A Biography of Ethelyn Pinkham Giles of Boothbay Harbor and Southport
by Chip Griffin
Published in 1999
Ethelyn Pinkham Giles is different; indeed she is unique. She was born on September 22, 1904, and her life has spanned virtually the entire century. Her distinctiveness has allowed her to lead her siblings, her family, and her community in many different ways.
Ethelyn’s character and canniness catapulted her into becoming a community leader, even in her youth. She was the eldest of her siblings; the first and only “boy” as far as her father was concerned, doing a man’s work from early childhood. At age thirteen in 1917, she was the first female driver in the Boothbay Region, initially behind her mother’s back and later in open defiance of her mother’s protests. She was the first female cabdriver in the area, and the first female owner of a taxicab business in the area. She was the first successful realtor in the Boothbay Region-prominent for fifty years and preeminent for her last thirty years-and the first female selectman in Boothbay Harbor.
Her memory of a century’s worth of detail is extremely sharp, from a cozy Southport community in the early part of our century, to the prohibition raids and social escapades of the 1920s and ’30s, to the wartime and the post-war societal transformation of the 1940s and ’50s, to the business boom and drug runners of the 1960s and 70s, and finally to the renewed emphasis on family and community in the 1980s and ’90s. The stories she tells reflect the grist and grit of local life, so come along for a rollicking ride!
Cozy Beginnings: 1904-1917
Growing Up: 1917-1922
Young Adulthood: 1923-1935
Real Estate Beginnings: 1935-1941
World War II Era: 1940-1945
Postwar Building: 1945-1950s
Boom Years: 1960s-1970s
Energetic Retirement Years: 1980s-1990s