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Library Helps To Preserve A Part Of Massapequa’s Past

Tuesday, members of the Massapequa Women’s Club officially delivered precious relics of a bygone era to the Massapequa Public Library’s Bar Harbour branch- approximately 40 albums filled with vintage photographs, text, and newspaper articles dating from 1924 to 2000, all documenting the activities of the Massapequa Women’s Club.

Discovered purely by chance being stored in a forgotten old basement, Mary Kuhlkin, Historian of the Women’s Club, said that she knew such a surprisingly well-preserved piece of history needed to be presented for all to see.

“Someone died, and her son brought all of these photo albums to my house, knowing that I was the Historian of the Women’s Club,” she said. “When I saw them, I knew that they needed to be preserved for future generations so that we can teach children the history of Massapequa, which dates back to the 1600’s.”

Started back in 1924, the Massapequa Women’s Club is a social and philanthropic group serving the women both of Massapequa and its neighboring towns, according to Club President Dorothy Johnson.

“We have a membership of over 100, and we have relationships with other women’s clubs...we have luncheons and invite them,” she said. “We also do fundraising, and we get grants from the YES Community Counseling Center...we give out a few thousand dollars every month to various causes, including children and families in need.”

Kuhlkin said that the library was the natural choice for storage of the Women’s Club photo albums, as they had the resources to ensure their preservation.

“I was going to approach the Massapequa Historical Society, but they do not have proper heat and air-conditioning, nor do they have enough storage room,” she said. “I thought the Library could, to the best of their ability, control the environment so these pieces of history could be safe in the proper setting.”

Lee Gundel, Reference Librarian and Trustee of the Massapequa Historical Society, said the history contained in the photo albums donated by the Women’s Club were a perfect fit for Long Island Memories, a digitization program the library runs for local historical societies to preserve Long Island heritage online.

“What we’re going to do is take as much of this material as we can, scan it, and present it on our website for everyone to see,” he said. “I mean, we have stuff here from the 20’s...this is beautiful, and we have to make this available to everyone online. Plus, you can also visit our library and view these pictures and articles in person as well.”

Janis A. Schoen, Director of the Massapequa Public Library, said she was proud to be a part of maintaining a virtual gateway to Massapequa’s rich and bountiful past for the public to view.

“I am so happy that the library can house part of our history,” she said. “I’m also so happy that we can work with the Woman’s Club, the Massapequa Historical Society, and that we have such a wonderful asset as Lee Gundel that really helps keep this going and makes sure that we keep collecting all of these items for posterity.”

To find out more about Long Island Memories, visit the Massapequa Public Library’s website at www.massapequalibrary.org.