Ordering Information

$19.95, 8.5 x 11, softcover, 132 pages, full color photographs

Publication date: June 7, 2024

ISBN 978-1-963714-01-2

To order copies visit Portsmouth Historical Society .

History Lights Our Way

Portsmouth, NH 400th  1623-2023

Commemorating Portsmouth’s rich history through stories, essays, memories & more

In 2023, to mark the 400th anniversary of the settlement of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, a dedicated group of individuals embarked upon a yearlong celebration paying homage to the rich history and diverse tapestry of their city.

Delve into stories and memories from the 50 years since the 350th anniversary that honor the past while celebrating the present, with the hope of inspiring future generations of Portsmouth to maintain pride in their community.

The commemorative History Lights Our Way is an illustrated, 136-page, soft-cover book that captures a record of the 400th celebrations with essays contributed by 40 Portsmouth authors. The book was created by a committee that included Jody Record as editor, co-editor Chuck McMahon who organized the essay contributors, Melville Blake who researched and procured all historical images, Bob Lister who was responsible for engaging elementary and high school students to imagine the future of Portsmouth, and Valerie Rochon who contributed details on PNH400 events and legacy projects. Designed to build on Portsmouth’s 350th anniversary in 1973 the book recaps the city’s history since then, as viewed through community members’ memories. The book is also a record of PNH400 sponsors, donors, contributors and a review of 400th Anniversary events, programs and projects. The book was sponsored by the International Association of Privacy Professionals and Tiny Bully branding agency.

Editors’ Comments

“This must-have book features articles, essays and photographs that offer a glimpse of what took place in Portsmouth during the last 50 years, told from memory. It also contains factoids from the city’s 400 year history. It’s our hope that this book will give readers a sense of how Portsmouth has grown and changed and how it remains the same, a small city by the sea whose history is worth celebrating. All of this — the essays, the articles, the factoids, along with a collection of old and recent photographs — is a way to forge a connection between the past and the present, and to celebrate the rich history that makes Portsmouth the vibrant city it is today.”

—Jody Record, editor

“This book recounts memories ranging from throwing snowballs in the old Puddle Dock neighborhood, to the day an Air Force jet crashed, to the venerable poet Robert Dunn.”

— Chuck McMahon, Co-editor

About Portsmouth 400

The goal of Portsmouth NH 400th was to give the community an inclusive opportunity to tell the stories that are important to them, through programs, events, exhibits and legacy projects. Portsmouth NH 400th celebrated the diverse and animated social, political, intellectual, cultural, economic and spiritual history of Portsmouth from before settlement in 1623 to the present. PNH400 engaged the next generation(s) in exploring what the City’s 2023 legacy might be and how they might steward Portsmouth and its history beyond 2023. The Portsmouth NH 400th anniversary celebrations were are made possible in part thanks to the support of Bank of America, Piscataqua Savings Bank, Service Credit Union, the City of Portsmouth, Seacoast Half Marathon, the Joseph G. & Jean Sawtelle Fund, Bob & Sue Thoresen, Jess & Paul McKeon Foundation, Friends of Italian Americans, Anthony DiLorenzo, Lemay Family Goodworks & Artisan Grounds, the Portsmouth Collection, Granite State Minerals, VisitNH.Gov, members of the 400 Shoalers Club and 1623 Revolutionaries Club, and additional sponsors and donors. For more information, please visit PortsmouthNH400.org.
Contact: Valerie Rochon, valerie@portsmouthnh400.org, 802-279-1425