Nassau County Historical Society

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 Onderdonk House
Onderdonk House, Manhasset
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Periodic programs bring to the membership speakers who are authorities on various aspects of Long Island history. The meetings end with refreshments and a social period so members can meet informally.

The Annual Meeting, usually with a Dinner/Luncheon and program is held in October.

The following table of events is arranged in reverse chronological order. Information about future events will be added and updated as plans are finalized. Please check back for updates.

Unless otherwise indicated, guests are welcome to attend our meetings and events.

While the home page always shows the next meeting of the NCHS, this page often includes future meetings scheduled after the next meeting.
Scrolling down through this list will take you past any future meetings, to our next meeting, and then on to see where past luncheons/dinners have been held and what has been presented at those events.


Sunday, June 5th, 2022, 2:00 p.m. at Jericho Public Library


“Gold Coast Warriors: The North Shore Elite and First World War"
Richard F. Welch

Long Island's Gold Coast Elite

Based on the recently published, Long Island’s Gold Coast Elite and the Great War, the program explores how the leading families of the North Shore, through a potent combination of ethnic background, social status, clear eyed geopolitical calculation, and financial self-interest mobilized to support the Allies at the outbreak of war in 1914. Morgan bankers, movie producers, society glitterati, government officials, politically connected lawyers and one ex-president arranged massive loans and supplies for the Allies, while agitating for militarization and intervention. These efforts undercut the Wilson Administration’s official policy of neutrality and set the country on a course which led inexorably to war with Germany in 1917. The participation of the Gold Coast elite, on the homefront and overseas, is also discussed.

Richard F. Welch taught American history at Long Island University and Farmingdale State College.  He was editor of the Long Island Forum from 1991 to 2014, and a contributing editor of the Journal of Long Island History. The author of numerous articles and reviews, he has written seven books, the most recent being Long Island’s Gold Coast Warriors. The North Shore Elite and World War One (2021).  He was also a contributor to the Encyclopedia of New York State. He is currently a trustee of the Suffolk County Historical Society.

The Nassau County Historical Society Program will be held at the Jericho Public Library and will be both in person, and streamed virtually. There will be a reception and book signing following the program.


Sunday, April 3rd, 2022, 5:30 p.m. at the Cradle of Aviation Museum, Mitchel Field
“The Golden Age of Aviation on Long Island"
Tom Barry, Assistant Director of Education at Cradle of Aviation 

 

The years between the end of World War I and the beginning of World War II are often referred to as the “Golden Age” of aviation. On Long Island, aircraft manufacturing boomed and pioneering pilots made countless flights to and from the area’s many airfields, mostly located on the Hempstead Plains in Nassau County. In fact, Charles Lindbergh’s famed first solo transatlantic flight departed from Roosevelt Field in May 1927. So important was Long Island to this period of flying history, it quickly became known as the “Cradle of Aviation.” Find out more about Long Island’s significant contributions to this “Golden Age” as Tom Barry, educator at the Cradle of Aviation Museum, speaks about the many aviation firsts that occurred here during the 1920s and beyond. 

This will be our first in-person meeting after two years of virtual meetings because of the pandemic.  Social distancing will be easy in the Museum and its large auditorium. You are welcome to arrive beginning at 4:15 p.m. and enjoy visiting the Museum’s exhibits. Refreshments will be served before the 5:30 p.m. program (but no food is permitted in the auditorium or exhibit area).

Directions: The Cradle of Aviation Museum is on Charles Lindbergh Blvd. at Mitchel Field in East Garden City/Uniondale. Take exit M4 from the Meadowbrook Parkway, following signs to Lindbergh Blvd and Museum Row. After going through the traffic light at Earl Ovington Blvd., turn right when you see the life-size figure in a spacesuit.  


Louis Armstrong House Museum, Queens, N.Y.

Louis Armstrong House Museum, Queens, N.Y.

Sunday, February 6th, 2022, 2:00 p.m.
“The King of Queens--Louis Armstrong’s Wonderful World”
Ricky Riccardi, Director of Research Collections at the Louis Armstrong House Museum

The webinar was recorded and is available to watch here.

Louis Armstrong (1901-1971) was one of the most famous and influential musicians of all time, changing the course of music with his innovations as a trumpeter and vocalist. Emblematic of the Jazz Age and the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, Armstrong’s unique sound was wildly popular and widely sought-after. Yet while the entertainer toured all over the world throughout the course of his illustrious career, he called nearby Corona, Queens, home for the last 28 years of his life.

Join Ricky Riccardi, Director of Research Collections at the Louis Armstrong House Museum and author of two Armstrong biographies, as he discusses Armstrong’s historic career, shows rare footage of the trumpeter in action. and describes the mission of the museum today as well as its future plans to celebrate the legacy of one of Queens’--and Long Island’s--greatest citizens.

 
Espionage and Enslavement in the Revolution: The True Story of Robert Townsend and Elizabeth

Espionage and Enslavement in the Revolution: The True Story of Robert Townsend and Elizabeth

Sunday, December 5th, 2021, 2:00 p.m.
“Espionage and Enslavement in the Revolution: The True Story of Robert Townsend and Elizabeth”
Claire Bellerjeau
This webinar was recorded and is available here.

Join author Claire Bellerjeau for a talk about her new book, “Espionage and Enslavement in the Revolution: The True Story of Robert Townsend and Elizabeth”. In January 1785, a young enslaved woman from Oyster Bay named Elizabeth was put on board the Lucretia in New York Harbor, bound for Charleston, where she would be sold to her fifth master in just twenty-two years. Leaving behind a small child she had little hope of ever seeing again, Elizabeth was faced with the stark reality of being sold south to a life quite different from any she had known before. She had no idea that Robert Townsend, a son of the family she was enslaved by, would locate her, safeguard her child, and return her to New York—nor how her story would help turn one of America’s first spies into an early abolitionist. Robert Townsend is best known as one of George Washington’s most trusted spies, but few know about how he worked to end slavery. Elizabeth’s bold and daring struggle for freedom introduces a new historic narrative for African Americans in general and women in particular. As Robert and Elizabeth’s story unfolds, prominent figures from history cross their path, including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Benedict Arnold, John André and John Adams; as well as the Culper Spy Ring, the Boston Massacre, the Sons of Liberty, the Battle of Long Island, Franklin’s Paris negotiations, and the Benedict Arnold treason plot.


Sunday, September 19, 2021, 2:00 p.m.
“Long Island Dirt: Recovering our Buried
Past through Historical Archaeologies"
Allison McGovern

Dr. Allison McGovern is a professional archaeologist with Richard Grubb and Associates and a Gardiner Writing Fellow at the Gotham Center for New York City History.  She will discuss how her research reveals dynamic and multi-faceted views of Long Island’s past peoples and communities through historical archaeology. She integrates archaeology with historic research methods in her preservation work. More information on the program will be
available later, but please save the date for this interesting program.


Long Island Beaches

Long Island Beaches

Sunday, June 6, 2021, 2:00 p.m.
“Isle of Shells: An Illustrated History of Long Island Beaches”
Kristen J. Nyitray

For centuries, Long Island’s beaches have provided sustenance, relaxation, and inspiration. Long Island’s history is uniquely intertwined with its beaches including its sandy Atlantic Ocean surf beaches, calm bayfront beaches, and rugged North Shore Long Island Sound beaches. First inhabited by Indigenous peoples, the area was called Sewanhacky ("Isle of Shells") in reverence to the offerings received where the water met the land. Kristen J. Nyitray will discuss her book Long Island Beaches through a curated selection of manuscripts, postcards, photographs, and maps that illustrate the history and diversity of Nassau and Suffolk Counties’ shores.

Kristen J. Nyitray is Associate Librarian at Stony Brook University where she is Director of Special Collections and University Archives, and University Archivist. Her publications include the books Long Island Beaches (Arcadia, 2019) and Stony Brook: State University of New York (Arcadia, 2002).

She has provided commentary in several film and television projects including the documentary Greetings from Fire Island, the television series Secrets of the Arsenal, and News 12’s Long Island’s Hidden Past. A Certified Archivist (C.A.) and Digital Archives Specialist (DAS), she holds degrees from Stony Brook University and Queens College, and is a recipient of the State University of New York’s Chancellor’s and President’s awards for Excellence in Librarianship.


Lido Club Hotel, Lido Beach, Long Beach, L.I., N.Y.

Lido Club Hotel, Lido Beach, Long Beach, L.I., N.Y.

Sunday, April 11, 2021, 2:00 p.m.
“The Lido Club Hotel”
Joanne Belli
This webinar was recorded and is available here:
https://youtu.be/Vmc3_QGlPXw

The Lido Club Hotel officially opened in June 1928 as a swanky oceanfront resort adjacent to the world-class Lido Golf Course. Built by Sen. William H. Reynolds, who previously bought and developed nearby Long Beach, the Lido Club Hotel featured a striking architectural design with twin cupolas and became a playground for socialites, industrialists, and politicians. In 1942, the US Navy requisitioned the hotel as a naval training and separation center. After the war, the Lido Club Hotel was leased to the newly formed United Nations and housed over 500 of its personnel. The hotel returned to civilian hands in 1947 and was once again a fashionable seaside resort with a wealthy clientele. Over the next 30 years, many well- known entertainers such as Sammy Davis Jr. and Barbra Streisand performed in Lido’s Starlight Room. In 1980, the Lido Club Hotel was sold to developers and converted into a luxury oceanfront condominium., Lido Beach Towers, that remains a local landmark with a fascinating past.

Joanne Belli is an educator, a trustee of the Long Beach Historical Society, and a volunteer in the society’s archives. She resides at Lido Beach Towers.


Historic Crimes of Long Island: Misdeeds from the 1600s to the 1950s

Historic Crimes of Long Island: Misdeeds from the 1600s to the 1950s

Sunday, March 7, 2021, 2:00 p.m.
“Historic Crimes of Long Island: Misdeeds from the 1600s to the 1950s”
Kerriann Flanagan Brosky
This webinar was recorded and is available here:
https://youtu.be/Zzt3dM- INMQ

True crimes and why people are led to commit them have fascinated people for centuries. In Historic Crimes of Long Island; Misdeeds from the 1600s to the 1950s, award-winning author and historian Kerriann Flanagan Brosky uncovers some of the most ghastly historical crimes committed on Long Island – from the tar, feathering and murder of Charles Kelsey in 1872, to the East Hampton witch trial of 1657, to the kidnapping of Alice Parson in 1937. Join her as she discusses some of Long Island’s most horrific crimes.



 
Kerriann Brosky

Kerriann Brosky

The speaker is Kerriann Flanagan Brosky. Eight-time, award winning author and historian Kerriann Flanagan Brosky, has been featured in numerous publications including The New York Times, Newsday and Distinction magazine. She has appeared on CBS' Sunday Morning Show, "Ticket" with Laura Savini, News 12 Long Island, and The Thinking Writer in East Hampton, for her previously published non-fiction books. Kerriann served on the Board of Trustees as First Vice President for the Huntington Historical Society for six years, and she served as a Trustee for the Greenlawn-Centerport Historical Association for three years. Kerriann is the recipient of the Top Advocate for Historic Preservation and Education award from the Oyster Bay Historical Society, the Huntington Heritage Education Award from the Town of Huntington, and Woman of Distinction award from the New York State Assembly.


“General” Rosalie Jones (left) and Freeman (right) in 
1912

“General” Rosalie Jones (left) and Freeman (right) in 1912

Sunday, December 6, 2020, 2:00 p.m.
“Winning Votes for Women on Long Island and the Nation”
Natalie Naylor
This webinar was recorded and is available here:
https://youtu.be/tPukBtQthIE

Women in New York State secured the vote in 1917, and in 1920, the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified, extending the vote to all women in the United States. National suffrage leaders came to Long Island and several Long Islanders made a mark on the national scene. Alva Vanderbilt Belmont, Harriot Stanton Blatch, and Rosalie Gardiner Jones are among the better-known local suffragists, but countless woman campaigned for suffrage. “General” Rosalie Jones won her fame when she led hikes from New York City to Albany and Washington, DC in 1912 and 1913. New York’s “I Voted” sticker in 2017 had a picture of Rosalie Jones and in 2021, the state will be erecting a statue of her in front of the Cold Spring Harbor Library, a few miles from her home in Nassau County.

I VOTED sticker, 2017

I VOTED sticker, 2017

The speaker is Natalie Naylor, past president of the Nassau County Historical Society, editor of its annual Journal, and a retired professor from Hofstra University.

Errata: The 19th amendment of the US Constitution required 3/4 (not 2/3 as mentioned in the webinar) of the states to ratify it.

A pdf copy of the meeting handout is available here for you to view and/or print out for reference.

This program was originally scheduled for June 2020, but postponed at that time.


Garden City Apostle House

Garden City Apostle House

Sunday, October 25, 2020, 2:00 p.m.

N.C.H.S. Annual Meeting, and a program on “Long Island’s Classic Suburbs: Garden City and Levittown”
Professor Paul van Wie, Molloy College

Levittown Cape

Levittown Cape

Program: Garden City and Levittown are two famous landmarks in the history of suburban America. Located just a few miles apart on what was once the Hempstead Plains, the two communities were founded in different centuries, under different circumstances, and for different reasons. Despite their differences in origin and subsequent development, the two communities share some underlying similarities. This presentation will explore some of those similarities and differences, and in the process examine some interesting aspects of the American and Long Island suburban experience. You may remember that Dr. van Wie spoke to our Historical Society some years ago on “Nineteenth-Century German Settlements on Long Island.”

Annual Meeting: We have had to adjust to the new reality and held our first ever virtual annual meeting on October 25 at 2 p.m. A brief business meeting was followed by the program on Long Island’s Garden City and Levittown.< /font>


Stevenson Taylor Hall at Webb Institute

Stevenson Taylor Hall at Webb Institute

Sunday, May 17, 2020, 2:30 p.m.
“Webb Institute‘s Glen Cove Campus”
Renne Tremblay and Linda Waters

While the Webb Institute campus was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, we were able to hold our first ever virtual (ie: online) webinar meeting using Zoom technology. The meeting was recorded and is available for viewing at: https://youtu.be/0PNFded9pvQ< /font>

Nestled adjacent to the Long Island Sound is Webb Institute, a unique engineering school where roughly one hundred students are educated in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. Hidden behind huge wrought-iron gates at the entrance to the college is a massive mansion on the grounds that was once the “Braes,” the country estate of American businessman Herbert Lee Pratt (1871-1945). Learn about the architectural history of the main building and its transition from a glamorous 1920s summer home into one-of-a-kind learning center and dorms, as well as the unique history of the property and additional buildings on campus.

Our speakers were Webb Institute seniors. For their “Maritime History of Long Island” course, Renee Tremblay delved into the history of the Webb Institute’s campus while Linda Waters studied the architecture of the original mansion, now Stevenson Taylor Hall.

Although this was a members only event, due to limits on number of attendees, the meeting was recorded and is available for viewing at: https://youtu.be/0PNFded9pvQ

Thanks are due to Webb Institute seniors Renee Tremblay and Linda Waters, who hosted and lead this webinar for us. There were about 40 viewers and we were very pleased with this turnout and the kindness of everyone on the call.


Long Island and the Sea

Long Island and the Sea (book cover)

Sunday, February 16, 2020, 2:00 p.m.
“Long Island and Whaling”
Bill Bleyer
Community Church of East Williston

Bill Bleyer, author of Long Island and the Sea: A Maritime History, will present a PowerPoint lecture covering the Native Americans who hunted whales offshore from canoes, to the first whaling companies in America in Southampton, to the rise of industrial-scale whaling in Sag Harbor, Greenport and Cold Spring Harbor, to the famous whaler Mercator Cooper and his trip to the closed society of Japan, to the demise of the industry from the Gold Rush, the Civil War and the discovery of oil in Pennsylvania. Bill is a retired Newsday reporter who has also written books on Sagamore Hill, Fire Island Lighthouse, and Long Island and the Civil War (co-author). Copies of his Long Island and the Sea will be available for purchase and signing.
The snow date is Feb. 23.

This program is free.
Guests are welcome and encouraged to attend; please invite your friends.
Light refreshments follow the program.

Directions: The meeting is in the parish hall of the Community Church of East Williston, which is located at 45 East Williston Avenue (click link for map), adjacent to the NW corner of Roslyn Rd. and East Williston Ave./Hillside Ave./Rt. 25B in East Williston. Enter the church parking lot from Roslyn Rd. or Ward St. (one block north of Rt. 25B), or you can park on Ward Street. Enter the building using the door closest to the parking lot, opposite E. Williston Ave.


U.S. Merchant Marine Academy

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point

Sunday, December 1, 2019, 2:00 p.m.
“History of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy”
Dr. Joshua Smith
Community Church of East Williston

Long Island is home to one of the federal service academies, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, which is located in Kings Point on the former Walter Chrysler estate. Learn about the creation of the Academy, the Kings Point neighborhood before the foundation of the USMMA in 1942, why the Academy was created, and its distinctive war-built campus. The presentation will feature images of the campus, especially from the 1940s.

Our speaker, Joshua M. Smith, is a professor of Humanities at the USMMA and Director of the adjacent American Merchant Marine Museum. Dr. Smith is the author of several books on maritime history and is currently writing “Yankee Doodle Upset,” on Maine and the War of 1812.

This program is free.
Guests are welcome and encouraged to attend; please invite your friends.
Light refreshments follow the program.

Directions: The meeting is in the parish hall of the Community Church of East Williston, which is located at 45 East Williston Avenue (click link for map), adjacent to the NW corner of Roslyn Rd. and East Williston Ave./Hillside Ave./Rt. 25B in East Williston. Enter the church parking lot from Roslyn Rd. or Ward St. (one block north of Rt. 25B), or you can park on Ward Street. Enter the building using the door closest to the parking lot, opposite E. Williston Ave.


Previous programs are archived here: Archived Programs 2001-2019


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