The Artists and Authors In Residence At Mastic

1840's -1950's

As a member of ASCAP (American Society Of Composers Authors and Publishers) I was naturally interested when I discovered as a sort of pleasent sidebar, that there were quite a few residents ( given the small population ) in the early days of Mastic engaged either professionally or semi professionally in the arts. (with a heavy emphasis on the literary field ) For more than a few years I have been wanting to do this section, but it has always seemed to have been sidetracked for one reason or the other.

Well on the eve of another trip back to Mastic to explore some more, I thought why not get this started? Most of the people I found out there in the earliest days pursuing artistic muses, were those who lived on the estates like Katherine Floyd Dana, a multi disciplined artist in both drawing and literary fields. I have quite a bit of her published work ( poetry and short stories) and have had a request in with the Floyd estate for some time now for copies of her drawings of early Mastic which I really like. Even those who came later like Henry Wysham Lanier or John Howard Lawson (both professionals) lived on estates. But prior to 1922 you either lived on an estate or worked on it.

In the coming months look for pages about the following people and hopefully a few more:

Aline Gorren : ( Mrs. E.R. Tolfree ) philosophy and social comment. Aline was an editor at Scribners & Century magazine at the end of the 19th century. Her most well known book published in 1902 was titled "Anglo Saxons & Others"

Henry W. Lanier : editor and author, Henry was the son of poet Sydney Lanier and the first person outside the Floyd and Robert families to own Pattersquash estate 1922-1926. His last book published in 1947 was about Greenwich Village.

John Howard Lawson : playwright and screenwriter Lawson is most remembered as one of the "Hollywood Ten". He was the second outside person to live at Pattersquash 1930- 1945

Katherine Floyd Dana : The great granddaughter of William Floyd , Katherine wrote under the pen name of Olive A. Wadsworth, which secretly meant Only A Woman. She is best known for her children stories and nursery rhymes like Over In The Meadow. She was also a fine artist / illustrator.

Leora Dana: Daughter of William Shepherd Dana, stage and screen actress 1950's - 1980's Films included 3:10 To Yuma, Some Came Running, Baby It's You.

Louise Forsslund: Although she was not a Mastic resident, the fact that this Sayville native wrote novels placed in the Mastic area and characters closely drawn on the residents, I feel she belongs in here. Her second novel "Ship Of Dreams" published in 1902 mixes and matches thinly disquised members of the aristocratic Tangier Smith family along with the area locals. I have heard it was so closely drawn that the last Smith heirs looked into a possible lawsuit. Forsslund aka Louise Foster lived for a time in the Brookhaven area of Squasoxx Landing and gathered the long told folk tales of the fisherman. She wound up spinning quite a yarn. The fact that she called the Manor Of St. George, "Pepperidge Hall" tells me she knew what she was doing.

But to kick this off may I present a lady from Mastic Beach. Nell Kay is the most obscure and different author of the above lot and I discovered her probably the same way the 1930 Census taker did by accident.

Someone, probably Willie Schluder who was enumerated just before her, told the census taker "There is a family living down on Locust Drive". (There are only about 12 families in Mastic Beach in the 1930 census) The Kays lived on Locust just south of Cedar Rd. and their property went through to Magnolia Dr.. I plan to see if the bungalow is still there in a few weeks.


AUGUST 14, 2004

Even Nell's property in Mastic Beach was not of the usual configuration. In October 1, 1928 she bought for $600.00 , a total of four 20 x 100 foot lots, but they were stacked back to back and ran from a 40 foot frontage on Locust Drive, 200 Feet deep through to Magnolia Dr. Her payments on the deed were backed by the "Lucius N. Littqeur Foundation" ??? Today her property sits empty yet mostly fenced off?

Magnolia Drive Side



I first became aware of the Kays in a short blurb published in the Center Moriches Record in 1928. There in the news of Mastic Beach that week was a line or two that said " Mastic Beach residents William and Nell Kay were about to have their first stories published".

When I got hold of the first census ever taken at Mastic Beach in April of 1930, there were The Kays ; William F., Nell and daughter Gloria on living on Locust Drive. It is also the only developed street named in a Mastic Beach census other than Mastic Road. Under occupation they both listed themselves as Authors. I have not been able to find anything other than this short story first published in 1928 in a pulp magazine called "Ghost Stories" and in Nell's name. It was reprinted in the 1960's in another pulp magazine called "Magazine Of Horror"

I have not been able to find anything on William F. Kay. Nell Kay is listed in the 1937 & 38 Mastic Beach Directories up until the 1950's. Her other address in the late '30's was Westbury, LI. In the 1960's we had a girl come into Floyd named Barbara Kay, who graduated in 1964. There may be a connection or may not. Attempts to contact Barbara for the 40th Reunion this month have been met with no response. So as I was saying without further adieu, here is in it's entirety perhaps the only surviving published work of Mastic Beach's




Her Drawings & Paintings