As if shouting from a mountaintop, the boldly titled INSPIRATION KATAHDIN! — a photographic exhibition of images and ideas by Percival Baxter’s great-grand niece Connie Baxter Marlow — hangs in LaMarche Gallery, Smith Union, through Aug. 24, 2012. An exhibition reception featuring tributes to Percival Baxter and the talk, “The Baxter/Bowdoin Connection,” with Maine State Historian Earle Shettleworth H’08, will be held 5 p.m.–6:30 p.m., Aug. 21, in LaMarche Gallery.
The exhibition and reception are organized in conjunction with Governor Baxter Wilderness Legacy Golden Anniversary celebrations taking place in Portland August 22.
Forever wild, Maine’s majestic mountain inspired Percival Baxter, of the Class of 1898, to wilderness preservation, Henry David Thoreau to exalt the sublime, the Wabanaki Indians to revere its spirit, and Connie Baxter Marlow to weave a tapestry of ideas that synthesizes these elements into a vision of a world in balance.
The exhibition features photographs from Marlow’s book Greatest Mountain: Katahdin’s Wilderness, first published in 1972, and again in 1976 and 1999.
Baxter Marlow says the book was written to honor the vision of her “Uncle Percy” in establishing Baxter State Park and creating a way for man and wilderness to enrich each other.
Thoreau’s excursions to Maine with Penobscot Indian guides and his life-changing epiphany on Katahdin, as related in his essay “Ktaadn,” form an important thread in the film screenings, discussions, presentations and performances scheduled for the Portland celebration.
“In times of great change, when the future is unknown, a new point of view can serve to lift one’s thinking above the clouds, where a clear mind and an open heart will see and feel a world it never knew was there,” wrote Baxter Marlow on the dust jacket of the 1999 edition of Greatest Mountain.
This echoes her famous uncle’s 1921 declaration: “Katahdin raises its head aloft, unafraid of the passing storm, and is typical of the rugged character of the people of Maine.
The establishment of Baxter State Park will lay the foundation of a policy whereby the present generation will deliver a great inheritance to the generations to come.”