Deep Dive: Exploring the Collections

Updated: Nov 23, 2021

Abigail Fithian Halsey (early 20th c.)

This is a photo of Abigail Fithian Halsey, sister of former Town Historian Lizbeth Halsey White and a descendent of early Southampton settlers. The precise date of this photo is unknown, but it’s presumed to be from the early 20th century. She lived between the years 1873 and 1946.


During the 1940 Southampton 300th Anniversary celebrations, she published a book in memory of her sister, titled “In Old Southampton”. Within the Cornell Extension Bulletin as part of the NYS College of Agriculture at Cornell University, she also published “The Historical Pageant in the Rural Community” on May 8th, 1914. In 1921, she would organize the Young Women’s Community Club which offered service to nursery groups and the elderly.


Abigail would also organize and direct pageants in Southampton and in Ithaca between the 1910s and 1940s. She produced the East Hampton pageants in both 1915 and 1927, a pageant for Sag Harbor, and the Tercentenary pageant for Southampton in 1940. She directed the huge Tompkins County Pageant in Ithaca in 1922, while being active in Campfire and Girl Scout work through the Farm and Home Bureaus. At the same time she was also directing the State Sesquicentennial Historic Drama. She would also work for the Heckscher Foundation Educational Drama Department in New York City. During this time she wrote “The Vineland Saga, The Story of the Vikings” for the Century Church, “America the Mother” for the Federation of Women’s Club, and “A Ship of Joy”.


Dr. Gaynell Stone, writing for the “Southampton Women Who Made A Difference” Exhibition of 2009, remarked on how much of a contribution Abigail made regarding Southampton and New York history.


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