PUBLICATIONS

 
51WO9QNKItL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

THE MANOR: Three Centuries at a Slave Plantation on Long Island 
by Mac Griswold

THE MANOR is the biography of a uniquely American place that has endured through wars great and small, through fortunes won and lost, through histories bright and sinister — as well as the tale of the family that has
occupied it for three and a half centuries.

In 1984, the landscape historian Mac Griswold was rowing along a Long Island creek when she came upon a stately yellow country house and a garden guarded by hulking boxwoods. She instantly knew that boxwoods that large—twelve feet tall, fifteen feet wide—had to be hundreds of years old. So, as it happened, was the house; Sylvester Manor had been held in the same family for eleven generations.

Formerly encompassing all of Shelter Island, a pearl of 8,000 acres caught between the North and South forks of Long Island, the manor had dwindled to 243 acres. Still, its hidden vault proved to be full of revelations and treasures, including the 1666 charter for the land, and correspondence from Thomas Jefferson. Most notable was the short and steep flight of steps the family had called the “slave staircase,” which would provide clues to the extensive but little-known story of Northern slavery. Alongside a team of archaeologists, Griswold began a dig that would uncover a landscape bursting with stories.

Based on years of archival and field research, as well as voyages to Africa, the West Indies, and Europe,
THE MANOR is at once an investigation into forgotten lives and a sweeping drama which captures our history
in all its richness and suffering.

It is a monumental achievement.


510TPsHmHpL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

SLAVERY BEFORE RACE: Europeans, Africans, and Indians at Long Island’s Sylvester Manor Plantation 1651-1884 
by Katherine Howlett Hayes

The study of slavery in the Americas generally assumes a basic racial hierarchy: Africans or those of African descent are usually the slaves, and white people usually the slaveholders. In this unique interdisciplinary work of historical archaeology, anthropologist Katherine Hayes draws on years of fieldwork on Shelter Island’s Sylvester Manor to demonstrate how racial identity was constructed and lived before plantation slavery was racialized by the
legal codification of races.

Using the historic Sylvester Manor Plantation site turned archaeological dig as a case study, Hayes draws on artifacts and extensive archival material to present a rare picture of northern slavery on one of the North’s first plantations. The Manor was built in the mid-17th century by British settler Nathaniel Sylvester, whose family owned Shelter Island until the early 18th century and whose descendants still reside in the Manor House. There, as Hayes demonstrates, white settlers, enslaved Africans, and Native Americans worked side by side. While each group played distinct roles on the Manor and in the larger plantation economy of which Shelter Island was part, their close collaboration and cohabitation was essential for the Sylvester family’s economic and political power in the Atlantic Northeast. Through the lens of social memory and forgetting, this study addresses the significance of Sylvester Manor’s plantation history to American attitudes about diversity, Indian land politics, slavery and Jim Crow, in tension with idealized visions of white colonial community.