East Hampton Library Presents ‘Women’s Work: A Century Of Women Elevating East Hampton’

The East Hampton Library’s Long Island Collection has unveiled a new exhibit, titled “Women’s Work: A Century of Women Elevating East Hampton,” in the library’s front lobby display cases.

Focusing on how women shaped and changed the character and reputation of the East Hampton community through social and volunteer organizations and activities, the exhibit features historic artifacts from the LVIS, the Garden Club of East Hampton, the Ramblers (a literary society), the Wainscott Sewing Society, and the work of Ruth Benjamin, the first curator of the Home, Sweet Home museum, whose successful marketing efforts gained national fame for Home, Sweet Home and East Hampton.

Wainscott Sewing Society Members Hannah Hopping Hopping (center, 1819-1896) and her daughter Charity Hopping (right, 1845-1903), with an unidentified woman at the Hopping House in Wainscott, Courtesy of the East Hampton Star Photo Archive, digitallongisland.org.

Andrea Meyer, Head of the Long Island Collection, stated that, “Even though much of this work was done within the female ‘sphere of domesticity’ and work traditionally considered ‘socially appropriate’ for women, the ladies of East Hampton Town used this work to try to improve their community, both intellectually and physically. The exhibit also shows how Ruth Benjamin helped make East Hampton famous around the world for an idealized vision of ‘home’.”

Parade Float Including Members of the Ramblers, Fourth of July Parade, 1915. (L-R): Sophornia Sherrill, Annie Talmage, Hattie Van Scoy Dayton, Julia Hand, and Mary Dayton. Photo courtesy Frank Dayton Photo Collection, East Hampton Library, Long Island Collection

Among the treasures on display are the first garden plan for the East Hampton Library’s gardens, designed in 1911 by Martha Prentice Strong and one of her scrapbooks featuring an original Childe Hassam etching of a desert garden, the Ramblers’ Constitution, the LVIS Constitution, and the first minute books for the Ramblers, the Garden Club, and the LVIS, photographs of local people, including the LVIS Trees Committee, programs from the Ramblers’ discussions, correspondence relating to Victory Gardens and Ruth Benjamin’s 1930 monthly salary as “hostess.”

The new exhibit is viewable during the library’s hours of operation and will be on display until May.


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