How Maine Changed the World by Nancy Griffin

The state of Maine, on the extreme northeastern tip of the United States, ranks quite low in population density (41st amongst the other states) and with only a little over 1.3 million residents, it seems improbable that it could have (or does) contribute much to the world outside of it’s 36,000 square miles. (Source:

Perhaps that is why a book such as How Maine Changed the World: A History in 50 People, Places, and Objects (2017, Down East Books) will come as a surprise to those who read it, even “Mainers”. Of course, many will immediately think of L.L. Bean Company and the Maine Coon Cat, but what about earmuffs, microwave ovens, the machine gun or the toothpick?

The town [Strong, Maine] of around 1,000 people once produced 95 per cent of all toothpicks made in the United States. Output from [Charles] Forster’s factory peaked at 20 million toothpicks a day, making Strong the “Toothpick Capital of the World.”

Yes, they are all here along with some of the famous Mainers throughout history: Ed Muskie, John Ford, Fly Rod Crosby and (of course) Stephen King, just to mention a few.

[Stephen] King was born in the city of Portland in 1947. Deserted by his father at age two, his mother moved King and his older brother to three states before returning to settle in Durham, Maine when he was 11. He has lived in Maine ever since, except for one year when he moved his wife and children to Colorado.

The “50 people, places, and objects” that are contained in the pages of this colourful, entertaining, fact-filled book will definitely appeal to Mainers and visitors alike. “Wicked Good”!

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The Author

Nancy Griffin has been a freelance writer for more than 20 years, writing for newspapers, magazines and trade publications. Before that, she was a newspaper and wire service reporter and editor. Nancy is the author of several books, including 50 Things to Do in Maine Before You Die, Maine 101 and Makin’ Whoopies. She lives in Thomaston, Maine.

How Maine Changed the World by Nancy Griffin
Down East Books

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