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UMFK's Blake Gallery to feature local writer

February 11, 2005



This photo of notorious Alcatraz prisoner John Stadig, a native of this area, will be among the items on exhibit in the Blake Library Gallery at the University of Maine at Fort Kent beginning March 7.

The University of Maine at Fort Kent's Blake Gallery is featuring Alcatraz Eel: The John Stadig Files source material beginning March 7 through April 1.

In conjunction with the forthcoming publication of Alcatraz Eel, The John Stadig Files by author Darrell McBreairty of Allagash, Maine, an exhibit of the source material will be on display at UMFK's Blake Library Gallery

Included in this exhibition are the photographs used in Alcatraz Eel as well as additional family and newspaper photographs that do not appear in the book.

In addition to the books and magazines used as source material in the writing of Alcatraz Eel, copies of John Stadig's own writing as well as copies of telegrams and letters relating to him will also be available for viewing.

"With the Feds and media scrambling after him, John Millage Stadig established himself as the counterfeiter and escape artist to watch in 1930's America," said McBreairty. "Although Stadig did not escape Alcatraz by studying the feeding habits of the sharks in San Francisco Bay, he was one of the first civilian prisoners on the Rock."

Drawn from hundreds of pages of prison records, newspaper clippings and transcripts, Alcatraz Eel is an attempt at demythologizing the life of John Millage Stadig, a young man from Northern Maine and Western New Brunswick, who, through his own genius and daring, became a folk hero and legend in a decade of criminals comprising the likes of Al Capone, John Dillinger, Ma Barker, Bonnie and Clyde, Roy Gardner and Machine Gun Kelly.

Copies of Alcatraz Eel will be available from the author and at Country Cottage Bookstore in Fort Kent.

McBreairty's exhibit can be viewed during regular Blake Library hours. For more information on the exhibit or library hours, contact gallery curator Sofia Birden at 834-7527.