Douglas Armsden Photographic Collection Fund

Pleasant Street, Portsmouth, NH, 1950

Unprocessed image from the P60 Douglas Armsden collection.

Invasion of Iwo Jima, February 1945

Unprocessed image from the P60 Douglas Armsden collection.

Saco River Valley, North Conway, NH, c. 1960

Unprocessed image from the P60 Douglas Armsden collection.

Rosamond Thaxter's house, Cutts Island, Kittery, Maine, c.1950

Unprocessed image from the P60 Douglas Armsden collection.

On set of "Whistle at Eaton Falls" in Dover, NH, 1951

Unprocessed image from the P60 Douglas Armsden collection.

In 2018, the Athenaeum received the collection of prolific photographer Douglas J. Armsden (1918-2009). Born in England and raised in upstate New York,  Armsden and his family settled in Kittery Point, Maine.  Armsden’s work captured the essence of the mid-20th century Seacoast region of New England and beyond. His work included wedding photography, family portraits, early documentation of historic houses, commercial and scenic images of Maine and New Hampshire, and editorial work for local newspapers and magazines such as New Hampshire Profile and Down East.

This collection also includes Armsden’s years of service in World War II documenting the Pacific Theater, and his daily life with his wife, Alice Decatur, and their three daughters as well as family and friends in their “little piece of heaven” along Fernald Cove in Kittery Point.

The photographic images in the collection include print photographs, color transparencies, 35 mm film, and both medium- and large-format negatives.

When cataloged, this single collection will nearly double the Athenaeum’s entire photographic collection!

The archival supplies for the collection are estimated to cost over $6,500. Currently, the Athenaeum has raised nearly two-thirds of the funds needed to preserve this collection. This includes a $1,500 grant from the Rosamond Thaxter Foundation. In addition, on Sept. 8, 2020, the Portsmouth Flatbread Company selected the Athenaeum for a Bake Benefit, a fundraiser to support the Armsden collection. For every pizza sold between 5 and 9 p.m., a portion of the proceeds will go towards purchasing archival supplies.

If you would like to contribute to preserving this collection, click on the “Armsden Donate” button to go to PayPal. Remember, you don’t have to be a PayPal member to use PayPal. You can donate as a guest.

If you would prefer to pay by check, please make it out to to the Portsmouth Athenaeum with “Armsden” in the memo line and mail it to “Portsmouth Athenaeum, P.O. Box 366, Portsmouth, NH 03802.”

Thank you for your support!

Preserve History

To contribute to purchasing archival supplies for this collection, click on the button below.

Does Armsden Sound Familiar?

You may have come across Armsden’s photographs already in our collection. During his lifetime, Armsden donated a collection of negatives (P15 Armsden Photograph Collection). These invaluable historic images depict mid-20th century Portsmouth and other Seacoast locales. While there are duplicates in both collections, the images in P15 are an example of what the new complete Armsden collection will offer.

The existing P15 collection will also be reprocessed.  Click here to view the P15 collection.