Author Archives: Chris Kretz

Chris Kretz

About Chris Kretz

Chris Kretz produces and co-hosts the Long Island History Project. He is the Head of Stony Brook University's Southampton campus library and the co-author of Oakdale from Arcadia Press.

Culper Ring: Washington’s Spy Letters


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long island history project logoThe Culper Spy Ring has taken hold of the public imagination in recent years. From the work of historian Alexander Rose to the AMC series Turn, this story of a tight-knit group of Long Island natives spying for George Washington during the Revolution provides a compelling narrative.

On the latest episode of the Long Island History Project, we take a closer look at the primary sources that help document the Culper story. Kristen Nyitray, Director of Special Collections and University Archives at Stony Brook University, and Chris Filstrup, former Dean of SBU Libraries, discuss their pursuit and acquisition of two letters by George Washington to Benjamin Tallmadge about the operations of the spy ring. We also discus how the letters helped form closer ties among community groups involved in interpreting and promoting this fascinating aspect of Long Island history. Continue reading

Long Island History Project: The South Shore Signal


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long island history project logoHenry Livingston came to Babylon in 1869 and founded the South Shore Signal. He made an immediate splash advocating for Babylon to split from the town of Huntington and went on to lead the newspaper into the 20th century.

On this episode of The Long Island History Project, Babylon Town Historian Mary Cascone relates the history of the paper: it’s influence, evolution, and style. We also trade stories of newspaper research, microfilm readers, and the glory of digitized collections. Luckily, the South Shore Signal has gone to newspaper heaven and can now be fully searched through the New York State Historic Newspapers site. Continue reading

Long Island: Newsday’s History With Bob Keeler


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long island history project logoNewsday has helped shape the development of Nassau and Suffolk counties since its first edition rolled off the presses in 1940. And it never would have happened without the unique marriage of Alicia Patterson and Harry Guggenheim.

Learn the backstory of Long Island’s paper of record, as told by former Newsday reporter Bob Keeler. Bob spent years researching the lives of Alicia, Harry, Bill Moyers, and all those involved in Newsday‘s first half-century.

His book Newsday: A Candid History of the Respectable Tabloid, published in 1990, is required reading for anyone interested in Long Island, journalism, and post-WWII politics. Continue reading

Long Island: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Time On The North Shore


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long island history project logoThe Great Gatsby left its mark on both Long Island and literature. But while F. Scott Fitzgerald spent two riotous years living in Great Neck, it took a move to France to turn those experiences into a masterpiece.

On the latest episode of The Long Island History Project, Charles Riley explains the history of the North Shore of Long Island in the 1920s and why Fitzgerald had to leave to get Gatsby written. Riley, author of Free as Gods: How the Jazz Age Reinvented Modernism, is also the director of the Nassau County Museum of Art.

Listen to the podcast here. Continue reading

Longwood: Long Island History Project Podcast


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Gordon Heights adLongwood on Long Island is a school district, a public library, and fertile ground for stories. The Long Island History Project captured some of those stories during a conversation with Longwood Local History Librarian Melanie Cardone-Leathers.

Among the topics covered were Civil War tragedies, Revolutionary War triumphs, Nazis, Harlem Hellfighters, wrong-way aviators, runaway monkeys, and Irving Berlin.

Listen to the podcast here. Continue reading

Long Island History Podcast: Roosevelt, NY


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Carol GilliamOn today’s episode we’re talking the history of Roosevelt, known as Rum Point for most of the 19th century. Our guest is Carol Gilliam, the Black Heritage Librarian at Roosevelt Public Library where she oversees a collection dedicated to black culture and history.

Our discussion includes the growth and use of the collection as well as the challenges and opportunities of preserving Roosevelt’s past. Along the way we highlight the Harlem Renaissance, Chuck D and Julius Irving.

Listen to the podcast here. Continue reading

Long Island History Podcast Interviews Bill Bleyer


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Bill Bleyer. On the latest episode of the Long Island History Project, we interview author and journalist Bill Bleyer about his long history covering the Island and uncovering its past.

Bill has written books on the Fire Island Lighthouse, Sagamore Hill, and Long Island and the Civil War. He was also a journalist at Newsday for over thirty years and played a key role in the production of Long Island: Our Story.

You’ll hear about working as a journalist on Long Island, his battle with Robert Moses, and more.

Listen to the podcast here. Continue reading