Doctor Herman Wesley Small who was born in Deer Isle and was educated as a physician in Vermont, came to Swan's Island to practice as a country doctor. He married a Swan's Island girl, Hattie E. Joyce. Herman and Hattie began a family and the doctor visiting many islanders, became very interested in the history of Swan's Island as well as aware of the lack of recorded Island history facts.

Dr. Small was able to visit and discuss the original pioneer settlers of the Island with members of the second and later generations of those families, who had especially alert memories and were able to provide many facts and dates.

From the information he gathered, Doctor Small wrote a book called the "History of Swan's Island" and had a small printing published in about 1898. Many islanders purchased and retained copies for their family records. In 1973 the Swan's Island Educational Society had an additional 1000 reproduction copies printed and sold these during ensuing years.

After publishing his book, and after he left the Island for further education and while serving as a doctor in Deer Isle and Portland, Dr. Small worked on a second edition. He died in 1937.

Only recently has a portion (fewer than 100 pages) of this second edition been located. It appears to have been type-set, indicating it might have been printed. The text also indicates that Dr. Small completed his manuscript in 1 September of 1933 after extensive research.

A search is continuing for a complete copy of this missing book.

Meanwhile we will provide on the Swan's Island website portions of what is currently available as they can be prepared. Each section is in Adobe Acrobat Reader-compatible "PDF" format that can be downloaded for reading and retention.

Download for FREE from Adobe's website

The sections available here are (click on title to download section):

Where Dr. Hermon W. Small's Swan's Island history research materials might have gone?

Dr. Small closed out his History of Swan's Island, Second Edition in September of 1933. Apparently he was living in Portland at that time. He died over four years later in Portland in December of 1937 at age 72.

A recently (2005) located portion of a manuscript or printer's proof containing several of the first pages of his second edition has been located.

  • Did he ever get it printed and published?
  • Did something such as illness, finances, or family needs prevent completion of his project?
  • Did his materials get discarded?
  • Were his materials given to a library, historical society, or some state archive?
  • Were his materials given to one of his siblings? For example a brother Amos, also a Doctor, lived until 1953, the year before Hermon's wife, Hattie died.
  • Were his materials given to his daughter, Edith (Cook?)?
  • Were his materials given to a relative of Mrs. Small? Did any of her siblings survive her?
  • Did Dr. Benjamin Lake Noyes noted historian of Deer Isle, with whom Dr. Small conferred on historical matters obtain Dr. Small's material and include it in his voluminous collection? Dr. Noyes lived until 1945. His collection is preserved at the Deer Isle historical Society in Deer Isle (Sunset).
  • Is there any possibility that the printing company that worked to produce the recently located partial manuscript was purchased by some other company that retained the source or some copy?

In his second edition, Dr. Small mentions he was a member of the Maine Historical Society. Might he or his wife left his research material to them?