Paul A. Knaut, Jr. was born July 9, 1917, in Quincy, MA, the son of Paul A. and Marion (Tirrell) Knaut. Paul graduated from Thayer Academy in Quincy, where he was known for his talent as an exhibition ball room dancer. He attended Northeast University and the University of Maine at Orono, where he later taught courses on photography. His college career was interrupted when he was drafted into World War II. He later moved to Dover-Foxcroft and became a pioneer in Maine scenic photography. He was nationally recognized for his postcards, calendars and 3-D reels depicting the Maine coast and wilderness areas. He was also an amateur weatherman, recording for NOAA and broadcasting on local radio and television stations for over a decade.