J. Dennis Robinson

J. Dennis Robinson has published over 2,000 articles on New Hampshire history and culture. His books for young readers include biographies of Jesse James and Lord Baltimore and an overview of child labor exploitation in America. His hardcover histories of Strawbery Banke Museum and historic Wentworth by the Sea Hotel both received honors from the American Association for State and Local History. His most recent books include a study of the tall ship Privateer Lynx, a colorful overview of archaeology at the Isles of Shoals, and a critically acclaimed in-depth look at the infamous Smuttynose ax murders of 1873. Robinson is also a history columnist and editor of SeacoastNH.com, a website about New Hampshire history and culture.

Contact

J. Dennis Robinson
Portsmouth, NH 03801
dennis@seacoastnh.com
Work Phone: 603-427-2020

J. Dennis Robinson's Programs

Case Closed on the 1873 Smuttynose Ax Murders

Case Closed on the 1873 Smuttynose Ax Murders

For almost 150 years the moonlight ax murder of two Norwegian women on the rocky Isles of Shoals has haunted New England. Popular historian and lecturer J. Dennis Robinson cuts through the hoaxes, lies, rumors, and fiction surrounding the arrest, trial and execution of 28-year old Louis Wagner, who claimed his innocence to the end. If you read the bestselling novel Weight of Water or saw the Hollywood film -- that's not what happened. A longtime summer steward of Smuttynose Island, Robinson lays out the facts based on his book-length study, Mystery on the Isles of Shoals.
The Making of Strawbery Banke

The Making of Strawbery Banke

Local legend says Strawbery Banke Museum began when a Portsmouth librarian gave a rousing speech in 1957. The backstory, however, is richly complex. This is a dramatic tale of economics, urban renewal, immigration, and historic architecture in New Hampshire's only seaport. J. Dennis Robinson, author of an award-winning "biography" of the 10-acre Strawbery Banke campus, shares the history of "America's oldest neighborhood." Tapping into private letters, unpublished records, and personal interviews, Robinson explores the politics of preservation. Using colorful and historic illustrations, the author looks candidly at mistakes made and lessons learned in this grassroots success story.
Treasure from the Isles of Shoals: How New Archaeology is Changing Old History

Treasure from the Isles of Shoals: How New Archaeology is Changing Old History

There is treasure here but not the pirate kind. Scientific "digs" on Smuttynose Island are changing New England history. Archaeologist Nathan Hamilton has unearthed 300,000 artifacts to date on this largely uninhabited rock at the Isles of Shoals. Evidence proves prehistoric Native Americans hunted New Hampshire's only offshore islands 6,000 years ago. Hundreds of European fishermen split, salted, and dried valuable Atlantic cod here from the 1620s. "King Haley" ruled a survivalist kingdom here before Thomas Laighton struck tourist gold when his family took over the region's first hotel on Smuttynose. Laighton's daughter Celia Thaxter spun poetic tales of ghosts and pirates. J. Dennis Robinson, a longtime Smuttynose steward, explores the truth behind the romantic legends of Gosport Harbor in this colorful show-and-tell presentation.