St. Patrick’s Entertainment, 1944

By Andrea Meyer

One of my favorite things about writing the “Item of the Week” is how it allows readers to see their connections to local history.

The digitized church program seen here came to us after a conversation regarding one of our previous items, which helped a resident realize just how much her family’s history was part of the narrative we try to preserve in the East Hampton Library’s Long Island Collection.

This particular program advertised the Third Annual St. Patrick’s Day Entertainment and St. Philomena’s (now Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church) Fiftieth Anniversary, which was dated March 15, 1944.

The combined celebration was divided into two parts, the first being “Memories of the First Fifty Years.” It featured schoolchildren singing songs that were popular during each decade of the parish’s existence, with selections like the 1910 “Come Josephine in My Flying Machine,” which was written in the early days of aviation. In recognition of St. Patrick’s Day, the first act concluded with an Irish dance routine performed by 10 local girls.

The second act was dubbed “The Dinner Club,” with Tom Ward serving as the master of ceremonies. This part of the evening mostly included a few nods to the ongoing war, with a high school senior, Evelyn Loris, singing “Say a Prayer for the Boys Over There” and the closing “Good Night Soldier.” Thanks to the newly built United States Navy Torpedo Testing Range (on Star Island) in Montauk, the audience also enjoyed a series of magic tricks performed by a Navy torpedoman named Burger.

The East Hampton Star reported that the event was quite popular, noting, “Once again, every seat was taken in the Edwards Theater.” That same enthusiastic support for the program produced 39 pages of advertisements from sponsors and local businesses, offering a snapshot of the community during World War II.

Andrea Meyer is a librarian and archivist in the East Hampton Library’s Long Island Collection.