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The Science of the Historic Appledore Island Garden Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   

Detail of Celia's garden by Childe HassemHISTORY MATTERS

Gardeners, history buffs, and art lovers are ecstatic. The much anticipated exhibit on Celia Thaxter’s island garden opened last weekend at the prestigious Peabody Essex Museum in Salem. Massachusetts. American Impressionist: Childe Hassam and the Isles of Shoals features more than 40 works by the Boston painter who spent decades summering on Appledore Island, just off the Maine and New Hampshire coastline. (continued below) 

A Quick History of Gulls on the Shoals Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   

Attacking gull on Smuttynose by Rodman PhilbrickHISTORY MATTERS

It is not quite 5 a.m. The gull colony on the uninhabited tip of Smuttynose Island have begun to murmur as the surf beats rhythmically against the jagged white-streaked rocks. The place  stinks of guano. It is littered with dried bones and empty crab shells. There are no other humans here. Just me and a few hundred sleepy dinosaurs.

The Making of an Unprecedented Edmund Tarbell Art Exhibit Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   


While the rest of us hibernate by the fire, binge-watching Netflix, a small team of art lovers are frantically counting down to March 4. That’s when the doors fling open on the biggest collection of paintings by New Castle artist Edmund C. Tarbell.  (Click on title to read more)

NH-born Publisher Enticed Charles Dickens Back to America in 1867 Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   


Charles Dickens was not impressed with the United States during his first tour. But much had changed in America, and in Dickens, by his second arrival soon after the Civil War in 1867. Portsmouth, NH-born publisher James T. Fields, Dickens exclusive American publisher, convinced the world's most famous writer to give us another chance. (Click title to read more)  

Three Lives of the Portsmouth Marine Society Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   

Portsmouth Marine Society 1808HISTORY MATTERS


December should be spelled with a dollar sign. We will spend a bundle on consumer goods this month, but we will also be very generous to people in need. That blend of commerce and charity defines the holiday season. That also describes the Portsmouth Marine Society, founded in 1808. Three groups have borne that name. Their stories are rarely told. (Click title to read more)


More Articles...

  1. Ben Franklin Installed New Hampshire Lightning Rod in 1763
  2. Kittery Little Red Schoolhouse on Life Support
  3. The Man Who Dug Up John Paul Jones
  4. Miss Nancy Underhill Swept Off Star Island in 1848
  5. US WWII Ambassador John Winant Gets His Memorial at Last
  6. The Unexpected Portsmouth Art Gallery
  7. Inside the Wondrous Woodman Museum
  8. My Favorite Portsmouth History Books for Kids
  9. The Truth about Bricks and Mortar
  10. Understanding the Portsmouth African Burying Ground
  11. Saving the Old State Street Store
  12. George Orwell Taught Me to Write History
  13. New Monument for the Man Who Named New England
  14. Painting the First Picture of Portsmouth
  15. Tallest Tombstone in New Hampshire is 100 Years Old
  16. Portsmouth Builds Rare HMS America in 1749
  17. Unloved President Franklin Pierce Had Seacoast Connections
  18. Those Dangerous Daily Newspapers
  19. When Old Ironsides Was Ours
  20. Five Reasons to Skate at Puddle Dock Portsmouth
  21. Heavenly Days at the Hellish Portsmouth Naval Prison
  22. The Lost Interview with Dorothy Vaughan
  23. Tough Times for Tough Portsmouth Mayors
  24. Alemaker Frank Jones was Hero and Heel
  25. Repairing Sir Peter Warren
  26. The Brief Life of the First Oceanic Hotel
  27. Portsmouth 1814 Brick Act was Unpopular Law
  28. How Massachusetts Almost Ate New Hampshire
  29. 1847 Letter
  30. An 1847 Message from Hog Island
  31. Unraveling the 1694 Murder of Ursula Cutt
  32. The Day the Piscataqua River Exploded
  33. Gettysburg Concordance App Brings Battle to Life
  34. The Flags of John Paul Jones
  35. Rower Retraces Smuttynose Murder Route
  36. Reflecting on a Painted Wall
  37. The Fickle Fate of Tobias Lear
  38. Portsmouth and Dover Still Feuding Over 1623 NH Founding Date
  39. How Portsmouth Partied in 1923
  40. NH Governor Driven Out of Three Mansions
  41. New Book Will Fully Explore 1873 Smuttynose Island Ax Murders
  42. Black Heroes and Heroines of Portsmouth
  43. How John Paul Became John Paul Jones
  44. My First 50 Years With Computers
  45. Horrific Boon Island Wreck Has Portsmouth Link
  46. Reviving the Portsmouth Powder Alarm 1774
  47. Finding the First House in New Hampshire
  48. Atlantic Heights WWI Shipbuilder Neighborhood Story Told in Book
  49. Why I Hate Fake Pirates
  50. Predicting the Future of Kittery and Portsmouth
  51. Presidents Who Visited Portsmouth
  52. Experts Say Exhibit Not Reconstruction is Best Use of First NH State House
  53. New Ways to See the Old Portsmouth Seaport
  54. What We are Learning about the Isles of Shoals
  55. Facing Up to Facebook
  56. Edward Warren Clark was Magic Lantern Man
  57. Newspapers and History are Siamese Twins
  58. The Second Death of John Greenleaf Whittier
  59. George Washington Slept Here in Portsmouth, New Hampshire
  60. Did NH Governor John Langdon Own Slaves?
  61. How We Created the Isles of Shoals Exhibit
  62. Why George Wasson is Worth Remembering
  63. Recycling Old Portsmouth Tree Tales
  64. Recalling Portsmouth in the War of 1812
  65. Rare Photo of NH Revolutionary War Vet Featured in New Books
  66. Federal Fire Society Adds to Its Bucket List
  67. Teaching an Old Library New Tricks
  68. Discovering the History of Discover Portsmouth
  69. Mitt Romney and Poetry, UFOs and Trash
  70. Thomas Morton Abandoned at Isles of Shoals
  71. What Scrooge and the Grinch Learned and Santa Forgot
  72. American Revolution Began in New Hampshire
  73. NH Rejects Aristotle Onassis Oil Refinery in 1974
  74. State of the First NH State House Revealed
  75. Demystifying Witchcraft in Portsmouth and Salem
  76. The Lost Jaffreys Come Home at Last
  77. Who Needs Another Gundalow?
  78. Portsmouth Herald Seeks Its Own Birth Date
  79. Why John Smith Failed to Colonize New England
  80. Secret Portwalk Dig Yields Buried Treasure
  81. Henry Tufts Wrote First American Criminal Autobiography
  82. Reformer Frederick Douglass Spoke in New Hampshire
  83. The Making of Portsmouth's Greatest Maritime Art Exhibit
  84. Three Beebe Girls Buried at Isles of Shoals
  85. The Last Battle of Fitz-John Porter
  86. Inside the USS Kearsage Monument
  87. How the Tall Ships Really Came to NH
  88. Andrew Peabody Preached Against War in 1847
  89. New England Takes Fort Louisbourg in 1745
  90. William Morris Hunt Dies Mysteriously at Isles of Shoals
  91. NH Jewish Community Deeply Rooted in Portsmouth
  92. First Religious Newspaper Born in NH
  93. Robert Frost According to Joe Frost
  94. Primus Fowle Ran First NH Press
  95. Snow-Bound Poem Made Whittier Wealthy
  96. Prescott Park Created by Millionaire Sisters
  97. Seacoast Teen Abducted to Brothel
  98. Writing about History in 2011
  99. The Lost Christmas Classic of Celia Thaxter
  100. What Does Piscataqua Mean?


  • History Matters

    J. Dennis Robinson writer logo by Reggin LoganHISTORY MATTERS

    Seacoast History by author / editor J. Dennis Robinson, presented biweekly in collaboration with The Portsmouth Herald. (check the Monday Herald every other week for printed version). In "History Matters" Robinson explores regional history and its connection to modern issues in a dramatic and highly readable style. The author has been writing about the "America\'s Smallest Seacaost" (sm) for over two decades.For up to 100 original aritlces by JDR also click here to visit AS I PLEASE. For the latest news see the Portsmouth Herald online web site just click here.    

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  • As I Please



    The editor ponders history, mostly, in this popular Seacoast column. This index contains over 100 original columns by J. Dennis Robinson. The author has been writing about the "America's Smallest Seacaost" (sm) for over two decades.

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  • Historical Societies

    You will find a small historical society building in almost every town in the Seacoast region. Each is unique, run by its own cluster of local history fans and filled with curios. Most are in great need of funds and volunteer help. If you have more updated links, please send them along, and please -- help preserver your town history before it is too late.

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  • Jesse James Films

    Jesse James by J. Dennis RobinsonTHE DINGUS PROJECT
    Jesse James in the Movies

    At least 50 American films and documentaries include the character of outlaw Jesse James. The Dingus Project is one man\'s attempt to view ALL of those films. Writer J. Dennis Robinson began this project after writing a biography of Jesse James for children -- Jesse James, Legendary Outlaw, published in hardcover and paperback by Compass Point Books.The goal, besides watching a lot of movies, is to provide a quick databse that shows how few of these films are based on fact, and how widespread the "imaginary" view of Jesse James has grown. Thanks to Hollywood, the historic Jesse James has all but disappeared. So far we\'ve obtained copies of over 30 films and documentaries related to Mr/ James and we\'re posting them like crazy in anticipation of the Brad Pitt film to be released in 2007. Sure, it\'s crazy, but so was Jesse.

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