Maine's Woods: Observations by Bert Lincoln Call & Henry David Thoreau back to intro page


This website has been created as a supplement to the exhibition presented by the Dexter Historical Society, Maine's Woods: Observations by Bert Lincoln Call & Henry David Thoreau. The show, which opened on May 16, 2009 at the Abbott Museum, Dexter, Maine, will be traveling throughout Maine and eventually to the rest of New England and further for the next five years. The show, consisting of 35 photographs plus related information, is offered free to galleries, educational institutions and local exhibit halls. Each photograph is accompanied by a quote from Thoreau's book, The Maine Woods*.

Early in its existence, the society received a donation of negatives and photos from Bert Lincoln Call, a photographer in Dexter, Maine, from 1886 until the early 1940s. Call's stock-in-trade was portraiture of local citizens, but his passion was for the woods, lakes and rivers of northern Maine, which he visited annually. By age 70, Call had traveled to the peak of Mount Katahdin no less than 16 times, lugging the heavy photographic equipment common at the time. His photographic excursions often lasted for many weeks.

Bert Call's images provide an extraordinary photographic record of the North Woods, often of specific places Thoreau described in his book. Though begun by Call 120 years ago, most of his work has remained unseen. In order to bring this collection to the public, Frank Spizuoco, exhibition curator, contacted photographer Todd Watts in 2007 with the idea of restoring Bert Call's original negatives and then producing the large scale prints that comprise this exhibition.

Through Call's photos we have visual documentation of the way the Maine Woods looked only 35 years after Thoreau visited.

See Exhibition Schedule →

*Unless stated otherwise, all quotations are from Thoreau, Henry D. The Maine Woods. Edited by Joseph J. Moldenhauer. Princeton: Princeton University Press 1972.

Learn more about Bert Lincoln Call, Henry David Thoreau and the exhibition by visiting the links below.