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Item of the Week: Anastasie Parsons Mulford and Her Daughter

Thu, 04/18/2024 - 10:46

From the East Hampton Library’s Long Island Collection

This photograph from the Amagansett Historical Association’s Carleton Kelsey Collection shows Anastasie Parsons Mulford (1869-1963) with her arm around her daughter, Louise Parsons Mulford (1899-1963), in front of a house. A note on the reverse indicates that Anastasie was sometimes known as Tassie, which is how she appeared in the 1870 census.

The photo is undated, but Louise’s appearance can be used to estimate the date to between 1905 and 1911, which, combined with her knee-length dress, suggests that she would have been younger than 12, when girls’ dresses typically lengthened.

Anastasie was the daughter of Ellen Louisa Schellinger Parsons and Abraham Stratton Parsons, who ran Amagansett’s last windmill. The windmill was moved from the present-day location of the Amagansett flagpole in 1872 to Windmill Lane, where it remained until it was destroyed by fire in 1924.

On Dec. 4, 1895, Anastasie married Charles H. Mulford (1867-1926). Census records describe Charles as a fisherman and record that the family lived in East Hampton when Louise was born. By 1910, they had moved to Amagansett’s Main Street. In later years, Anastasie’s brother John D. Parsons lived with the family.

Louise was an only child, and she and her mother appear in several photos in the Carleton Kelsey Collection. Mother and daughter seem to have remained close throughout their lives, even spending their final days in the same nursing home, where Louise died eight days before her mother.

For many years Louise and Anastasie ran a boarding house, Windmill Cottage, which The East Hampton Star identified as “Amagansett’s only hotel.” After graduating from East Hampton High School, Louise went on to Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, a privilege for women of her generation.

Louise worked as a music teacher and church organist for the East Hampton Presbyterian Church, a position she held for almost 40 years. She was active in many organizations, including the East Hampton Town Planning Board, the Amagansett Village Improvement Society, and the American Association of University Women.


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

 

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