Huntington Station, NY - October 22, 2014 - Walt Whitman Birthplace Association (WWBA) invites the public and Whitman Descendants to join the unveiling of the newly donated Whitman Family Bible on Friday, November 14, at 2 PM at the Whitman Birthplace State Historic Site.
Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone will preside over the Bible unveiling.
The Bible was donated to WWBA by Natalie Swertfager Pearson, widow of Walter Whitman Swertfager, who owned the Bible. Natalie’s husband was a great great great grandson of Mary Elizabeth Whitman.
Mary Elizabeth Whitman was Walt’s sister and she received the Bible from Walt as a Christmas gift in 1878. On two interior pages, Walt inscribed their immediate family births, marriages and deaths up to that time. Mary Elizabeth lived on the North Fork of Long Island in Greenport, and Walt often went out to visit with her.
“I am thrilled and at peace to donate this Bible that has been kept by many generations,” Natalie Swertfager Pearson said upon her donation. “Kept for this purpose, to have it go back to the homestead where Walt was born. It seems a fitting place to preserve his heritage and lineage for generations yet to come.”
Cynthia Shor, WWBA Executive Director says, “We thank Natalie and we are sorry she cannot travel to our event from Sarasota, Florida where she resides.” In order to share the family pride, WWBA is putting out a call for Whitman Family descendants and relatives to view a rare artifact from their historical background.
“The ancestors of Walt’s parents, Louisa Van Velsor & Walt Whitman, Sr., date back two hundred years on Long Island,” says Shor. “If your name is Van Velsor, Brush, Scudder, Ketcham, Platt, or Hewlett, you may be related to Walt.”
The event is free and open to the public. Darrel Blaine Ford will entertain guests in the character of Whitman. Mary Nagin will provide Whitman era music. Light refreshments and tours of the historic Whitman Birthplace, built in 1810 by Whitman’s father, will be offered.
Katrina Lovett, Media and Events Director, Walt Whitman Birthplace Association
(631) 427-5240 ext. 112
Cynthia Shor, Executive Director, Walt Whitman Birthplace Association
(631) 427-5240 ext. 111
Photo by Renaude Hatsedakis via Free Images