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HISTORY AS YOU LIKE IT

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Photo Credit: Charles Meredith
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Epher Whitaker’s Lasting Legacy

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Although the name Epher Whitaker evokes sentimental nostalgia among long-time residents of Southold, newcomers may stumble over its pronunciation and wonder—what’s the big deal? His poetry forgotten, his sectarian philosophy of history sidelined, and his major educational initiative defunct1. It’s time to consider the lasting legacy of 19th-century minister, Reverend Epher Whitaker (1820-1916).
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Before his pastorship (1851–1891), one could argue that Southolders had no common identity; that the town of Southold had no collective memory. Instead, oral histories embedded in family lines dominated conversations about the past across the far-flung hamlets. Whitaker transcended these clannish memories by successfully introducing three components of collective memory, transforming individual families into a cohesive group of founders2. First, he developed and amplified a compelling origin narrative of the town by a religious travel company led by John Youngs of Southwold, England3. Second, he inaugurated a commemorative ritual marking the 250th anniversary of Southold’s founding which was widely publicized4. Finally, he created and reinforced multiple venerated landscapes by collecting money to erect Founder’s Monument on the site of the town’s first meeting house within the boundaries of its Old Burying Ground5.
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Although these weren’t Reverend Whitaker’s only achievements and say nothing of his dedication to the community and common touch, they help explain why he continues to have an impact. He roused the community’s pride, elevated it to the national level, and forged an emotionally-powerful collective memory that persists to this day.
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Jackie Dinan
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 1 New Fruits from an Old Field (1865); Leaves of All Seasons: Hymns and Other Verses (1894); the Southold Academy operated as a college preparatory institution under the auspices of the First Presbyterian Church from 1867–1902, then as a business training school from 1907–1937 (Geoffrey K. Fleming, Southold [Images of America series] (2004): 89.
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2The definition and components of collective memory taken from Marc Howard Ross, Slavery in the North: Forgetting History and Recovering Memory(2018).
 Epher Whitaker, “The Early History of Southold, Long Island,” a speech read September 24, 1866 before the New Haven Colony Historical Society, published in Papers of the New Haven Colony Historical Society Volume II (1877): 1–31 (available at Hathitrust.org). That narrative, repeated and refined, was integrated in Whitaker’s History of Southold, Long Island: Its First Century (1881).
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3The one-day event (August 27, 1890) was mentioned in numerous newspapers from Massachusetts to California, although regional newspapers provided the most coverage. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (August 28, 1893, page 2) gave a glowing synopsis, “It has been a complete and brilliant success and the town may well feel proud of the record which it made yesterday.” Whitaker invited high-profile speakers including President Benjamin Harrison, who sent his regrets.
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4 “Unveiling the Monument,” The Traveler (Southold), October 20, 1893 and October 27, 1893. The latter article listed names of contributors to the monument.
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Want to catch up on past History As You Like It articles? Click the button below!!
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DINNER FOR TWO BY MARONI SOUTHOLD

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“Dinner for Two by Maroni Southold”

to Benefit Southold Historical Museum

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It’s the return of “Dinner for Two by Maroni Southold”, a fundraising event to benefit Southold Historical Museum. “Dinner for Two by Maroni Southold” offers an opportunity to enjoy a delicious dinner of Grandma Maroni’s Famous Italian meatballs served over Penne Pomodoro while also supporting your local history museum. The take-out dinner will be Friday, December 3, 2021. Maroni Southold is donating their goods and services so that all proceeds will benefit Southold Historical Museum.  
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Tickets will be sold in advance through Southold Historical Museum’s website. Please purchase online at www.southoldhistorical.org. Payment is through PayPal or PayPal Guest Checkout. If you do not have a PayPal account simply select the “Pay With Debit or Credit Card” button. The deadline to purchase is Friday, November 26. The cost per ticket is $50, and it includes a hearty meal serving 2 adults to be heated at home. Pick up your yummy dinner for two with heating instructions at the back deck pick up window of Maroni Southold at 54195 Main Rd., Southold between 3-6:30 pm. (No substitutions please.)
For more information on this or any other museum programs or events, please call 631.765.5500 or visit www.southoldhistorical.org.
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COME VISIT THE PRINCE BUILDING SHOPS!

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Looking for a unique gift or want to spruce up your holiday ware? Come shop at the Treasure Exchange. Our inventory is constantly changing. The Treasure Exchange is open from Thursday through Saturday from 10am – 4pm. While your there stop by our Museum Gift Shop (open M – F 10am – 2pm) and browse our extensive local history and art book selection and other unique find. The Treasure Exchange and Museum Gift Shop are located 54325 Main Road, Southold, NY 11971.
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SPECIAL SHOPPING HOURS:
TREASURE EXCHANGE AND MUSEUM GIFT SHOP ARE OPEN NOVEMBER 26 & 27!
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Treasure Exchange: Friday 10am – 5pm and Saturday 10am – 4pm
Museum Gift Shop: Friday 10am – 4pm and Saturday 11am – 3pm
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HOLIDAY FAIR SATURDAY, DECEMBER 4TH!

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Dec 04, 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Peconic Community Center, 1170 Peconic Ln, Peconic, NY 11958
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Come to Southold Historical Museum’s Holiday Fair at Peconic Lane Community Center where vendors and local artisans will be on hand with unique holiday gifts for all! There will be a bake sale as well as crafts and face painting for children. The “Holiday Auction” will feature gift baskets for all ages. Take a chance to win one for yourself or to give as a holiday gift. Families with children won’t want to miss a visit with Santa who will be on hand to greet children.
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Photos with Santa and admission to the event are free.
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November 26
Annual Candlelight Tour
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December 3
Takeout Dinner for Two by Maroni Southold
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December 4
Holiday Fair
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SOUTHOLD HISTORICAL MUSEUM | www.southoldhistorical.org|631-765-5500 |info@southoldhistorical.org

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AAQ / Resource

Bruce Nagel + Partners Architects

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