Tag Archives: Local History

Preservation Workshop

preservation workshop pic“Your personal collection may include scrapbooks, photographs, letters, Bibles, christening gowns, home movies, and so much more.  What I’d like to provide for your community is an opportunity to learn how damage occurs and how to protect those items from any future damage, so that their family’s history can endure for as long as possible.”

Nicole Menchise, archivist and collections manager

Oyster Bay Historical Society

Thursday, April 9 2015 at 2:00 pm.

Refreshments will be served.

Nicole Menchise will speak about preserving the items we hold most dear – our unique family treasures – including a discussion of best practices for handling, displaying and long-term storage for papers, books, textiles, photographs and film.

Included in the workshop are examples taken from the collection of the Society.  Attendees are encouraged to bring items that they feel need to be discussed specifically.  No appraisals will be given as this is strictly regarding preservation practices.

– posted by Barney, Local History services


A Talk About Long Island’s William Floyd Estate

william floyd estateOn Feb 26 the Syosset Library will present a talk on the Floyd Estate. Located in Mastic Beach, this is the family home of William Floyd, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Park Ranger MaryLaura Lamont will discuss the eight generations of the family which owned the property from 1718 until 1976 when it was given to the National Park Service.

William_floydWillliam Floyd is the most historically well known of the family. Born in 1734 he was a plantation owner and an active political figure on Long Island and in New York. He was a member of the New York Senate and was active in the colonial militia. He was a delegate to the Second Continental Congress and was the first of the New York delegates to sign the Declaration of Independence.

If you want to jump start your study of the family and its historic property, visit the Oyster Bay Historical Society’s current  exhibition (January 11-other sideMarch 29) at the Angela Koenig Center. Titled “The Other Side–Charles, Cesar, Harry, Sam, Pompey, Lon and Isaac” , it is a photographic look by artist Xiomáro at the estate property, as well as interior rooms often not seen by the public. But the title of the exhibit comes from the collection of photos of plain wooden crosses found in the cemetery marking the graves of slaves and household servants of color. The crosses were erected in the 1870s. By then the family had moved away from slavery and supported the Union cause in the Civil War.

– posted by Brenda, Reference Services

New Museum Pass

old bethpage village


The Syosset Public Library now has membership to the Old Bethpage Village Restoration Museum.  SPL has one pass to this museum which admits 4 people (any combination of adults and children). The museum is located at 1303 Round Swamp Road, Old Bethpage, NY. Situated on 209 acres, visitors can be transported back in time and experience life in a recreated mid-19th-century American village.   One of the historic buildings is the Schenck schenck houseHouse which was built around 1730 and is one of the oldest Dutch Farmhouses remaining in the U.S.  The museum is opened April through December. The museum is closed Mon. & Tues. and opened Wed.-Sat. from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm and Sundays from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm.

This pass has been added to Tixkeeper and is now available for our patrons to reserve.  For additional information regarding Old Bethpage Village Restoration, please visit their website or contact the museum via telephone at (516) 572-8401.

– posted by Lisa J., Readers’ Services

2014 Long Island Reads @ Evening Book Club



Join us on Tuesday, May 13 at 7:30 PM

as we discuss

The Manor: Three Centuries

at a Slave Plantation on Long Island

written by East End native, Mac Griswold

and chosen as the 2014 Long Island Reads Selection.

“Based on years of research and voyages that took the author as far as West Africa, this compelling history of a Long Island plantation, spanning three centuries and 11 generations, reveals the extensive but little-known story of Northern slavery.” (From the Publisher)

  To learn more about Long Island Reads, visit their website.

For more information regarding author Mac Griswold, visit her website.

Copies of the book are currently available at the Circulation Desk on the Main Floor.

This program is free and no registration is required.

The discussion will be led by Jackie Ranaldo, Head of Readers’ Services

& Brenda Cherry, Reference Librarian.

We look forward to seeing you there!

 – posted by Jackie, Readers’ Services

Theodore Roosevelt: A Man for All Seasons and Reasons

theodore rooseveltSyosset resident Milton Elis will present a fascinating and

informative program on the private and public life of

Theodore Roosevelt at the Syosset Public Library

on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 2 PM.

Mr. Elis is a long-time volunteer at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site. One of his many jobs at Sagamore Hill has been conducting tours of the Roosevelt home. Mr. Elis has also worked with the curator to reserve artifacts in the collection as Sagamore Hill.

Hope to see you there!

– posted by Barney, Reference Services

Slavery on Long Island?

 As the nation celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, I started thinking about how slavery was practiced in colonial New York. Slavery? On Long Island? Yes. In 1625 The Dutch West Indies Company imported the first eleven Africans into the colony.  And Nathaniel Sylvester brought the first slaves to Long Island in 1654 (or some historians think it was his wife who did so in 1653). One historian notes that “until thirty years before the American revolution, Islanders held more enslaved Africans than colonists in New England or mid-Atlantic colonies.” It is estimated that in 1698 there were 1,100 slaves on Long Island and by 1775 there were 5,000. Most Long Islanders owned few slaves. It was a matter of economy and not of benevolence to limit ownership.  It was not until 1827 that slaves in New York were set free.

There are contemporary newspaper ads mentioning runaway slaves, wills passing slaves to family members and census records indicating the slave population. But there is little written history of slaves and their lives.

manorI just finished the new book about Sylvester Manor on Shelter Island. Author Mac Griswold does an amazing job tracing the three centuries of the Sylvester family in her book, The Manor: Three Centuries at a Slave Plantation on Long Island.  Nathaniel Sylvester and his wife, Grizzell, were the first Europeans to live at this Shelter Island plantation where trees were grown for wooden barrels, and food and livestock were produced to supply the Barbados plantation owned by Nathaniel’s brother, Constant, and two partners. There were certainly not enough European settlers to make this provisioning plantation successful. It relied on the labor of African slaves, Native Americans and indentured servants.

The author presents fascinating research about the horticulture and archaeology of the island and she delves into the cultural, political and religious trends that influenced the owners of the plantation. But it was her study of slavery that held my attention.

jupiter hammonPerhaps you have heard of Jupiter Hammon, the first published African- American poet. He was a slave in the household of the Lloyd family in nearby Lloyd Harbor. Read about his life and poetry here.

Add a strange twist to the story: Grizzell Sylvester, daughter of Nathaniel and Grizzell, married James Lloyd in 1676. They were the parents of Henry who owned the Lloyd Manor when Jupiter Hammon was born. When Henry died, Jupiter lived with James’ Lloyd’s grandson, Joseph. Jupiter accompanied Joseph when he fled the British forces on Long Island during the American Revolution.

For more on the topic of slavery consider Grania Bolton Marcus’s A Forgotten People: Discovering the Black Experience in Suffolk County, Mary Feeney Vahey’s A Hidden History: Slavery Abolition and the Underground Railroad in Cow Neck and on Long Island, Samuel McKee’s Labor in Colonial New York and Thomas Davis’ Rumor of Revolt.

Hofstra University has a summary of the history of “the peculiar institution” on Long Island.

If you want to take a quick road trip, you can visit the Sylvester Plantation or Lloyd Manor at Caumsett State Park.

– posted by Brenda, Reference Librarian