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Welcome to the Old Saybrook Historical Society!

Come join us at the Old Saybrook Historical Society Wassail Party!

Sunday, December 13, 2015  4pm to 6pm at the Hart House.
Call (860) 395-1635 for more information, or email us at contact@saybrookhistory.org


Tea and Treasures
Thank you all who were able to attend our Tea and Treasures event at the Hart House on Saturday afternoon.  And thanks again to Donna DiBella, Marie McFarlin and their amazing team for hosting this event!


Call for Next Summer's World War II Exhibit Memorabilia!

In addition to the memorabilia that will be loaned to the Society by Old Saybrook resident Bill Temple, the Society is looking for stories, pictures, artifacts and people to interview from Old Saybrook residents or those associated with Old Saybrook in some way!

Call us at (860) 395-1635 or email us at contact@saybrookhistory.org if you want to contribute to the exhibit. All materials will be returned to their owners at the end of the summer exhibit.


Frank Tinsley, OSHS's First President

Frank Tinsley (1899-1965) was the first president of the Old Saybrook Historical Society and a prolific artist and writer. His work appeared in many publications, including Mechanix Illustrated, Barnes Air Trails, George Bruce's Contact, Lariat Story, North West Stories, Sky Birds, War Birds, and Western Story. We are interested in obtaining his publications for placement in our Archives. If you have any Tinsley publication, or know anyone who does, would you kindly contact the Society at 860-395-1635. Thanks for your help.




Old Saybrook Historical Society Ornaments

Its that time of year again!  The Society's collection of Christmas/Holiday ornaments are available!  This year's ornament depicts Lieutenant Lion Gardiner, the engineer who was hired to lay out the Saybrook Plantation fort site to accommodate the 15 "men of quality" that were to make their homes here after leaving England.  As many know, only Colonel George Fenwick - husband of Lady Alice Fenwick and Governor of the Saybrook Colony - arrived while the other 14 decided they'd stay home in England.  Gardiner, after serving his four years here at the mouth of the Connecticut River, bought an island across the Sound where he lived and that was passed down through the Gardiner family for years to come.  Gardiner's Island is said to be the oldest property in America that has retained the family ownership since the land was orginally purchased by Gardiner from Native Americans!

The 2015 Gardiner ornament is $12 while all previous ornaments are $10 (2005 through 2014).  Last year's 2014 ornament depicted the Bushnell House while the 2013 ornament depicted the General William Hart House.

All of the ornaments can be purchased at the Society's Frank Stevenson Archives building by visiting between 9am and Noon on Thursdays, by calling the Society and ordering them at (860) 395-1635, by ordering them using contact@saybrookhistory.org or by visitng Saybrook Hardware on Main Street where they continue to sell the ornaments (thank you Brian Toolan).



Photographs of the Ann Petry (left), Ann Petry and her daughter Liz (center),
and Prof. Farah Jasmine Griffin (Columbia University); Walter Woodward (CT State Historian);
Dr. Elizabeth (Liz) Petry (consultant, producer of film) (right)

A small crew from Searchlight Films recently spent four days at the Hart House and Stevenson Archives interviewing scholars and researching materials related to the life of noted Old Saybrook author Ann Petry and local legend Miss Anna Louise James.
The James and Petry families are just two members of this notable family that rose from slavery, triumphed over racism and made significant contributions to their community and country.  
Ann Petry was the first African-American author whose book, called “The Street,” sold more than a million copies and Anna Louise James was the beloved proprietor of James Pharmacy.
The film will be designed for television and will be based on letters, historical documents, early artifacts, photographs, period film and interviews with historians and scholars.
Elisabeth Petry, a former journalist and author "At Home Inside: A Daughter's Tribute to Ann Petry" and "Can Anything Beat White? A Black Family's Letters," is serving as consultant and producer of the documentary.
Scholars that were interviewed at the Historical Society included Walter Woodward, Connecticut State Historian; Farah Jasmine Griffin, Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African-American Studies at Columbia University, and Diane Isaacs, University of Delaware, who wrote her doctoral thesis on Ann Petry.
Others that were interviewed included Garth Meadows, who was proprietor of James Pharmacy; Barbara J. Maynard, former First Selectman and friend of both the Petry and James families, and Tedd Levy, a writer who has written about Miss James and Ann Petry.
The production crew plans to return to Old Saybrook for further research and additional interviews.  Residents who have materials or memories to share are invited to contact the Historical Society, 860-395-1635.



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

The Hart House and Stevenson Archives are now virtual:





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