PHILADELPHIA — United for Libraries, in partnership with Empire State Center for the Book, designated the windmill at the Southampton campus of Stony Brook University of New York a Literary Landmark in honor of Tennessee Williams on Saturday, July 13.
The site was selected because playwright Williams spent the summer of 1957 living in the windmill and writing the experimental play “The Day on Which a Man Dies” in response to the death of his friend Jackson Pollock the summer before.
The Empire State Center for the Book nominated the site to be listed on the national register. “We are delighted that we can help spread the word that historic literary events often happen in our own backyards,” said Rocco Staino, director of the Center for the Book. “The east end of Long Island is a treasure trove of literary sites and the center will be working with local communities to assist in gaining national recognition.”
The ceremony was marked with a reading of the one-act play “At Stanley’s Place” by Frederic Tuten, a faculty member in the creative writing and literature program. The Stanley of the title is Stanley Kowalski from the Williams classic “A Streetcar Named Desire.” In addition, faculty member Roger Rosenblatt recalled for the audience Tennessee Williams’ time on the campus. Poet Grace Schulman spoke of Williams’ talent as a poet and concluded with the audience listening to recordings of Williams reading his own poems. In keeping with the theme, cherry soda, a symbolic element in “A Streetcar Named Desire” was served. Nick Mangano, chair of the school’s Theatre Arts program served as master of ceremonies for the event.
Following the dedication, actress and faculty member Mercedes Ruehl joined others in a group of readings titled “Tennessee: A Portrait, The Writings of Tennessee Williams.”
The windmill was the sixth Literary Landmark for Williams. Other landmarks include his homes in Key West, Fla., and New Orleans.
The Literary Landmark program is administered by United for Libraries. More than 130 Literary Landmarks across the United States have been dedicated since the program began in 1986. Any library or group may apply for a Literary Landmark through United for Libraries. More information is available on the United for Libraries website.
United for Libraries: The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations, is a division of the American Library Association that supports those who govern, promote, advocate, and fundraise for libraries. United for Libraries brings together library Trustees, advocates, friends, and foundations into a partnership that creates a powerful force for libraries in the 21st century. For more information or to join United for Libraries, visit the United for Libraries website or contact Jillian Kalonick at (312) 280-2161 or email@example.com.