Local History: Becoming Portsmouth Book Launch!
Wednesday September 20 | 5 – 7 PM
Portsmouth Public Library
Levenson Community Room
The library’s Local History series features authors and experts on local history topics. The series continues in September with a very special book launch of Becoming Portsmouth, edited by Laura Pope. Meet the contributing authors, discuss their first person essays about Portsmouth history, and enjoy refreshments!
At midcentury, two federal urban renewal projects in the gritty, blue-collar navy town of Portsmouth decimated two neighborhoods. But in the 1970s and ’80s—thanks to an influx of artisans, chefs and entrepreneurs—the Port City emerged as a beacon of arts, culinary excellence and preservation. Iconoclast Jay Smith opened the Press Room, the celebrated music club. A group of concerned citizens saved the Music Hall, the last of Portsmouth’s vaudeville theaters. And a Dutch family opened the Euro-style Café Petronella next to a biker bar.
In Becoming Portsmouth, author and historian Laura Pope has edited a collection of essays detailing the changes in the last half of the past century that made Portsmouth a lauded arts- and food-lovers’ hub and, finally, a diverse tourist destination.
After a brief profession as an archaeologist and stints in the restaurant trade, Laura Pope began her writing career at New Hampshire Profiles magazine. She later worked as a staff and freelance journalist and editor specializing in the arts, travel and history for regional newspapers and magazines, including National Geographic Traveler, the Montreal Gazette and Old House Journal. Laura’s first book, a work of history called Portsmouth (2007), was followed by Portsmouth Women (2013, The History Press), an anthology of women’s history spanning three centuries.