Monday, June 25, 2012

New Hampshire on Skis

New England Ski Museum
The Society will present a talk by E. John B. Allen on "New Hampshire on Skis" on Tuesday, July 17 at 7:00 PM. The program will be held at the Ladd Street School and will be free and open to the public.

Allen is Professor of History, Emeritus at Plymouth State University; Historian of the New England Ski Museum in Franconia; and author of several books, including From Skisport to Skiing: One Hundred Years of an American Sport 1840–1940 and The Culture and Sport of Skiing: From Antiquity to World War II. His most recent book, published last year, is Historical Dictionary of Skiing.

New England Ski Museum
Professor Allen’s illustrated lecture traces the key role that New Hampshire played in the development and popularization of skiing in America. In the 1930s, the state led the country in ski activity, inspired in part by Dartmouth College’s Outing Club and Winter Carnival. Prior to World War II, Germans and Austrians–some fleeing Nazi persecution–found the White Mountains to be suitable terrain for the downhill skiing styles of their homelands.

Innovations such as the Cannon Mountain Tram helped make the sport even more accessible, and after World War II, development of ski areas expanded greatly. Allen will trace the development of the industry from its European-inflected roots to today’s resorts that offer a variety of winter activities.

Professor Allen’s lecture is made possible by a grant from the New Hampshire Humanities Council.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Object of the Month: Portable Civil War Writing Desk

Reposted from Zephyrs10:

By Kimberly Alexander and Ariel Myers

This portable desk was used in the Civil War by a native of Haverhill, Capt. Jacob Leroy Bell (1839-1916), who enlisted as a private in the 11th NH Volunteers in 1862 at age 22. Two years later he advanced to the rank of Captain.

Family tradition holds that the desk was made for him by the men in his Company and that it was used to hold Company records. After seeing service at Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg, Captain Bell retired to Haverhill and kept store at his family home, the Montgomery House at Oliverian Brook. (See earlier posts on the General Montgomery home and Store.) The desk descended in the family and was returned to Haverhill by Capt. Bell's grand-niece, Winifred Merrill Howard of Hartford, CT in 1960.

Upon recent inspection, the desk was found to be in very good condition, and despite its portable nature, shows little signs of wear.The front of the desk opens to reveal a series of drawers and dividers. Two confederate bills were also found within the desk.While the painting on the front of the desk is unsigned, it is possible to speculate that the work was completed by one of the members of his company. It depicts soldiers and a watchtower in a cleared field.

The writing desk is on view at the Haverhill Historical Society Museum, Court Street, as part of commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

1837 Henry Page Ledger Returns to Haverhill

Reposted from Zephyrs10:

The Haverhill Historical Society recently purchased a small ledger belonging to Henry Page.Page must have been a traveling salesman as some of this ledger is devoted to a trip beginning in late September 1837 to Burlington (VT), to Whitehall (NY) to Albany, to Buffalow (sic), to Toledo, to Adrin (sic) (MI), to White Pigeon (MI), and so on.Entries are mostly for food and lodging, but there are entries for the likes of "blackening boots" and an occasional whiskey. There are a few entries by a Nathl Bailey and Henry H. Page & Company.Leather ledger measures approximately 3 1/2" x 5 3/4" with approximately 30 pages, unpaginated. A little more than half of the pages have entries, some text is easier to read than others.

Further research will commence later this year. The Haverhill Historical Society thanks Peter J. Michaud for bringing this volume to the Board's attention. It was purchased on e-bay from a collector in Rumney, NH, whose description is found above.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Of Hours and Interns

The Historical Society is delighted to welcome its first intern: Ariel Myers is a student at Plymouth State University. Under the guidance of Dr. Kimberly Alexander, Ariel will be conducting an inventory of the Society's holdings this summer.

The Historical Society Museum will once again be open for the summer months. Please plan to visit us on Court Street, across from the library, on Wednesdays or Sundays between 2:00 and 4:00 PM.

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Disgraced Civil War General

The Haverhill Historical Society will sponsor the presentation “Hero or Coward? The Story of General Fitz John Porter” on Thursday, June 14 at 7:00 PM at the Ladd Street School. The program will be followed by a book signing.

This illustrated lecture will be presented by Dr. Kimberly Alexander and Dr. Dane Morrison. They will describe the career and controversial court martial of Civil War General Fitz John Porter (1822–1901), a native of Portsmouth, New Hampshire who was the subject of a politically-charged prosecution following the Union’s defeat at the Second Battle of Bull Run. Porter spent the next sixteen years seeking to restore his name and reputation.
Drs. Alexander and Morrison trace Porter’s story with the help of newly uncovered print sources, images, and artifacts. The lecture is based on their book, co-authored with Richard Schubert, Hero or Coward? The Story of General Fitz John Porter, published last year by Blue Hill Press. Copies of the book will be available for sale after the program.

Dr. Kimberly S. Alexander is adjunct professor of history at the University of New Hampshire; Director of Client Relations of TheBranchCreative; and past Chief Curator at Strawbery Banke Museum. Dr. Dane A. Morrison is Professor of Early American History at Salem State University; author of A Praying People: Massachusetts Acculturation and the Failure of the Puritan Vision, 1600–1690; and editor of American Indian Studies: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Contemporary Issues and Salem: Place, Myth, and Memory.