By Scott E. Kinney, Atlantic News Staff Writer
Atlantic News, Friday, August 19, 2005
[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News]
HAMPTON -- It's not easy telling over 300 years of Hampton history through fifty years' worth of post cards.
But that is exactly what residents Betty Moore and Elizabeth Aykroyd attempted to do by authoring "Hampton and Hampton Beach" as part of the Arcadia Press Publishing's Postcard History Series.
Aykroyd and Moore approached Arcadia Press after seeing a similar book that the Rye Historical Society put together. According to the two women, Arcadia was in the process of contacting them.
"It was really a meeting of the minds," said Aykroyd.
The pair used the thousands of postcards on hand at the Tuck Museum as well as several historical texts that were available.
The postcards illustrate a history of the town from the early to mid-1900s. Many postcards bearing the same scene or area of town over several years show the changes that have occurred. They also show how a small farming and fishing community transforms into a vacation destination.
Whether it's a scene of a four foot snow drift in front of the Hampton Beach Casino or Great Boar's Head prior to any construction, or the salt marsh before any sort of reclamation had been done — or just a scene of classic beauties sunbathing on the beach wearing the day's fashion (which by today's standards could at best be described as modest, at worst archaic) — each postcard shows a snapshot of what the town's focus was at the time and how it has evolved.
"If you sat and read it front to back you would learn about Hampton's history," said Moore.
Each chapter of the book is based upon a theme with titles such as "Uptown," "The Beach Experience," and "The Changing Landscape," with postcards that reflect the theme of the chapter and text that describes what the reader is seeing.
"We asked, 'What are the five or 10 things we want people to know about each part?'" Moore said.
The historical information found in the book was also ascertained through several interviews with a bevy of volunteers willing to share their knowledge of the town.
The book went on sale at the end of July, and both Moore and Aykroyd will be on hand at a book signing event at the Tuck Museum on Sunday, August 21. Copies of the book and refreshments will be available and the museum's post card collection will be on display. Proceeds from book sales will go to the Tuck Museum and the Hampton Historical Society.
"We thoroughly enjoyed the project," said Aykroyd. "We hope people enjoy the book as much as we enjoyed doing it."
Moore said the release of the book has started a sort of post card buzz.
"The interest is there," she said. "People have been dropping off post cards for the past week."
The Tuck Museum is located at 40 Park Avenue in Hampton, and may be reached by calling (603) 926-2543.