Tuck's Gift

New Hampshire's temple of history.

This is a tale about architecture, art, public service, ambition, and achieving a noble goal, thought to be unattainable.

The story of the New Hampshire Historical Society’s landmark headquarters building and its benefactor Edward Tuck is one of New Hampshire’s most dramatic tales. Transatlantic voyages, labor discord, disputes among the principals, a near bankruptcy, and an untimely death marked the construction of New Hampshire’s Temple of History.

Inextricably linked with the story of this structure are the individuals responsible for its creation more than 100 years ago. Their backgrounds and circumstances varied widely, but all shared the conviction that history’s rightful place is at the center of our civic life. The grandeur of the building has been ever since a fitting symbol of the place and power of history in shaping New Hampshire’s identity.

Accompanied by extensive archival photographs and material, the film includes author and filmmaker Dayton Duncan, Dartmouth history professor emeritus Jere Daniell, and former U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter discussing the role of history in our lives.

A Co-Production of New Hampshire Historical Society & New Hampshire Public Television

Tuck's Gift was made possible by: Merrimack County Savings Bank, New Hampshire Humanities Council

With additional funding provided by: McIninch Foundation • Rath, Young & Pignatelli, P.C. New Hampshire Antiques Dealers Association • Swenson Granite Company • Unitil • Capital Offset Company • Gertrude Couch Trust • H.L. Turner Group • Ann DeNicola Trust


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The story of New Hampshire's Temple of History.



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Delve further into the story of Tuck’s Gift through this special issue of the New Hampshire Historical Society’s magazine Historical New Hampshire, available in print (pdf) and audio versions.

The story of how the New Hampshire Historical Society’s landmark headquarters and library building came into being a century ago is worthy of a stage drama. Graphic design for centennial celebration by Schuyler D. Scribner, courtesy of New Hampshire PBS.“Tuck’s Gift”

Historical New Hampshire, Volume 65, No. 2, Fall 2011

Editor:  Donna-Belle Garvin, Director of Publications, New Hampshire Historical Society

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Concord Evening Monitor, November 23, 1911. Courtesy of the New Hampshire State Library.Foreword

Author:  William H. Dunlap, Executive Director, New Hampshire Historical Society

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(5.2 mb, ~5:44 min listening time)

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Philanthropist Edward Tuck (1842–1938), watercolor on paper, c. 1880.  “Unlike too large a proportion of men who love to praise their own works, Mr. Tuck prefers to let his works praise him.” New Hampshire Historical Society.“The Education of a New Hampshire Philanthropist”

Author: Franklin Brooks, former Associate Professor of French, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

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(42.7 mb, ~46:49 min listening time)

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The two-story rotunda of the New Hampshire Historical Society’s 1911 building, “one of the truly spectacular architectural spaces in New Hampshire.”  Photograph by Fiona Boyd, courtesy of New Hampshire Home magazine.“The Creation of ‘New Hampshire’s Temple of History,’ 1900–1911”

Author: James L. Garvin, retired State Architectural Historian, New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources

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(33.4 mb, ~36:36 min listening time)

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New Hampshire Historical Society entrance, from postcard, c. 1911–12. The monumental figures and seal above the door, designed by New Hampshire-born sculptor Daniel Chester French (1850–1931), were carved from a single block of Concord granite. New Hampshire Historical Society.“From a Single Stone: The Portal Sculpture of the New Hampshire Historical Society’s Building”

Author: James L. Garvin, retired State Architectural Historian, New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources

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(25 mb, ~27:24 min listening time)

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