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Sarah Parker Rice Goodwin

sarah Parker Rice Goodwin / SeacoastNH.comSEACOAST BOOKS

A new book looks deeply into the life of the wife of New Hampshire’s Civil War governor. It is written, in a sense, by Sarah Goodwin herself because it includes much of her 19th century journals. Also the author has portrayed Mrs. Goodwin (1805-1896) for years as a re-enactor at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, NH. This rare look into the mind of 19th century woman is available in paperback from Back Channel Press.



Sarah – Her Story:
The Life Story of sarah Parker Rice Goodwin
Wife of Ichabod Goodwin, New Hampshire’s Civil War Governor

Kelly as Mrs Sarah Goodwin at Strawbery BankeChances are, unless you are a local history fanatic, you’ve never heard of Sarah Goodwin’s husband. Ichabod Goodwin was governor of New Hampshire during the Civil War. Goodwin quickly responded to the war effort by using his own funds as a wealthy merchant to leverage the money needed to equip two local regiments. His small fame today remains because the governor’s mansion was moved to Strawbery Banke Museum in 1963. And the park named his honor, bearing the city’s largest Civil War monument, was recently restored at a cost of $250,000.

But what about Sarah? The governor’s wife had seven children (four died young) and managed her household in difficult times. Sarah Goodwin kept detailed journals, forcing herself to focus on the best things in her life, and offering a female perspective of life in Portsmouth after the war. Often such records go unread, but writer Margaret Whyte Kelly had good reason to dig into Sarah’s past. Margaret was Sarah; she re-enacted her life for years at Strawbery Banke Museum. And so she was the ideal person to tell the story of the character she knows better than anyone alive.

This book is another in the rapidly-appearing series of local histories by the newly named Back Channel Press, creators of Placenames of Portsmouth. To date the publishing team of Nancy and John Grossman had produced six books with two about to be released. Their efforts at adapting on demand publishing (ODP) is creating a mini-revolution in the creation of books on local topics. Sarah – Her Story is another example of a book that might never have been a book without this affordable new technology.

Sarah – Her Story
By Margaret Whyte Kelly
Back Channel Press (2006)
Contact the Publisher

Goodwin Mansion in an early postcard /

arah~Her Story is the story of a woman, a family, a time, a region and a nation. Commenting on everyday life in 19th-century Portsmouth and the nation, Sarah Goodwin details history from a woman's point of view. Based on memoirs she titled Pleasant Memories, her daily journals and other family correspondence, Sarah chronicles the events, innovations and ideas that arose during her lifetime and the impact they had on the city of Portsmouth during this pivotal period in American history.

Sarah -- Her Story byBack Channel pressThe book recalls the life of Sarah Parker Rice Goodwin (1805-1896), a prominent resident of Portsmouth in the 19th century. Ms. Kelly was first introduced to Mrs. Goodwin when she was chosen to portray her at Strawbery Banke Museum (home to the Goodwin mansion since 1963). It was a good fit, since Ms. Kelly has acting experience, loves history and is a writer, often keeping a journal as Mrs. Goodwin did. Ms. Kelly became intrigued reading Mrs. Goodwin's journal (a copy of which was given to the museum by the Goodwin family) and then she was hooked. On her own time, she spent many hours researching the family and their lives in Portsmouth.

Sarah - Her Story is the result of a modern woman's research into what some might view as a typical Victorian woman. Ms. Kelly says, "Mrs. Goodwin was far from typical. Although she was bound by the conventions of the 1800s, she did not always agree with or abide by them." Her family was wealthy and prominent. However, even as a child she was independent enough to wander down to the docks alone to watch the ships come in. As an adult and the wife of New Hampshire's Civil War-era governor Ichabod Goodwin, she made her opinions known, including her belief that women should have the right to vote. "We can all learn something from this unique lady of the 1800s," says Ms. Kelly.

For more information on the book, or to arrange a reading, contact Margaret Whyte Kelly at 207-646-9755.

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