Portrait of Sumner Pike

Sumner T. Pike (1891-1976)

Patron and Friend


Sumner Pike was born on 30 August 1891 in Lubec, Maine.  Following his boyhood days in Lubec he attended Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, where he received the Bachelor of Arts in 1913.  He served in the U.S. Army as a Captain in the Coastal Artillery Corps from 1917-19.  After a varied career in public and private business Sumner was called upon by his government for a range of services beginning with a post as Business Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce in Washington, D.C. in 1939.  After serving as a member of the Temporary National Economics Committee for 1 year he served as Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission in Philadelphia for 6 years.  In 1946 President Truman named Sumner to the first U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, a post he held for 5 years.


Sumner Pike returned to his native state where he took up a distinguished career in state government.  He served as Chairman of Maine Public Utilities Commission and 10 years as State Representative to the Maine Legislature.  In 1964 President Johnson appointed Sumner as founding member of the Commission of Roosevelt Campobello International Park, on which he served for 10 years.


Sumner Pike had long been a friend and supporter of higher education.  For 28 years he served his alma mater as a member of the Board of Overseers of Bowdoin College.  In 1941 Bowdoin College formally recognized his contributions by conferring on him an honorary doctorate.  Bates College, Centre College, and Colby College have honored him in like manner.  He maintained interest in a wide range of professional and fraternal organizations such as the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, American Geological Society, Delta Upsilon, Phi Beta Kappa, Republican Mason Clubs, and was named to Who’s Who in America.


Sumner had a great appreciation for literature and was a major contributor to the holdings of Lubec’s library.  He was very interested in the botanical endeavors of Albion Hodgdon and Radford Pike in the Bay of Fundy and was especially aware of the value of specialty collections such as botanical literature to the augmentation of research efforts.  Thus the naming of the herbarium library as the Sumner Pike Library can only begin to express appreciation of this beloved man. The library was dedicated on 5 May 1978.


[portions excerpted from the dedication of the Sumner Pike Library, authored by Dr. A.L. Bogle]