June 19th, 2023

Castine: The Castine History Partners, a collaborative of six non-profit community organizations, is hosting a free talk by Dr. Joshua Smith on Thursday, June 29 at 7:00 p.m. The event will be held at the Hutchins Education Center at the Wilson Museum, 112 Perkins St, Castine. For those unable to attend the in-person talk, the event will also be offered via Zoom. If attending virtually, attendees should register in advance on the Wilson Museum’s calendar of events page at wilsonmuseum.org. For further information call the Wilson Museum at 207-326-9247.

In his talk Dr. Smith will shed new light on Maine and Castine’s role in the War of 1812. He will focus on Castine’s occupation by British military forces in September 1814 and discuss how this was the single most important event that propelled Maine to statehood in 1820. Under British military rule, Castine became a community of traitors, smugglers, and spies. He will also paint a sordid picture of collaboration by local officials while documenting how tensions ripped apart the early republic during the War of 1812.


His findings are documented in his latest book, Making Maine: Statehood and the War of 1812. Following the lecture, copies of his book will be available for sale and signing by the author. This book signing is sponsored by Compass Rose Books of Castine.


Dr. Smith grew up on Cape Cod and coastal Maine.  He holds degrees from the University of St. Andrews, Maine Maritime Academy, East Carolina University, and the University of Maine. He is author of Borderland Smuggling: Patriots, Loyalists, and Illicit Trade in the Northeast, 1783-1820, which won the John Lyman Award in American Maritime History in 2007, and edited Voyages: Documents in American Maritime History, 1492-Present, a two-volume sourcebook in maritime history created in conjunction with the National Maritime Historical Society. He has also written a monograph with a Canadian perspective entitled Battle for the Bay: The Naval War of 1812, published by the Gregg Centre for the Study of War and Society. Smith is a professor of Humanities at the United States Merchant Marine Academy, as well as Director of the American Merchant Marine Museum, both in Kings Point, New York.


The Castine History Partners is a collaboration of the Wilson Museum, Maine Maritime Academy, Castine Historical Society, Witherle Memorial Library, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, and the Castine Touring Company. Formed in 2017 their mission is to  meet the growing demand for information on the history of Castine. The group’s signature project is the Castine History Tour app which is available for free download for mobile devices on Google Play and the Apple App Store. The history tour is also available on the web at castine.stqry.app.