Greetings from Portsmouth Naval Prison
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Written by Seacoast Archives

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SeacoastNH.com Presents  
Historic Portsmouth #390

Yes, this is exactly what it looks like – a holiday card from inside the Portsmouth Naval Prison. Researcher Carolyn Marvin discovered this 1938 gem in the archives of the athenaeum. It depicts the 1905 prison, closed for decades and still standing on Seavey Island in Kittery. (Continued below)

“The Castle,” as it was known, was the last place anyone wanted to spend the holidays. Here it is seen with a Star of Bethlehem shining overhead. No, Walt Disney did not get the idea for his Magic Kingdom castle here, but actor Humphrey Bogart did escort a prisoner here while he served in the Navy. The inside of the card reads: MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR from the Officers and Enlisted Men of the Marine Corps and Navy on duty at the Naval Prison, Navy Yard, Portsmouth, NH, 1938.” The artist’s signature reads “Rothwell.” (Courtesy of the Portsmouth Athenaeum)

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