Photo of the Week / April 5th, 2021
FROM THE SCHS LIBRARY ARCHIVES
“How shall we know it is us without our past?”
– John Steinbeck
Lady Suffolk, Famed Trotting Horse of the 19th Century
by Wendy Polhemus-Annibell, Head Librarian
Crossroads at Jericho Turnpike, Commack, c. 1840 (top image) and Lady Suffolk at Centreville Course, Long Island, 1849 (lower image). (Top image from a painting by an unknown artist; lower image from a lithograph by N. Currier–both images reprinted in Lady Suffolk, a printed work in the Collection of the Suffolk County Historical Society Library Archives.)
The most famous and beloved trotting horse of the nineteenth century, Lady Suffolk was foaled at the Burr family farm in Commack in 1833. Codman’s Blacksmith Shop (pictured in the lower left portion of the top image) is where Lady Suffolk was often shod during the early years of her career. Her first race was in 1838, when she was five years old. She was campaigned throughout the United States for fifteen years, engaging in 138 races and winning 88 of them!
Halfway through her career Lady Suffolk already held the world record for trotters at the standard distance of one mile, both in harness and under saddle. She had also won the fastest race ever trotted and had broken records in two-mile and three-mile races, including the fastest-ever three-mile race trotted by a mare. Her record was 2.26 minutes for a mile. Lady Suffolk died in 1855 at the age of twenty-two. Some maintain it was for Lady Suffolk that the song “The Old Grey Mare” was written.
Suggested Reading: Lady Suffolk: The Old Grey Mare of Long Island, by John Hervey (New York: Derrydale Press/Piping Rock Horse Show Assoc., 1936).
FUN-FILLED FAMILY OUTING! An Exhibit of Ordinary Objects From Yesteryear That Are Mysteries to Our Modern Eyes! In our Weathervane Gallery now thru Sept. 11, 2021. The objects we use to get through an ordinary day have changed so much over time that many everyday items once used at work or at home by your grandparents (or great-grandparents) are now virtually unrecognizable. This fun exhibit showcases a selection of the most mysterious objects from our collection to baffle, befuddle, and bemuse you!
Can you guess what these mysterious objects are? Bring your cellphone for an interactive experience!
Free admission for children includes museum-wide scavenger hunt & prizes!
Gallery Hours: Weds. to Sat., 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The Suffolk County Historical Society Museum is open to the public for a safe, socially-distanced family outing with 15-minute intervals between parties. Exhibits provide a safe, “touchless” experience for adults and children alike. Masks are required of all museum visitors over age 2.
SILVERBROOK EXHIBIT extended by popular demand to May 22!