20 Questions About NH's Literary Heritage

A quiz about our state's Literary Heritage was created for distribution at the New Hampshire table in the Parade of States at the 2018 National Book Festival. Here are the answers, with references, to the quiz questions.

What do The Cat in the Hat, Pollyanna, and Curious George have in common?

Their creators (Dr. Seuss, Eleanor H. Porter, and H. A. and Margret Rey) all lived in New Hampshire. Dr. Seuss, aka Theodore Geisel, attended Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH. Eleanor H. Porter, creator of Pollyanna, is a native of Littleton, NH. Margret and H.A. Rey, authors of the Curious George children’s book series were summer residents of Waterville Valley, New Hampshire, where the Rey Center honors their spirit of curiosity and discovery by increasing understanding & participation in art, science & nature through programs for youth, adults & families.

One NH town is both the setting of Thornton Wilder’s "Our Town" and the location of the first tax-supported public library in America. Which town is it?

Peterborough, NH. The article "America's" First Public Library” by Brian Hackert (Book Notes, Fall 2008, p. 5) provides the history of the library. Learn more about the writing of “Our Town”.

What native of Exeter, NH competed as a wrestler for twenty years in addition to writing (as of 2018) fourteen novels?

John Irving.

How many NH Poets Laureate have also been US Poet Laureate (under whatever title was in use at the time) as of 2017?

Three: Richard Eberhart (US Poet Laureate 1959-1961), Maxine Kumin (US Poet Laureate 1981-1982), and Donald Hall. Robert Frost and Charles Simic () also served as US poets laureate and lived in NH, but neither had been NH Poet Laureate as of 2017. The April 2006 issue of Book Notes was all about the NH Poets Laureate.

According to Vanity Fair “It helped create the contemporary notion of "buzz," indicted 1950s morality, and recast the concept of the soap opera, all in one big, purple-prosed book. It would spawn a sequel, a smash film nominated for nine Academy Awards, and television's first prime-time serial. A week before it hit bookstores, it was already on the best-seller list, where it would remain for half a year. In its first month, it sold more than 100,000 copies, at a time when the average first novel sold 3,000, total. It would go on to sell 12 million more, becoming one of the most widely read novels ever published.” Who wrote this blockbuster and what was it?

NH native Grace Metalious wrote Peyton Place which was set in a fictional NH town based on Gilmanton, NH. (Full Vanity Fair piece). The article "Before Dan Brown Came Grace Metalious: Peyton Place Turns 50" by Robert B. Perreault (Book Notes, Fall 2006, p. 4) describes the life and work of Grace Metalious.

Harriet Wilson was born in Milford, NH on March 15, 1825. On September 5, 1859 she published a novel. What was significant about it?

Wilson's novel, Our Nig, is the first known American publication by any black person. Learn more at Harriet Wilson, Author born and The Harriet Wilson Project. The article "Harriet E. Wilson: Pre-Civil War Black Author" by Stasia B. Millet and Mabelle Barnett (Book Notes, Spring 2006, p. 8) discusses her work and the efforts to ensure her legacy.

What story set in Portsmouth,NH inspired Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer?

Thomas Bailey Aldrich's Story of a Bad Boy (1870) which describes growing up in the years 1849-1852 in Portsmouth, NH). Learn more from the article "Thomas Baily Aldrich" by Mary A. Russell (Book Notes, Fall 2008, p. 3).

Where did Willa Cather stay while working on My Antonia, Shadows of the Rock, and Death Comes for the Archbishop?

The Shattuck Inn, Jaffrey, NH. When Cather died in 1947 she was buried, according to her wishes, in the old cemetery at Jaffrey Center, NH. Learn more from the article "Willa Cather" by Mary A. Russell (Book Notes, Spring 2009, p. 9).

In the 1970s Cricket magazine began and its trademark cricket were created by an artist in Lyme, NH. Who was it?

Trina Schart Hyman, who served as art director of Cricket from 1971-1979. She also wrote and illustrated numerous children’s books including Saint George and the Dragon: A Golden Legend. Learn more about Cricket (broken link in template). To learn more about Hyman’s life and work check out the article “Trina Schart Hyman” by Mary A. Russell (Book Notes, Spring 2005, p. 8).

In 1852 Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote a biography of a friend from his days at Bowdoin College. In 1864 he died while travelling in the White Mountains with that same friend. Who was it?

Franklin Pierce, the only US President (so far) to hail from New Hampshire. Learn more about the friendship between Hawthorne and Pierce.

What Newport, NH native edited Godey’s Lady's Book for 50 years, wrote “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” and is credited with the establishment of Thanksgiving as a national holiday in the U.S.?

Sarah Josepha Hale. An annual literary award is given in her name.

Which is older: the Library of Congress or the New Hampshire State Library?

The NH State Library. In January 1717, New Hampshire's 27th General Assembly met in Portsmouth, passing several orders and resolves. On the 25th of that month, it declared that: "Law books be distributed among ye severall towns of this Province in proportion according to their last Prov : tax, except two books wch shall be for ye Govr & Councill & house of representatives." Those books were the beginning of the New Hampshire State Library. The Library of Congress was founded 83 years later in 1800, making it the oldest federal cultural institution in the nation.

In 1928 the first Pulitzer Prize given for correspondence was awarded to someone who later became NH Poet Laureate. Who was it?

Paul Scott Mowrer "for his coverage of international affairs including the Franco-British Naval Pact and Germany's campaign for revision of the Dawes Plan."

In 1898, Harlakenden House was built in Cornish, New Hampshire for a best-selling author who was involved in the Cornish Art Colony. The house would later be the summer home of Woodrow Wilson. The author shared his name with another famous statesman. Who was it?

Winston Churchill. Learn more about Harlakenden House and about Winston Churchill, the author.

A Separate Peace by John Knowles is set at Devon, a thinly veiled portrait of what school? Hint: it was the author’s alma mater.

Phillips Exeter Academy, located in Exeter, NH. Learn more about author John Knowles.

What children’s book author and illustrator once taught at Colby-Sawyer College and works in a 200 year old barn in New London, NH?

Tomie dePaola. See pictures of the barn, and the adjacent house.

NH resident Joe Hill, author of the Lock & Key series and several best-selling novels is the son of what other New England writers?

Stephen King and Tabitha King. Learn more about Joe Hill.

Ainsworth Rand Spofford was an American journalist and the sixth Librarian of Congress. Where was he born?

Gilmanton, NH on September 12, 1825. Learn more about Ainsworth Rand Spofford.

What world famous author lived in Cornish, NH for much of his adult life?

J. D. Salinger.

According to its publisher, located in Dublin, NH, what is the oldest continuously produced periodical in the United States?

Yankee Publishing Incorporated (YPI), a family-owned and independent publisher best known for Yankee magazine also publishes the Old Farmer's Almanac, which has been published continuously since 1792, making it the oldest continuously published periodical in North America.