Women have been part of Long Island’s past for thousands of years but are nearly invisible in the records and history books. From pioneering doctors to dazzling aviatrixes, author Natalie A. Naylor brings these larger-than-life but little-known heroines out of the lost pages of island history in Women in Long Island’s Past: A History of Eminent Ladies and Everyday Lives (History Press, 2012).
Anna Symmes Harrison, Julia Gardiner Tyler, Edith Kermit Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt all served as first lady of the United States, and all had Long Island roots. Beloved children’s author Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote The Secret Garden here, and hundreds of local suffragists fought for their right to vote in the early twentieth century.
Author Natalie A. Naylor was born and grew up in Peekskill, received her AB at Bryn Mawr College and an MA and EdD from Columbia University (Teachers College). She arrived in Long Island in 1968 to teach history and foundations of education at Hofstra. In 1976, she joined Hofstra’s New College, where she taught courses in American social history, including Long Island history and women’s history.
Professor Naylor also was director of Hofstra’s Long Island Studies Institute from its founding in 1985 until she retired in 2000. She organized many conferences on Long Island history for the institute and edited or co-edited several of the institute’s publications, including Long Island Women: Activists and Innovators (1998), Nassau County: From Rural Hinterland to Suburban Metropolis (2000) and Journeys on Old Long Island: Travelers’ Accounts, Contemporary Descriptions, and Residents’ Reminiscences, 1744-1893 (2002). She has also published many articles on Long Island history.
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