History of Brunswick, Topsham, and Harpswell.

Editors' Introduction to the 2004 Electronic Edition

In 1878 two brothers, George Augustus Wheeler, M.D. and Henry Warren Wheeler, published a local history book entitled History of Brunswick, Topsham and Harpswell Maine including the ancient territory known as Pejepscot. It immediately became popular among the local inhabitants, many of whom had subsidized the publication costs. The book has continued its popularity ever since and at the start of the twenty-first century, it is still a valuable reference source for history buffs and for locally published newspapers.

Because of this extensive use and the age, library copies of the book have become severely worn. For these reasons and since the copyright had long since expired, the staff of the Curtis Memorial Library decided to republish the book on the library web page, www.curtislibrary.com, on the 125th anniversary of its original publication.

[ photograph of a copy of Wheeler & Wheeler in the library collection ]

Editorial staff were selected to prepare digitized copy of the book to be readily readable and to be much more convenient in searching for data. The plan was to scan the book and transform the copy into a rich text format to be directly used for the Web. The old original type face of the print was not as sharp as is now possible. A new font was selected, Times New Roman, and an increased type size was employed. Scanning the old type introduced two problems, in many areas the type face was dirty and direct transformation needed to be done manually. Some letters were difficult to read as for example, "H" became "Li". Scanning did not recognize superscript forms, examples ye became ye and 2nd became 2nd. We hope that we have caught all of these errors and corrected them.

We acknowledge with thanks the contribution of Betsy B. Clough in assisting in the proof reading of the final version.

The editors have made deliberate attempts to retain the original formats, including the archaic forms of abbreviations and the colloquial spelling in the correspondence. Very few liberties have been taken, these mostly relate to moving parts of a proper name onto a single page, making the text easier to read and to simplify searching for names, pages, events and dates using the search engines of the web format.

The numbering system for the individual chapters has been changed from Roman Numerals to English for uniform filing purposes. The headliner for individual pages have been made more uniform to show Title, Part, and Page, again for simplicity in searching for specific pages. Wherever the bottom of a page ends with a hyphenated word the full word has been forwarded to the succeeding page, also when a person's name or title is divided at the bottom of the page the full name and title are moved forward so that searching for, e.g., General George Washington, is more reliable.

In many cases the Wheelers quote extensively from primary documents. No attempt has been made to verify the accuracy of the Wheelers' transcription of those documents. Locating those documents, and placing electronic facsimiles of them online, is where a future stage of this project may go.

This entire effort has been a program for Curtis Library and its contribution to the reading public. The Library hopes you will find it helpful and will welcome any comments you may have.

Philip J. Clough
Brian Damien
Editors of the 2004 Electronic Edition