SKOWHEGAN, Maine — Beginning Jan. 1, the University of Maine will administer the Margaret Chase Smith Library in Skowhegan on behalf of the Margaret Chase Smith Foundation.
Since its opening in 1982, the library has been operated under the auspices of Northwood University of Midland, Mich. On Jan. 1, the Margaret Chase Smith Foundation, which was established by Sen. Margaret Chase Smith in 1983 to support the library, will assume ownership and responsibility of the facility. UMaine will operate and maintain the library.
The Margaret Chase Smith Library has a threefold 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, expressed appreciation to the university for assuming responsibility for the daily operations of the library.
“Sen. Smith’s ties to the University of Maine were many,” said Cragin. “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.”
Smith was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree by the university in 1949.
“The university is honored and excited about this opportunity to operate the Margaret Chase Smith Library,” said UMaine President Paul W. Ferguson. “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 Sen. Smith.”
Smith, a Republican, was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1940, and in 1948 to the U.S. Senate, where she served through 1972. She was one of the most successful politicians in Maine history and the first woman in the U.S. 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.
She died in 1995.