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George Orwell Taught Me to Write History Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   


I never cared much for American history in school. My mind does not cling easily to dates, names, or dots on maps. I struggled with concepts like "Federalism" and "Whig" and "Manifest Destiny."  (click title to read more) 

New Monument for the Man Who Named New England Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   

Smith map compass roseHISTORY MATTERS

I feel much better now. Back in the 20th century I wrote an essay entitled "The Ugliest Monument in New England." You can Google it. I was horrified by the state of the memorial to Captain John Smith that faces the open sea on the Isles of Shoals. Capt. Smith mapped our region in 1614 and named it "New England." Smith's sad memorial, dedicated 250 years later in 1864, had since toppled, cracked, rusted, and was smeared with a thick coating of gull guano. (Click title for full article)

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) 


More Articles...

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


  • 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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