A Meet and Suitable Person

Blending historical fact with a sprinkling of well-crafted storytelling, A Meet and Suitable Person takes readers on a back door tour through the taverns of Puritan Hampton, detailing the lives of 23 men and women who kept the town’s public houses of entertainment when America was still part of the English domains. Read more… Townies…

The Traveling Bowling Alley

Writing in the Hampton Union in the 1930s, historian Caroline Lamprey Shea informed her readers that the Puritans of Hampton had kept a bowling green in a field near the lower end of the road to the sea (Winnacunnet Road). Now, Puritans aren’t remembered for their tolerance of games and other time-wasting pursuits, but Mrs….

The Dudley Dynasty of Beach Queens

Beauty contests, it seems, have always been with us. The ancient Greeks gave us the story of Hera and her stepdaughters Athena and Aphrodite, three goddesses who wanted to know which of them was the fairest of all. Hera’s husband Zeus wisely refused to get involved, and instead appointed a shepherd prince to settle the…

Carnival Queens & Miss Hampton Beach

Like fried dough, henna tattoos, and trips to the arcade, Beach Queens have long been an important part of the summer rituals at Hampton Beach. What started out as a way to sell raffle tickets with the Queen of the Carnival contest, open to all women, had by the 1940s evolved into the Miss Hampton Beach beauty pageant, for which only young, single women were eligible.

100 Years at the Beach

After 10 months of squeezing 100 years of history into a one hour documentary film, Karen Raynes and I are excited to finally be bringing this program to the public!  

The Franklin Hotel Round Pool Table

In the 18th century the game of billiards, or pool, was popular with the colonial gentlemen of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, and billiards tables were commonplace in their taverns. In New England, however, the general attitude about the game was summed up in a letter to the Boston Evening Post in 1757. Every sort of…

Hampton’s Country Doctor

 A merchant tailor at the turn of the 20th century said he could tell a man’s profession by the clothes he wore. A doctor’s clothes, he stated, were “generally clean and well preserved” but reeked of iodoform (an antiseptic) and more often than not a small vial of morphine tablets could be found tucked into…

The 1923 Carnival Cottage

…where’d it go? During the thirty-nine years from 1915 to 1953, Carnival Week at the beach was a Labor Day holiday tradition. Created by the Hampton Beach Board of Trade to extend the summer season, it was a week-long exhibition of vaudeville, games, parades, fireworks displays, and, until 1940, the Queen of the Carnival contest…

Splendid Articles of Baseball

Twenty-first century baseball historians are an unromantic lot. By exposing as myths Abner Doubleday’s invention of baseball and Alexander Cartwright’s “father” status, they’ve altered our view of the game and stripped away some of its mystery. Lucky the fans of 100 years ago, their joy undisturbed by the modern day historian’s dull realities. By the…

Authors at the Inn

Mark your calendars and save the date! On Friday, May 13, 2016 from 6-9 pm the Victoria Inn plays host to another popular Authors at the Inn book sale and signing. Sponsored by The Hampton Historical Society, the event brings together the best Seacoast-area authors in the history, mystery, legends, and lore genres (I’ll update you…

The Year of the Monkey, 1692 Style

IT’S NO SURPRISE THAT OUR PRESIDENTAL elections always fall in the Year of the Monkey, a Chinese astrological cycle rife with the potential for all manner of monkey business—trickery, discord, even chaos to the point of pandemonium. The year 1692 had been a Monkey year, too, one that in New England fully lived up to…

The Lady Quill Drivers

In the week preceding the June 14, 1899 inaugural issue of the Hamptons Union newspaper, John Templeton’s Exeter News-Letter gave notice that Charles Francis Adams of Massachusetts, “an experienced newspaperman, though young in years,” would soon be publishing a newspaper from his offices above D.O. Leavitt’s grocery store in Hampton. Templeton could afford to welcome…