel White of the Brooklin Boatyard and the Herrschoff design; boat building methods; effect of Woodenboat magazine; boat building in school; women and boat building; carpentry; the aesthetics of boat building; his son; his lobsterman father; marketing; his employees; wooden and fiberglass boats; cold molds; wooden boat repairs; peapod boat designs. Text: 23 pp. paper transcript. Recordings: mfc_na3288_c2430_01 48 minutes.

NA3289 Wade Dow, interviewed by Pauleena MacDougall on March 2, 2004, at Bridge’s Point in Brooklin, Maine. Dow talks about boat building in Brooklin, Maine; lobstering and fishing; fiberglass boat building since 1985; fiberglass hulls for lobster boats; shellfish market; sailboat building since 1996; designs from Joel White of the Brooklin Boatyard; sailboat market; sailboat marketing; Herrschoff model; sails from Massachusetts; effect of boat building on the community; fiberglass and wooden boats; maintenance; fiberglass boat production. Text: 13 pp. paper transcript. Recordings: mfc_na3289_c2431_01 29 minutes.

NA3290 Gilford W. Full, interviewed by Pauleena MacDougall, June 3, 2004, at his home in Brooklin, Maine. Full talks about his experiences as a boat surveyor; his childhood in Marblehead, MA; yacht building during the Great Depression and WWII; how political changes resulted in a decrease in yacht production; reasons for becoming a yacht surveyor; working on yachts as a professional skipper; processes of examining and inspecting boats; his examination of “The Calypso,” a yacht that appeared in TV shows and films; doing purchase surveys; Navy minesweepers; yacht construction; old versus new designs; owning boats; moving to Brooklin, ME; Wooden Boats’ summer school; matching people to boats; surveying plank fastenings, bolts, wood, decks; recaulking seams with oakum, cotton, and rubber; mechanical systems on a boat; structural framework; the dangers of surveying boats; fatalities in the field; improper inspections; legalities; licensure and certification; liabilities; the charge of surveying; his admiration of local builders; recommendations for boat repairs; craftsman Tommy Hodgkins of Blue Hill, ME; modern materials and technologies; Washburn and Doughty of East Boothbay, ME. Text: 23 pp. transcript. Recordings: mfc_na3290_cd0893_01, mfc_na3290_cd0894_01 59 minutes.

NA3291 Havilah “Haddie” Hawkins, interviewed by Pauleena MacDougall, October 31, 2003, at his home in Sedgwick, Maine. Hawkins talks about his relation to the boat building Day family in Sedgwick and Brooklin, ME; his boat builder uncles June Day and Arno Day; picnic and commercial lobster boat building; Frank Day, Sr. boat building in the 1930s; his father’s windjammer business in the 1940s; windjammers Steven Tabor, Alice Wentworth, and Mary Day; Billing Brother’s windjammer Mercantile; windjammer construction; his World War II conscientious objector father and his time at a CPS camp and AWOL; peapod boat design; his commercial artist grandfather Joseph Hawkins; family boat design and building; the purchase of the Benjamin River Boatyard by Joseph Hawkins during the Depression; his work with Steve White and at the Brooklin Boatyard and the Benjamin River Boatyard; traditional wooden boat building; fiberglass and wooden boat building; wooden boat maintenance; Great Doughnut Hole Rowing Race in Camden, ME; rebuilding and restoring boats; boat superstition; boat naming; windjammer day trips; boat building legends; Arno Day selling his boatyard to Joel White; the Day lobster boat; women boat builders; work of boat builder wives; bad boat construction; his boat builder brother Ron Hawkins; boat building materials; availability of wooden boat building materials; wooden boat tradition. Text: 18 pp. paper transcript. Recordings: mfc_na3291_cd0895_01, 02, & 03 (video) 55 minutes.

NA3292 Brian Larkin, interviewed by Pauleena MacDougall, spring 2004, at a boatyard in Brooklin, Maine. Larkin talks about his work at the Brooklin Boatyard; training under Delbert Grey and Brion Rieff; starting a children’s boating program involving sailing and canoeing with the help of Matt Murphy, the editor of Wooden Boat; the Daisy design by Harry Brian; constructing boats; working with John Ellsworth; and the children’s experiences in the program. RESTRICTED. Text: 8 pp. paper transcript. Recordings: mfc_na3292_cd0896_01 12 minutes.

NA3293 Brion Rieff, interviewed by Pauleena MacDougall, June 3, 2004, at his boatyard in Brooklin, Maine. Rieff speaks about what led him to own and operate his own boatyard; working at Bob Director’s boatyard in Long Island Sound; working in Maine for James Steele, Brooklin Boatyard, and Goudy and Stevens Boatyard; changes in boat construction; business, his employees; boat that he’s built; Sadie, a Nathaniel Herschel design; Bjorn Aas, a Norwegian designer; meter boats; his personal designs; new technologies and their impact on the boat building business; materials used; boat weight; repairs; daily operations of a boatyard; markets; tools; ‘cutting off’ nails; being diagnosed with carpal tunnel as a result of his work; his self-made machines; education in boat building in Maine; the Liberty and Blue Bay Schools; the Stump-to-Ship Day Program for children; his work with colleague Frank Peterson; designer Bill Atkins; author Samuel Elliott Morrison’s boat; European designs of the 1960s; the introduction of fiberglass to the boating industry; the historical value of wooden boats; designer Will Fief of Scotland; the lack of competition in the boating industry; the bidding process; boat builders Eric Dow, Doug Highland, James Day, John Dunbar, and John Johanssen; Atlantic Boatworks; the Marine Trade Association of Maine data and statistics; the National Folk Festival; the untold story of boat building; the lack of trained people in the boat building industry; the Landing and Washington Schools; boat builders Ralph Stanley and Gifford Full. Recording: mfc_na3293_cd0897_01, mfc_na3293_cd0897_02 44 minutes.

NA3294 James F. “Jimmy” Steele, interviewed by Pauleena MacDougall, May 24, 2004, at his boatyard in Brooklin, Maine. Steele talks about where and when he began to make boats; Arno Day; WoodenBoat magazine; building peapods; description of the process of building them; number of boatyards in Brooklin and number of employees from Brooklin who work in them; what the community of Brooklin is like. Text: 15 pp. transcript. Recordings: mfc_na3294_cd0898_01 28 minutes.

NA3295 J. Steven White, interviewed by Pauleena MacDougall, November 20, 2003, Brooklin, Maine. White talks about the history of Brooklin, Maine; the Brooklin Boatyard; his father and his career before boat building; the purchase of the Brooklin Boatyard by his father Joel White from Arno Day in the 1960s; boat builder and teacher Arno Day; childhood memories of his father and boat building; his college experience; skiing; being a tug boat operator in Louisiana; his full time work for his father in 1977; the designs of his father; Woodenboat magazine; yacht building; wooden boat building construction methods; customers; boat building tradition in the community; apprentices and young boat builders; administrative work; overseeing the boatyard; the costs of boat building; wooden boat building in Maine; boat builder Jim Steele and his peapod boats; wooden and fiberglass boats; wooden and fiberglass boat construction; the aesthetics of boat building; the individuality of boats. Text: 17 pp. transcript. Recordings: mfc_na3295_cd0899_01-mfc_na3295_cd0899_13 66 minutes.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Pauleena MacDougall of the Maine Folklife Center.

Existence and Location of Originals

For NA3289 (Wade Dow) and NA3288 (Eric Dow), originals of the audio recordings are held at the American Folklife Center at the Library Of Congress: AFC 2012/047

Materials Specific Details

Audio files are the primary source material. Transcriptions are the transcriber's best effort to convert audio to text, but should be considered secondary to the audio.

Guide to Brooklin Boat Building Collectionea
In Progress
September 2017
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Repository Details

Part of the Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History Repository

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