Collectible Guides to Portsmouth
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Portsmouth Fuide 1908/ Presents
Historic Portsmouth #279

For those who effuse over ephemera, Portsmouth offers a treasure chest of collectibles. This group includes only a sampling of the tourist-oriented booklets and brochures used to promote the "Old Town by the Sea" in the 20th century. (Continued below with photo)

The short-lived Beacon from 1930 listed a twenty-something Dorothy Vaughan as its staff historian. Downtown druggist CW Bass published the smallest guide, measuring scarcely three inches high. In 1900 this pharmacy claimed to have just purchased "the best soda fountain in the state", guaranteed sanitary and carbonated with pure spring water. While promotions usually empasized local history, members of the Portsmouth Board of Trade and Merchants Exchange worried that the city’s dusty heritage might not attract new business owners. "She has kept pace with modern ideas," a 1930s booklet noted of Portsmouth, "but not to such an extent as to sweep away all of her native charms." (Courtesy Collection)

Collage of Portsmouth NH Guidebooks from the 20th century / photo