Photography exhibit of history of cultural diversity in Manchester

August 30. 2018 8:57AM
This undated photograph from the Manchester Historic Association collection depicts Swedish families who settled here. 

This image of a boy leaping off a porch in Manchester was taken in 2012 by Becky Field of FieldWork Photos. The image is part of Field’s ongoing project called “Different Roots, Common Dreams: New Hampshire’s Cultural Diversity,” which documents the lives of today’s immigrant families, including those from Somalia, in the Granite State.

MANCHESTER - An exhibit of photographs showing the history of immigration in Manchester during the past century will be on display at the Manchester City Library from Thursday, Sept. 6, through October.

“The Manchester City Library is proud to be hosting this exhibit as part of their ‘One Book, One Manchester’ activities,” said the library’s director, Denise van Zanten. “The city is reading ‘Exit West’ by Mohsin Hamid during the month of September.”

Immigrants from England, Scotland and Ireland came in the 1600s and 1700s. Other Europeans and French Canadians came in the 1800s to work in the mills, rail yards and logging towns. By 1920 the number of foreign-born residents peaked.

In 2005, New Hampshire was home to about 72,000 foreign-born residents who came primarily from Europe, Asia, Latin America and Canada. Today Manchester is home to immigrants especially from Latin America, Asia and Africa.

The Queen City exhibit features black-and-white photos from the first half of the 1900s from the files of the Manchester Historic Association. They will be presented along with color photos taken by Becky Field from 2012 to 2018 as part of an ongoing project called “Different Roots, Common Dreams: New Hampshire’s Cultural Diversity,” which documents the lives of today’s immigrant families in the Granite State.

In addition to the photos, there will be a timeline from 1600 to the present, showing the arrivals of major ethnic groups here.

“Cultural and ethnic diversity has been an important part of New Hampshire’s history and economy, and continues to make our state a more interesting place for all of us,” said John Clayton, executive director of the Manchester Historic Association. “This exhibit shows that immigrants have been and continue to be part of Manchester’s fabric.”

A reception is scheduled to run from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, in the rotunda of the library, 405 Pine St.

For more information about the exhibit, call 624-6550, ext. 3311, or


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