The Portsmouth History Center

This is the Hub to Gain Access to Portsmouth History Resources

Historical Society

The Portsmouth Historical Society’s long term vision is to protect and promote Portsmouth’s cultural heritage by creating a secure and sustainable facility, where, in conjunction with other local organizations, it stores, maintains, and displays a collection of historic artifacts, offers lectures and research assistance to the public, and stimulates the study of the town’s history for future generations.

Free Public Library

The Portsmouth Free Public Library is part of the statewide library system. It is open to the public and residents may obtain library privileges and access to the state library system. The library has many historical collections and also displays selected collection items from the Portsmouth Historical Society. The Portsmouth History Center is located in the library.

The 375th

To honor the founding of our town and its subsequent history, the community of Portsmouth conducted a series of public events and observances over the course of the year. In planning for these events, much work was done and many volunteers participated in developing and conducting these civic events. Many friends and neighbors joined to help celebrate Portsmouth’s 375th year.

Atlantic Compact

The Atlantic Compact was formed on an agreement between the municipalities of Portsmouth England, Portsmouth New Hampshire, Portsmouth Rhode Island and Portsmouth Virginia to enhance economic, educational and cultural opportunities. We have formalized the compact and, in the coming months, plan to expand on the basic precepts on which the alliance will be built.

Sarah Eddy

One important item in the collection of the Portsmouth Historical Society is the portrait of Grammy Burke preparing Thanksgiving Dinner. The artist was longtime Portsmouth resident and philanthropist Sarah J. Eddy. PHS members have been collecting images of Sarah Eddy’s artwork and hope to uncover more.

John Pierce Collection

The John T. Pierce, Sr., Historical Collection is a digital project started in 2007 by Portsmouth Free Public Library to preserve and provide public access to collected materials documenting the history of Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Materials for this site were donated to the Library by retired Portsmouth Police Chief John T. Pierce Sr. and was funded by a grant from BankNewport.

Jim Garman 375th Lecture Series

Jim Garman is the Portsmouth Historian and the President of the Portsmouth Historical Society. During the Portsmouth 375th Celebration in 2013, he delivered a series of lectures on the history of the town. Videos of those lectures, as well as other 375th videos are available here.

Historical Society Video Series

PHS Events and Lectures are documented on Videos that are available on the Portsmouth Historical web site Video Theater