Ellen Endter, wanting to find out more about her house on York Street in the Bath Historic District, started researching its past residents during the pandemic. She came upon Alice May Douglas, whose family lived in the house for almost 100 years.

Endter was surprised that Douglas was not only a poet but also an author, journalist and lecturer during the late 1800s, rare roles for a woman who was born in 1865 and died in 1943. Further research revealed to Endter that Douglas’ writings and ideas about war and social issues are still relevant a century later.

Poet, journalist and educator Alice May Douglas lived all her life in a house on York Street in Bath.

“I hope people don’t forget her, and that she’s someone the city can be proud of,” she said.

Endter will present “Alice May Douglas, A Woman of Her Century” at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Patten Free Library. The talk is part of the Bath library’s Town History Series 2024.

“I realized that she was a fierce woman and worked for over a decade as a writer and editor of two papers published by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union,” Endter said. “She was writing between the time of the Civil War and World War I.”

Douglas often wrote about advocating for peace rather than war and militarism, a bold stance at that time, said Endter, a member of the Bath Historical Society and a retired educator and journalist.


“When she talked about peace, she knew what she was saying was controversial, but she said it anyway because she felt someone needed to,” she said.

While Douglas’ published poetry, such as “Who Loves the Trees Best?,” is still remembered by some, most have “forgotten the important journalism she turned out over the course of her life,” Endter said.

In addition to her anti-war writings, Douglas also wrote about alcohol dependency and the effect it had on families, about little boys playing with toy weapons, and about complex issues surrounding family separation and adoption.

Douglas also started a movement of “peace bands” for children, with branches in Palestine and Australia.

“She had international influence,” Endter said.

The Douglas family gravestone at Oak Grove Cemetery in Bath. Contributed / Ellen Endter

“This woman was very influential and most of us have never heard of her, so it’s worth listening to what she accomplished in her life,” said Nathan Lipfert, president of the Bath Historical Society.


“I hope people come away knowing more about her literary abilities and the idea that if she were alive today, she would have been on the progressive edge of things,” he said.

At home, Endter can imagine Douglas looking out of the same windows and occupying the same spaces.

“She lived and died in this house,” she said. “I live on the edge of the historic district, so pretty much what I’m seeing hasn’t changed since her time. It’s an interesting experience to think about her living in this space with her family.”

“There are many lessons to be learned from the past,” Endter said. “People have come before you and done and thought similar things.

“There are all kinds of interesting people who lived and worked in this city, and there still are.”

Endter’s presentation will also be available via Zoom. More information can be found at patten.lib.me.us.

Comments are not available on this story.