16 Famous People from New Hampshire

Among the famous people from New Hampshire, you’ll find actors, comedians, a poet, a former president, an astronaut, and two authors.

Here are the most famous people from New Hampshire.

How many do you recognize?

Adam Sandler

Adam Sandler and his wife
Adam Sandler and his wife, Jackie.

Among the famous people from New Hampshire is Adam Sandler, the comedian, actor, and film producer who gained popularity in the 1990s as a cast member on Saturday Night Live. He went on to star in Happy Gilmore, The Waterboy, and Grown Ups. While Sandler was born in Brooklyn NY, he moved to Manchester when he was six years old and attended Manchester Central High School.

J.D. Salinger

J.D. Salinger was an author best known for his novel “The Catcher in the Rye,” which has become a classic of American literature. He published several short stories in magazines before serving in World War II. After the war, Salinger became reclusive and stopped publishing, but his work continues to be celebrated and studied today. Although Salinger was born in New York City in 1919 he moved to Cornish NH in 1953 and lived there for over 50 years until his death in 2010.

Franklin Pierce

An old photo of Franklin Pierce who is among the famous people from New Hampshire

Among the famous people from New Hampshire is Franklin Pierce, the 14th president of the United States. He was born in Hillsborough in 1804 and was the youngest person to be elected president up to that time. Despite some achievements in foreign policy, Pierce’s administration was largely unsuccessful in addressing the growing divisions between the North and South that would eventually lead to the Civil War.

Robert Frost

Poet Robert Frost was born in San Francisco but moved to New England as a child. He lived in several towns and cities throughout New Hampshire, including Derry, Franconia, and Ripton. He also taught at several colleges and universities in the state, including Dartmouth College and the University of New Hampshire. Over the course of his career, Frost published numerous volumes of poetry, including A Boy’s Will, North of Boston, and The Road Not Taken. Today, visitors to New Hampshire can explore many sites associated with Frost, including his former homes, the Frost Place poetry center, and numerous walking trails that showcase the natural beauty that inspired his poetry.

Sarah Silverman

Sarah Silverman on her Hollywood Star.
Sarah Silverman on her Hollywood Star.

Sarah Silverman is a comedian, actress, and writer known for her irreverent sense of humor and biting wit. She began her career in stand-up comedy in the 1990s and later gained fame with her own show on Comedy Central, The Sarah Silverman Program. In addition to her television work, she has also appeared in numerous films, including School of Rock and Wreck-It Ralph. Silverman was born in Bedford and raised in Manchester.

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Sarah Josepha Hale

Sarah Josepha Hale, born in Newport in 1788, was an influential 19th-century writer and editor. She is best known for her role in campaigning to establish Thanksgiving Day as a national holiday in the United States. Hale also wrote the popular nursery rhyme Mary Had a Little Lamb. In addition to her literary pursuits, she was an advocate for women’s education and founded the first magazine for women in the U.S., called Godey’s Lady’s Book.

Alan Shepard

Alan Shepard, among the famous people from new Hampshire
Photo credit: NASA

Alan B. Shepard Jr. was born in 1923 in Derry and grew up there. Shepard was an astronaut and naval aviator who became the first American to travel into space. He made history on May 5, 1961, when he piloted the Freedom 7 spacecraft on a suborbital flight that lasted just over 15 minutes. Shepard’s successful mission marked a significant milestone in the U.S. space program and helped pave the way for future manned spaceflight endeavors.

Horace Greeley

Horace Greeley was born in Amherst on February 3, 1811, and grew up on a farm in New Hampshire. He was a prominent journalist, editor, and politician who is best known for his influential newspaper, the New York Tribune. The paper became known for its progressive views on politics, social issues, and labor reform. Greeley was also a candidate for president of the U.S. in 1872, but he was defeated by incumbent President Ulysses S. Grant.

Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult

Although born in Nesconset, NY, author Jodi Picoult moved to Hanover in 1989 with her family. New Hampshire has inspired many of her novels, including The Tenth Circle, Salem Falls, and Nineteen Minutes. In interviews, she often spoke about her love for the state and its natural beauty.

Judd Gregg

Among the famous people from New Hampshire is Judd Gregg, an American politician who served as the governor of New Hampshire from 1989 to 1993 and as a U.S. senator from New Hampshire from 1993 to 2011. He served as the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and was a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Gregg was also considered for several high-level positions in the executive branch, including Secretary of Commerce. After retiring from politics, he became a senior adviser at the investment banking firm Goldman Sachs.

John Irving

John Irving who is among the most famous people from New Hampshire
Photo credit: Elya / Creative Commons

John Irving is a novelist and screenwriter known for his complex and deeply felt stories, often featuring themes of family, loss, and coming of age. Born in Exeter in 1942, Irving attended Philips Exeter for high school and the University of New Hampshire for college. He published his first novel, Setting Free the Bears, in 1968. He went on to write numerous bestselling novels, including The World According to Garp, A Prayer for Owen Meany, and The Cider House Rules, the latter of which was adapted into a film in 1999. Irving currently lives in Toronto, Canada.

Josiah Bartlett

Among the famous people from New Hampshire is Josiah Bartlett a prominent statesman who was a signatory of the Declaration of Independence and he served as a delegate to the Continental Congress from 1775 to 1779. Although he was born in Amesbury, Massachusetts, Bartlett spent much of his life in New Hampshire. He later became the Governor of New Hampshire and played a key role in forming the U.S. Constitution.

Christa McAuliffe

Christa McAuliffe

Christa McAuliffe was an American teacher and astronaut who was selected to participate in the NASA Teacher in Space program in 1985. She was born in Boston MA and later taught high school social studies in Concord NH. McAuliffe was selected from a pool of over 11,000 applicants to participate in the space program, and she was scheduled to fly aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger in January 1986. Tragically, McAuliffe and her fellow crew members were killed when the Challenger exploded shortly after takeoff.

Grace Metalious

Grace Metalious was an author best known for her controversial novel Peyton Place, which was published in 1956. The book was a sensation and sold millions of copies, but it also drew criticism for its frank portrayal of sex, violence, and other taboo subjects. Metalious went on to write several more novels, but none achieved the same level of success as “Peyton Place.” Metalious was born in Manchester in 1924 and also lived in Durham and Gilmanton.

Dan Brown

Dan Brown who is among the most famous people from New Hampshire

Author Dan Brown was born in Exeter in 1964. His most famous book, The Da Vinci Code, has sold over 80 million copies worldwide and was adapted into a successful movie starring Tom Hanks. Brown’s other notable works include Angels & Demons, The Lost Symbol, and Inferno. He has also been involved in philanthropic work, supporting various charities focused on education, the environment, and animal welfare.

See related:

What is New Hampshire Known for? (16 Things It’s Famous for)

What Food is New Hampshire Known for? (11 Foods It’s Famous for)

A photo of Kerry Flatley leaning against a wall

About Kerry Flatley

Kerry Flatley has lived in New England for the past 26 years. She has roots in Maine & Massachusetts, family in New Hampshire, and grew up close to the Connecticut border. She loves all that this region has to offer – the ocean, mountains, islands, history, villages, and cities. When she’s not writing about New England, she’s relaxing at home in the Boston suburbs with her two teenage daughters and husband.

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