September 4, 2008
SOUTHOLD HISTORICAL SOCIETY PUBLISHES NEW BOOK:
“Southold Reminiscences: Rural America at the Turn of the Century”
SOUTHOLD, NY. The Southold Historical Society is pleased to be able to release a new publication, “Southold Reminiscences: Rural America at the Turn of the Century.”
When the primary value of bay-front property was the privilege of harvesting seaweed, state legislator and Southold newspaperman Joseph Nelson Hallock was stealing watermelon from “Peter Gils” Well’s patch and fighting for the privilege to “pass the water” at Southold Academy. In the spirit of Mary Ellen Chase’s turn-of-the-century account of life in rural New England, Hallock offers his firsthand impressions of the difficulties and pleasures of North Fork life one hundred years ago.
This engaging history was originally written By Joseph Nelson Hallock in 1937, more than sixty years ago, at the behest of his daughter, Ann. Ann would go onto to become one of the leading historians of Suffolk County and the founder and first president of the Southold Historical Society. “It was her vision that helped ensure the preservation of her father’s superb memories and storytelling,” stated Geoffrey K. Fleming, Director of the Society.
For more than 40 years the manuscript was hidden away in the files of the Society. Director Fleming and volunteer (and now trustee) Helen Didriksen rediscovered the manuscript and went to work to see if it could be worth publishing. “Helen spent many hours helping to transcribe the original manuscript and together we felt that it was so interesting that it needed to be made available to the public,” he continued.
The Society was able to find a partner to make this project possible in a company known as The History Press. Based in historic Charleston, South Carolina, The History Press publishes high quality history and heritage titles that bring the past to life in a variety of areas across the United States. Through publishing, The History Press strives to preserve and celebrate the rich history of these areas, making their intriguing stories available to a wide audience. Despite a burgeoning, nationwide interest in history—particularly regional history—changes in the book trade over the past decade have meant that many areas are severely underserved by books that can help make history understandable and meaningful. The History Press aims to counter that trend, and to bring publishing back, albeit in a small way, to its roots.
“Southold Reminiscences” is full of the kind of information that is difficult to locate easily today. Hallock relates on how voting worked during his youth; the kinds of farming and other activities needed to sustain daily life; and the different people, places, and events that made his native town so special. “His ability to make daily life more than a century ago seem so appealing is the key to this books charm,” continued Fleming.
The book is illustrated with nearly 40 historic images from the Society’s collection, and includes an extensive index for readers and researchers. Many people who have family connections to Southold will delight in finding the names of relatives and stories about their ancestors in this new publication. With a recipe for samp porridge and tales of power brokering in Albany, “Southold Reminiscences” is sure to inspire.
For further information on the Southold Historical Society, please visit their website at www.southoldhistoricalsociety.org.