The Manor: Three Centuries at a Slave Plantation on Long Island

Book by Mac Griswold

  • Published: Aug 18, 2020

Mac Griswold's 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 sinisterand of the family that has lived there since its founding as a... read more

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Details of The Manor: Three Centuries at a Slave Plantation on Long Island

Exact title of the book
The Manor: Three Centuries at a Slave Plantation on Long Island
Book author
Mac Griswold
ISBN
9781466837010
Publisher
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Published
Jul 02, 2013
Language
English
Format
PDF, FB2, EPUB, MOBI
Pages
480
File size (in PDF)
4320 kB

Some brief overview of book

Mac Griswold's 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 sinisterand of the family that has lived there since its founding as a Colonial New England slave plantation three and a half centuries ago. In 1984, the landscape historian Mac Griswold was rowing along a Long Island creek when she came upon a stately yellow house and a garden guarded by looming boxwoods. She instantly knew that boxwoods that largetwelve feet tall, fifteen feet widehad 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, New York, 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 that captures our history in all its richness and suffering.

It is a monumental achievement.

About author

Griswold is a cultural landscape historian and the author of Washington's Gardens at Mount Vernon and The Golden Age of American Gardens. She has won a Guggenheim Fellowship and has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Travel + Leisure. She lives in Sag Harbor, New York.

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