2018-03-08 / Around Town

Author Documents A 'City of Firsts'

Newport has been a city of innovation since its beginning nearly four centuries ago. Some of the claims on a national level are true, while some have been greatly distorted over the years.

The freethinking citizens include the first to defeat a British squadron and the author of the first written constitution guaranteeing the right to religious freedom in world history. The first law banning the importation of slaves in the colonies was enacted in the city, and the first Methodist church in the world with a steeple and bell is located here.

But was the first female lighthouse keeper in America from here? Was Newport the first place where a medical lecture was given?

Author and research historian Brian M. Stinson answers these questions and offers a chronological collection of vignettes detailing the city’s many firsts in his new book “Newport Firsts: A Hundred Claims to Fame,” coming in early April from Arcadia Publishing & The History Press.

Stinson is a research historian, author, photo researcher, documentarian and lecturer for thirty years who grew up in Newport. He’s been published in various publications including Newport This Week, the Newport Daily News, Old Rhode Island, the Pineapple Post and the sailing publication WindCheck magazine. He was a regular contributor, photo researcher and research historian for Newport Life magazine for almost a decade, until 2009. He has done research for authors across the United States and is considered an expert on Newport.

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