The following is a brief summary of the Society’s founding and progress for the last 100+ years.

THE FIRST 50 YEARS IN DETAILS

Huntington Historical Society 1903 – 1953 – This is a reproduction of a booklet describing the progress of the Huntington Historical Society over its first 50 years. This booklet was published in the 1950’s in order to honor the Society’s progress over that period.

You will note that the Society, at the end of its first 50 years, owned and maintained only one property, the David Conklin Farmhouse. During its second 50 years the Historical Society has acquired four more properties and thousands of additional artifacts.

The last paragraph of the booklet states:  “No society stands still, and in this the 50th year, there is every reason to believe that with the help of each and every member, greater things may be achieved in future years by The Huntington Historical Society.”

The Huntington Historical Society continues to grow after its first 100 years and add value for the Huntington Community.  We hope you will enjoy this trip into the past.  After all, what could be more appropriate for our organization.

The Huntington Historical Society began as an exclusively female organization in the early 20th century.  Spawned by the success of the Town’s 250th birthday celebration in 1903, the Society’s inception was due, in part, to the changing role of American women in the home.  This change was just one of several trends which evolved as the economy of Long Island switched from an agricultural to a more industrial base.

In September, 1903, a group of women, many of them from Huntington’s founding families, met at the home of Mrs. Frederic B. Sammis(Lizbeth, as she was known to her friends) to organize a society to “perpetuate an interest in things Historic;……in fact all Historic relics relating to the Town of Huntington since 1653.” 

Inspired by the success of the Town’s 250th celebration in July, at which Teddy Roosevelt was the featured speaker, and their involvement in the event as members of the Colonial Women’s Committee, they formed the  “Colonial Society”, and on December 3rd, 1903 they received a state charter for the Colonial Society of Huntington.  This became the first embodiment of the Huntington Historical Society.  Lizbeth, along with Jessie Kendall Brush, Jeanie Dusenbury Platt and Carrie Shaw Dusenbury Shakeshaft were the founding members.  Interestingly, they restricted active membership to women, but when the charter was revised eight years later, the membership was open to both sexes

Conklin Bright

On April 19th, 1911 they received a new charter for the Huntington Historical Society  establishing the organization under  its current name.  The Society would also have a permanent home, thanks to another insightful woman, Ella Conklin Hurd, who donated the Conklin Farmhouse to the society in 1918.  For the details of how this gift was given see The First 50 Years in Detail in the beginning of this page.

Since then, the Society has spent over 100 years protecting and interpreting the history of our town and the central Long Island region. The Society now maintains five national register historic properties – two as house museums, one for a gallery and display space for exhibiting selected portions of our collection.  The fourth houses our administration office and our extensive Resource Center and Archives and the fifth, The Adams House is on the property of the Kissam House and is not open to the public.  The Society shares the legacy it is preserving by sponsoring educational festivals, a lecture series, school programs and summer educational programs.

Each spring we trace the journey of wool from sheep shearing to weaving in our Sheep to Shawl Festivals. In the summer, we celebrate our diverse heritage with children’s games and craft demonstrations.  As the leaves turn and the local apple crop ripens, we celebrate nature’s bounty with our Apple Festival.

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School groups tour our house museums during the school year. Over the summer, children journey back in time via our Passport to the Past program.

Lectures on a variety of historical topics are presented once a month in the spring and fall. Each fall the Society offers a Historic House Tour for the enjoyment of the community and to shine a light on the history of Huntington