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Painting the First Picture of Portsmouth Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   

Des-Barres small insertHISTORY MATTERS

If you think Portsmouth looks different today, you should have seen it in 1773.  In fact, you can. A rare glimpse of colonial Portsmouth, back when we were still a busy British seaport, now hangs on the wall of the conference room at the Mark Wentworth Home on Pleasant Street. It might reasonably be called the first official portrait of the city. (Click title for full article)

Tallest Tombstone in New Hampshire is 100 Years Old Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   


The late Rev. John Tucke had been moldering just below the surface in the damp thin soil of Star Island for 27 years when Rev. Dudley Tyng stumbled over his grave. A minister from Newburyport, Massachusetts, Tyng had come to the Isles of Shoals in 1800 to observe first-hand the wretched condition of the fishermen and their families living there.  (Click title to read more) 

Portsmouth Builds Rare HMS America in 1749 Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   


"I think it's unique, absolutely unique," says Rob Napier of Newburyport. He is talking about the wooden ship model of HMS America on display in the Reading Room of the Portsmouth Athenaeum. (Click headline for full article) 

Unloved President Franklin Pierce Had Seacoast Connections Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   

Franklin Pierce  medal smallHISTORY MATTERS

If he visited no other place, the departing President Franklin Pierce told a local crowd in 1856, he must come to Portsmouth. It was here that he spent some of the most agreeable years of his life, he said. Fresh out of BowdoinCollege, the athletic and strikingly handsome dark-haired Pierce had studied law in Portsmouth three decades earlier with the enormously popular Judge Levi Woodbury. (Click headline for full article) 

Those Dangerous Daily Newspapers Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   

Dailynews runningmanHISTORY MATTERS

George Lunt is nervous about the latest high-tech media. The news is coming out way too fast for anyone to keep pace, he says. Besides, most of what passes for news these days is trivial and irrelevant. Editors can't edit. Writers can't write. Worse yet, the media is creeping into our bedrooms, destroying our privacy, sucking up our valuable time, and focusing on lewd and violent topics.


More Articles...

  1. When Old Ironsides Was Ours
  2. Five Reasons to Skate at Puddle Dock Portsmouth
  3. Heavenly Days at the Hellish Portsmouth Naval Prison
  4. The Lost Interview with Dorothy Vaughan
  5. Tough Times for Tough Portsmouth Mayors
  6. Alemaker Frank Jones was Hero and Heel
  7. Repairing Sir Peter Warren
  8. The Brief Life of the First Oceanic Hotel
  9. Portsmouth 1814 Brick Act was Unpopular Law
  10. How Massachusetts Almost Ate New Hampshire
  11. 1847 Letter
  12. An 1847 Message from Hog Island
  13. Unraveling the 1694 Murder of Ursula Cutt
  14. The Day the Piscataqua River Exploded
  15. Gettysburg Concordance App Brings Battle to Life
  16. The Flags of John Paul Jones
  17. Rower Retraces Smuttynose Murder Route
  18. Reflecting on a Painted Wall
  19. The Fickle Fate of Tobias Lear
  20. Portsmouth and Dover Still Feuding Over 1623 NH Founding Date
  21. How Portsmouth Partied in 1923
  22. NH Governor Driven Out of Three Mansions
  23. New Book Will Fully Explore 1873 Smuttynose Island Ax Murders
  24. Black Heroes and Heroines of Portsmouth
  25. How John Paul Became John Paul Jones
  26. My First 50 Years With Computers
  27. Horrific Boon Island Wreck Has Portsmouth Link
  28. Reviving the Portsmouth Powder Alarm 1774
  29. Finding the First House in New Hampshire
  30. Atlantic Heights WWI Shipbuilder Neighborhood Story Told in Book
  31. Why I Hate Fake Pirates
  32. Predicting the Future of Kittery and Portsmouth
  33. Presidents Who Visited Portsmouth
  34. Experts Say Exhibit Not Reconstruction is Best Use of First NH State House
  35. New Ways to See the Old Portsmouth Seaport
  36. What We are Learning about the Isles of Shoals
  37. Facing Up to Facebook
  38. Edward Warren Clark was Magic Lantern Man
  39. Newspapers and History are Siamese Twins
  40. The Second Death of John Greenleaf Whittier
  41. George Washington Slept Here in Portsmouth, New Hampshire
  42. Did NH Governor John Langdon Own Slaves?
  43. How We Created the Isles of Shoals Exhibit
  44. Why George Wasson is Worth Remembering
  45. Recycling Old Portsmouth Tree Tales
  46. Recalling Portsmouth in the War of 1812
  47. Rare Photo of NH Revolutionary War Vet Featured in New Books
  48. Federal Fire Society Adds to Its Bucket List
  49. Teaching an Old Library New Tricks
  50. Discovering the History of Discover Portsmouth
  51. Mitt Romney and Poetry, UFOs and Trash
  52. Thomas Morton Abandoned at Isles of Shoals
  53. What Scrooge and the Grinch Learned and Santa Forgot
  54. American Revolution Began in New Hampshire
  55. NH Rejects Aristotle Onassis Oil Refinery in 1974
  56. State of the First NH State House Revealed
  57. Demystifying Witchcraft in Portsmouth and Salem
  58. The Lost Jaffreys Come Home at Last
  59. Who Needs Another Gundalow?
  60. Portsmouth Herald Seeks Its Own Birth Date
  61. Why John Smith Failed to Colonize New England
  62. Secret Portwalk Dig Yields Buried Treasure
  63. Henry Tufts Wrote First American Criminal Autobiography
  64. Reformer Frederick Douglass Spoke in New Hampshire
  65. The Making of Portsmouth's Greatest Maritime Art Exhibit
  66. Three Beebe Girls Buried at Isles of Shoals
  67. The Last Battle of Fitz-John Porter
  68. Inside the USS Kearsage Monument
  69. Andrew Peabody Preached Against War in 1847
  70. New England Takes Fort Louisbourg in 1745
  71. How the Tall Ships Really Came to NH
  72. William Morris Hunt Dies Mysteriously at Isles of Shoals
  73. NH Jewish Community Deeply Rooted in Portsmouth
  74. First Religious Newspaper Born in NH
  75. Robert Frost According to Joe Frost
  76. Primus Fowle Ran First NH Press
  77. Snow-Bound Poem Made Whittier Wealthy
  78. Prescott Park Created by Millionaire Sisters
  79. Seacoast Teen Abducted to Brothel
  80. Writing about History in 2011
  81. The Lost Christmas Classic of Celia Thaxter
  82. What Does Piscataqua Mean?
  83. Myles Standish Speaks Out on NH's First Settler
  84. Poet Foss Spoke for the Common Man
  85. Mark Twain Loved Aldrich but Hated Portsmouth
  86. Creepy Characters from History
  87. The Unsung Columbus of New Hampshire
  88. Portsmouth Goes Whaling
  89. The Lost WPA Murals of Gladys Brannigan
  90. Waging Peace in 1905 Treaty of Portsmouth
  91. Subversive Nathan Parker Founded Unitarian Church in NH
  92. What the Cushing Family Left Us
  93. Fannie Sprague Murder Still Unsolved
  94. A Dangerous Love Affair with Fireworks
  95. Pirate Gold Recovered at Isles of Shoals
  96. Spreading the Gospel of Historic Portsmouth
  97. The First Perilous Voyage of Privateer Lynx
  98. When Playwrights Play With History
  99. How Harvard Helped Portsmouth and Vice Versa
  100. Fishing Adventures at the Isles of Shoals


  • 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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