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A collaborative group of local historical institution leaders has launched the “Portsmouth History in 101 Objects” project, an initiative designed to create a commemorative book and website for the Portsmouth NH 400 anniversary in 2023. The book will feature full-color photographs of 101 objects unique to Portsmouth and short essays by local authors to represent the pre-history, birth, history, present and future of the City of Portsmouth.

The Editorial Board for the project includes Steve Butzel and Nicole Cloutier, City of Portsmouth Public Library; Tom Hardiman, Portsmouth Athenaeum; Gerald Ward, Portsmouth Historical Society; and Lawrence J. Yerdon, Strawbery Banke Museum. The Project Manager is Stephanie Seacord.


The members of the Editorial Board, their institutions and the participating organizations are compiling a list of objects suggested by a diverse array of local history, arts and culture organizations and institutions, local churches, businesses and fraternal organizations with deep Portsmouth histories, and other interested residents. In addition to traditional decorative and fine arts items, an object might be a landmark, hidden treasure, building or document. The Editorial Board has decided that for this project, a person is not an object – but a distinctive painting or photograph of a person might be an important consideration.

“The city’s historical institutions are working together with as wide a group of nominators as possible to create a Portsmouth NH 400th commemorative history book and website intended to tell the City of Portsmouth’s deep and broad story in an engaging manner for the general reader,” said 101 Objects Project Manager Stephanie Seacord. “The Editorial Board believes this project will give the Portsmouth NH 400 celebration and its participants a tangible reminder of the City's history, as viewed from this moment in time, as a legacy for future generations and a resource for historians.”

The Editorial Board has selected Kathleen Soldati as book editor and Piscataqua Press as the publisher and has started to solicit nominations of objects and essays by potential contributing authors. The goal is to have books available by Christmas 2022, for widest sales distribution during the 400th anniversary year in 2023. Details on pre-publication ordering will be forthcoming.


Organizations with a Portsmouth history to tell are invited to nominate an object using this online form.


Writers who would like to participate in the project should contact Stephanie Seacord at They will have the opportunity to write about one of the objects nominated for the project or one they think should be included, as their contribution.

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