King George II Order, 1737

Order by King George II (1683-1760) of England appointing a committee to assemble at Hampton to adjust the boundaries between the Provinces of New Hampshire & Massachusetts Bay. Addressed to Council members from NY, NJ, RI, & Nova Scotia. Authorizes any five or more of the said councillors to be commissioners to resolve the dispute.


“Petition” by Celia Thaxter, 1893

Poem “Petition” by Celia Thaxter “Copied for Mrs. Goodwin March 31st 1893.” Celia Thaxter (1835-1894), an artist, poet and painter, is one of the most well known nineteenth century residents of the Isles of Shoals. MS058 B7 F19

Bill of Landing for the Ship Sarah, 1716

1716 Bill of Landing for the Ship Sarah owned by Benjamin Hale and Henry Hale, captained by John Hollicomb, coming from Barbados to Piscataqua, with rum, molasses, and cotton, on account of William Pepperrell (1648-1733), merchant of Piscataqua. William Pepperrell had one of the largest business networks in the Piscataqua region at the time with agents in Barbados, London and Lisbon. MS093 B01 F20.5

John S. Blunt Sketchbook, 1830

Sketchbook kept by artist (painter), John S. Blunt, dated Boston, 1830. The sketchbook contains twenty-six pencil sketches (some detailed, some very simple) and one watercolor. Sketches are of buildings, boats and scenery. One page contains notes. John Sherburne Blunt was an American painter born in Portsmouth in 1798, the son of Capt. Mark S. Blunt and Mary Sarah Drowne. He lived in Portsmouth and also traveled with artist William P. Codman up the Merrimack River, hiring himself for portraits, landscapes and fancy paintings. In 1821 he married Esther Peake Colby in Boston and in 1825 he advertises a “Drawing and Painting School” in the Portsmouth Journal. In 1830 he moved to Boston and set up a studio. S0856

Bill of Mortality, Dr. Lyman Spalding, 1803

Printed “Bill of Mortality, for Portsmouth, New Hampshire for A.D. 1803. By Lyman Spalding”. Document lists the cause of death by month and age of individual for Portsmouth during the year 1803. Dr. Lyman Spalding was most known for his role in establishing the United States Pharmacopeia. Spalding was born in Cornish, NH in 1775 and graduated from Harvard in 1797. He was instrumental in the establishment of a Medical School at Dartmouth College and in 1799 he began to practice medicine in Portsmouth. In 1802 he married Elizabeth Coues in Portsmouth. A well respected and highly trained physician, he brought small pox vaccination to Portsmouth and kept careful statistics of cause of death in the community in his annual published “Bill of Mortality.” S0486
The Athenaeum collects, preserves, and makes available photographs and manuscripts related to the history of the Seacoast Region of New Hampshire. The archives contain over 100 large manuscript collections, nearly 1500 single items and small collection manuscripts, and nearly 28,000 photographic images. The collections include papers of many notable Portsmouth men including John Langdon, Governor of New Hampshire and member of the Continental Congress; Tobias Ham Miller, nineteenth century publisher and Congregationalist turned Universalist minister; William Whipple, signer of the Declaration of Independence; and John Sise, nineteenth century merchant and insurance agent. Collections of family papers include diaries, correspondence, and personal papers that highlight the lives of both men and women in Portsmouth. Among others, the Athenaeum has papers for the Pepperrell, Coues, Hill, Ladd, Parrott, Spalding, Wendell, and Treadwell families. For scholars of women’s history, the papers of the Portsmouth Female Asylum, the Bridget Graffort Club and the Daughters of the American Revolution offer a glimpse into the lives of women through organizational involvement. Collections related to Portsmouth businesses and private organizations can also be found at the Athenaeum including records for Green’s Drug Store, the Portsmouth Yacht Club, the New Castle Bridge Association, and the Mechanic Fire Society. The Athenaeum is the deposit location for the records and papers of many of Portsmouth’s churches including the North Church, South Church, St. John’s Church, Temple Israel, and Central Baptist Church. Numerous historic houses and organizations have also placed their records and collections on deposit at the Athenaeum including the Portsmouth Historical Society, the Warner House Association, the Wentworth-Gardner Association and the Moffatt Ladd House. Of particular interest to many researchers is the Athenaeum’s collection of materials related to the Isles of Shoals including materials related to Celia Thaxter. The Athenaeum owns the photograph collection of Lyman Rutledge and is the deposit location for the papers and photographs of the Star Island Corporation.
Alphabetical list of Finding Aids

620 Associates (MS044)

Allied Theater Company Account Books (MS077)

Badger, William (MS007)

Badger Farms Creameries (MS090)

Benson, John Prentiss (MS091)

Blue Strawbery Restaurant Scrapbook Collection (MS076)

Bowles Family Papers (MS108)

Brewster Papers (MS064)

Bridget Graffort Club (MS045)

Central Baptist Church (MS020)

Coues Family (MS011)

Coussoule, Loukas N. (MS063)

Daughters of the American Revolution, Ranger Chapt (MS038)

Decatur Family (MS055)

Decatur, Stephen (MS099)

Dondero-Foley Family Papers (MS125)

Dover Medical Society (MS054)

Dudley Stoddard Collection (MS107)

Durant, Barbara Laighton Collection (MS104)

Eliot Academy Records (MS124)

Family Service Association (MS013)

Federal Fire Society (MS112)

Ferguson, John H. Receipts (MS128)

Flagg, William (MS048)

Frost, Joseph W P (MS095)

Frost Family (MS034)

Gardner, William Insurance Policy Books (MS097)

Gerrish-Kimball Collection (MS121)

Gerrish-Kimball Collection (MS121.1)

Goodwin Family Genealogy Collection (MS117)

Gilson, Josiah P. Diaries (MS083)

Great Bay Estuarine System Conservation Trust (MS126)

Green’s Drug Store (MS006)

Hale, Samuel (MS059)

Hanscom, Agnes May WWII Letters (MS122)

Harmony Grove and Sagamore Cemetery Records (MS105) 

Harris Family (MS078)

Harris, Mary A. Collection (MS065)

Hart, Hannah Account Book (S1487)

Hartford Family Collection (MS118) 

Haven Family Records (MS106)

Haven, George Wallis Diaries (MS073)

Haven, Nathaniel A. Papers (MS101)

Hill, Arthur Dehon (MS030)

Hill, Arthur Dehon (MS005)

Isles of Shoals (MS058)

Isles of Shoals US Coast Guard Station 14 (MS086)

Kendrick, Philip H. Collection(MS113)

Ladd, William (MS017)

Langdon, John, William Whipple and Elwyn Family (MS050)

Langdon, Samuel (MS049)

Larkin Collection (MS010)

Liberty Pole Association (MS085)

MacDonald-Leonard Collection (MS084)

MacPhaedris-Warner-Penhallow (MS003)

Marvin Peirce Collection (MS072)

Mechanic Fire Society (MS029)

Miller, Tobias Ham (MS012)

Moffatt-Ladd House Collection (MS018)

National Society of Colonial Dames – NH (MS087)

New Castle Bridge and Piscataqua Bridge Corporations (MS075)

New Castle Bridge Association (MS024)

New Hampshire Fire and Marine Insurance Co. (MS002)

North Church (MS036)

Octagon Club Records (MS111)

Parrott-Spalding Family (MS079)

Parsons Family Papers (MS082)

Peirce Family (MS009)

Pepperrell Family Papers (MS093)

Pepperrell, William (MS028)

Pontine Movement Theatre (MS116)

Portsmouth Advocates (MS109)

Portsmouth Arts and Historical Collaborative (S1512)

Portsmouth Athenaeum (MS001)

Portsmouth College Women’s Club (MS115)

Portsmouth Customs House Office Records (MS016)

Portsmouth Female Asylum (MS057)

Portsmouth Fire Relief (MS071)

Portsmouth Historical Society Collection (MS022)

Portsmouth Historical Society Records (MS023)

Portsmouth Hospital Collection (MS066)

Portsmouth Housing Authority (MS080)

Portsmouth Journal Papers (MS068)

Portsmouth Lyceum Records (MS089)

Portsmouth Marine Society (MS026)

Portsmouth Medical Society (MS046) 

Portsmouth Police Department Records (MS033)

Portsmouth Property Records (MS081)

Portsmouth Regional Visiting Nurses Association (MS021)

Portsmouth School Department (MS032)

Portsmouth Theater Company (MS119)

Portsmouth Yacht Club (MS047)

Randall, Wendell (MS041)

Rockingham Association of Congregational Christian Churches and Ministers (MS052)

Rockingham County Court of Common Pleas (MS042)

Rockingham House (MS053)

Rollins, Ichabod (MS059) 

Rowe, Jefferson C. Records (MS103)

Safford, Moses (MS069)

Sandford, John (MS015)

Sea Crest Village Records (MS062)

Seacoast Science Center (MS098)

Shipyard Project (MS092)

Sise, John (MS037)

South Church (MS039)

South Church (MS004)

Star Island Corporation Collection (MS100)

Strawberry Bank Grange (MS114)

St. John’s Church (MS027)

Temple Israel (MS051)

Thaxter, Rosamond Papers For Sandpiper (MS 129)

Theater-by-the-Sea (MS056)

Treadwell Family (MS008)

Tredick and Brewster Family Papers (MS019)

Turner, Peter Papers (MS096)

United Spanish War Veterans Winfield Scott Schley (MS040)

Warner Conner Family Collection (MS110)

Warner House Association (MS031)

Wendell, Andrew Peterson (MS070)

Wendell Family (MS025)

Wendell Family Correspondence (MS088)

Wentworth, Hugh Hall and Joshua Wentworth (Larkin) (MS010)

Wentworth-by-the-Sea (MS060)

Wentworth-Gardner Association (MS043)

Wentworth Hotel – Harley Collection (MS102)

Whipple Traill Spence (MS074)

Wilson, Thomas C. Papers (MS035)

Woodbury, Charles Levi (MS014)

Woodbury Family Papers (MS094)

Workman, Harrison Border Dispute Papers (MS120)

Zabarsky, Joyce Reopel Historic Preservation Papers (MS067)

Fee Schedule

As a private, non-profit library the Portsmouth Athenaeum relies on the financial support of our membership, as well as those who utilize our collection.

The fees assessed for photograph reproduction and use fund the administration, care, preservation, and processing of the photographs in our collection. A great deal of staff time and supplies are required for our collections to be made accessible for research and preserved for future generations.

Research Assistance

Research assistance conducted by staff is free of charge for the first 15 minutes. Additional time is charged at $35 per hour. The research fee is in addition to any reproduction fees.

Please note, on-site research requests take precedence, and remote requests (via e-mail or phone) will be handled as time and staffing allow.


  • Athenaeum Proprietors, Subscribers and Friends: $.10 per page
  • All others $.25 per page

Display: lecture, presentation, performance, exhibit, signs, etc.

  • Proprietors, Subscribers & Non-Profits: First image, gratis Up to 5 Images: $20 Additional, $5 each
  • Personal use (researchers, individuals, etc.): $10 per image

  • Commercial: $25 per image

Advertising & Non-Editorial Use: Unbound materials, postcards, posters, brochures, calendars, etc.

  • Proprietors, Subscribers & Non-Profits: First image $10, Additional $5 each
  • Personal or Commercial Use: First image $25, Additional $10 each
  •  Commercial: $25 per image

Print media for sale: books (per print run), periodicals, clothing, calendars, CD, DVD, etc.

  • Proprietors, Subscribers & Non-Profits: Up to 5 images $20, Additional $5 each
  • Commercial: First image $25 per image, $100 Cover use

Website: 75 dpi only includes watermark and link to

  • Proprietors, Subscribers & Non-Profits: $10 per image, per year
  • Personal use (researchers, individuals, etc.): $10 per image, per year

Film / Video Broadcast TV program, commercial studio release, news magazine, YouTube, etc. Inquire about World Rights

  • Proprietors, Subscribers & Non-Profits: $5 per image
  • Personal or Commercial use: please inquire

Additional Fees: CD Rescanning or new scan 

  • $2 per item/page

Payment is by check or cash only. If additional research is required, the first 15 minutes are free, after which our standard fee of $35/hr. will be assessed. 

Gifts of Research Material
The Athenæum is appreciative of donations of historic photographs, personal papers, business and organizational records, ephemera, maps, works of art, and books relating to the Piscataqua region. All contributions and gifts are tax-deductible under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Deposits of records from other non-profit organizations, to provide proper care and public access for research, will be considered.