Founded in 1959 by Grace Dow and Dorothy Healy to honor, preserve, and make available the writings of Maine women who have achieved literary recognition, the Collection now has over 8,000 volumes on more than 500 Maine women. The Collection also includes correspondence, photographs, personal papers, manuscripts, typescripts, artifacts, and audio recordings that provide insight into the lives and writing of both well-known and obscure authors. The Collection maintains an acqusitions program in contemporary and historic manuscript material as well as in rare books.
Holdings are especially strong in nineteenth and twentieth-century resources. Published material ranges from rare books, pamphlets, and broadsides to newspapers and literary and popular journals. Among the Collection's unpublished materials are travel journals, diaries, correspondence, photographs, manuscripts, artwork, material culture, memorabilia, artists' books, and children's literature. The MWWC also holds records of women's organizations such as Maine Media Women, The Mount Vernon Ladies Association of the Union (Maine Chapter), the National League of Pen Women (Augusta Branch), and the Massachusetts branch of the National Women's Party (a suffrage organization). The Collection's prominent subject areas include women's literary and social history, the suffrage and women's movements, women's health and medicine, women's sexuality, family culture, nature and the environment, spiritualism, New England studies, and Maine history.