An album imprinted with the name of Elizabeth Post on the cover is a unique part of the Cedar Swamp collection. Elizabeth,
the great-granddaughter of John Post (1700-1792), the first settler of Quogue, was born in 1809 to Abraham and Sarah Howell Post.
Elizabeth was also a descendant of Richard Post (1617-1689) who settled in Southampton in 1640. Richard’s brother Stephen was an
ancestor of C. W. Post, the famous cereal manufacturer and namesake of Long Island University’s Brookville Campus.
The first entry of her album is written by Elizabeth and is dated “Quogue, April 20th 1829.”
It instructs those who would create entries for it to write from their experience and place in life:
Go! Album through this world of strange variety
Ask of its numerous habitants a tribute
Ask from the young their expectations hopes
Aught that is loveing, kind affectionate
Ask of the more advanced the middle aged
Who in mature and full enjoyment sit
Proudly within the fabric they have reared
A sounder stronger intellectual gift
Ask of the aged who have fairly trod
The path of life now hastening to a close
Through all its mazes intricate obscure
Its woes its comforts tempests and its calms
Its mists its sunshine sorrows and its joys
Experience wisdom and a true account
Of all its frailties follies and its faults
But most of all and far before the rest
May thy fair pages white as driven snow
As yet unsullied but in little part
And free from stain as lofty Heavens concave
Have virtues tributes they will best impart
Deep heart felt pleasure to thy owner’s heart
The influence of Romanticism is apparent throughout the album with its miniature pressed dry floral wreaths,
delicate little watercolors, flowery poems and intimate writings. On the frontispiece of the beautiful red leather bound book is
a charming engraving by the artist, pastor, and founding member of the Amistad Committee, Simeon Smith Jocelyn. Jocelyn and members
of the Amistad Committee are immortalized today because of the role they played in the emancipation of thirty-six
African slaves held captive on the schooner Amistad on Long Island Sound in 1839.
Many of the entries are extracted from works by famous authors such as William Shakespeare, Alexander Pope, Robert Burns,
Lord Byron, Lucretia Maria Davidson, and John Fussle; still others are personal little gems created by the friends and loved ones of
Elizabeth. Many entries hold clues about Elizabeth’s life and how she spent her leisure time. There are also words written by family members
Caroline Post of Bridgehampton and P. P. Post and a number of entries signed JCS, most probably Joshua Corwin Skidmore, Elizabeth’s husband
who she married in 1831. A later reference to Mrs. Skidmore, written in 1840 would likely be referring to Elizabeth since it was written eight
years after she was married.
Of special note, the album contains an entry by Cornelia Huntington, East Hampton’s first known important woman writer.
Huntington’s most famous work was the novel Sea-Spray: A Long Island Village, which she based on East Hampton and its residents.
She published the novel in 1857 under the name of Martha Wickham. It is a short tale of Alice Bradley; a young woman who died of a broken
heart after the man she loved left her and married another woman. Huntington’s entry in Elizabeth Post’s album is inscribed with her name and
“Easthampton, April 28, 1829”.
Elizabeth Post’s album gives fascinating insight into the type of literature and art that people of leisure enjoyed during
the 19th century on the eastern shores of Long Island, and how they communicated their most cherished feelings.
Davis, G. Todd. “Fictions of Byron: An Annotated Bibliography.”Romantic Circles”, University of Maryland, 2006.
[http://www.rc.umd.edu/reference/byron-fictions/index.html] Accessed 15 January 2006; Hedges, Henry P. “Cornelia Huntington” A History of
the town of East Hampton, NY. J. H. Hunt Printer, Sag Harbor, New York, 1897. History of East Hampton, 22 Feb 2005;
[http://longislandgenealogy.com/histehampton.html] Accessed 10 December 2005;
Johnson, Samuel. “Preface to Pope”. Prefaces, Biographical and Critical, to the Works of the English Poets. 10 vols. Vol 7. London: J.
Nichols, et al., 1781. Samuel Johnson’s Lives of the English Poets, Ed. by Kathleen Kememerer, 9 September 2005.
[http://www.18thcenturyarchive.org/poets/si-poets.htm] Accessed 10 December 2005;
Post, Marie Caroline de Trobriand. The Post Family. Sterling Potter, New York, 1905. Post Surname Database,
Long Island Genealogy, 22 Feb 2005. [http://longislandgenealogy.com/post/post.pdf], Accessed December 10, 2005.
“Introduction to Romanticism” from A Guide to the Study of Literature: A Companion Text for Core Studies 6, Landmarks of Literature.
English Department, Brooklyn College, 18 Aug 2000. [http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/english/melani/cs6/rom.html]
Accessed 10 January 2006. “Yale Slavery and Abolition, Simeon Jocelyn.” [http://www.yaleslavery.org/Abolitionists/Jocelyn.htm]
Accessed 11 May 2006.