Elizabeth Arden was an originator in commercializing and globalizing the luxury beauty industry in the early- to mid- twentieth century. Among her innovations was America’s first destination spa to offer both beauty treatments and health and weight loss regimes. The spa, called “Maine Chance Farm” opened in 1934 in Mount Vernon, Maine. The spa boasted its combination of the secluded, Maine countryside location and the high-end services of the Arden Salon as the luxurious way to for the tired urbanite to lose winter pounds. Movie stars and artists, including Lillian Gish and Ava Gardner, society women and wives of wealthy industry men all patronized the business.

This project aims to create a digital archive of Maine Chance Farm. It collects and digitizes, in searchable format, oral histories of Maine residents who worked at Maine Chance before it closed in 1969, and an array of other materials, including real estate deeds, newspaper and magazine articles, advertisements, photographs, recipes, and vintage beauty technologies such as face patters, rollers, and passive exercise machines that would have been in use at the spa. The final goal of the project is to create an interactive web page that lets visitors browse materials and contribute their own digitized materials to the archive.

The USM Digital Commons repository contains the materials collected so far. It is organized by item type, and can be searched by the name of the contributor. If you have any questions about the materials or would like to contribute your own materials to this collection, please contact the project manager, Lisa Walker, at lwalker@maine.edu.


Browse the Maine Chance Farm Collections:


Farm Ephemera

Maine Chance Farm Images

Oral Histories