The mission of the Shelter Island Historical Society is to collect, research, preserve, and share local history. The Society interprets Shelter Island’s past through historical material and through its people; from the first Native American inhabitants, settlers, and town fathers, to those who have made it a caring and unique community through the years. The Society strives to preserve the Island’s heritage for future generations.
November 18, 1922: The first “Shelter Island Historical Society” is Formed
The organizing members were Miss Cornelia Horsford, Mr. Elias Havens Payne, Mr. & Mrs. A.A. Cartwright, Mr. & Mrs. Clarence Cartwright, Mrs. Stirling Wallace, Mrs. Moses Griffing, Mrs. Charles Bateman, Mr. C.H. Smith, Mrs. Russell Conklin, Mrs. Charles Thorne, Mrs. George Cook and Miss Lillian Loper. Mr. E.H. Payne was elected President, Mrs. Griffing was Vice-President, Miss Loper was Secretary and Miss Payne was Librarian.
By the second meeting of the Society on March 28, 1923, more members had joined and Mrs. Ralph H. Duvall was elected Treasurer.
Mr. Ralph Duvall succeeded Mr. E.H. Payne as President upon Mr. Payne’s death in 1928. Mr. Duvall was the second and last President of the Society.
In all, the Society met only 50 times between November 1922 and August 1933. They collected important documents such as a Nut Bread recipe, Presbyterian Confessions of Faith and C.E. Record Book, notes from Lodowick Havens’ diary, five copies of the SI Tribune 1892-1893 and three copies of the Suffolk Times 1897-1927, among other items.
March 12, 1966: The Historical Society is Formed...Again!
Mr. Andrew Fiske phoned a few people who might be interested in forming a Historical Society on the island. Nineteen people met in the Library, elected officers, defined the purpose and appointed a committee to frame a constitution.
On April 25, 1969, the University of the State of New York granted the Society an Absolute Charter, recognizing it as a non-profit organization.