Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History

Sauer, Anne

Branco, Jessica

Bennett, John

Crowley, Zachary


Harpswell Laboratory, 1898-1922


The Harspwell Laboratory, located in South Harpswell, Maine, was established by Tufts in 1898 to offer research opportunities for both undergraduates and professional researchers interested in marine biology.

In 1898, Professor John Kingsley of the Tufts College Department of Biology decided to start a summer school for biology students on the grounds of his cottage in South Harpswell, Maine. Tufts agreed to sponsor the school, and in 1901 the college paid for the construction of a nine-room laboratory, on Kingsley's property but much closer to the shoreline than his cottage. In the summer of 1902, the Tufts College Summer School of Biology officially opened, offering classes for twenty dollars each. By 1906, however, the school was discontinued and the facility became entirely devoted to research. Researchers from various universities including Colby, Harvard, and Clark traveled to Maine to work at the Harpswell Laboratory.

In 1913, Tufts cut most of its formal ties with the laboratory and it was established as a scientific corporation under the laws of the State of Maine. This was probably because Professor Kingsley, after a dispute with trustee Austin Fletcher, had resigned his post at Tufts. For the next seven years, however, Tufts continued to support the laboratory, reserving a room for Tufts researchers annually. By 1920, its last year as a research laboratory, Harspwell had provided facilities for over ninety-two researchers, who in turn published a total of more than one hundred and ten papers.

The financial drain of World War I, however, proved too much for the laboratory. In 1920, after it became clear that there was no more room or funds for expansion on the Harpswell property, the laboratory and moved. "The Wild Gardens of Acadia" Corporation, of which Harpswell Laboratory was a member, offered the lab new facilities on Mt. Desert Island, Maine, in return for a name change. In 1922, Harpswell Laboratory changed its name to Mt. Desert Island Laboratory and moved to its new home. Tufts attempted to keep its connection with the lab, offering the laboratory trustees the deed to the Harpswell property in return for a permanent room in the new facility, but was denied. The laboratory trustees did not want to be permanently affiliated with any university, and returned the Harpswell deed to Tufts. In 1922, all ties between Tufts and the Harpswell Laboratory were severed.

Tufts eventually sold the Harpswell property. Novelist Edith Dorian purchased the Kingsley cabin, while the laboratory was purchased and renovated by Guy Coolidge. The Coolidge property burned to the ground in the early 1960's.

Source: UA#19/Box#1

Subject terms:
  • The encyclopedia seeks to capture more than 150 years of Tufts' achievements, societal contributions and outstanding alumni and faculty in concise entries. As a source of accurate factual information, the Encyclopedia can be used by anyone interested in the history of Tufts and of the people who have made it the unique institution it is.
This object is in collection Subject Temporal Permanent URL
Component ID:
To Cite:
TARC Citation Guide    EndNote
Detailed Rights
View all images in this book
Numeric Entries
Dame, Lorin Low, 1838-1903
Dana, Charles A., 1881-1975
Dana Laboratory, 1963
Daniel Ounjian Prize in Economics,
Davies, Caroline Stodder, 1864-1939
Davies House, 1894
De Florez Prize in Human Engineering, 1964
de Pacheco, Kaye MacKinnon, ca. 1910-ca. 1985
Dean Hall, 1887-1963
Dean, Oliver, 1783-1871
Dearborn, Heman Allen, 1831-1897
Department of Anatomy and Cellular Biology, 1893
Department of Anesthesia, 1970
Department of Art and Art History, 1930
Department of Biochemistry, 1893
Department of Chemistry, 1882
Department of Community Health, 1930
Department of Dermatology, 1897
The Department of Economics, 1946
Department of Medicine, 1893
Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology
Department of Neurology, 1893
Department of Neuroscience, 1983
Department of Neurosurgery, 1951
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1893
Department of Ophthamology, 1893
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, 1906
Department of Otolaryngology, 1895
Department of Pathology, 1893
Department of Pediatrics, 1930
Department of Pharmacology, 1915
Department of Physics and Astronomy, 1854
Department of Physiology, 1893
Department of Psychiatry, 1928
Department of Radiation Oncology, 1968
Department of Radiology, 1915
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, 1955
Department of Surgery, 1893
Department of Urban and Environmental Policy, 1973
Department of Urology, 1910
Dental Health Sciences Building, 1969
Dewick, Cora Alma (Polk), 1875-1977
Dewick/MacPhie Dining Hall, 1959
Dickson Professorship of English and American History, 1913
Dirlam, Arland A., 1905-1979
Dog Cart, 1900
Dolbear, Amos Emerson, 1837-1910
Donald A. Cowdery Memorial Scholarship, 1946
Dr. Benjamin Andrews Professorship of Surgery, 1987
Dr. Philip E. A. Sheridan Prize, 1977
The Drug Bust, 1970
Dudley, Henry Watson, 1831-1906
Dugger, Edward Jr., 1919-75
Durkee, Frank W., 1861-1939
Durkee, Henrietta Noble Brown, 1871-1946
 List of Sources