Stony Brook, NY - February 19, 2014 - “What does it mean to be a Smith?” In her new work, The Land of the Smiths: A Collection of Personal Memoirs, St. James author (and a Smith by marriage) Claire Nicolas White, explores the answer to this seemingly simple question in great historical detail. This year will mark not only Mrs. White’s 50th Anniversary as a published author but also the 75th Anniversary of The Ward Melville Heritage Organization who is publishing the book. The anniversary milestones continue with 2015 being the 350th Anniversary of the Town of Smithtown.
From the legend of Richard Smith and his bull, Whisper, and on through multiple generations to the 20th century, the Smith family has always been rooted to the land on which they lived. Based on interviews Ms. White conducted with Smith descendants in the 1970s, and written memoirs dating even earlier, the resulting narrative is woven together with fascinating connections to Head of the Harbor and Stony Brook and the precious stories of a family that defined the township which now bears its name. The publication is sponsored by Lessings, who operates the historic Three Village Inn (c. 1751) which was the home of prominent ship owner Captain Jonas Smith in 1835. Smith would entertain captains from all over the world sharing maritime tales in front of the very same fireplace in the very same sitting room that still welcomes visitors today to the Three Village Inn.
In honor of its publication, WMHO will be hosting a free reception and book signing on Sunday, March 30th from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at their Educational & Cultural Center, located at 97P Main Street in the Stony Brook Village Center. The afternoon will feature a discussion about the Smiths by Mrs. White, who has authored over 20 books. There will also be a special theatrical presentation of White’s book, “A Visit with Miss Smith,” a brief, first-person vignette detailing a transformative event in the life of Ella Smith, a descendent of Richard “Bull-Rider” Smith. Ella will be portrayed by local actress and Stony Brook School English teacher, Jean Linzee. Admission to the event is free but copies of the book will be available for purchase and will be signed by the author. Light refreshments will also be served. Creative services for the publication were donated by Smash Studios of the Stony Brook Village Center. For further information call 631-751-2244 or visit wmho.org.
Founded in 1939, WMHO is a not-for-profit corporation that develops and fosters community enrichment through cultural and educational experiences. WMHO accomplishes this by enhancing and interpreting its historic and environmentally sensitive properties and by utilizing state-of-the-art technology. For more information, please visit www.wmho.org.