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Newport History

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Fifty Years Ago, When Newport Remembered Rochambeau, John R. Wadleigh Sep 2019

Fifty Years Ago, When Newport Remembered Rochambeau, John R. Wadleigh

Newport History

Fifty years before the publishing of this article, the landing of the French army under General Rochambeau on American soil, as well as the end of the Revolutionary War were celebrated as part of our nation's Sesquicentennial. In 1930 Newport recalled the French landing with local festivities including a parade and speeches with fireworks on Washington Square in the evening of the 11th of July. In this article, Wadleigh goes in depth about the history and proceedings of this event.


The Story Of The Analysis Of Green End Fort, K. Walsh Sep 2019

The Story Of The Analysis Of Green End Fort, K. Walsh

Newport History

During the American Revolution, three groups of people built forts on Aquidneck Island: the colonials, the English and their Hessian allies, and the French under Rochambeau with the aid of the colonial militia. In the winter of 1976, a study was published in the Bulletin of the Newport Historical Society which went into a detailed analysis of map locations of the forts, based on recently available maps drawn by British and French forces that occupied the island. The result of this analysis indicated that the redoubt located on Vernon Avenue in Middletown was not an English fort, but one built ...


Book Review, John F. Millar Sep 2019

Book Review, John F. Millar

Newport History

John F. Millar reviews Biographical Directory of American Colonial and Revolutionary Governors 1607-1789 by John W. Raimo.


Masterpieces Of Simplicity: Newport Desks And Chairs, 1740-1780, Joseph K. Ott, Daniel Snydacker, Deborah Walker Mar 2019

Masterpieces Of Simplicity: Newport Desks And Chairs, 1740-1780, Joseph K. Ott, Daniel Snydacker, Deborah Walker

Newport History

The exhibit mounted at the Newport Historical Society from the fall of 1986 to the fall of 1987 answered one question and posed another. It answered the question: what characteristics identify a piece of colonial furniture as having been made in Newport? The question posed by the exhibit is why did Newport cabinetmakers develop their own unique and remarkable style? This article examines and describes the exhibit itself and seeks to answer these questions regarding colonial furniture design and creation.


Editor’S Note, Elizabeth C. Stevens Jul 2017

Editor’S Note, Elizabeth C. Stevens

Newport History

This issue, we go back to the eighteenth century to delve into two very different aspects of life in Newport. In his “Freedom for African Americans in British-Occupied Newport, 1776-1779, and ‘The Book of Negroes,’” Christian McBurney explores the experience of some African-Americans during the American Revolution. Gabriella Angeloni’s article, “Writing in Books: Lessons on New England Readers from the Ellery Library Collection,” gives us a window into eighteenth-century Newport readers through their private libraries.


Editor's Note, Elizabeth C. Stevens Jan 2017

Editor's Note, Elizabeth C. Stevens

Newport History

Following Newport’s mercantile decline in the nineteenth century, Newporters were drawn to careers at sea in the U.S. Navy. In this issue, Dr. Evelyn Cherpak relates the narrative of one such Newport native, Charles Hunter, who was living in Newport and on the retired list from the U.S. Navy, when Lincoln’s call for volunteers went out in the spring of 1861. Cherry Fletcher Bamberg’s account of finding Ezra Stiles’s eighteenth-century “Bills of Mortality for 1765-1777,” and her analysis of its usefulness in describing and understanding Newport’s pre-Revolutionary war population is our second article ...


Editor's Note, Elizabeth C. Stevens Apr 2016

Editor's Note, Elizabeth C. Stevens

Newport History

In our Spring 2016 issue, we present two articles on quite different but nevertheless compelling topics in Newport history. The first, Marian Desrosiers’ “Daily Fare and Exotic Cuisine in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Newport,” provides a window into the various foods and drinks consumed by eighteenth-century Newport residents .Secondly, Paul Harpin’s article, “W. Douglas Hazard and the Newport Herald, 1907-1945” takes us to another century and another equally absorbing topic—the rise, success, and demise of a very popular daily newspaper. The Newport Herald was faltering in 1907 when three employees scraped together the funds to buy the paper from its owners ...


Editor’S Note, Elizabeth C. Stevens Jan 2016

Editor’S Note, Elizabeth C. Stevens

Newport History

This issue, we are publishing two articles that reflect aspects of Newporters’ leisure time in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Robert Cvornyek’s robust account of black baseball, “Touching Base: Race, Sport, and Community in Newport,” uncovers a wealth of information about local African-American teams and players, the integration of baseball in Newport (long before Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947), and the visits to the city of elite Negro League teams.

In her article, “From Virtuous Visions to Rubbish and Rats: A Natural History Society in Gilded Age Newport,” Kathrinne Duffy reminds us of a significant chapter ...


Executive Director’S Note, Ruth S. Taylor Jan 2016

Executive Director’S Note, Ruth S. Taylor

Newport History

The Journal has highlighted local and regional history in text and images for over one hundred years. While the focus in the past has been on social and architectural history, articles have taught us also about the art, political, military, and economic history of Newport County, and have done so in a venue that is accessible to all of our friends and members. Under a new editor and refreshed publications committee, the Journal will offer a broader scope of scholarly articles, but will continue to be publically accessible.


Editor's Note, James L. Yarnall Oct 2014

Editor's Note, James L. Yarnall

Newport History

During the first half of the 19th century, Newport fostered the political ambitions of Thomas Wilson Dorr, who sought to implement a “People’s “Constitution” in Rhode Island to replace the original colonial Charter. In 1844, Dorr found himself on trial for treason in Newport’s Colony House. This historical event is the subject of the first article in this issue of the journal by Erik J. Chaput and Russell J. DeSimone. During the last half of the nineteenth century, the Auchincloss family was part of the so-called New York invasion that spurred the dramatic economic and social development of ...


Editor's Note, James L. Yarnall Apr 2014

Editor's Note, James L. Yarnall

Newport History

In this issue of Newport History, the focus is on several aspects of 18th-century Newport culture. Dr. Marian Mathison Desrosiers utilizes the record books of a wealthy merchant to explore aspects of daily life and consumerism in pre-Revolutionary Newport. Don N. Hagist delves into the intrigues and misfortunes of a marriage that took place at Newport’s Trinity Church during the Revolutionary War. Adams Taylor shifts the focus to writing desks as they related to the evolution of Newport material culture, particularly as the form flourished during the last half of the 18th century.


Editor's Note, James L. Yarnall Dec 2013

Editor's Note, James L. Yarnall

Newport History

This special double issue of Newport History, produced to honor the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, presents seven texts previously published and all related to the French presence in Newport from 1778 to 1781. Editorial commentaries appear in the footnotes for each anthology text set off by square brackets and the tag "-ed." Brief biographies of authors also appear in this format at the start of the notes for individual articles. The name authority at the rear of this issue provides consistent information on the most commonly accepted spellings and life dates ...


Editor's Note, James L. Yarnall Oct 2013

Editor's Note, James L. Yarnall

Newport History

In November 1663, John Clarke arrived in Newport with a new Charter for the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Granted by King Charles II four months earlier, the Charter was groundbreaking in containing for the first time a monarch’s guarantee of freedom of religion. In 2013, organizations throughout the state of Rhode Island plan to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the granting of the Charter with a host of commemorative ceremonies. In this issue of Newport History, Tracy Jonsson provides a detailed analysis of the Charter and its impact. In 1663, the Charter arrived in Newport on ...


Editor's Note, James L. Yarnall Oct 2012

Editor's Note, James L. Yarnall

Newport History

This issue of Newport History continues the celebration of the Newport Historical Society’s one-hundredth year of publishing a journal focused on the history and culture of Newport County. Produced under the title Bulletin of the Newport Historical Society from1912 to 1963 in 112 issues, the journal has since 1964 continued under the title Newport History for an additional 155 issues, including the present number.

By the time he died on February 4, 1900, George Henry Norman had risen from ordinary beginnings as a student in Newport public schools to considerable wealth and modest fame. Along the way, he became ...


Editor’S Note, James L. Yarnall Apr 2012

Editor’S Note, James L. Yarnall

Newport History

In this issue of Newport History, both articles focus on the accomplishments of a handful of privileged individuals who left their mark on the cultural life of Aquidneck Island during the Gilded Age. These men and women of means were quite different from the better-known Vanderbilts, Astors, and Belmonts, who enlisted grand architecture and social pageantry to promote aristocratic status. Rather, the subjects of this issue of the journal pursued distinctive intellectual and personal interests, and embraced architectural styles that mirrored a lifestyle centered on quiet self-fulfillment. In the lead article, Peter Colt Josephs draws upon a large collection of ...


Editor’S Note, James L. Yarnall Oct 2011

Editor’S Note, James L. Yarnall

Newport History

The rich artistic heritage of Newport owes as much to recondite personalities as to well-known artists. This issue of Newport History investigates a number of these lesser-known figures, starting with James Nicholson, a master carpenter who worked on some of the most important Bellevue Avenue mansions of the late 1880s and early 1890s. Caroline McGuckian assembled the details of Nicholson’s life, along with examples of his work as a photographer and painter. A century has elapsed since over a hundred largely now-forgotten artists, art teachers, and patrons founded the Art Association of Newport, today known as the Newport Art ...


Editor’S Note, James L. Yarnall Apr 2011

Editor’S Note, James L. Yarnall

Newport History

The lead article is this issue of Newport History is by John F. Quinn and provides a new perspective on the integration of Roman Catholicism into Newport’s religious climate. The second article in this issue is by Sarah Vickery. For her internship project, Ms. Vickery was curator of Handwritten History: Correspondence of Great Americans, an exhibition held in the fall of 2010 at the Colony House on Washington Square and in early 2011 at the nearby BankNewport. This article adapts the wall text and images from this exhibition.


Editor’S Note, James L. Yarnall Oct 2010

Editor’S Note, James L. Yarnall

Newport History

The plight of American prisoners held by the British in New York City during the Revolutionary War has been the topic over the years of several in-depth books and articles. In this issue of the journal, Christian McBurney provides the first extended study of the British treatment of prisoners on prison ships and in jails during the Newport occupation. This issue concludes with a spread of period photographs of the interior and grounds of the Edward King House, the largest and most lavish mansion in Newport before the Civil War. These photographs for the most part still hang on the ...


Editor's Note, James L. Yarnall Apr 2010

Editor's Note, James L. Yarnall

Newport History

During the year leading up to her one-hundredth birthday on 3 January 2010, Natalie N. Nicholson compiled a memoir about growing up on Prospect and Paradise Avenues in Middletown. As Nicholson’s longtime friend and as Editor of Newport History, I feel privileged to see this memoir through to publication in this issue of the journal. Dr. John B. Hattendorf has been a moving force behind Newport History for the past twenty-one years. To this issue of the journal, Hattendorf contributes an article revisiting the impact of the closure of Rhode Island’s naval bases at Quonset Point and Newport ...


Editor’S Note, James L. Yarnall Oct 2009

Editor’S Note, James L. Yarnall

Newport History

Fifty Washington Square is the address of an imposing Neo-Renaissance building occupying a prominent position diagonally across from the Colony House at the head of Washington Square, in the heart of old colonial Newport. Since 1989, it has also been Newport’s low-income Single Room Occupancy housing and homeless shelter. Many are unfamiliar with the numerous arts programs that flourished at Fifty Washington Square during the early 1990s. In this issue of Newport History, Jan Shapin details these activities and illustrates them with many previously unpublished images from the archives of the Community Development Training Institute (CDTI), one of the ...


Editor’S Note, James L. Yarnall Apr 2009

Editor’S Note, James L. Yarnall

Newport History

This issue of Newport History is devoted to Conanicut Island, often called Jamestown after the name of its central village. At nine miles long and one mile wide, Conanicut is the second largest island in Narragansett Bay. The island became popular in the late nineteenth century among those disinclined to the Newport social whirl. They included Philadelphians, who built mansions in the Ocean Highlands and The Dumplings, and a group from St. Louis, who founded their own private enclave, Shoreby Hill. Co-authoring the lead article are Sue Maden and Rosemary Enright, who recount the story of William Lincoln Bates and ...


Editor's Note, James L. Yarnall Oct 2008

Editor's Note, James L. Yarnall

Newport History

This issue of Newport History features an extensive study of Solomon Southwick, a Newport native who became the printer and editor of the Newport Mercury, and an important voice for American independence. The author of his complex and fascinating story is C. Deirdre Phelps, who shares ancestry with Southwick—who was in turn a descendant of Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick, the Quaker martyrs of Salem, Massachusetts. The photograph spread in this issue celebrates the recent issuance of the third edition of C.P.B. Jefferys’ brief monograph on Newport. First published by the Newport Historical Society in 1976, and then ...


Editor’S Note, James L. Yarnall Apr 2008

Editor’S Note, James L. Yarnall

Newport History

This issue of Newport History includes three articles by local authors with diverse interests and backgrounds. They write respectively about a not-so-famous Newport architect, the now-defunct Jamestown Bridge, and a long-lost Newport estate with intriguing connections to ancient Egypt. The little-recognized Newport architect John Dixon Johnston is the subject of Ronald J. Onorato article. The pictorial essay devoted to the recently demolished Jamestown Bridge is written by Sue Madden, Rosemary Enright and Matt Kierstead. The last article is on the Newport estate of Theodore M. Davis by Jane Carey.


Editor's Note, James L. Yarnall Oct 2006

Editor's Note, James L. Yarnall

Newport History

The Naval Historical Collection, housed in the library of the Naval War College at Newport, is the main repository for documents relating to the naval history of Aquidneck Island. In this issue of Newport History, Evelyn M. Cherpak recounts the story of Newport’s Women Officers School by delving into five large photographic albums from this collection. Scholars studying the Old Stone Mill in Touro Park usually debate its controversial origins, but Marian Mathison Desrosiers here explores a different angle. Using wills, court cases, and other primary documents, she unravels the mill’s ownership by the Arnold, Pelham, and Banister ...


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Newport History

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Editor's Note, James L. Yarnall Apr 2006

Editor's Note, James L. Yarnall

Newport History

The French Naval presence in Newport at the time of the Revolutionary War was the subject of a special double issue of Newport History in 2003. Caroline Frank now revisits this topic with a fresh slant, examining the social and cultural implications of the relationship between a French officer and the daughter of a local Quaker family. Bertram Lippincott turns his attention to the philanthropic Mason sisters and their unusual Rhode Island Avenue cottage, designed in 1901 by architect Irving Gill in a Spanish Renaissance Revival style derived from California Missions. Paul F. Miller offers a second and last installment ...


Editor's Note, James L. Yarnall Oct 2004

Editor's Note, James L. Yarnall

Newport History

This issue embraces women's history, architectural history, and military history-and encapsulates three distinct eras: Post-Revolutionary Newport, the nascent Gilded Age, and the two World Wars. Evelyn M. Cherpak's article in this issue is based upon her 2001 monograph published by the Newport Historical Society: A Diplomat's Lady in Brazil: Selections from the Diary of Mary Robinson Hunter, 1834-1848. Anthony Nicolosi’s article is on the naval history of Narragansett Bay. M. Joan Youngken presents the first of two installments on the photographic portfolio assembled in 1874 by Charles Follen McKim derives from her 1998 exhibition, Picturesque Localities ...


Editor's Note, Ron M. Potvin Oct 2002

Editor's Note, Ron M. Potvin

Newport History

Before Newport became a fashionable summer resort, it was a gathering place for scientists, intellectuals, and artists, including a group of progressive New England landscape painters, including William Morris Hunt and John La Farge. Lesser known within this group was John Chandler Bancroft, the son of historian and diplomat George Bancroft, who maintained his summer residence at "Roseclyffe" in Newport. As an artist, John Chandler Bancroft's application of scientific theories of color and light to his painting helped influence a generation of artists, including La Farge, Winslow Homer, and Thomas Eakins. Perhaps frustrated with his inability to translate effectively ...


Editor's Note, Ron M. Potvin Oct 2000

Editor's Note, Ron M. Potvin

Newport History

In February of 1783, an infuriated prisoner in Newport Jail furiously wrote in his diary his unmitigated contempt for that "Miserable impertinent Rascally Ignorant Mule headed puppy ... who put me to jail." In her article, "A Rhode Island Patriot in Newport Jail," Virginia Steele Wood assumes the role of a detective, sifting through scores of contemporary records to discover the identity of the unknown diarist and learn his fate.

Since the advent of photography in newspaper journalism, the Newport Daily News has kept the community apprized of progress, difficulties, and activities at the many Newport city schools through the use ...


Editor's Note, Ron M. Potvin Apr 2000

Editor's Note, Ron M. Potvin

Newport History

In past years, study of Newport's role during the Revolutionary War has been limited mostly to well-known events: the occupation of the town by the British, the subsequent "sojourn" in Newport by the French, and the Battle of Rhode Island. More recently, however, these broad strokes have been supplemented by discoveries and studies related to the details of these events. The feature article in this issue, '"A Grand Landscape in Miniature:' Great Rock, Paradise Farm, and the Barkers of Middletown," by James L. Yarnall and Natalie N. Nicholson. The article reveals an elaborate American spy operation orchestrated by Middletown ...