Newport: A Lively Experiment 1639-1969, Revised Second Edition

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By Rockwell Stensrud

Newport: A Lively Experiment 1639-1969 covers 330 years of the history of one of America’s most famous towns, Newport, Rhode Island. It is the only definitive history of the town where religious freedom and the separation of church and state took root in New England.

Founded by nine men who had been banished from Massachusetts Bay Colony because of their spiritual beliefs, Newport and other Rhode Island towns became magnets for people fleeing religious repression in New England. Before being occupied for three years by British forces during the War of Independence, Newport had become one of the five most prosperous towns in Colonial America. Its architecture, furniture-making, and numerous other arts set standards for excellence throughout America and Europe.

In the 19th century Newport became the premier destination for American Gilded Age magnates and their families, building their “cottages” along Bellevue Avenue and Ocean Drive. It was a scene of opulence, splendor, and conspicuous consumption unrivaled in North America. In the 20th and 21st centuries, Newport has become a leader in the restoration, preservation, and presentation of these Gilded Age mansions and furnishings, showcasing a slice of American history not seen anywhere else.This volume, published in softcover format, is the most comprehensive social, political, military, and artistic history of one of America’s iconic towns. Impeccably researched and illustrated, full of drama and interest throughout, it is illustrated with relevant images, maps and photographs and has an extensive bibliography and an index.

Paperback, 560 pages.


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560 pages

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