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The bulk of the nineteen accessions (33 hours) in this collection consists of interviews by David Taylor conducted during the summer of 1974 focused on Maine lobster fishermen.

NA0726 Edwin Lawson, interviewed by Rita Swidrowski, fall 1972, West Tremont, Maine. Lawson, 73, talks about lobstering on the Maine coast.

NA0727 Charles P. Dodge, interviewed by David Littleton-Taylor, fall 1972, Friendship, Maine. Series of interviews with Dodge, 84, about his life as a lobster fisherman.

NA0747 Dale Torrey, interviewed by Mark Lafond, March 3, 1973, Winter Harbor, Maine. Also present and sometimes adding to the discussion: Mrs. Torrey. Torrey talks about being a lobster fisherman; decision not to finish school; the company he works for; his house; children; learning lobstering from his brother and father; problems starting out; first wife’s death; second wife; wages; shrimping during the winter; co-op; his father’s love of being a lobster-fisherman.

NA0748 Frank Dyer, interviewed by Becky Elwell, spring 1973, Lincolnville, Maine. Dyer, born on High Island on April 2, 1896, talks about Warren Island; his grandparents; school on 700 Acres Island; moving to Maker’s Island (La Salle’s Island); tending traps with his father, a lobster fisherman; working on the roads in Camden, Maine; being in the Army in WWII; odd jobs he worked; going back to lobstering at age 29; loosing boats to a hurricane; his wife picking and selling crabs he catches; children and grandchildren; duck hunting; whittling; knitting the heads for the traps he builds.

NA0749 Sherwood Cook, Ernest Maloney, and Holace Chadwick, interviewed by Jayne Lello, spring 1973, Tenant’s Harbor, Port Clyde, Maine. Cook talks about lobster fishing; the new equipment and laws that apply; it as a business; his lobster territory around Little Green Island, which he owns; his background; his wife; how his father and grandfather did lobster fishing; bird watching. Maloney, who grew up in Port Clyde, talks about his background; his father (a “man of the sea”); lobstering with his father; being a full-time fisherman. Chadwick talks about his background; past days of glorious sea captains and schooners; his mother; living in Port Clyde; coming from a long line of “men of the sea”; his childhood; working on a tanker for 10 years; switching to lobstering; share-fishing with Cook; living with his wife on Little Green Island; purse seining and stop seining; his children.

NA0750 Joe and Evelyn Horr and Leon and Leila Horr, interviewed by Faith A. Rawding, April 1973, Long Island and Casco Bay, Maine. The Horrs talk about lobster fishing; fishing; clamming; trawling; sword fishing; shad fishing; and the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

NA0754 Captain Sidney Sprague, interviewed by David Taylor, Rockland, Maine. Sprague talks about the early history of lobster fishing.

NA0897 Tim Staples, interviewed by David Taylor, summer 1974, in Swan’s Island, Maine. Staples, a lobster fisherman, talks about learning where to set traps; equipment used; costs; money management; territoriality; opinions on laws, trap limits, closed season, etc. RESTRICTED.

NA0898 Sherm Stanley, Jr., interviewed by David Littleton-Taylor, October 10, 1974, at Stanley’s home in Monhegan Island, Maine. Stanley, age 26, talks about his life as a lobster fisherman; starting at the age of 10; children learning basic fishing from parents and friends; length of the fishing season; offseason for conservation purposes; boat maintenance; gear overhaul: rope, painting buoys and boats, repairing old traps, and building new traps; cost of operations; types of electronic gear; problems occurring during winter weather conditions; money management; lenders and buyers; and the future of the industry; co-ops; types of boats (fiberglass vs wooden); lobstering off of Monhegan Island.

NA0899 Al Roberts, interviewed by David Littleton-Taylor, July 1, 1974, at Robert’s home in Friendship, Maine. Roberts talks about how he became a lobster buyer at the age of 34; explains the difference between a dealer and a buyer; what the buyer’s goals are for making money; what the buyer provides for the fisherman: a wharf, parking lot for vehicles, place to leave skiffs, build and repair traps, paint, bait, gas; providing quality service for fisherman; the relationship between buyer and fisherman; lending money; history of the Friendship Sloops in Maine, startup costs for lobstermen; a year’s activities; and the future of the industry.

NA0970 Andy Gove, interviewed by David Taylor, July 9, 1974, Stonington, Maine. Gove talks about experiences as a lobster fisherman; his ideas on fishermen’s co-ops; how he started as a fisherman; his estimates on how much it would cost to get set up as a lobster fisherman today; the rising costs of gear and fuel; how the fathom meter and other instruments have affected the industry; headaches associated with fishing. Also present: Bill (Grove’s brother) and other family members.

NA0971 Joe Charczynski, interviewed by David Taylor, August 1, 1974, age 34, Charczynski home in Beal’s Island, Maine. Charczynski, age 34, talks about worming and lobster fishing: how he decided to come to Maine; how natives treated him; difficulty building and repairing traps; his father-in-law showing Joe how to knit heads; seasonal movements of lobsters; winter activities; trap limit; trap design; trap setting strategy; fishing conditions in the area; territoriality; how lobstering can be lonely job; daily expenses; offshore fishing; competition and cooperation in lobstering.

NA0972 Ralph Alley, interviewed by David Taylor, August 2, 1974, Beals, Maine. Alley, age 42, talks about lobster fishing: fishing conditions around Jonesport; fishing by foreign fleets; repair traps on summer; maintenance work on boat; independence of fishermen; successful fisherman; part timers. Complete transcription is not available.

NA0973 Stillman Griffin, interviewed by David Taylor, August 30, 1974, Kennebunkport, Maine. Griffin talks about what it is like to be a lobsterman; costs involved in maintenance and repairs, traps, buoyes, bait, etc.; what his opinions are on legislation, fishermen’s co-ops, trap limit, etc.; how much it would cost for a young man to get started; the future of the lobstering industry; different kinds of bait, boats, and traps. Also present: Mrs. Griffin and two granddaughters.

NA0974 Harold Finnemore, interviewed by David Taylor, summer 1974, Islesford, Maine. Finnemore, a part-time lobster fisherman, talks about lobster fishing: building of lobstering traps; lost traps; old fisher: Atwood Gilmore; different kind of fishes; lobster buyer Lee Ham; how to build a weir; fishing territory; drunk fishing stories; places for fishing and lobstering; fishing boats prices; Friendship sloop; fishing at night.

NA0975 Edgar Drisko, interviewed by David Littleton-Taylor, September 6 and 12, 1974, New Harbor, Maine. Radio transmission from September 6 for first 5 minutes. Drisko, age 43, talks about lobster fishing: starting fishing a young age; fishing as an independent job; fishing cycles of shrimp and lobster; lobster prices; how much it costs to start lobster fishing; scarcity and overfishing of lobsters; fisherman licenses; average traps for a big fisherman; boundaries for fishing; lobster fishing competition; boat builders Carol and Royal Lowell; farming lobsters; retirement; government support for fishermen; paperwork for fishermen.

NA0982 Lyman "Gus" Alley, interviewed by David Littleton-Taylor, August 27, 1974, Alley’s home in Kittery, Maine. Alley, age 66, talks about his experiences as a lobsterman: early fishing experiences; fishing conditions; speed of his boat; Down East vs. Kittery area; how dragging affects lobstering; resistance of fiberglass boats; old fashioned hauling gear and new rigs; how he began on lobstering business; number of traps; fishing boundaries; fishing in wintertime; using a sail on the stern; fishing strategies; prospects for the future of fishery; equalize measure of lobster capture in all states; selling lobsters to smacks; sickness; what it takes to be a successful fisherman; radio communication; Jonesport lobster boat races; fishing in rough weather; feelings about retirement; trap designs about Kittery; square traps vs. half round traps; wooden heads in a trap.

NA1996 Stillman Havener, interviewed by David Littleton-Taylor, summer 1974, Friendship, Maine. Havener talks about lobstering.

NA2005 Les Dyer, interviewed by David Littleton-Taylor, fall 1974, Rockland, Maine. Dyer of Vinalhaven and Rockland, Maine, the first president of the MLA, talks about the founding of the Maine Lobstermen's Association.

Publication Date



Lobstering, Lobster industry, Bottom fishing, Fishery gear selectivity


Folklore | Oral History

Size of Collection

20 items

Dates of Collection


Manuscript Number


MF037 “Life of the Maine Lobsterman” Project