Wentworth Welcomes President Dewey
  • Print
Written by Portsmouth Athenaeum Archive


Strawbery Banke Presents

Hotel owner James Barker Smith, a staunch Republican, was in heaven when he learned that New York Gov. Thomas E. Dewey planned to visit Wentworth by the Sea in 1948. (Story continued below)



HISTORIC PHOTOS of the Greater Portsmouth Area appear here week


Republican presidential upset in 1948 (continued)

Most Americans believed Dewey (seen here signing the register next to Smith) would soon be President. He was expected to easily defeat Harry Truman the Democratic incumbent. Smith was horrified to learn that Dewey was unhappy with his hotel accommodations in New Castle at the annual meeting of the National Governor’s Association. Thinking quickly, Smith apologized about the mistake and handed Dewey the keys to the suite of rooms reserved for South Carolina governor J. Strom Thurmond, who had not yet arrived at the convention. Later that year, in an 11th hour surprise, Truman squeaked by Dewey to retain the presidency. (Photo courtesy of the Portsmouth Athenaeum)

Buy the book here