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The Athenaeum: 1907

Circa 1907. "Athenaeum -- Portsmouth, New Hampshire." Next door to Foye's and its 1,000 Palms. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

Circa 1907. "Athenaeum -- Portsmouth, New Hampshire." Next door to Foye's and its 1,000 Palms. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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One More Thing ...

Here's a closeup of the plaque on one of the two cannon. It reads: "Taken From the British by Commodore Perry at the Battle of Lake Erie, Sept 10, 1813."

Widow's walk

I am please to see Athenaeum's expansion retained the distinctive
fenced rooftop platform, a feature of many oceanfront residences
and public buildings.

One of the consortiums of private membership libraries is the
Mechanics' Institute in downtown San Francisco, where I worked.
This is not at all an "elitist" institution, as it was created and priced
to serve the working class. Dating to the Gold Rush and surviving
the 1906 earthquake and fire, Mechanics' is healthy and robust today
with a general library and chess club. That man reading his
newspaper in the window could easily be one our "regulars" coming
in daily to catch up on the news.

War Trophies

A little Google searching turned up the history of the two cannon in front of the Athenaeum. Succinctly, they were cast in Scotland in 1793 and mounted aboard a British warship that was captured in the War of 1812. After being remounted on a U.S. Navy ship, and later on a private merchant ship, they finally ended up as decorations in Portsmouth in the mid-1800s.

There, the cannon were moved a couple of times (always as ornaments) before ending up in their present location in 1895.

Read the full story of the guns here.

Surprised to see

Cannons are still at the doorway.

Elitist Reader

Thanks to GlenJay for the Athenaeum explanation. I'm sure this gent wouldn't be caught dead reading his Portsmouth Herald or Boston Globe for that matter at the Christian Science Reading Room next door above Frank W. Knight Boots.

I'm Surprised

No one has mentioned the two cannons standing sentry at either side of the door, muzzle down. Can anyone identify the type? Also the purpose of the shield emblem on them?

Got your Athenaeum dues ready?

The name originated in Rome, which considered Athens (from Athena goddess of wisdom) to be the fount of learning. In today's Athens, you will find the name on an Intercontinental hotel.

American Athenaeums (athenaea to the snooty) are private membership libraries, almost all of them predating the rapid growth of public libraries in the late 1800s. The Portsmouth Athenaeum was founded in 1817, ten years after the Boston Athenaeum. The Membership Libraries Group has sixteen full members.

These places were Elitist with a capital E, but can be accessible today if you prove you're serious.

I tip my hat to you, Portsmouth

And here is why.

I'm Hiring Corey.

He is a man who knows exactly what he is ... A Lawyer. He states it twice with no unnecessary words.

On the other hand Simes seems to be confused. In one instance he is a Counsellor At Law then he transforms himself into an Atty At Law. I have no idea what an atty is and it's its connection to law and in actuality a Counsellor At Law is just a 50 cent way to say the simple nickel word lawyer,

Go for Corey, who seems to be a pragmatic man who will not overcharge you 45 cents for a 5 cent job.

"Our boots are worth dying for!"

At Frank W. Knight's, even our former customers are paying us a visit.

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