September 4, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FIRST COMPLETE HISTORY BOOK ON PLUM ISLAND, NY, NOW AVAILABLE - Learn about the controversial and mysterious island with uncertain future
SOUTHOLD, NY—The Southold Historical Society announced today that the complete history of controversial Plum Island, New York, has now been published for the first time. The Society published A World Unto Itself: The Remarkable History of Plum Island, New York, which encompasses 400 years of the island’s history with new research and historic photographs.
Few publicly owned islands are as little known or as misunderstood as Plum Island, located off the tip of Long Island’s North Fork. The highly secure Plum Island Animal Disease Center has operated there, not without controversy, since the 1950s, but few who were not employees have been able to go ashore. Today, the federal government has plans to move the animal disease laboratory to Kansas and sell the island. Environmentalists have studied and reported on the rich ecology of the Plum Island, but, until now, the island’s fascinating role in American history has been undocumented.
“Historically, ecologically and scientifically, it is unlike any other island anywhere in the world,” stated Ruth Ann Bramson, a retired university professor who along with Society Director, Geoffrey K. Fleming, and Collections Manager, Amy Kasuga Folk, wrote the book. “We believe that this book is a must for anyone interested in the history of what really is one of the most fascinating islands on earth,” stated Director Fleming.
Through its many incarnations, Plum Island has managed to remain in a semi-natural state. Today, it provides a rare glimpse of what Long Island and much of the Northeast was like before it was gripped by progress. At the same time, it bears the marks of the human history that has unfolded there: the lighthouse tended by so many stalwarts; the narrow roads, rusted railroad tracks and overgrown artillery batteries once filled with soldiers who never saw combat; and, of course, the modern-day facility where the daily pursuit of science both moves us forward and pushes us away.
The book is currently available through the Society’s museum gift shop at a cost of $40 for the hardcover edition or $30 for the softcover. Both editions are also available online through Amazon.com. For more information, visit the book website at http://www.aworlduntoitself.com or contact the Southold Historical Society at (631) 765-5500.