The Margaret Chase Smith Foundation announced December 8th, 2011, that it entered into an agreement with the University of Maine under which, beginning Jan. 1, 2012, UMaine will administer the Margaret Chase Smith Library in Skowhegan, Maine on behalf of the foundation.
Since its opening in 1982, the library had been operated under the auspices of Northwood University of Midland, Mich. On January 1, 2012, the Margaret Chase Smith Foundation, an organization established by Sen. Margaret Chase Smith in 1983 to support the library, will assume ownership and responsibility of the library. The University of Maine will operate and maintain the library.
The Margaret Chase Smith Library is recognized as one of the premier Congressional research libraries in the United States. It has a three-fold mission of serving as an archive, museum, and educational and public policy center.
Charles L. Cragin of Raymond, president of the Margaret Chase Smith Foundation, and Merton G. Henry of Scarborough, vice president of the foundation, both original members of the board, expressed appreciation to the university for assuming responsibility for the daily operations of the library.
“Senator Smith’s ties to the University of Maine were many. She was a strong supporter of the university throughout her life. We know she would be thrilled to have her library come home to the university,” Cragin says.
Senator Smith was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree by the university in 1949.
“We want to express our deep appreciation to Northwood University, which assumed responsibility for the construction and operation of the library in 1979. Under its stewardship, the library has flourished. Northwood has been a great friend of the library and we know that it will continue to foster the legacy of Senator Smith,” Henry said.
“The university is honored and excited about this opportunity to operate the Margaret Chase Smith Library. The library has an excellent relationship with the university and its Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center. This will expand the potential uses of the library by university scholars and continue to contribute to preserving the remarkable legacy of Senator Smith,” says Paul W. Ferguson, president of the University of Maine.
Senator Smith, a Republican, was first elected to the U.S House of Representatives in 1940 and to the U.S. Senate in 1948, where she served through 1972. She was one of the most successful politicians in Maine history and was the first woman in the United States to be elected to both the U.S. House and the Senate, and the first woman from Maine to serve in either. She was also the first woman to have her name placed in nomination for the U.S. presidency at a major party’s convention in 1964.