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Shirley Nelson collection of Shiloh material

Identifier: MC020

Scope and Content Note

The collection includes various materials created by or related to Sandford and his Shiloh community, including various Shiloh publications, photographs, correspondence, and audio recordings of interviews. In addition, there are several publications and a college paper written about Shiloh, a diary of a Coronet crew member, Sandford's autobiographical account, newspaper articles from the Lisbon Enterprise and material on Frank Sandford's manslaughter trials. Also includes more recent material on the Kingdom, including letters to the membership and Shirley Nelson's research material including the updated page notes from "Fair, Clear and Terrible."


  • 1853 - 2005
  • Majority of material found within 1896 - 1998


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research, except where noted within individual series notes. Please consult the archives staff for more information.

Use Restrictions

The collection is the physical property of Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library. Bates College holds literary rights only for material created by College personnel working on official behalf of the College, or for material which was given to the College with such rights specifically assigned. For all other material, literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining permission from rights holders for publication or other purposes that exceed fair use.

Historical Note

Shirley Nelson, whose parents grew up in the Shiloh community, is the author of Fair, Clear and Terrible: The Story of Shiloh, and is the compiler of this collection of material related to Frank Weston Sandford and his Shiloh sectarian community which flourished at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Frank Weston Sandford was born on October 2, 1862, in Bowdoinham, Maine. In 1882, he entered Bates College and was a star player on the baseball team. After graduating in June 1886, Sandford entered the Maine State Seminary in September, having decided to pass up offers to play professional baseball. However, he stayed there for only three months and on New Years' Day 1887, Sandford was ordained a Freewill Baptist minister.

Sandford preached in several towns in his area until 1893, when he resigned his pastorate and became an independent evangelist. He soon founded The Kingdom as an evangelistic, apocalyptic Christian movement. A few years later, in 1896, Sandford and several others began construction of a Bible school in Durham, Maine, called Shiloh. Shiloh would eventually grow into a self-contained town of over 600 people.

The Kingdom sought to prepare the world through prayer for Christ's second coming. As a means of doing this, Sandford and some of his followers made the first of several voyages around the world on the schooner Coronet in 1907. Following a voyage in 1911, on which several of his crew died from scurvy and starvation, Sandford was convicted of causing death at sea and served nearly seven years in the Federal penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia. Although the Shiloh community ended shortly after his release, Sandford continued to lead his followers while in strict seclusion until his death in March 1948.

Most of the Shiloh complex is gone today. However, The Kingdom still maintains a headquarters, now located in Dublin, New Hampshire, and has approximately 2,000 members nationwide.


3.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Comprised of various Shiloh publications, photographs, correspondence, audio recordings, and newspaper articles and other writings related to Frank Sandford, the Shiloh religious community he founded in Durham, Maine, and the Kingdom religious philosophy he espoused. The material was collected by Shirley Nelson, whose parents Arnold and Merlyn Brackett White, grew up in the community. Some of the material in the collection was compiled by Mr. White for his book, "The Almighty and Us: the Inside Story of Shiloh, Maine."

Organization and Arrangement

Organized into eight series: I. Shiloh Publications; II. Writings about Shiloh; III. Correspondence; IV Lawsuits against Frank W. Sandford; V. Audio Recordings; VI. Photographs; VII. Kingdom letters to members and related material; and VIII. Research material and notes

Acquisition and Custody Information

Gift of Shirley Nelson. Accession No.: xx-049, 06-013.

Processing Information

Initial arrangement and description by Scott Kelly, Class 2000.

Final arrangement and description by Kurt Kuss, Special Collections Librarian, 2002.

Finding aid revised by Pat Webber, 2023.

Guide to the Shirley Nelson collection of Shiloh material, 1853-2005
Edited Full Draft
Kurt Kuss
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Description is in: English
Edition statement

Repository Details

Part of the Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library Repository

70 Campus Avenue
Lewiston Maine 04240 United States of America
207-755-5911 (Fax)