History/ES 247 Reading Guide

The Maine Woods

  • Geoffrey Paul Carpenter, “Deforestation in Nineteenth-Century Maine:  The Record of Henry David Thoreau,” Maine History 38:1 (Summer 1998): 2-35.  (e-reserve)
  • Jamie H. Eves, “Shrunk to a Comparative Rivulet:  Deforestation, Stream Flow, and Rural Milling in 19th-Century Maine,” Technology and Culture 33:1 (Jan. 1992): 38-65.  (e-reserve)

Further reading:

  • Robert Kuhn McGregor, “Deriving a Biocentric History: Evidence from the Journal of Henry David Thoreau,” Environmental Review, 12:2 (1988): 117-124.
  • Faye E. Luppi and Marcella L. Sorg, “Vanceboro, Maine, 1870-1900: A Hinterland Community,” Maine Historical Society Quarterly 25.2 (1985): 88-113.
  • Lloyd C. Irland, “Maine Lumber Production, 1839-1997: A Statistical Overview,” Maine History 38:1 (Summer 1998): 36-49.


  • How does Carpenter present, describe, and interpret the environmental history of the northern Maine woods? What were the primary human activities and endeavors which shaped the Maine Woods? According to Carpenter, what were the various consequences of those practices?
  • How does Carpenter’s late twentieth-century perspective compare to that of nineteenth-century loggers and farmers?
  • How does Jamie Eves test the assumptions of both 18th and 19th century informed contemporaries and late 20th century environmental historians?
  • According to Eves, did deforestation in the first half of the 19th century bring about the demise of rural milling in seven central Maine watersheds? Was the impact of deforestation on milling significant but less harmful than Crevecoeur and others believed, because of the presence of other natural water regulating factors? Or did millers successfully adapt to a changed environment?