Neil Rolde was a renowned Maine historian, former politician, and philanthropist. As a youth, he attended Phillips Academy in Andover, where instructors encouraged his writing talents. He went on to Yale University and earned a bachelor of arts before attending Columbia University, where he received a masters in journalism.
Rolde grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts. He worked as a film writer before moving to Maine with his wife, Carlotta Florsheim, to raise their family. In York they brought up four wonderful children and enjoyed family visits with their eight grandchildren.
Neil Rolde’s many years of public service included being assistant to Governor Kenneth M. Curtis of Maine for six years and sixteen years as an elected representative in the Maine Legislature. He represented his district of York and became majority leader of the Maine House during the 107th Legislature from 1975 to ’77. He became the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in 1990 in an election bid against Bill Cohen.
Many of Neil Rolde’s books involve the history of Maine and its people. The plight of Native Americans has been a recurring theme in Rolde’s life since his childhood, and he helped Maine’s tribes while he worked in the Curtis administration. His experiences led him to write one of Maine’s definitive historical books: Unsettled Past, Unsettled Future: The Story of Maine Indians.
More recently Neil focused on the plight of Jews during WWII and the Holocaust in a four-part series published by Polar Bear & Company: Breckinridge Long: American Eichmann??? An Enquiry into the Character of the Man who Denied Visas to the Jews; Crimes of War; More Than a Teardrop in the Ocean, Volume I: The Tempestuous History of the War Refuge Board and Volume II: More of The Tempestuous History of the War Refuge Board; his last book in this series, The Bricha, will be published posthumously.
The author won awards for his books from the Maine Historical Society, the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, and the Maine Humanities Council. Neil was very involved in the York community and remained politically active until his death in May, 2017.
Neil served as chairman of the board of the Save our Shipyard nonprofit that successfully fought the potential cuts to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard proposed by the BRAC federal commission, twice.
Neil Rolde also served on many state boards and commissions, including the Maine Health Care Reform Commission, the Maine Historic Preservation, and the Maine Arts and Humanities Commission. His expertise led him to sit on many private nonprofit boards, and he became chairman of Maine Public Broadcasting Corporation, vice chair of the University of New England Board of Trustees, chairman of the Board of Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, chairman of Seacoast Shipyard Association Executive Board, and trustee of the Maine Health Care Access Foundation. He was also advisory board member of the Solon Center for Research and Publishing.
A list of Neil Rolde’s books:
- More Than a Teardrop in the Ocean, Volume I: The Tempestuous History of the War Refuge Board
- More Than a Teardrop in the Ocean, Volume II: More of the Tempestuous History of the War Refuge Board
- Real Political Tales: Short Stories by a Veteran Politicians
- Crimes of War
- Breckenridge Long: American Eichmann??? An Enquiry into the Character of the Man who Denied Visas to the Jews
- Continental Liar from the State of Maine: James G. Blaine
- Unsettled Past, Unsettled Future: The Story of Maine Indians
- The Interrupted Forest: A History of Maine’s Wildlands
- Maine: A Narrative History
- Maine, Downeast and Different: An Illustrated History
- An Illustrated History of Maine
- Your Money or Your Health: America’s Cruel, Bureaucratic, and Horrendously Expensive Health Care System: How It Got That Way and What to Do About It
- Rio Grande Do Norte: The Story of Maine’s Partner State in Brazil: What It’s Like, What It’s Past Has Been, and What Are Its Ties to Maine
- The Baxters of Maine: Downeast Visionaries
- So You Think You Know Maine
- Maine in the World: Stories of Some of Those from Here Who Went Away
- O. Murray Carr: A Novel
- Sir William Pepperrell of Colonial New England
Contributor as a historian and writer to:
- To Katahdin: The 1876 Adventures of Four Young Men and a Boat
- Greatest Mountain: Katahdin’s Wilderness