Wednesday, May 17, 2023
5:30 p.m.
Shaw Research Library


In her talk May 17 on An Abundance of Cod: Fueling the New World, Ann Beattie will take you a step back in time to the early 17th century when Europeans began to sail to the New World and carry home tales of wondrous riches in the form of the obliging cod fish. Discover how salting and drying cod fish prevented the starvation of early settlers and became a staple of New England life, literally fueling both the communities and economy of our region. With a close look at the Isles of Shoals fishing station, investigate the lost art of drying cod to produce the renowned “dunfish,” once sought worldwide for its quality and flavor. Solve the mystery of why this once prized commodity has been relegated to a distant memory in today’s world.


Proprietor Ann Beattie is an educator with a fascination for the Isles of Shoals and its rich history. She combs through historical records, salt cod recipes and journals of Shoalers in an effort to capture and revive the unique stories that bring Shoals history to life. Ann is a former president of the Isles of Shoals Historical and Research Association and serves as a Board member of the Portsmouth Athenaeum. She leads tours of the Shoals and hosts history programs on Star Island. Ann always has an intriguing tale to tell about a place so magical it will steal your heart.

The lecture series continues to celebrate our city’s significant anniversaries in Portsmouth’s quadricentennial year. This year, the talks shine a light on Portsmouth’s commerce over 400 years, the historic interiors of those who lived here, and finally, the impact of climate change as evidenced at Strawbery Banke.

Each program begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Shaw Research Library of the Portsmouth Athenaeum at 9 Market Square in Portsmouth, NH (unless otherwise noted). Reservations for each program are required as seating is limited. Please call (603) 431-2538 to reserve. If unable to keep a reservation, please call again to release the seat for someone else. If you are interested in attending virtually, please e-mail

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

Every presenter in this year’s lecture series is a Proprietor of the Portsmouth Athenaeum, suggesting the breadth of knowledge and interest in its dissemination that characterizes Athenaeum members. Each lecturer looks forward to engaging our audience with their knowledge.

Image: An 1889 lithograph. Courtesy of Creative Commons.

Written by Irene Bush

For the complete 2023 Lecture Series, click the button.

Below is the Athenaeum Friend Application