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Local historian publishes new book

Portrait of Elwin E. and Mary Additon with their first daughter, Louise

Local historian Douglas Hodgkin has written another biography – this time about a member of his own family. Hodgkin’s great grandfather, a farmer, local civic leader, and Androscoggin County politician, is the subject of the new book “Elwin E. Additon: Progressive Farmer and Politician.”

Elwin Additon (1864-1942) owned a farm in Leeds and held many offices in town government, including school board, moderator, and selectman. When his buildings burned in 1921, he moved to North River Road in Auburn.

Additon was active in the local Grange in both communities, held offices at the county (Pomona) level, and served as treasurer of the Maine State Grange for 37 years. He was also a member of the board of the Maine State Fair, located in Lewiston. These organizations were founded, in part, to encourage farmers to adopt progressive practices that would enable them to shift from traditionally self-sufficient farms to ones able to compete in an emerging market economy.

Additon was identified as a progressive Republican of the Theodore Roosevelt wing of the party. The description of his political career as a member of the Maine House of Representatives and as a candidate for Androscoggin County offices provides a window into the politics of the first third of the twentieth century.

In his research, Hodgkin used family materials and albums, newspapers, Leeds Historical Society resources, Grange records housed at the University of Maine, and government documents. Hodgkin is the author of several books on local history, most recently “Dear Parent: A Biography and Letters of Edward Little.”

The new 184-page book is available for ten dollars plus tax from the Androscoggin Historical Society at the county building in Auburn or directly from the author by contacting him at dhodgkin@bates.edu.

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