This fall, the Penobscot Marine Museum received a gift of National Fisherman magazine’s archive of photographs from its publisher, Diversified Business Communications of Portland, Maine. The collection comprises some 20,000 photographs gathered for publication by the magazine’s editors, and provides “unequaled documentation of American commercial fishing from the 1920’s into the 1990’s, when film photography was superseded by digital images,” according to a PMM release. The images not only provide visual information but in many cases written information. Often they can be linked to magazine stories, greatly increasing their value to historians.
The National Fisherman is the newspaper of record for America’s commercial fishing industry. It has its roots in the 1921 founding of Atlantic Fisherman in Boston and in 1946 with Belfast, Maine’s Maine Coast Fisherman. In 1960 Maine Coast Fisherman was consolidated with the Atlantic Fisherman, which had become National Fisherman by expanding to covering the Pacific in 1954.
PMM is making the collection available publically to researchers and historians for the first time. It is currently organized topically, as used by the magazine editors, but the Museum plans to preserve the images archivally and, after cataloging and digitizing them, to make them aslo available to the public on the internet.
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