The popularity of Harriet Beecher Stowe's “local color” novel, The Pearl of Orr's Island, coincided with the coming of summer tourism to the Maine coast. From 1881 until about 1917, thousands of readers poured onto tiny Orr's Island each summer hoping to experience Stowe's fictional world firsthand. The observations of period travel writers offer an opportunity to witness a small Maine fishing village reinventing itself for a new economy, spinning popular interest in an historical novel into a new identity.

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