Nan Cumming, Portland Trails executive director, will speak about Victorian women in the Maine woods on Wednesday as part of Victoria Mansion’s lecture series, “New and True: The Modern Woman in Maine, 1890 — 1940.”

The lecture is free to the public and will be held at noon at Rines Auditorium, Portland Public Library.

Diana, Roman goddess of the hunt, was a beloved figure in 19th-century art and literature — but only after Victorian artists had tamed and romanticized her.

By 1900, many American women suffered the same fate — they were stifled by social critics who confined upper- and middle-class women into a rigid social ideal known as “True Womanhood.”

In her lecture, “Diana — The New Woman in the Maine Woods,” Cumming describes how urban pressures and personal health concerns led some women to break through the stereotype and seek relief and renewal in the Maine woods.

Many upper- and middle-class women worried about the overcrowding, dirt and disease that rapid growth had brought their cities. Likewise, after decades of relative inactivity, doctors began advising women to take some exercise and fresh air.

With Maine’s first wilderness guide, Cornelia “Fly Rod” Crosby, as their role model, many Victorian women escaped from the pressures of city life by going camping, hunting and fishing in Maine.

Cumming’s richly illustrated presentation will explore the years between 1895 and 1910, when tourist publications began to encourage women to venture into the Maine wilderness.