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A History of Pets

Pets are a part of American life – especially for those that live here in Maine. Roughly 62% of Maine households own at least one pet, qualifying this state to be in the top five most-pet-owning states.

A family pet is not new to our culture – dogs, cats and farm animals have been companions to humans for thousands of years.

Welcome to this visual exhibit that employs archival photos from the Brick Store Museum’s archives to illustrate our pet-owning history. Many of the photographs on this page, unless otherwise noted, were taken by turn-of-the-20th century local photographer Albion Moody, who owned his studio on Main Street in Kennebunk. Upon his passing, his daughter, Lillian, took over his photography business.


Edith Barry, Museum Founder

The Museum’s founder, Edith Barry, and her family owned dogs, cats and horses throughout her life. As an adult, she owned a bull terrier named Topper, which she shared with her sister, Julia. Because she was an artist, Topper became the subject of several pieces of her work – including dual bronze statues.

Below, here are some Barry family photos featuring their pets over the years.

Click on the thumbnail of each photo to expand it.

Kennebunk Family Dogs

Explore more of Kennebunkers’ family dogs below! Families thought so much of their dogs that they paid for a photograph of them – much like we would do today!

Most of these images stem from the turn of the 20th century, but sadly, are not labeled with names. Click on the thumbnail of each photo to expand it.

As you explore, think about these questions:

  1. Do any of these pets look like your own?
  2. What breeds of dogs and cats can you see?
  3. Which pet is your favorite?
  4. What do you think their names are?

More to Explore

Home video of Edith Barry visiting her sister in California, c.1948, with their dog Topper starring in the movie! This home movie was recently digitized through the Museum’s IMLS-funded digitization initiative.