Browse Collections: 24

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Seacoast NH LGBTQ+ Oral History Project

The NH Seacoast LGBT History Project was founded by Tom Kaufhold in 2015. Tom had been collecting papers, ephemera, and artifacts related to or created by the LGBTQ+ community on the Seacoast region of New Hampshire. To tell the story more fully, Holly Cashman, a professor at the University of New Hampshire, began collecting oral histories from the same community. With the assistance of interns and student workers, Dr. Cashman conducted ten interviews over a six-year period. The team processed…
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Card Photographs

This collection contains photographs that have been mounted on cardboard and may include cartes de visite, cabinet cards, and stereoviews, among other types. These photographs were pulled from the library’s vertical files, donations, and general photograph collection. Additions and their exact provenance are noted in the container listing of the finding aid. These images were scanned by library page Isabelle Kirwin in February 2020.

Portsmouth Scrapbooks

Between 1918 and 1949 staff members of the Portsmouth Public Library clipped articles from The Portsmouth Herald and other newspapers and glued them into 42 scrapbooks. The articles they selected for these scrapbooks covered such world changing events as WWI and WWII, as well as local concerns, such as news of an upcoming garden tour, a new movie by Louis DeRochemont, layoffs at the Navy Yard, or the election of the first city manager in Portsmouth. In short, these scrapbooks provide us with a…

Women Singing OUT! Recordings

Women Singing OUT! formed in 1999 as a lesbian-based choir focused on social change. They promoted tolerance, diversity, peace, and hope. WSO performed a wide range of musical styles and held biannual concerts in winter and late spring. Led by artistic directors Claudia Frost and later Dr. Deirdre McClure, they practiced weekly at Christ Episcopal Church in Portsmouth. WSO disbanded in 2017.There are eight albums represented in this collection: The Beauty Around Us (2002), We Are Family (2005),…

"Eastbound Limited" Scripts

“Eastbound Limited” was a scripted, weekly radio drama that aired on WHEB, a station owned by Granite State Broadcasting Corp. and operated out of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Each episode functioned as a show-within-a-show with the program guided by the conductor of the Eastbound Limited, a train that traversed the tracks of New England, heavily favoring New Hampshire. The conductor would introduce a stand-alone drama based on the location of the train. The radio show had a cast and crew that…
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NH Seacoast LGBT History Project Video Archive

Tom Kaufhold founded the NH Seacoast LGBT History Project in 2015 to “research, document, and preserve the history of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people on the Seacoast of New Hampshire with emphasis on Portsmouth."Project members contributed materials that tell stories about the LGBTQIA+ community. The papers and ephemera are held at the Portsmouth Athenaeum while the library maintains the media archive. Video and audio recordings have been digitized by history project interns and…
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Cemetery Records

Portsmouth's historic cemeteries serve as gateways to the past. The records in this collection will be useful to genealogists, historians, and family members of the deceased. Our collection includes information about the following cemeteries, including maps and plot locations: Cotton Cemetery, Elmwood Cemetery, Harmony Grove Cemetery, North Cemetery, Proprietor's Cemetery, Sagamore Cemetery, and Union Cemetery.To view a complete record book or to see a map in more detail, click the PDF name…
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Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Strawbery Banke Slide Collection

English colonists established a settlement in Portsmouth in 1623 and called it “Strawbery Banke.” This area of Portsmouth, which came to be known as Puddle Dock, has cultural and historical importance to the city. In order to help tell the story of the area, Strawbery Banke Museum was developed in 1958, following urban renewal efforts that demolished much of Puddle Dock and the South End. Today, Strawbery Banke Museum sits on 10 acres of land and is home to 32 historic buildings. The 29 slides…

Cold War Portsmouth

The Cold War was a 45-year standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies. In the years following WWII, the US and the USSR began building and testing atomic weapons and the threat of nuclear annihilation was never far from anyone’s mind. Thus began a nuclear stalemate that would last until the 1990s. Arguably, it was the 1950s that experienced the strongest impact of the standoff. America had just survived WWII and now had to watch an arms race escalate on…

Haven School Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) Collection

Parent-Teacher Associations have existed since the late 1890s. These groups advocate for improvements in the lives of children as demonstrated by the instrumental role they played in the adoption of school lunches, the institution of child labor laws, and the promotion of transportation safety, sex education, and tobacco and alcohol education. Through the years, Portsmouth schools adopted their own PTAs, including Haven School in the South End which opened in 1846. The Haven School PTA was a…
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The Higgins Family Photograph Collection

The Higgins Family Photograph Collection consists of over 300 digital images primarily taken in the late 1800s through the first half of the 20th century. The images capture the everyday moments as well as the celebratory occasions of a family living in Portsmouth’s South End neighborhood.The original photographs come from the collection of Kathryn (Casey) Higgins (b. 1882). She is credited with the photography of much of the collection. The photos were provided to the library by the late J.…

Helen Pearson Portfolio

The items in this collection are part of Helen Pearson's portfolio of work that she created around the time she attended Cowles School of Art in Boston. Portsmouth Herald newspaper articles place her there in 1890, though some of her pieces are dated in the surrounding years.Many of the original pieces included in the portfolio are unfinished drawings and sketches. Pearson primarily used charcoal and graphite pencil. She continued to work with graphite throughout her career, most notably in her…

Community Diary: Portsmouth COVID-19 Pandemic 2020

The Portsmouth Public Library is endeavoring to historically document this unusual time in our shared Portsmouth, New Hampshire History. As always, staff of the Special Collections Room are physically collecting printed accounts, articles, and documents for the history files.To further our mission to document and make accessible Portsmouth history, we have started this diary project to capture the social, economic and personal accounts of the impact this pandemic has had on our residents and…

Henry Clay Barnabee Collection

Henry Clay Barnabee was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 1833, the son of a stage-driver turned innkeeper in Portsmouth. At the age of twenty, Barnabee moved to Boston, where he worked in the dry goods business while also pursuing acting and amateur singing. In 1859, he married Clara George of Portsmouth in Warner, New Hampshire, where her family originated. They made their home in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. In 1865, Barnabee made his formal performance debut and began touring New…
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Portsmouth 350, Inc.: 350th Anniversary Materials

Historic materials from the 350th anniversary of the City of Portsmouth, celebrated in 1973.
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The Dorothy Sturgis Harding Christmas Card Collection

This collection of 19 original Christmas cards was created by artist and long-time Portsmouth resident Dorothy Sturgis Harding (1891-1978). These cards are part of a larger amalgamation of Harding memorabilia and were gifted to the Library by Portsmouth resident Joan Christy in January 2018. The Dorothy Sturgis Harding Christmas Cards are drawn in pen and ink on card stock and were used for holiday greetings in years spanning 1947 through 1976. According to local residents, Harding's…
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The Helen Pearson Drawings

A series of drawings created between 1908-1913 by local artist and Portsmouth native, Helen Pearson (1870-1949). In 1993, local historian and long-time editor of the Portsmouth Herald, Ray Brighton called Helen Pearson “…one of the best artists Portsmouth ever produced whose talent has been largely forgotten.” Born in Portsmouth on Nov. 13, 1870, Pearson was trained as a concert pianist and attended Boston’s Cowles Art School. She played piano with the Schenectady Symphony Orchestra in New…

The Helen Pearson Bookplate Collection

A collection of 336+ historic bookplates and corresponding material from local artist and musician Helen Pearson. These bookplates were accumulated from her travels, acquaintances, other collectors and membership into several national and international bookplate societies. The collection was initially created and organized by Pearson. It arrived at Portsmouth Public Library as a bequest upon her passing on August 19, 1949. The collection was added to and at least partially mounted by then…
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Louis J. Mackles Postcard

This collection of 400+ postcards, depicting buildings and scenes of Portsmouth and the Seacoast area, was donated to the Portsmouth Public Library by the family of Louis J. Mackles in May of 2015. It was given specifically by Ross A. Moldoff, Gloria F. Moldoff and Harold Moldoff, who felt the collection should be made available for study and enjoyment. The rehousing of the physical collection into archival albums was made possible by the Moldoffs as well. Mr. Mackles collected postcards…
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The Adams Collection

This collection is an assemblage of work by Captain Edward H. Adams. They are photographic representations of The Adams Collection which includes about 175 of his original models and carvings. The Adams Collection was previously housed at the Sheafe Warehouse, and is now cared for by the Special Collections staff at Portsmouth Public Library, on behalf of the City of Portsmouth Trustees of the Trust. The Captain was born Edward Hamlin Adams to Joseph and Olive Adams on October 22, 1860.…

Sarah Haven Foster Wildflowers

The Portsmouth Public Library’s Special Collections Room holds several albums containing nearly 1000 individual Sarah Haven Foster watercolors. These were painted locally and during travels abroad. They depict a wide array of buildings, landscapes, and wild flowers. Most of the images are painted in miniature, some as small as postage stamps. Sarah Haven Foster (1827-1900), was the daughter of John Welsh Foster (1789-1852) and Mary (Appleton) Foster. She had one sister, Mary Appleton Foster,…