Written by Dagmar Fors Karppi Friday, 30 November 2012 00:00
The OBHS is also opening their new exhibit: “Miniatures: Doll Houses, Little Rooms and Childhood Treasures” at the Koenig Center. Featured will be the model of the North Room of Sagamore Hill; a model of the two period rooms in the Earle-Wightman house; and a 1922 dollhouse that belonged to Polly Weeks of Oyster Bay that was donated by her daughter Ellen Nicoll who grew up here.
OBHS Director Phillip Blocklyn said, “In the exhibit we are featuring things relating to Roosevelt children, not just TR’s children but the children in the larger Roosevelt family, and including them.
“There are letters written by or to Roosevelt children. There are a few letters TR wrote to Elizabeth Roosevelt’s father John Roosevelt. One was to John written by TR when he was on his African safari; and a number of letters and at least one drawing by Roosevelt cousins,” he said.
Mr. Blocklyn said, “The thing I notice about all the material is that the family kept in touch. The nieces and nephews wrote to their grand-parents and they wrote to each other. They were a very connected family.
“We have the text of the telegram that TR sent to his cousin Emlen when his wife Christine had her first child, named after her mother, in August of 1884. What is interesting is that the telegram was from Medora, North Dakota, and it was the same year TR’s mother and wife had died six months earlier.
“And the other interesting thing in this short telegram is TR ends it by saying ‘he’s perfectly delighted,’ which sounds so much like Roosevelt,” he commented.
Other things people will enjoy seeing are the miniature printing press, dolls and children’s clothing, children’s books and things made by children as well, like samplers. There are also lots of doll clothes and doll house furniture.
“The reason I like the things we have in the collections of the various Roosevelts is that they are not so much about history and politics but are an inside look into the family. And, they really were very much a well-connected American family,” Mr. Blocklyn said.
One could say they were well connected in both senses of the word.
Mr. Blocklyn said, “There were five cousins all born within about the same year and were called the Magical Five by the press. They were, Alice, born in 1884, Elfrida, born in 1883, Christine in 1884, Eleanor in 1884, and Dorothy all born in a 10-month period. They grew up together and all came out as debutantes at the same time.
“We have many letters from Elfrida who wrote a lot of letters as a child and they are very interesting. She mentions people like her ‘uncle Percy’ who is Percival Lowell, who discovered the planet Pluto — a planet no more. He also wrote about the canals on Mars. He is a very interesting person and she would mention visiting him. When you look to see who ‘he is’ — you find he is very important. The same is true of her Aunt Amy. She is Amy Lowell, a noted American poet. In the exhibit we have a calling card of Percival Lowell and a book of poems by Amy Lowell.
“It is interesting to see how the Roosevelt family were connected to a large web of important families. We have put a great deal of the information online on our website under exhibitions and events and archives. There is something there about every event we have had since 2008.”
Mr. Blocklyn also announced a cookbook coming out on Nov. 19 that is being sent to members. It’s called Oyster Bay Historical Society Cooks. “It is recipes created by our staff for all of the events we’ve done over the past few years. We do our own catering and these are the recipes they created: Jacqueline Blocklyn, Nicole Menchise and there are even recipes by Grace Searby,” he added.
Additionally, the OBHS gift shop, Windfall, will have books for sale as well as hand made knitted items by Jacqueline Blocklyn including some that can be ordered. There are also two, holiday card-making classes coming up on Saturday, Dec. 1 and Saturday Dec. 15. Please call for information and reservations at 922-5032 or check their website obh.org.