Publication Date


Document Type


First Page


Last Page



Between 1860 and 1900 the economy of Penobscot Bay communities changed dramatically, from the steady growth and prosperity of their natural resource-based economy to the decline in population and a painful transition to manufacturing and service industries. Both men and women had enjoyed independence in their labor in the old economy. The new cash economy made it necessary for them to seek out new ways of supporting their families, with home manufacture, or putting out work, one way of earning an income. They remained independent from an employer’s direct supervision and earned cash payment, a change from the face-to-face economy of the earlier part of the century. Netting provided income that helped to take up the slack — a term in netting — in their family incomes while maintaining such remnants of their old way of life as best they could. Dr. Nancy Alexander is a 2006 graduate of the University of Maine’s History Department’s PhD program.She has a home on Islesboro and both her thesis and dissertation for her degree are related to women’s lives and work around Penobscot Bay.