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Portsmouth Athenaeum


Portsmouth Athenaeum
Congress Street, 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.

Incorporated by the Legislature of the state in 1803, the New Hampshire Fire and Marine Insurance Company erected this building in that year, and occupied it until the suspension of the company, caused principally by its losses in the War of 1812.

In 1817, the property was purchased by the Portsmouth Athenaeum, a group of gentlemen who had formed an association to promote a public library. This is not a valuable collection of books, original manuscripts and Portsmouthiana.

( Update: Today the Athenaeum remains a private library supported by over 300 proprietors. It is open on select hours to the public three times each week.)

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