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Item of the Week: The East Hampton War Memorial

Thu, 05/25/2023 - 10:42

From the East Hampton Library’s Long Island Collection

The East Hampton War Memorial seen here appeared in the “Memorial Green War Monument (War Memorial Park) 1924” section of a supplement printed in 1953. In it, Morton Pennypacker, the Long Island Collection founder, provides a detailed history of the creation of the memorial and the dedication ceremony.

The monument, which was installed for Veterans Day in 1924, is traditionally decorated as part of East Hampton’s Memorial Day observances.

The park adjoins the North End Cemetery. The monument was designed by the “sculptress and former East Hampton summer resident” Maude Sherwood Jewett (1873-1953). Robert Baillie (1880-1961), a sculptor from New Jersey, carved Jewett’s design. William A. Lockwood (1874-1966), a “New York lawyer and summer resident, wrote the inscription.”

Many of the people involved in establishing and dedicating the monument had family members who served or died during World War I. After Joseph Greenleaf Thorp, the chairman of the effort, the next three names listed on the monument are Mary Paxton Hamlin (1875-1957), Albert Herter (1871-1950), and Adele McGinnis Herter (1869-1946). Both the Herter and Hamlin families lost a child in World War I. Dorothy Hamlin (1890-1919), Mary’s stepdaughter, died of influenza while working with the Red Cross in France. The Herters’ son Everit was killed in action in France.

Frank B. Wiborg, a summer resident, acted as chairman during the dedication, which The East Hampton Star covered in detail. His daughter Mary Hoyt Wiborg served as a nurse in France. The guest speaker was Gen. Nelson A. Miles (1839-1925), Wiborg’s cousin by marriage. The ceremony included a performance of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” by the Sag Harbor Community Band and blessings from four different religious leaders.

In 1937, Caroline Seymour Keck (1870-1946) and Maud Richey Seabury (1878-1950) donated plantings to border the monument. The Kecks were personally impacted by World War I. Thomas Keck (1897-1943), Caroline’s son, served with the American Field Service, and one of her daughters, also named Caroline (1893-1949), married the Herters’ son Everit.

Andrea Meyer, a librarian and archivist, is head of collection for the East Hampton Library’s Long Island Collection.

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