Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy 216th Birthday William Cullen Bryant

Saturday, Oct. 30: Friends of Cedarmere, a group incorporated this year, reports progress in partnering with Nassau County to reopen Cedarmere, a county-owned historic site and nature preserve. The group also hopes to restore the legacy of William Cullen Bryant (1794 to 1878), a poet, founder of the Republican Party, confidant of Abraham Lincoln, and editor of New York City's Evening Post for 50 years.

Cedarmere, Bryant's home on Hempstead Harbor in Roslyn Harbor, was the "it" place for the 19th century's most distinguished authors, artists, architects, and landscape designers. The Bryant Library in Roslyn and Bryant Park adjacent to the New York Public Library in Manhattan are named for the 19th century man of letters. A statue of Bryant, installed in 1911 shortly after the New York Public Library was completed, still graces the park. Many people will remember memorizing Thanatopsis, or Meditations on Death, Bryant's most famous poem, in high school—an activity that is still frequently included in the high school curriculum.

If the Friends effort is unsuccessful, Cedarmere could conceivably be sold and developed at some point in the future, and many aspects of Bryant's historic significance could slip into oblivion. The group recently met to discuss developments and plans for the future. The event included a celebration of Bryant's 216th birthday, complete with an appearance and a reading by the man himself, played by Frank Hendricks of Glen Cove, shown above cutting his birthday cake.

1 comment:

Friends of Cedarmere said...

Thanks for the coverage! Just to clarify,though, while the bequest which left Cedarmere to Nassau County does have a revision clause, which could theoretically lead to the property being developed, The Friends do not see this as a real possibility. Our immediate concern is keeping Cedarmere open to the public as a museum, recreational facility and memorial to William Cullen Bryant.