Kent Island History

Kent Island has a rich history. For centuries it was used by indigenous groups to hunt seals. The first European to settle the island was John Kent in the late 1700s. Keith Ingersoll's book, Wings over the Sea, details the founding of the Bowdoin Scientific Station in 1934, while Frank Graham's Natural History article (available on this site) gives an abridged version. Perhaps the most personal history comes from correspondence between the Bowdoin Scientific Station's first caretaker, Ernest Joy and Bob Cunningham, who began his studies in meteorology at Kent Island as a teenager in the late 1930s. Some of those letters are available on this site; the full set, in Ernest's hand, are available through the Grand Manan Museum.

Kent Island’s history is, of course, inextricably linked to the history of Grand Manan.  In 2015, a Bates College student, Kate McNally, spent the summer on Grand Manan exploring and chronicling the island’s past, culminating in the book Forethought and Labor: Oral Histories from the Island of Grand Manan. Other good reads are Grand Manan, by Eric Allaby, and Tides of Change on Grand Manan Island: Culture and Belonging in a Fishing Community, by Joan Marshall.  Lastly, Peter Cunningham, son of famous Kent Island meteorologist Bob Cunningham, has organized some of his amazing photography into a book of stories about Grand Manan called Fogseekers: Dwelling in the Heart of Not Knowing.