Historical Society to Digitize Collections

 Cape Elizabeth historians, history lovers and students soon will have town history available at the touch of a few keys. With a donation from Cape Elizabeth’s Sprague family, the Cape Elizabeth Historical Preservation Society recently acquired “PastPerfect,” a software program that digitizes museum and historical society collections. More than 9,500 libraries, museums and historical societies nationwide, and more than 60 organizations in Maine use the software, created in 1998. “The society extends its sincere thanks to the Sprague family. With this program we can integrate our archives – documents of all kinds – with photographs that have been, or will be, digitized and entered into the program,” CEHPS member Ellen VanFleet said. “The program also manages the whole array of objects in our collection – everything from artwork and posters to clothing, arrowheads, toolboxes and life preservers. The system will link the society’s digital assets to its catalog records, so “in one search we will be able to link our documents, photographs, objects and book collections as well as audio and video files,” Van Fleet said. “We will be able to search for items related to one person – for instance Pomeroy Jordan – or one family – for example, the Spragues – or a specific topic [such as] trolleys or hotels, or farms.” A simple search of “Goddard Mansion” in Cape Elizabeth would yield a rich variety of results: “photos and news articles and two objects – a piece of the marble cornice from the mansion and [Col. John] Goddard’s personal music book – and links to the Goddard family, including a framed family photograph as well as articles about the town’s efforts to preserve the mansion,” Van Fleet said. “By digitizing our town’s history, information will be at our fingertips – and yours, when we finally link records to a long planned website.” The society seeks volunteers with basic computer skills and “a curiosity about what is hidden in the society’s collections” to work on the project on Monday and Thursday mornings, Van Fleet, said. Call Van Fleet at 767-4175 for information about volunteering.

Source: Cape Courier December 16, 2016

Spurwink School Reuse Committee to Consider Options for the future of the Thomas Memorial Library Building that was donated by William Widgery Thomas, Jr.  in 1919.

Update: Summer 2019

Plans to house historical society in former Spurwink School continue to move forwardmoving forward

The town is moving forward with plans to house the Cape Elizabeth Historical Preservation Society in the former Spurwink School building, next to the Thomas Memorial Library on Scott Dyer Road.

Joseph Chalat, town resident and architect, has been meeting with town officials and members of our historical society to seek input about the renovation of the Spurwink School. He anticipates having drawings to share at our September meeting. 

To read the Spurwink School Reuse Committee's March 29, 2018 report, click here.


To read a brief history of the library, click here.


2017 visit from the Jordan Family Foundation

Notes from President Jim Rowe's Face Book page.

Today I had the pleasure of welcoming members of the Board of Trustees of the Rev. Robert and Sarah (Winter) Jordan Family Foundation, Inc. to the Cape Elizabeth Historical Preservation Society. They hailed not only from Maine, but from across the country.

The Jordan Family is arguably the "First Family" of our fair town. The Rev. Robert and Sarah put down roots here in 1641...not the first settlers, but some of the first inhabitants of Maine to raise a family which endures in the 21st century. Today, the family literally has many many thousands of members living all around the globe.

We toured the current home of the CEHPS at the Cape Elizabeth Public Safety Building, which houses some of the oldest artifacts and documents of the Jordan family.

Then we proceeded to the vacant Spurwink School building, adjacent to the Thomas Memorial Library, into which the Historical Society (along with the Jordan collections) aspire to move one day.

An interesting story that goes with the Spurwink School building is that William Widgery Thomas, Jr., who purchased and then donated the building to the Town of Cape Elizabeth in 1919 with the deeded stipulation that it be forever used as a public library, once taught school there in 1857. During that winter term of 1857, Thomas had 64 pupils in the one room school house...60 of which carried the surname "Jordan!"

The Jordan Family group will be holding its next convention here in the Greater Cape Elizabeth vicinity in 2019.

A late morning and early afternoon well spent with some wonderful people!.