Book signing coming to historic estate

The Island Now

The historic Cedarmere Estate in Roslyn Harbor will  host a book signing on Sept. 18 at 3 p.m. for a recently published pictorial book that documents the home’s past.

The seven-acre site and mansion, built in 1843, belonged to  William Cullen Bryant,  a poet, civic leader and newspaper editor in New York, who used it as a country retreat. 

Today it  is a museum run by a nonprofit group, Friends of Cedarmere, which aims to preserve and share the house’s history.

The book is titled “William Cullen Bryant’s Estates,” and was written by Harrison and Linda Hunt, historians and Bryant enthusiasts. 

It features hundreds of unpublished photographs of the estate over the years, and delves into the history of the property.

At the signing, attendees will be treated to a presentation by the authors about the experience of putting together the book, said Anne Woodsworth, a member of the Friends of Cedarmere board.

“Their presentation will be showing pictures that have never been published, and they’ll be telling stories that have never been told before, so it should be an interesting little session,” she said.

Bryant was a longtime editor of the New-York Evening Post, predecessor of the New York Post.

“He was influential and he traveled the world,” Woodsworth said. “He was very influential in politics although he never worked in politics himself.”

Bryant became a liberal leader, and a proponent of Abraham Lincoln’s candidacy for president. He introduced Lincoln to the political scene in New York, Woodsworth said.

He owned the estate until his death in 1878, and it continued being passed down in the family.

A 1902 fire destroyed much of the house, but left the front parlor and facade standing. Bryant’s nephew had the house rebuilt soon after, restoring as much of it as he could, Woodsworth said.

The property was deeded to the Town of North Hempstead in 1976 by a descendant of Bryant, on the condition that it be open as a museum or educational site, she said. But the town didn’t open it as a museum until 1994.

The estate remained in operation until the financial crisis in 2008, when the museum closed.

The following year, Friends of Cedarmere was founded to ensure the preservation of the property, and when it eventually reopened in 2014, they began giving tours.

Cedarmere is on the National Register of Historic Places and the New York State Underground Heritage Trail.

Admission to the signing is free, and the presentation will be followed by refreshments.

For more information, contact info@friendsofcedarmere.org or call (516) 671-3295.

by Chris Adams

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The Island Now

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