A room by room postcard tour
It was from this very house that the infamous young Tom Bailey got into so much mischief in pre-Civil War Portsmouth, NH. "Story of a Bad Boy" by Thomas Bailey Aldrich was one of America's first juvenile classics focus on, not a fairy tale, but a REAL boy, and it helped kick off a genre of boys books that included works by Mark Twain and Horatio Alger.
After his boyhood summer at Grampa Nutter's house on Court Street and a hitch in the Civil War, Aldrich published his groundbreaking novel in 1869. After his death in 1907, the house was restored to its mid-1800s appearance and opened as a museum. Back then most visitors were very familiar with the book, and the unassuming house became a literary shrine for those who treasured the Tom Bailey tales. Readers remembered his first love, backyard fisticuffs, the day the rascals burned a carriage in Market Square, fired an old cannon by the river, or took on the rival neighborhood gang in a giant snowball fight.
Today the house is still as it was, open to the public as part of a Strawberry Banke Museum tour. We've included some quotes from the book and you can follow a tour by Mrs. Thomas Bailey Aldrich. Although his fame has been tarnished by the years, Aldrich's book is still in print and the stories show how much - and how little - a boy's life is today. - JDR
Penny Postcard Tour
(Click on thumbnails for full-sized
Click here for Mrs. Aldrich Tour of the House
All images courtesy of Portsmouth Public Library
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