Photo of the Week
FROM THE SCHS LIBRARY ARCHIVES
“How shall we know it is us without our past?”
– John Steinbeck
FDR’s Letter to Mrs. H.B. Fullerton
by Wendy Polhemus-Annibell, Head Librarian
FDR’s Letter to Mrs. H. B. Fullerton of Medford, April 19, 1918. (From the Collection of the Suffolk County Historical Society Library Archives. Image © Suffolk County Historical Society. All rights reserved.)
During World War I, Hal and Edith Fullerton worked the Medford LIRR Experimental Farm while also contributing to the war effort. Together or individually, they visited troops at Camp Upton, managed a Grub Scouts troop and War Garden, and canned and preserved food from the farm as part of the Long Island Food Reserve Battalion. They also donated items to the U.S. Navy, and in 1918, the Assistant Secretary to the Navy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, wrote to Edith Fullerton to express the Navy’s thanks:
Your prompt and patriotic response to the Navy’s call for binoculars, telescopes, and spy-glasses, is most appreciated. The glasses will be very useful in the prosecution of Naval Operations until victory is won.
At the termination of the war, if possible, every effort will be made to return them to you, when it is hoped that you will feel compensated for any evidence of wear, by the knowledge that you have supplied “Eyes for the Navy” during a very trying period.
On behalf of the Navy, I wish to thank you most heartily.
The letter is signed “Very respectfully” by F. D. Roosevelt, who would become the 32nd U.S. president from 1933 to 1945. According to Eleanor Fullerton, Hal and Edith’s daughter, the binoculars were actually returned to the Fullertons in working condition with “U.S. Navy” stamped on them.
The staff and board of the Suffolk County Historical Society wishes all of our members, our friends, and all veterans a Happy Veterans Day.
November 13 – 16, 2019 – Veterans Day Week – Opening of Long Island in Conflict, a Newly Interpreted Permanent Exhibit. Free museum admission for Veterans of all wars during Veterans Day Week, November 13-16!
This newly renovated and permanent exhibit, Long Island in Conflict, offers examples of uniforms, weapons, medals, and other objects from our permanent collection, honoring Long Island’s contribution to our country’s defense. From the earliest days of settlement, Long Islanders have played an active role in the nation’s military history—on battlefields, in theaters of operation, and in conflicts wherever American armies have fought, including on Long Island itself during the American Revolution. On the home front, residents raised money, food, and supplies, and they provided the links to home and family so crucial to a soldier’s performance. The Civil War and the two World Wars saw the largest numbers of Long Islanders in uniform. During the twentieth century, Long Island was the site of major military training grounds, encampments, and airfields. Local industries turned out boats, ships, and torpedoes, and from the 1930s to the 1990s, many of the nation’s military aircraft were built right here on Long Island. Free museum admission for veterans on Nov. 13-16. More info.: 631-727-2881 x100.