Tarr, Joel A. Search for the Ultimate Sink: Urban Pollution in Historical Perspective. (Akron, OH: University of Akron Press, 1996).
Search for the Ultimate Sink will inform me of the history of pollution and the search for sustainable solutions. Tarr offers several explanations for big businesses’ ability to adopt the cheapest waste disposal solution available, without regard to future consequence. This will serve as a claim to test against the case of the Brown Company.
Martin V. Melosi. Effluent America: Cities, Industry, Energy, and the Environment. (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2001).
Effluent America will provide me a background on the urban-environmental relationship. Martin Melosi’s essays and articles will help me understand factors that led to the exploitation of the environment in America as it industrialized. As my project will focus on the negative consequences of industrial growth, it is essential that I am able to situate my study in the context of urban expansion. More generally, Melosi’s work will help me situate the Brown Company in a long history of industrial pollution. Moreover, his work will expand my knowledge of Environmental reform, which will allow me to closely scrutinize the Brown Company’s handling of pollution and compare it to other polluters.
John T. Cumbler, Reasonable Use: The People, the Environment, and the State, New England 1790–1930 (Oxford University Press, 2001).
Reasonable Use echoes Theodore Steinberg on citizens’ response to water pollution by mills, but he adds political analysis of their struggle. John Cumbler contrasts the approaches of T. Lyman III and Henry Bowditch (science to abate, vs. confront industry to prevent). Cumbler concludes the reformers laid useful legal groundwork but trusted too much in the ability of science to “transcend conflicts of interest.” I will use his work as a framework through which I can analyze the public’s response to the Brown Paper Company’s pollution of the Androscoggin. The framework will help me isolate unique and original strategies used against the Brown Company and evaluate the extent to which their actions were more effective than those employed in the region historically.
Wallace Scot McFarlane, Defining a Nuisance: Pollution, Science, and Environmental Politics on Maine’s Androscoggin River, Environmental History, Volume 17, Issue 2, April 2012, Pages 307–335, https://doi-org.proxy.libraries.rutgers.edu/10.1093/envhis/ems019 (Links to an external site.)
Wallace McFarlane digs deeper along the same line of inquiry as Cumbler, but adds a political component. In “Defining a Nuisance,” Cumbler explores the intersection of science and politics in the minds of residents along the Androscoggin. Relying on McFarlane’s work, I will be able to inquire more specifically about the Brown Company and Berlin’s residents. For example, McFarlane makes an argument regarding the public’s response to the pollution studied and explained in Walter Lawrence’s annual reports. Lawrence emphasized both science and public perception of the pollution problem to solve the problem. Yet, he discredited public protest and the need for legislative action, trusting instead in the mills respecting his advice and adopting measures suggested by science for clean-up and abatement. Instead, the mills paid half a million dollars to dump nearly 7,000 tons of sodium nitrate into the river in order to mask the smell. How did the Company come to this decision? I will test McFarlane’s claim that reformers like Lawrence failed to capitalize on the public’s embrace of ecology, which, strangely, made it impossible for Lawrence’s efforts to find success.
Ek, Monica, Göran Gellerstedt, and Gunnar Henriksson. 2009. Pulp and Paper Chemistry and Technology. Volume 2, Pulping Chemistry and Technology Berlin ;: De Gruyter,. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110213423.
Because my research focuses on the waste product of the pulping process, it is essential I understand it. This will serve as a reference for every step of the process that creates the waste, which polluted the Androscoggin.
Arsenault, Kerri. Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains. (St Martin’s Press, 2020).
Arsenault explores a neighboring paper mill town along the Androscoggin in Mill Town. In it she reveals the deep corruption that enabled the mill to skirt public opinion and continue polluting. Long-term this translated into a cancer rate so high, residents bagman calling it “cancer valley.” Not only do I need to consume Kerri’s recent scholarship for its historical relevancy to my project, but it will also allow me to make comparisons to the Brown Company’s handling of their waste.
Nadeau, Jacklyn. Postcard Series: Berlin. (Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2008).
One of very few comprehensive histories of Berlin, this photo essay will provide a broad overview of the development of Berlin. It will offer a perspective into the impact on daily life that that Brown Company had. Thus, I will be able to view the Brown Company’s actions in its appropriate context. For example, I expect to learn much about the standard of living for the town’s residents and company’s employees. Ideally, I will be able to locate more scholarly texts about the town.
Jones, Page Helm. Evolution of a Valley: The Androscoggin Story. (Canaan, New Hampshire: Phoenix Publishing Co., 1975).
This work is the closest resource to a social history of Berlin as can be found. Though the work primarily focuses on the lower Androscoggin, there is a significant section that explores the social and environmental impacts of two paper mills along the Androscoggin. This will give me a solid foundation from which to approach the social history of Berlin. I will be able to compare and contrast the Brown Company’s social impact to those further south.