Local History Books
The Bayman's Daughter
The Bayman's Daughter is a time-slip novel that takes place in the quaint seaside hamlet of Sayville, Long Island. Once the playground of families like the Roosevelts and Vanderbilts, Sayville was also the home of the famous Blue Point Oyster. Although the main characters, Hannah Trumball and Philip Ferrara, are fictional, they interact with people who lived and worked in the Sayville area. The Bayman's Daughter is a story that intertwines the history of Long Island with a love story that crosses time, itself.
A World Within a World: The Bay Houses of Long Island (DVD)
The film documentary "A World Within a World: Bay Houses of Long Island" documents the history and traditions of Long Islands South Shore bay houses in the Town of Hempstead. The film profiles Long Island families who have owned bay houses for over 100 years including the Muller, McNeece, Burchianti, Warasila, and Jankoski families. Based on fieldwork by folklorist and maritime ethnographer Nancy Solomon of Long Island Traditions, local filmmakers Barbara Weber and Greg Blank capture the essence of how bay house owners have persevered and endured through severe storms and hurricanes, as well as eroding marshlands, while preserving traditions that began in the early 19th century. Funding for the film was provided by the Robert L. Gardiner Foundation.
Hidden History of Islip Town
The patchwork of beach towns, villages and hamlets that make up Islip Town represents some of the most historic communities on the whole of Long Island. Local Secatogue Native Americans harrowingly saved the Dutch survivors of one of New York's first shipwrecks in 1657. New York City's infamous Tammany Hall leased an entire summer resort island in Islip Town for decades. In 1912, a young woman from Sayville sacrificed her own life for another on the RMS Titanic. Islip Town's founding father, William Nicoll, owned the largest parcel on Long Island's South Shore but was blocked from owning even a grain of sand on Fire Island. A penniless Dutch immigrant to Islip Town became the world's "Oyster King." Join author and historian Jack Whitehouse as he reveals buried stories from Islip Town's past.
World War II Long Island: The Homefront in Nassau and Suffolk
Long Island was transformed from a pastoral rural community to a modern suburban behemoth by playing an integral role in the homefront of World War II. Dozens of Nazi spies infiltrated industry throughout the island and communicated industrial secrets back to Germany as the FBI chased them down. Long Island held the record for producing the most fighter planes in the country with the rapid rebirth of its aviation sector. Five Medal of Honor recipients called the region home. At the close of the war, the United Nations established itself in a weapons factory in Lake Success. Author Christopher Verga charts the rise of Long Island and its role in World War II.
George Washington’s Long Island Spy Ring: A History and Tour Guide
In 1778, two years after the British forced the Continental Army out of New York City, George Washington and his subordinates organized a secret spy network to gather intelligence in Manhattan and Long Island. Known today as the "Culper Spy Ring," Patriots like Abraham Woodhull and Robert Townsend risked their lives to report on British military operations in the region. Vital reports clandestinely traveled from New York City across the East River to Setauket and were rowed on whaleboats across the Long Island Sound to the Connecticut shore. Using ciphers, codes and invisible ink, the spy ring exposed British plans to attack French forces at Newport and a plot to counterfeit American currency. Author Bill Bleyer corrects the record, examines the impact of George Washington's Long Island spy ring and identifies Revolutionary War sites that remain today.
Espionage and enslavement in the Revolution : the true story of Robert Townsend and Elizabeth
In January 1785, a young African American woman 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 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. As Robert and Elizabeth's story unfolds, prominent figures from history cross their path, including Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Benedict Arnold, John André, and John Adams, as well as participants in the Boston Massacre, the Sons of Liberty, the Battle of Long Island, Franklin's Paris negotiations, and the Benedict Arnold treason plot.
Boat Building and Boat Yards of Long Island: A Tribute to Tradition
From the North Shore to the South Shore and out to the East End, Long Island is home to a nationally recognized and historic boat building industry. The Steiger Craft boats of Bellport are a local household name, trusted for their ability to navigate the shallow bay waters of the South Shore. Freeport legend Al Grover sold boats around the world for generations, built Verity skiffs for gas-conscious consumers in the 1980s and holds the Guinness World Record for the first outboard motorboat crossing of the Atlantic. The Hanff and Clarke boat yards in Greenport are more than just world-class boat builders--at more than 150 years old, they are historic landmarks. Author and folklorist Nancy Solomon shares the history and stories behind Long Island's traditional boat yards and boat builders.
Long Island Migrant Labor Camps: Dust for Blood
During World War II, a group of potato farmers opened the first migrant labor camp in Suffolk County to house farmworkers from Jamaica. Over the next twenty years, more than one hundred camps of various sizes would be built throughout the region. Thousands of migrant workers lured by promises of good wages and decent housing flocked to Eastern Long Island, where they were often cheated out of pay and housed in deadly slum-like conditions. Preyed on by corrupt camp operators and entrapped in a feudal system that left them mired in debt, laborers struggled and, in some cases, perished in the shadow of New York's affluence. Author Mark A. Torres reveals the dreadful history of Long Island's migrant labor camps from their inception to their peak in 1960 and their steady decline in the following decades.
Saved at the Seawall
Saved at the Seawall is the definitive history of the largest ever waterborne evacuation. Jessica DuLong reveals the dramatic story of how the New York Harbor maritime community heroically delivered stranded commuters, residents, and visitors out of harm's way. Even before the US Coast Guard called for all available boats, tugs, ferries, dinner boats, and other vessels had sped to the rescue from points all across New York Harbor. In less than nine hours, captains and crews transported nearly half a million people from Manhattan.
Anchored in eyewitness accounts and written by a mariner who served at Ground Zero, Saved at the Seawall weaves together the personal stories of people rescued that day with those of the mariners who saved them. DuLong describes the inner workings of New York Harbor and reveals the collaborative power of its close-knit community. Her chronicle of those crucial hours, when hundreds of thousands of lives were at risk, highlights how resourcefulness and basic human goodness triumphed over turmoil on one of America's darkest days.
An Entertainment Weekly Best Book of May 2019A TIME Magazine Best Book of May 2019
A Cosmopolitan Best Book of May 2019An Oprah Magazine Best LGBTQ Book of 2019
A gripping portrait of life in a Montauk summer house--a debut memoir of first love, identity and self-discovery among a group of friends who became family.
They call Montauk the end of the world, a spit of land jutting into the Atlantic. The house was a ramshackle split-level set on a hill, and each summer thirty one people would sleep between its thin walls and shag carpets. Against the moonlight the house's octagonal roof resembled a bee's nest. It was dubbed The Hive.
In 2013, John Glynn joined the share house. Packing his duffel for that first Memorial Day Weekend, he prayed for clarity. At 27, he was crippled by an all-encompassing loneliness, a feeling he had carried in his heart for as long as he could remember. John didn't understand the loneliness. He just knew it was there. Like the moon gone dark.
OUT EAST is the portrait of a summer, of the Hive and the people who lived in it, and John's own reckoning with a half-formed sense of self. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, The Hive was a center of gravity, a port of call, a home. Friendships, conflicts, secrets and epiphanies blossomed within this tightly woven friend group and came to define how they would live out the rest of their twenties and beyond.
Blending the sand-strewn milieu of George Howe Colt's The Big House, the radiant aching of Olivia Liang's The Lonely City, OUT EAST is a keenly wrought story of love and transformation, longing and escape in our own contemporary moment.
"An unforgettable story told with feeling and humor and above all with the razor-sharp skill of a delicate and highly gifted writer." --Andre Aciman, New York Times bestselling author of Call Me by Your Name
"Out East is full of intimacy and hope and frustration and joy, an extraordinary tale of emotional awakening and lacerating ambivalence, a confession of self-doubt that becomes self-knowledge." --Andrew Solomon, National Book Award winner
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About Local History at Sayville Library
The Sayville Library Long Island Collection is home to over 2300 items which are cataloged and searchable through the online catalog. Additional items of historic value are housed in our archives and available to see upon request and the Library regularly creates displays using items from the collection. We also have several digital collections, including local newspapers, postcards, and oral histories, which are available online for immediate access.
The mission of our special collection is to preserve items of significance to our unique location on Long Island. We look for records, photographs or memorabilia that help us reconstruct the past and foster an accurate description of what life was like for our predecessors. Please see our brochure for more information on donating to our special collection.