Did you know that the first photographs were taken 30 years before the American Civil War? It wasn’t until the war that the medium was popularized in the United States. 
In 1839, Louis Daguerre introduced the daguerreotype to an interested audience in Paris. 
This week’s collections corner features a daguerreotype portrait of Benjamin Fitz, taken by Henry Fitz. Born in Massachusetts, Henry Fitz, Jr. (1808-1863) was known for exploring photography. (1808-1863). Henry lived in New York City and Baltimore. Following his death, his family moved to Peconic, where his wife, Julia Ann Wells (1819-1890), was originally from.
Benjamin Rutherfurd Fitz (1855-1891), one of Henry and Julia’s sons, was a well-known artist who painted alongside other local artists such as Edward A. Bell. During his time, Benjamin was widely respected. He exhibited at places such as the Salmagundi Club, National Academy of Design, and the Art Institute of Chicago.
The creative genius of the Fitz Family is impressive – photography, telescope-making, painting and more. Nevertheless, we hope you enjoyed learning a bit about early photography and the daguerreotype of Henry Fitz, Jr. (1808-1863).
Need to catch up?
Check out our past Collections Corner highlights here!


Southold Historical Society is proud to announce that it is the recipient of the prestigious Greater Hudson Heritage Network (GHHN) Conservation Treatment Grant. The Conservation Treatment Grant is a partnership of the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and Greater Hudson Heritage Network (GHHN) that provides support for treatment procedures by professional conservators to aid in stabilizing and preserving objects in collections of museums, historical, and cultural organizations in New York State. The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation has provided additional dedicated support for Southold Historical Society’s project.
Southold Historical Society has been awarded $7,500 to conserve a lovely Signature Quilt made in Peconic, New York, by Harriet Penny Jefferson (1850-1935) circa 1880.  Harriet Penny Jefferson, was from a Peconic farming family, and her husband, Robert Jefferson was the owner of Peconic’s general store. The quilt is composed of 36 blocks in 6 x 6 configuration. The signature blocks contain the names of many familiar, local names such as Prince, Case, Howell, and Wells.  The Society holds a portrait by Edith Prellwitz (1864-1944) of the quilt-maker’s granddaughter, Helena Jefferson Meredith, as a child. The conservation work on the signature quilt is to be done by the Textile Conservation Workshop, Inc. of South Salem, New York.
According to the press release from Priscilla Brendler, GHHN Executive Director, “GHHN strives to provide support for conservation treatments that are executed on the highest professional level. The field of conservation is continually changing, with pioneering research and dissemination of findings on innovative materials and techniques. Although there are many paths into the field of conservation, we acknowledge practitioners who have demonstrated high levels of proficiency and advanced knowledge, adherence to the ethics and standards of the American Institute of Conservation (AIC), and are recognized for their expertise in the museum field. In 2020’s grants, treatment will be provided by 16 individual conservator.”
Southold Historical Society’s executive director, Deanna Witte-Walker, states, “With multiple community members contributing to this beautiful quilt, it is truly a treasure. We are grateful for the opportunity to have it conserved so that it was be preserved and enjoyed for years to come.” She continues, “Southold Historical Society appreciates the support of preserving local history that this grant from both the Greater Hudson Heritage Network and the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation demonstrates.”
This year 41 grant applications were received at GHHN from institutions from 26 counties in New York State, requesting an aggregate of $236,164 in grant support. 2020 Conservation Treatment Grant awards range from $1,440 to the maximum amount of $7,500. Southold Historical Society has received the maximum amount of $7,500.
For more information, please email d.walker@southoldhistorical.org or call 631.765.5500.


Looking for a one of a kind gift for your loved one? Southold Historical Society’s ongoing brick project is an opportunity to give a timeless gift to our community. A personalized brick, engraved with an inscription of your choice makes a terrific present. Honor a sweetheart, mother, father, graduate, veteran, hero, a birthday, an anniversary or the year your purchased you family home!
Gift certificates are available!
Click Here to complete your order online or to download a mail-in form! For more information, please call (631) 765-5500 or email info@southoldhistorical.org.


Want to experience something really cool? Take a look at the 360 Tour that Discover Long Island filmed to show what you’ll see when visiting our Maple Lane Museum Complex! Be sure to click the grid menu in the upper left to open the doors and step inside some of the buildings! Feel free to share with anyone who might not know about all Southold Historical Society offers visitors!


For the safety of our staff, volunteers and the community during the COVID-19 crisis, Southold Historical Society locations including the Nautical Museum at Horton Point Lighthouse, and the Museum Complex remain CLOSED to visitors at this time. Should you need to visit the Society office, please call ahead to schedule an appointment. 631-765-5500.
From all of us at Southold Historical Society, thank you for your continued support.
For any questions, please email info@southoldhistorical.org.
Looking to donate to Southold Historical Society?
Click the link below!





AAQ / Resource: Joseph Pagac Architect