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Welcome to the Old Saybrook Historical Society!

The Old Saybrook Historical Society will again be hosting the annual Cypress Cemetery Tour, to be held on Sunday, October 25th at 4pm.  Trustee J. H. Torrance Downes will conduct the tour along with our student volunteers.  This event has proven to be a very popular event.



Frost at the Farm with Walt Woodward

Walter Woodward, State Historian and Robert Frost scholar will return to Bushnell Farm on Sunday, October 4th at 4 p.m. for the program Frost at the Farm. The program that includes Robert Frost’s poetry and music is free and open to the public with on-site parking at 1445 Boston Post Road in Old Saybrook, CT.   

This well-reviewed program includes Woodward’s reading, appreciation and sometimes musical interpretation of New England’s favorite poet.  Bring your own chair if the weather is fair for this outdoor program, in case of rain, folding chairs will be set up in the barn.

The fields, stone walls and apple trees of this 17th century farm are the perfect setting for this outdoor appreciation of the Pulitzer Prize winning poet who contributed so many memorable lines to the American lexicon. The private, 1678 Bushnell Farm is owned by Herb and Sherry Clark of Essex and is open seasonally for public programs. The buildings will next be open on November 7, 2015 for the annual Harvest Home event.

Dr. Walter Woodward is an author of scholarly works and is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Connecticut. As State Historian he works with the CT Humanities, with the Museum of CT History, with teachers through the CT Council for Social Studies, and many other organizations. A long-time admirer of Robert Frost, Woodward admits to being an English major in his younger years.  Woodward is also an Emmy Award winning songwriter who plays guitar. This year he will be joined by a musical foursome, his Band of Steady Habits.

Robert Frost was a four time Pulitzer Prize winner for volumes of his poetry. Although somewhat under-appreciated today, Frost made “good fences make good neighbors” and “Home is the place where when you go there they have to take you in” part of the language.  Time magazine called “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” one of the loveliest poems ever written. His poems are said to begin with delight and end with wisdom.      


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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