William Otis Sawtelle Collections and Research Center

Collection - Looking at Photos

Looking through the collections at the Center.


Containing detailed information about the history of Mount Desert Island the Cranberry Isles; this center houses six collections, featuring items from as early as 1596, and are available to the public. The collections contain photographs; town, genealogical, and vessel and trade records; correspondence; books, maps, and pamphlets; artwork; newspapers; and more.

The center is open to researchers by appointment only.

Access to the collection for scientific research, genealogical study, or development of a publication is permitted. Prospective researchers should contact the Curator for an appointment.

To arrange an appointment to conduct research contact the park curator at:
Acadia National Park
P.O. Box 177
Bar Harbor, Maine 04609

Archival documents in good condition (determined by the museum technician) may be photocopied for a small fee. Photographs (in good condition) may be reproduced for a fee (contact the curator for current prices). Artifacts may be loaned to other historic institutions for exhibitions.



Over a four-year period, National Park Service staff and volunteers completed a project to catalog more than 120,000 historic items. The project was funded through the Federal Lands Recreational Enhancement Act. The following collections were processed during this ambitions project:

  • Cranberry Isles Collection: (1596-1939) original documents relating to the maritime and genealogical history of the Cranberry Isles.
  • William Otis Sawtelle Collection: (1692-1941) personal papers of William Otis Sawtelle (founder of Islesford Historical Museum). Items include his research notes on local genealogy, Maine, and New France, as well as his scientific research.
  • Carroll Farm Collection: (1840-1966) documents the lives of the Carroll Family of Southwest Harbor
  • Islesford Wharf Company, Islesford Collection, Inc., and the U.S. Life Saving Station Collections document the history of these organizations on Islesford.
During fall 2007, new storage cabinetry was installed at the collections and research center to expand the capacity to store and manage collections in a state-of-the-art-facility.

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