Wentworth Historian Wins National Commendation
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Written by Press Dept.

July 2004

Portsmouth NH -- Author J. Dennis Robinson has been awarded a national Certificate of Commendation for his recent book-length history of the Wentworth hotel. The American Association of State and Local History (AASLH) recently announced winners of its annual competition. The hardcover book “Wentworth by the Sea: The Life and Times of a Grand Hotel” sold out its first edition of 2,000 copies soon after release this summer and appears on the local bestseller list for nonfiction.

Gail Colglazier, Chairman of the NH Chapter of the AASLH, made the announcement, saying the certificate will be presented during the AASLH Annual Meeting in St. Louis in September. Robinson is one of just four award recipients in New Hampshire, and one of 120 award winners nationwide. AASLH recognizes outstanding accomplishments in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history.
By publicly acknowledging excellent achievements, the Association strives to inspire others to give that extra effort.

wbsbooklink.jpgRobinson, who proposed the project to owner Billy Walsh during reconstruction, spent 18-months writing and designing the book, which includes 250 historic photographs, most archived at the Portsmouth Athenaeum. It was funded by Ocean Properties, Inc. and by the Friends of the Wentworth and published by Peter E. Randall.

The “saving” of Wentworth By the Sea (opened 1874) is a story familiar to local residents and preservationists. Closed in 1981, the hotel deteriorated for two decades under a series of owners. The “Friends”, a nonprofit group, helped place it on the “Most Endangered Sites” list under the National Trust for Historic Preservation's in 1996. Redesigned by TMS Architects and restored by Ocean Properties of Portsmouth, Wentworth by the Sea Hotel & Spa opened to local and national acclaim in 2003.

“This was the ideal project,” Robinson says. “The rise and fall of the hotel, and its near extinction, were inherently dramatic and filled with fascinating characters. The story of the Wentworth is also the story of incredible changes in the New Hampshire coast from the Victorian era to the computer age.”

Copies of the book are available in Portsmouth area bookstores, at the hotel gift shop in New Castle and online at WentbySea.com. Robinson writes local history features for a number of publications and is editor and owner of the local web portal SeacoastNH.com. He is currently completing the history of a Sicilian immigrant family and a mystery about a murder in a Portsmouth museum.

For more information about Wentworth by the Sea Hotel & Spa, call 603-422-7322 or visit www.wentworth.com. ###

VISIT: Wentworth by the Sea web section