The Long Island Room is pleased to announce its 2018 Program Series and Exhibit, Celebrating Women's History on Long Island.  Click on the program titles below to register. 



Remembering the Ladies: Long Island Women During the Revolutionary War

Tuesday, March 27, 2018, 7:00- 8:30 pm (Rescheduled)

In March 1776, Abigail Adams wrote her husband at the Continental Congress, asking that they “Remember the Ladies” when establishing a new code of laws. Not surprisingly, John Adams dismissed her ideas as frivolous since women were seldom considered in matters of government at the time. Indeed, women are almost invisible in most accounts of the Revolutionary War on Long Island, though they experienced more than seven years of British occupation, enduring battles, raids, and calculated humiliations throughout.  Dr. Natalie Naylor, Professor Emeritus Hofstra University and author of Women in Long Island’s Past: A History of Eminent Ladies and Everyday Lives will shed light on what life was like for Long Island women during the Revolution, what they did to cope, or, in some instances participate, and how they ultimately survived the ordeal.


Writing Her Own History: The Extraordinary Life of Mary Louise Booth

Tuesday, May 22, 2018, 7:00- 8:30 pm

Mary Louise Booth’s extraordinary life began in 1831 when she was born in what is now Yaphank.  A gifted writer and linguist with an insatiable love of learning from an early age, she spoke seven languages, translated forty-seven books including a number of influential pro-Union titles during the Civil War, worked as a reporter for The New York Times, was involved in the woman suffrage and abolitionist movements, wrote the comprehensive History of the City of New York, the first book of its kind, served as the founding editor of Harper’s Bazaar magazine, and was instrumental in securing France’s gift of the Statue of Liberty.  Join Tricia Foley, co-author of Images of America, Yaphank and Yaphank Historical Society board member and historian, as she recounts the remarkable events that defined the life of Mary Louise Booth and describes the efforts being made to preserve her childhood home as well as the rest of her important legacy.      


The First Ladies of Long Island

Tuesday, June 26, 2018, 7:00- 8:30 pm

Of the forty-seven women who have served as America’s First Lady, five—including Julia Gardiner Tyler, Edith Kermit Roosevelt, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, and Barbara Pierce Bush — had strong ties to Long Island.  Learn which of these women were born on Long Island, which one was known as “The Rose of Long Island” before marrying a President thirty years her senior, which one was her husband’s childhood playmate, and which one is consistently ranked highest by historians in the field.  Writer, educator, and historian Elizabeth Kahn Kaplan will share these and many other intriguing details as she discusses the fascinating lives of these very different First Ladies of Long Island.


Lifting As We Climb: The Women of the H. H. Garnet Memorial Home

Tuesday, July 31, 2018, 7:00- 8:30 pm

In the late nineteenth-century, with the social upheavals caused by rapid urbanization, the influx of large numbers of poor and working-class European immigrants, and the flight of African Americans to the North to escape racial intolerance and violence, Long Island and the rest of the country experienced a surge of social reforms, in a period now characterized as the Progressive Era.  African American women initiated many of these reforms, organizing locally and nationally to address the emerging problems faced by their people. The H. H. Garnet Memorial Fresh Air Home in Westbury, Long Island, exemplified this effort.  Inspired by the work of Mary Garnet Barboza, the Home was established in 1895 by Eliza Williams, Sarah J. S. Garnet and a number of other women, in memory of the renowned African American leader, Reverend Henry Highland Garnet.  This fresh air home, the first of its kind on Long Island, offered a retreat for working-class African American women, away from the congested New York City life; it also sought to improve their circumstances by offering them an industrial education.  Dr. Judith Burgess, cultural anthropologist, educator, and community researcher will examine the origins of the H. H. Garnet Memorial Home and describe the tireless efforts of the women involved in establishing it.


Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II, Long Island and Beyond

Tuesday, September 25, 2018, 7:00- 8:30 pm

Throughout the history of American aviation, women from or associated with Long Island have played a crucial role in promoting and participating in its evolution.  Aviation’s female pioneers including Harriet Quimby, Bessie Coleman, and Elinor Smith all spent time flying from Long Island’s airfields.  And, later, during World War II, Long Island women were among the 1,800 others from across the country who left their homes and jobs for an unprecedented opportunity to become the first to fly military aircrafts for the U. S. Army Air Forces in order to relieve male pilots for overseas combat duty.  Known as Women Airforce Service Pilots or WASP, these volunteers exceeded all expectations and successfully fulfilled their duties, flying over sixty million miles on the home front, in every type of aircraft in the Army Air Force arsenal, in every capacity, except combat.  Learn more about the history of the WASP program, from its infancy through to its untimely deactivation in 1944, as aviation and WASP historian, Julia Lauria-Blum examines the program’s national and local significance.                        


Suffragist “General” Rosalie Jones and Her 1912 Pilgrimage to Albany

Tuesday, October 23, 2018, 7:00- 8:30 pm

Miss Rosalie Gardiner Jones, or “General” Jones, as she was commonly known in the suffrage movement, was a vibrant Long Islander renowned for her flamboyant suffrage activities and ability to keep the issue of “Votes for Women” in the media.  In late December, 1912, for example, General Jones, borrowing a tactic used in the English suffrage movement, led a thirteen day, 150 mile hike from New York City to Albany to present a suffrage petition to Governor-elect William Sulzer on the eve of his inauguration.  The idea was unique in the history of American political activism and the intent was threefold: to bring the message of woman suffrage to people living in more rural areas of New York State;  to raise money for the suffrage cause; and to put pressure on the Governor-elect to make a commitment to supporting woman suffrage in New York State.  Join Jane Mathews Swersey, retired high school Social Studies teacher and historian, as she presents her research on General Jones’ 1912 “Votes for Women” pilgrimage to Albany and its impact on the national woman suffrage movement.



Celebrating Women's History on Long Island

After helping to win the statewide right to vote a year prior, Long Island women cast their first ballots in the local elections of 1918.  In celebration of this momentous achievement one hundred years ago, the Long Island Room has assembled materials from its collection to illustrate the many important contributions women have made in shaping the area’s local history.  This exhibit will be on view through December 2018.