Maine: An Encyclopedia
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Rich, Louise Dickinson

Selected Works

Happy the Land (1946/1998)
Start of the Trail
(1949)
My Neck of the Woods
(1950)

Trail to the North
(1952)
Only Parent (1953)
Innocence Under the Elms
(1955)
The Coast of Maine
(1956/1962/1970/1975/1993)

Peninsula
(1958/1971)
First Book of The Early Settlers
(1959)
First Book of New World Explorers
(1960)
First Book of The Vikings
(1962)
First Book of The China Clippers
(1962)
The Forest Years
(1963; We Took To The Woods and My Neck of the Woods in one volume)
State O' Maine
(1964)
First Book of The Fur Trade
(1965)
First Book of Lumbering
(1967)
The Kennebec River
(1967)
Star Island Boy
(1968)
Three of A Kind
(1970)
King Philip’s War 1675-76: The New England Indians Fight the Colonists
(1972)
Summer at High Kingdom
(1975)

Rich and Two of her "Boys" (c. 1940)

Rich and Two of her “Boys” (c. 1940)

(1903-1991) born in Huntington, Massachusetts on June 13, 1903, is best known for her first book We Took to the Woods (1942), about the Rangeley Lake area, though she wrote many books about life in rural northwestern Maine.

Rich spent her childhood in Bridgewater, Massachusetts.

She got her Bachelors of Science degree from Massachusetts State Teachers’ College in 1924 and worked as a high school English teacher in Bridgewater before becoming a writer. Rich was married to John Davis Bacon from 1926 to 1931 when they divorced.

In 1933 her sister invited her to join her in Maine at a camp in the Rangeley Lakes region. There she met her soul mate husband, Ralph Eugene Rich. Both lived in a camp on the Rapid River near Upton from the time they were married until he died in 1945.

Though her first publication appeared in 1942, after the death of her husband, Rich supported herself and her two children with an extensive array of books about Maine. She wrote a series of several “First Book” publications of history for children, most during the 1960’s.

In addition, Rich wrote fifty articles and short stories from 1926 through 1976. They appeared in Country Gentleman, Family Circle, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Liberty, New York Herald Tribune, Outdoor Life, Reader’s Digest, Saturday Evening Post, Saturday Review of Books, Scribner’s, Woman’s Day, Woman’s Home Companion, and Yankee.

For most of the time from the mid-1950’s to 1980, she lived in the town of Gouldsboro’s villages of Corea and Prospect Harbor, where she wrote about Maine’s coast.

Alice Arlen observed, “She wrote of a seemingly simple life, but the reality was much more complex and demanding ­­ requiring skill, dogged determination, and creative intelligence. Her wholesome accounts of a wholesome life were true and not true. They talked of virtues and under played the dark times.”

Rich died in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts on April 9, 1991.

Additional resources

Arlen, Alice. She Took to the Woods: A Biography and Selected Writings of Louise Dickinson Rich. Camden: Downeast Books. 2000.




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