Portsmouth Athenaeum 2015 Speakers' Series

Piscataqua Shipping: Harbor to Sea

Proudly sponsored by:


Each program begins at 7:00pm in the Research Library of the Portsmouth Athenæum at 9 Market Square in Portsmouth, NH.

Attendance at programs is free for Athenæum Proprietors, Subscribers and Friends.  Guests and members of the public are welcome to attend the entire series by becoming a Friend of the Athenæum for as little as $25 per year, payable via mail or at the door. Admission to an individual program is $10.

Reservations are required. Please call (603) 431-2538, Ext. 2 for reservations up to 48 hours in advance. 

March 18, Wednesday  
Dane Morrison will present a lecture: “Portsmouth and the East Indies.” While Americans’ early encounters in the East Indies trade tends to be associated with places such as Salem, Boston, and Philadelphia, Portsmouth played an important, if forgotten, role as well.   Join Dr. Morrison to hear about the Portsmouth men who were among the first Americans to sail to the East, trading in Zanzibar and other distant ports.

Dane A. Morrison is a professor of early American history at Salem State University.  He is the author of “True Yankees: The South Seas and the Discovery of American Identity” and “A Praying People: Massachusetts Acculturation and the Failure of the Puritan Mission, 1600–1690,” and is the coeditor of “Salem: Place, Myth and Memory and the World History Encyclopedia, volumes 11–13: The Age of Global Contact.”

April 15, Wednesday
P.J Johnson will present a lecture: “A Harbor Pilot's View of Shipping on the Piscataqua”
Discover what's going on at Portsmouth's working waterfront.  Join Portsmouth Pilot Capt. PJ Johnson for a professional perspective on modern commercial shipping.  With 25 years of experience on the Piscataqua, Capt. Johnson will impart a sense of the changes he's witnessed as well as how future changes might impact the waterfront.

P.J. Johnson has spent a decade as a tugboat pilot in Portsmouth harbor, helping ships navigate the intricate waterway of the Piscataqua River and acting as an ambassador for mariners looking to do business in the port.  A graduate of the Maine Maritime Academy, P.J. has sailed on oil tankers and worked in New York harbor.

May 20, Wednesday

Rodney Watterson will present a lecture: “Portsmouth Navy Yard's Record Setting World War II Submarine Production”  Drawing on his book, "32 in '44: Building the Portsmouth Submarine Fleet in World War II," Captain Rodney Watterson USN (Retired) will analyze the Navy Yard's remarkable wartime performance.   Few industrial facilities contributed more to winning the war than our local navy yard, which produced 79 submarines - 32 in one year.

Rod Watterson’s naval career involved submarine design, construction, and maintenance.  He has engineering degrees from the United States Naval Academy and MIT, and a History PhD from UNH. His latest book is "Whips to Walls: Naval Discipline from Flogging to Progressive Reform at Portsmouth Prison."

October 14, Wednesday
David Cole will present a lecture: "Hydrographic Surveying of Portsmouth Harbor and Other Tales from the High Seas."
Explore the evolution of hydrographic surveying, nautical charting, and ocean mapping from the early techniques of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey to modern day methods.  Learn about one of the first NOAA hydrographic surveys to employ 100% survey bottom coverage in our own approach to Portsmouth Harbor in 1997.

With a degree in Geology from the University of New Hampshire, Dave Cole spent most of his NOAA career specializing in hydrographic surveying, nautical charting, and ocean mapping.  He splits his time between Boulder, Colorado and Rye, and while in Rye he educates as a UNH Marine Docent and volunteers on the Gundalow Piscataqua.

November 18, Wednesday
Wendy Lull  presents “The Wreck of the Lizzie Carr.”
Hear the dramatic tale of the 1905 wreck of the Lizzie Carr, New Hampshire’s last shipwrecked schooner.  Learn how a January storm broke Lizzie’s anchor chains and drove her onto the rocks.  Listen to first-hand accounts of the Wallis Sands Life Saving Station surfmen’s attempts to rescue the craft and crew in the bitter cold.

A Past-President of the Portsmouth Athenaeum, Wendy Lull has been the President of the Seacoast Science Center in Rye, New Hampshire for over 20 years. She earned her Master’s Degree in Zoology at UNH and has been recognized as an Outstanding Women in Business by New Hampshire Business Review and one of New Hampshire’s Women of Distinction by New Hampshire Magazine.