The McArthur Library
Biddeford, Maine's public library opened in October 1863 as a city department and occupied a room in the City Building on Main Street. When the City Building burned in 1894, the Mayor recommended that a private association assume the responsibility of maintaining a public library for the benefit of the city’s residents. With seed money willed to the association by retired "mill girl" Elizabeth Stevens, and the energy and financial generosity of mill agent Robert McArthur, the Biddeford Library Association bought the beautiful brick Pavilion Congregational Church at 270 Main Street. The building was remodeled and dedicated in October of 1902 as the "McArthur Library", in honor of the McArthur family's central role in the development of the city's new and independent library.
Archives and Special Collections at McArthur Library
The mission of the McArthur Library Special Collections is to preserve and provide access to materials of historic and cultural importance to the McArthur Library and the citizens of Biddeford, Maine. The Archives and Special Collections are comprised of the following collections: Photograph collections (includes general collection, Gay collection, Moody collection, Pepperell collection, and Elite [negative] collection; Manuscript collections; Book collections; Display collections of Art & Artifacts; and the Newspaper collections (includes special & pre-1900 local newspapers and the Walter Perkins Amateur Newspaper Collection).