A new exhibit, “Touched with Fire: Islanders on the War Front and the Home Front,” has opened at the Deer Isle-Stonington Historical Society.
Researched and curated by Lee Fay, the exhibit explores and documents the lives of islanders during several major conflicts.
The idea for the exhibit stemmed from the last few Memorial Day services, which have focused on the Civil War, WWII and the Korean War. Fay said that research got her thinking about the concept.
“This is a small island, but we’ve had people from here serve in every conflict,” said Fay.
The exhibit spans from the Revolutionary War through Vietnam. It includes artifacts such as the dress uniform of Army Major Thomas Hairland from the Civil War. Other artifacts include documents about the food shortages of wheat and sugar during WWI, and the uniform of William Eaton, with a collection of WWI medals from Maurice Sellers, grandson of Salome Sellers, the home that houses part of the historical society.
One artifact is Mary McGuire’s WWII Navy Lieutenant uniform. McGuire served at the Navy headquarters in Washington, D.C., and she and her crew prepared morning intelligence briefings to be given to the Secretary of Navy and Chief of Naval Operations.
There is also a lot of information, researched and compiled by Fay, presented as part of the exhibit. Locals who were involved in the conflicts are named; what was happening on the home front is described. For example, a WWII conservation order reads, in part, “No person is allowed to buy a new tube of toothpaste or shaving cream without first turning in an old tube.”
And there are stories full of local names. Ever wonder why the American Legion is called the Rodney Stinson Post? Stinson was the first WWI injury from the island. Moses S. Joyce III came back from the Civil War and started the pants factory.
The historical society, located in Sunset, is open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. through September 21. Call 348-6400 for more information, or visit dis-historicalsociety.org.