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Portsmouth Public Library


Portsmouth Public Library
Middle and Islington Streets, Portsmouth, NH
Illustration (c) 1913 Helen Pearson

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Excerpt from "Vignettes of Portsmouth," (1913) by Helen Pearson and Harold Hotchkiss Bennett, Courtesy of Portsmouth Public Library Collection.

Built in 1809, from the designs of renowned architect, Charles Bulfinch, for the proprietors of the Portsmouth Academy, this building was used by that scholastic body until 1868, when it was sold to the city for a public school. Since the year of 1896, the Portsmouth Public Library has used the building.

(Important Update: According to Richard Candee's book "Building Portsmouth" (1992), the popular belief that Bulfinch designed this building is false, although the structure is still routinely referred to as "the Bulfinch Library." Records indicate that the actual designer was named James Nutter. This is the site where this and other Helen Pearson original pencil sketches in "Vignettes" are archived today.)

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