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Nutter House Postcard Tour

Grampa Nutter Postcards of the Thomas Bailey Aldrich House Museum in Portsmouth, NH /


A room by room postcard tour of the 1907 "Nutter" House. This is where "bad boy" Tom Bailey did his mischief in the classic "Story of a Bad Boy" by Thomas Bailey Aldrich. Now part of Strawbery Banke Museum, the Aldrich Memorial was Portsmouth’s historic house open to the public 



READ Story of a Bad Boy Online 

Inside the Thomas Baley Aldrich Memorial
JUMP TO: Downstairs / Upstairs / Outdoors 

It was from this very house that the infamous young Tom Bailey got into so much mischief in pre-Civil War Portsmouth, NH. "Story of a Bad Boy" by Thomas Bailey Aldrich was one of America's first juvenile classics focus on, not a fairy tale, but a REAL boy, and it helped kick off a genre of boys books that included works by Mark Twain and Horatio Alger. After his boyhood summer at Grampa

Nutter's house on Court Street and a hitch in the Civil War, Aldrich published his groundbreaking novel in 1869. After his death in 1907, the house was restored to its mid-1800s appearance and opened as a museum. Back then most visitors were very familiar with the book, and the unassuming house became a literary shrine for those who treasured the Tom Bailey tales. Readers remembered Tom’ss first love, backyard fisticuffs, the day the rascals burned a carriage in Market Square, when they fired an old cannon by the river, or took on the rival neighborhood gang in a giant snowball fight.

Today the house is still as it was, open to the public as part of a Strawberry Banke Museum tour. We've included some quotes from the book. Most of the colorized black and white photos here were sold as a souvenir package to visitors and came in an envelope with a printed tour. You can find this series often on eBay. Don’t pay too much. There are lots of copies around. – JDR

Thomas Bailey Aldrich House exterior / SeacoastNH.coom


"The house abutted directly on the street; the granite doorstep was almost flush with the sidewalk, and the huge old- fashioned brass knocker extended itself in a kind of grim appeal to everybody. It seemed to possess strange fascinations for all seafaring folk; and when there was a man-of-war in port, the rat-tat-tat of that knocker would frequently startle the quiet neighborhood long after midnight." -- from Story of a Bad Boy (1869) by TB Aldrich

Continue with NUTTER HOUSE TOUR / Downstairs

Downstairs at the Aldirch Memorial

Front Hall Aldrich House / SeacoastNH.coom


"Imagine ... a wide hall running through the middle. At your right hand, as you enter, stands a tall mahogany clock, looking like an Egyptian mummy set up on end." -- from Story of a Bad Boy (1869)

Grampa Nutter Parlor in Portsmouth, NH /


"The walls are covered with pictured paper, representing landscapes and sea-views - for example this enlivening figure is repeated all over the room: A group of English peasants wearing Italian hats are dancing on a lawn that abruptly resolves itself into a sea beach, upon which stands a flabby fisherman (nationality unknown), quietly hauling in what appears to be a small whale, and totally regardless of the dreadful naval combat going on just beyond the end of his fishing-rod. On the other side of the ships is the main- land again, with the same peasants dancing." -- from Story of a Bad Boy (1869)

The Kitchen at the Bailey House /


The kitchen where young Tom Bailey was fed and entertained by the irish cook Miss Kitty Collins.
-- from: Story of a Bad Boy (1869)

Dining Room at Aldrich House /


"Sunday morning -- At seven o'clock my grandfather comes smilelessly down stairs. He is dressed in black, and looks as if he had lost all his friends during the night. Miss Abigail, also in black, looks as if she were prepared to bury them, and not indisposed to enjoy the ceremony. Even Kitty Collins has caught the contagious gloom, as I perceive when she brings in the coffee-urn -- a solemn and srulpturesque urn at any time, but monumental now -- and sets it down in front of Miss Abigail. Miss Abigail gazes at the urn as if it held the ashes of her ancestors, instead of a generous quantity of fine old Java coffee." -- from Story of a Bad Boy (1869)

Continue with NUTTER HOUSE TOUR / Upstairs

Upstairs at the Aldrich Memorial

Bailey House Hall Bedroom, Portsmouth, NH /


"I had never before had a chamber all to myself, and this one, about twice the size of our stateroom on board the 'typhoon, was a marvel of neatness and comfort. Pretty chintz curtains hung at the window, and a patch quilt of more colors than were in Joseph's coat covered the little bed."
-- from Story of a Bad Boy (1869)

Blue Chintz Room at Bailey House Memorial/



"The blue chintz room, into which a ray of sun was never allowed to pen- etrate, was thrown open and dusted and its moldy air made sweet with a bouquet of pot-roses placed on the old- Fashioned bureau." -- from Story of a Bad Boy (1869) 

The Grampa Nutter Room /


"At the time I came to Riverrnouth, my grandfather had retired from active pursuits and was living at ease on his money, invested principally in shipping." -- from Story of a Bad Boy (1869)

The Abigail Room in Portsmouth, NH /


"He (Grampa Nutter) had been a widower many years, a maiden sister, the aforesaid Miss Abigail, managing his household. Miss Abigail also managed her brother, and her brother's servant, and the visitor at her brother's gate." -- from Story of a Bad Boy (1869)

Bad Boy Tom Bailey in the attic Garrett /


"I needn't tell a New England boy what a museum of curiosities is the garret of a well-regulated New England house of fifty or sixty years' standing. Here met together, as if by some preconcerted arrangement, all the broken-down chairs of the household, all the spavined tables, all the seedy hats, all the intoxicated-looking boots, all the split warming-sticks -- from Story of a Bad Boy (1869)

Continue with NUTTER HOUSE TOUR / Outdoors

Exteriors of the Thomas Bailey Aldrich Memorial

Garden at Thomas Bailey Aldrich House in Strawbery Banke /


The garden was - at times swarming with Indians in ambush, behind every bush and tree -- then, presto, change! it was transformed into an English forest through which rode Robin Hood and his men -- again the pirates had it -- Captain Kidd burying his treasure in the moonlight -- Jeanne d'Arc proudly riding on her white steed with banners flying -- and here, many times, was solemnized the marriage of Pocahontas and Captain John Smith. – by Mrs. Thomas Bailey Aldrich

Thomas Mailey Aldrich House in Court Street /


The exterior of the Aldrich Museum which was a popular turn-of-the-century penny postcard. Note the garden at the right, compared (in the next postcard) with what appears to be an earlier photo that includes a telegraph pole and no garden. This image matches the 1902 picture in a local tour guide book.

Nutter House, Strawbery Banke /


At the turn of the century the "Nutter House" as it was then known, was "in alien hands" as the author's wife wrote, but it was purchased for $10,000 by public subscription and turned into a museum. Mark Twain attended the dedication in 1907. This shot shows the house before the 1907 restoration.

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Friday, February 23, 2018 
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