Pageant of Portsmouth Candid 1923
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Written by SeacoastNH Archive

Plains settlers before the Indian Raid, POrtsmouth, NH re-enactment 1923 on Presents
Historic Portsmouth #455  

The newest "History Matters" feature will transport us back 90 years to 1923 and the tercentenary celebration of this city's founding (more or less). The city was serious about history back then in the final throes of the Colonial Revival movement. Hundreds of local citizens dressed up in costumes and portrayed famous events from Portsmouth's past. (Continued below) 


The big event took place in "The Pines" off South Street, then a sloping empty field lined with trees. There were reportedly as many participants as spectators. This re-enacted image shows an early family of settlers with the father seated at his table. An African American woman appears to be pouring him a tankard of ale as a woman with children rocks a cradle nearby. We can guess, based on a copy of the elaborate pageant schedule,  that they are about to be attacked by Indians. In this version, scripted by New Castle pageant producer Virginia Tanner, the Native Americans were played by scantily clad members of a New York City ballet company. This photo should serve as a warning to readers that the city's 400th anniversary is only 10 years away. Will we, too, be caught unprepared like our ancestors?  (Courtesy Portsmouth Athenaeum) 

Pageant of Portsmouth 1923/Portsmouth Athenaeum photo


1923 Pageant detail

1923 Pageant detail

Copyright and Portsmouth Athenaeum