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The Long Island Room's 2021 Virtual Program Series, The Roaring 20s on Long Island is now complete.  Thanks to all of this year's presenters and attendees!
Rum Running on Long Island's East End
Tuesday, June 29, 2021, 7:00- 8:30 pm (via Zoom)
Known as the “noble experiment,” Prohibition, or the nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcohol brought about by the 18th Amendment, lasted for thirteen years, from 1920 until its repeal in 1933. Throughout that period however, many did what they could to circumvent the law and, in some instances, even profited by smuggling alcohol to local speakeasies, a practice known as rum running. Long Island’s East End, with its proximity to New York City, became a hub for this lucrative activity and was considered one of the country’s largest entry points for the distribution of illegal alcohol. Amy Kasuga Folk, Collections Manager at the Oysterponds Historical Society and Curator/ Collections Manager at the Southold Historical Society as well as the Southold Town Historian, will explore the history of rum running on the East End and the people and places associated with this illicit industry.
The "Golden Age" of Aviation on Long Island
Tuesday, July 27, 2021, 7:00-8:30 pm (via Zoom)
The years between the end of World War I and the beginning of World War II are often referred to as the “Golden Age” of aviation. On Long Island, aircraft manufacturing boomed and pioneering pilots made countless flights to and from the area’s many airfields mostly located along the Hempstead Plains in Nassau County. In fact, Charles Lindbergh’s famed first solo transatlantic flight departed from Roosevelt Field and passed over Smithtown in May 1927. So important was Long Island to this period of flying history, it quickly became known as the “Cradle of Aviation.” Find out more about Long Island’s significant contributions to this “Golden Age” as a Cradle of Aviation Museum Educator talks about the many aviation firsts that occurred here during the 1920s and beyond.
Babe Ruth and the Birth of the Yankees Dynasty
Tuesday, August 31, 2021, 7:00-8:30 pm (via Zoom)
In the wake of the scandalous 1919 World Series, fixed by the Chicago White Sox, the image of America’s national pastime was severely damaged in the eyes of the public. It would fall to one man, an almost mythical character—the “Great Bambino,” “Sultan of Swat,” or rather George Herman “Babe” Ruth, Jr. (1895-1948), to save it. When the New York Yankees bought out Ruth’s contract from the Boston Red Sox in 1919, they made the shrewdest deal in baseball history. Throughout his 15 years with the team, Ruth solidified his legacy as one of the greatest players of all time; setting the long-standing homerun record and helping the Yankees win seven American League pennants and four World Series championships. Learn more about the New York Yankees of the 1920s, particularly their star player, Babe Ruth, as award-winning sports journalist and author Hal Bock describes the tremendous impact the team had on rehabilitating American baseball.
The King of Queens- Louis Armstrong's Wonderful World
Tuesday, September 28, 2021, 7:00-8:30 pm (via Zoom)
Louis Armstrong (1901-1971) was one of the most famous and influential musicians of all time, changing the course of music with his innovations as a trumpeter and vocalist. Emblematic of the Jazz Age and the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, Armstrong’s unique sound was wildly popular and widely sought-after. Yet while the entertainer toured all over the world throughout the course of his illustrious career, he called nearby Corona, Queens, home for the last 28 years of his life. Join Ricky Riccardi, Director of Research Collections at the Louis Armstrong House Museum and author of two Armstrong biographies, as he discusses Armstrong’s historic career, shows rare footage of the trumpeter in action, and describes the mission of the museum today as well as its future plans to celebrate the legacy of one of Queens' greatest citizens.
Gatsby's Gold Coast- How Long Island's North Shore Inspired a Classic American Novel
Tuesday, October 19, 2021, 7:00-8:30 pm (via Zoom)
Author F. Scott Fitzgerald’s timeless 1925 masterpiece, The Great Gatsby, takes place on Long Island, “that slender riotous island which extends itself due east of New York.” Much of the book’s plot is set in “West Egg” and “East Egg,” fictional communities based upon the real towns of Long Island’s opulent Gold Coast. Fitzgerald drew inspiration for the book while living and socializing in the area during the early 1920s, often attending lavish parties hosted by the Gold Coast’s most prominent residents. Gary Lawrance, architect, author and historian, will examine the history of Long Island’s Gold Coast, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s time there and the ways in which his real-life experiences with the area’s people and places influenced the writing of this classic American novel.
Smithtown During the Roaring 20s
Tuesday, November 23, 2021, 7:00-8:30 pm (via Zoom)
The decade known as the “Roaring 20s” brought about radical change to the entire country. With an end to the hardships of World War I and newfound economic prosperity, many Americans were ready to move on to a new, more carefree lifestyle in the 1920s. Consumer spending increased, standards in behavior and dress eased, cultural interests shifted, and some laws, particularly those associated with the prohibition of alcohol, were blatantly disregarded. While some celebrated these changes as progress, others feared they were contributing to the nation’s decline. Discover how Smithtown was affected by the dramatic societal changes of the “Roaring 20s” as Town Historian Bradley Harris describes the local events that occurred during this tumultuous period.


The Roaring 20s on Long Island

The 1920s roared on Long Island as they did throughout the rest of the country. This unique period, marked by increased affluence, prohibition of alcohol, popularization of jazz music and flapper fashion, as well as a variety of other social and political changes greatly impacted life on Long Island. To illustrate this, the Long Island Room has assembled a collection of materials that represent the important historical events and popular culture experienced on Long Island during the Roaring 20s.  This exhibit will be on view through the end of 2021.

A special thanks to the Long Island Museum, Smithtown Historical Society, and Lucia Spahr for lending materials to this exhibit.


Long Island Room
Smithtown Building (Lower Level)
1 North Country Road
Smithtown, NY 11787
(631)360-2480 x197


Use of the Long Island Room collection is subject to the availability of its dedicated staff.  It is therefore strongly recommended that you set up an appointment prior to your visit.  Please contact the Long Island Room via phone or email to set up an appointment.


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