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Pineland's Past:
The First One Hhundred Years

by Richard S. Kimball
Foreword by Governor Angus S. King Jr.

Pineland's Past "Read Pineland's Past. It is a sometimes wondrous tale with real heroes and villains, with tears and laughter and joy, with comedy and tragedy, and with conflict that never ever ends. Pineland's Past will fascinate you, but more than that, it may change your view and deepen your understanding of Maine and Maine institutions. So it did for mine....
-Angus S. King, Jr., Governor of Maine, January 2001

Pineland's Past is the first full history of a state facility that was opened in 1908 as the Maine School for Feeble-Minded and closed as Pineland Center in 1996, after packing its thirty-plus buildings with as many as 1500 residents--most disabled but some not--along the way. As told in the lucid prose of author Richard S. Kimball and with the voices of many who lived it, Pineland's story is a rich one, peopled by a wondrous collection of characters, young and old, residents and staff alike.

There were those who were bright at Pineland and those who were not, those who escaped and those who stayed, those who hated and those who loved, those who lit fires and those who put them out, those who cared and those who did not. There was neglect at Pineland, but also love, love and care enough to bridge incredible developmental and communication gaps, forming bonds that lasted for years.

The light that Pineland's Past sheds in the history of retardation and its treatment spreads well beyond Maine's borders, for Pineland had many counterparts across the country, some dealing with retardation, others with mental illness. Like Pineland, they existed to serve society by segregating, hiding, and even sterilizing those who were different from the mainstream, and only much later to serve the disabled with treatment and training, then reintroduce them into the larger community.

Pineland's story will appeal to those who knew the institution, to students of history, sociology, and disabilities, and to general readers as well, for it is more than one story. It is, in fact, quite a few stories: upsetting stories, heartwarming stories, funny stories, horrifying stories--a remarkable mix of the likely and the unlikely, all gathered here in this excellent first combined telling. "It was the best of places, it was the worst of places," Charles Dickens might have said in the first line of a book based on Pineland, and he would have been right. It all depended on who you were and why you were there and when....

7" x 10", 285 pages, 58 photographs, paperback
$19.95 / ISBN 0-914339-98-2

Contact Information

Scott Bevins
Pineland Farms
Phone: (207) 688-4539
Web site:


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