2:00 pm - The Warner Sisters and Constitution Island
April 1 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Join us for a conversation about a bit of local women’s history with Hudson Valley historian and author Ronnie Clark Coffey.
About Constitution Island
Rugged in beauty and rich in history, Constitution Island lies at a picturesque bend of the Hudson River, opposite West Point and north of New York City. As the location of the first fortifications built to defend American independence, it was the anchor site of the great chain, which stretched across the Hudson to impede British passage. During the 19th century, it was the home of two extraordinary sisters, Susan and Anna Warner. Raised in wealth and comfort, they struggled with their father’s economic ruin during the panic of 1837. Accomplished and resourceful, they turned to writing for a living. Susan’s best-selling novel, The Wide, Wide World, made her a celebrity, while her sister Anna’s hymn, “Jesus Loves Me,” became known around the globe. In 1916, a devoted group of friends and admirers began a volunteer organization, the Constitution Island Association, to preserve the home, gardens, and memory of the Warner sisters and their historic island.
About Ronnie Clark Coffey
Ronnie Clark Coffey is a historian, writer, and educator. Originally from Paramus, New Jersey, she attended Ladycliff College in Highland Falls and fell in love with the Hudson Valley. She has been a docent at Constitution Island for over 30 years and served as its Executive Director from 1995-1999. Retired from a career as a teacher for the U. S. Department of Defense Schools, she was recently appointed Historian of the Town of Highlands, New York. She is the author of four books on local history one of which is Constitution Island.