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Welcome to the Old Saybrook Historical Society!


The Passing of Society Member, Benefactor and Volunteer Martha Soper
It is with heavy hearts that the Old Saybrook Historical Society announces that longtime member, benefactor and volunteer Martha Soper has passed away after a long illness.  Martha was a major contributor to the success of the Historical Society --both financially and personally with her dedicated volunteering in the Archives.  She came to the Archives and faithfully recorded and cataloged items for researchers, answered questions, chatted with Anne and modestly downplayed her many contributions.  She was a delight to be around and added a sparkle to the life of everyone who came by.   With the loss in the last few years of Dorothy Swan, Anne Sweet, and now Martha, the Society has lost tremendously important benefactors and supporters.  Truly, the end of an era.   
Hart House Campus Exhibit Signs
The Society was fortunate enough to apply for and receive a grant from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County to design and produce two full color exhibit signs to be placed at the Hart House Campus!  One will be placed inside the picket fence at the front door and will offer information on the mission of the Old Saybrook Historical Society and what one will find inside the General William Hart House.  The second sign will be located to the rear between the Hart House and the Stevenson Archive building.  That sign will present information about our beautiful gardens as well as information about the Archives and what historical treasures can be found in there.
We'll let you know when we're about to install the signs!
Memorial Day Society "Wish"
Because the Society will be celebrating Old Saybrook and World War II this year, we would love to be able to ride in this year's Memorial Day Parade in a vintage World War II vehicle.  If any of you know someone who may be willing to let us ride in the parade in such a vehicle, send him or her our way!  Either call us at (860) 395-1635 or email us at contact@saybrookhistory.org.
Remember, if you or anyone you know has memorabilia or stories that you'd like us to include in our WWII exhibit this summer, let us know!
Antiques and Appraisal Day, Saturday, June 4th, 10am to 4pm.  Get ready for our annual Antiques and Appraisal Day.  Sponsored by the Lorensen Auto Group and Saybrook Recycled, this is one of our most popular events of the year!

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.





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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