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Welcome to the Old Saybrook Historical Society!

The Summer 2015 edition of the Society's newsletter is available on our "Newsletter" page.  Check it out!


The James Family of Hartford and Old Saybrook


Photographs of the James Family (left), Ann Petry and her daughter Liz (center), and Ann Petry (right)
Journalist and former Saybrook resident Liz Petry, along with her cousin Ashley James and his wife Kathryn Golden, have received a planning grant from Connecticut Humanities to begin work on a documentary film, “For Dear Mother’s Sake:  The James Family Letters That Shaped Ann Petry.”  The Community Foundation of Middlesex County is the fiscal sponsor for the documentary.    
The Old Saybrook Historical Society supported the funding application and will host a meeting of the film production team in October.
For Dear Mother’s Sake: The James Family Letters That Shaped Ann Petry concerns African-Americans who have made major contributions to Connecticut and throughout the world.
Besides Ann Petry, the novelist who was the first African American woman to sell more than one million copies of book, “The Street.”  She also wrote numerous other books, some of which were based on experiences of her family, including Miss James, at the James Pharmacy.
The family included one of the first black men to buy property in Hartford’s North End; a Buffalo Soldier who fought in the Philippine-American War; and the first African-American woman to receive a pharmacy license from the state of Connecticut.
Ann Petry saved some four hundred letters that Elisabeth edited and compiled into Can Anything Beat White?: A Black Family’s Letters, published by the University Press of Mississippi. These letters will form the basis for the film.
We extend a heartfelt congratulations to Liz, Ashley and Kathryn for their hard work on this extraordinary project, and we look forward to working with them.



Old Saybrook Historical Society 2015 Christmas Ornament

As a reminder, the 2015 Lion Gardner ornament is now available at both the Society's Frank Stevenson Archives and at Saybrook Hardware on Main Street.  The new ornament is priced at $12 with all of the previous ornaments, including the 2014 Bushnell House and the 2013 Hart House ornaments being priced at $10.  Prices for complete sets are available as well.  Call the Society at (860) 395-1635 to find out more information.



Cypress Cemetery Tour

Cold Spring School, New Haven

On Thursday, June 10, 2015, OSHS and Cypress Cemetery Board of Trustee member J H Torrance Downes led a tour of historic Cypress Cemetery on Saybrook Point for a group of students, teachers and parents of the Cold Spring School in New Haven. Their leader was Saybrook resident and school teacher Karen Zwick. The students have been learning quite a bit about colonial Connecicut.  During the day-long trip to Old Saybrook, they visited the William Hart House and then walked down Main Street to College Street and Cypress Cemetery, learning about the numerous historic features seen along the way.  Among other things, they learned about Reverend Thomas Buckingham and his house and his association with the Saybrook Collegiate School (later to become Yale University) and the windmill mill stone which was located close to the pallisade gate guarding the early settlement.

The students were quite attentive, given the heat and the long day that they had had, including the long walk to the Point!
















World War 1 Remembered:  Historic Posters and Memorabilia.

Ongoing, June 7th through August 31st

Beginning June 7th and extending through August 31st, the Old Saybrook Historical Society will be hosting an exhibit of numerous authentic posters that were made in support of our country's efforts in World War 1. In addition, memorabilia from the "World War" will be displayed. The exhibit will be located in the rear area of the Society's General William Hart House at 350 Main Street in Old Saybrook. The exhibit will be open from 1pm to 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays and by appointment.  For information, contact the Society at (860) 395-1635 or email us at contact@saybrookhistory.org

Go to our Events page to find more information on the exhibit opening!



                        Virtual Tour of the Gen. William Hart House and Stevenson Archives!                                   

The Hart House and Stevenson Archives are now virtual:





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