With this issue of the LIHJ, we expand our resources section by presenting “Isle of Beauty, Fare-Thee-Well,” the first of what will be occasional recordings linked to Long Island’s history. Stephen and Susan Sanfilippo are educators, researchers and performers of historic music. Susan served for many years as the Museum Education Coordinator for the Suffolk County Historical Society and Stephen taught United States History at Longwood High School and Long Island History at Suffolk Community College. “Isle of Beauty” arose out of Stephen’s research for his Ph.D. in History at Stony Brook University while working on his dissertation, “Whalemen’s Song: Lyrics and Masculinity in the Sag Harbor Whalefishery, 1840-1850.”
Stephen provides the following biographical information for Henry A. Harlow, the author of the words to the song:
“Henry A. Harlow was the younger brother of several whalemen. One of his older brothers, Daniel, was a whaleship captain. Daniel was killed when a whale stove his boat, and is among the men named on the “Broken Mast Monument” in Oakland Cemetery, Sag Harbor. Henry was eighteen when he wrote his lyrics, a green hand on a whaling voyage. After his return to Long Island he attended Princeton University, graduated with honors, was ordained a Presbyterian minister, and led a congregation in upstate New York. He died about 1900.”
The recording was made on Monday, March 8, 2010. Stephen Sanfilippo is the narrator and guitarist, and Stephen Sanfilippo and Susan Sanfilippo are the vocalists. The introductory reading and words to the song are taken from the whaling journal of Henry A. Harlow, which is in the Long Island Collection of the East Hampton Library, East Hampton, New York.
(The musical setting and arrangement are by Stephen Sanfilippo and Susan Sanfilippo, copyright 2009. The recording is copyright by Stephen Sanfilippo and Susan Sanfilippo, 2010, and may not be reproduced or otherwise used without their permission. For additional information, please contact email@example.com).