ADVANCING THROUGH COLLABORATION
As we put Sylvester Manor on the map, we are doing so with the help and cooperation of esteemed institutions and well-established non-profits.
New York University
Over 10,000 historic records from Sylvester Manor are being archived at Fales Library at New York University. The purpose of the Sylvester Manor Project, which was formed in 2000, was to preserve and inventory the family papers and related documents — an estimated 60 linear feet of letters, maps, wills, deeds, journals, inventories, bills of sale, court papers, and photographs which reveal the 300-year-old history of a northern plantation. Donors contributing to the $2 million archival project included the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Mr. Richard S. Brookhiser, The Double R Foundation, Gerry Charitable Trust, The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, The Moore Charitable Foundation, Inc., Reed Foundation Inc. and others. A public exhibit at the library titled “Sylvester Manor: Land, Food, and Power on a New York Plantation,” opened in 2013 to coincide with the release of a book on the manor’s history by archaeologist Kat Hayes. Guide to Sylvester Manor Archives
University of Massachusetts Boston
Starting in 1998, faculty and students from the University of Massachusetts Boston began an extensive program of excavation and analysis that continues to unfold. Excavations were carried out every summer between 1998 and 2005 with subsequent, more limited excavations carried out in 2006 and 2007. In 2007 a summary of the project’s results was published as a Special Issue of Northeast Historical Archaeology Volume 36. UMass archaeologists continue to study and catalog the artifacts excavated during the dig. The Fiske Center for Archaeological Research at UMass Boston The Archaeological Dig Project at Sylvester Manor
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook University's NYS Center for Clean Water Technology is partnering with Sylvester Manor on the monitoring, sampling and data analysis of the innovative wastewater treatment system. In the spring of 2011, Stony Brook University offered a Sustainability Studies course in integrative collaborative systems aimed at answering the question, “What is Sylvester Manor?” Students’ work ranged from developing a marketing plan to creating a field guide to the birds of Sylvester Manor. Future classroom and internship collaborations are being pursued. Also, history and archaeology professors from Stony Brook have been key players in the UMass archaeology and NYU archival projects.
The Town of Shelter Island and Suffolk County
Local governments are now vested in Sylvester Manor through their generous commitment to conserving over 80 acres of Manor farmland. In August 2012, Manor owner Eben Ostby donated a 26-acre field to the educational farm, followed by a second 57-acre donation in November. The town and county acted to preserve these acres by purchasing the rights to develop the land using community preservation funds, drinking water tax revenues and a federal Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program grant. Sylvester Manor Educational Farm is investing the proceeds from the development rights sale to support our long-term sustainability. http://www.shelterislandtown.us/
The Peconic Land Trust
The Peconic Land Trust has worked with the Sylvester Manor family since 2009. Established in 1983 to conserve Long Island’s working farms and natural lands, the nonprofit Trust has worked in concert with landowners, local government, partner organizations, and communities to conserve over 10,000 acres of land. On Shelter Island, the Peconic Land Trust has worked on 28 projects, including the farmland recently preserved at Sylvester Manor. In 2009, Mr. Ostby donated a gift of a conservation easement to the Peconic Land Trust, protecting another 22 acres of waterfront and upland woods on Sylvester Manor’s northern peninsula. With the Trust’s help, well over 100 acres of Sylvester Manor has been protected from development. http://www.peconiclandtrust.org/
Eastville Community Historical Society
Eastville Community Historical Society is partnering with Sylvester Manor to create innovative cultural programming, as well as promoting and preserving the Manor's living heritage. In the fall of 2012, Eastville’s executive director, Georgette Grier-Key, produced a collaborative public planning document to foster dialogue and research between the organizations entitled, "How Sweet It Is: Sugar, Shipping, and Wealth on Long Island" that was funded by Humanities New York. This cultural partnership has brought ground-breaking programming to the East End, including the Black History Month events: "How Is the Story Told? A Remembrance of East End African American Burying Grounds;" "From Slavery to Freedom: Four Centuries of African American History on Long Island;" "Traces of the Trade;" and "Scared Spaces Symposium, The Blues: Feel Like Going Home." eastvillecommunityhistoricalsociety.webs.com
Bartlett Tree Experts
Bartlett Tree Expert’s Southampton office has been working with Sylvester Manor since 2015 to help restore and revive the health of the Manor’s historic boxwoods. The original cuttings of these shrubs were brought from England by Grissell Brinley Sylvester in 1653 and are claimed to be the first boxwoods established in America. Within two short years under Bartlett's care, the luster of these historic plants has returned, the leaf miner insect infestation has been eradicated, and the overall vigor greatly improved. Bartlett has donated a comprehensive program, including root invigoration treatment with Biochar and an organic fertilization program using Bartlett’s signature all natural Bartlett Boost products.