Log In   ·   Become A Member

"The Big Duck And Eastern Long Island's Duck Farming Industry" Book Will Have Readers Quacking With Pride

Author Susan Van Scoy in an exhibition featuring photographs from the book at St. Joseph's College, Patchogue. (Photo: Courtesy of Samantha Miller)

Dr. Susan Van Scoy, professor of Art History at St. Joseph's College, is releasing her first solo authored book, The Big Duck And Eastern Long Island's Duck Farming Industry, with the focus on the history of the beloved and iconic white Long Island duck structure that just about anyone on Long Island knows.

As the author of two prior texts on artists Jim Dine and Grant Wood, respectively, Dr. Van Scoy explained her interest in writing about this subject as simply, "I wrote this for a very specific audience, as there are no adult books regarding the history of the Big Duck - it has never been done before. I grew up on Long Island and that structure is directly linked to my childhood memories. I have three children of my own, but I wanted to focus on an adult book about the duck." The Big Duck - a duck-shaped building conceived by Martin Maurer in 1931 - was used to sell poultry and duck eggs, and inspired the term "duck" architecture.

Dr. Van Scoy continued, "My specialty is the history of photography and site specific art. The Big Duck has been moved and returned and you see so many people taking selfies with it but they have no idea of its integral history to our area and no history has been done since 1949 on duck farming. The historic photographic images and pictures were becoming more and more difficult to acquire as farms closed, farmers moved or passed away, and with the natural age and deterioration of existing photos. I did not write a comprehensive history of duck farming on Long Island, but included some salient information told through the photographs."

Duck farming was a huge industry on Long Island for many years, according to Dr. Van Scoy's research, "The first duck farm, Atlantic Duck Farm, opened on Long Island in Speonk in 1858; however, raising ducks did not take hold until the Pekin duck breed arrived from China in 1873. Due to Long Island's waterfront properties, temperate climate, and sandy soil, along with modernization of the farming industry, duck production grew rapidly, increasing from approximately 200,000 ducks per year in 1897 to two million ducks in 1922. By 1940, nearly 100 duck farms were concentrated mainly between Eastport and Riverhead." Unfortunately, there is now only one remaining duck farm on Long Island - Corwin's Crescent Duck Farm in Aquebogue.

The Big Duck and Eastern Long Island's Duck Farming Industry is being released by Arcadia Publishing on March 25.

The Flanders Village Historical Society and Friends of The Big Duck are hosting the first author talk and book signing for Dr. Van Scoy at the David W. Crohan Community Center (655 Flanders Road, Flanders) on Tuesday, April 2, at 7:30 p.m. Books will be available for purchase, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Friends of The Big Duck. Refreshments will also be served. The Big Duck and Eastern Long Island's Duck Farming Industry is also available at Arcadiapublishing.com.

Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.

Related Articles:

Be the first to comment on this article. (Just fill out the form below)

Submit Your Comment

Please note, you are not currently logged in. Your comment will be submitted as a guest.
To submit your comment as a member, please click here.
Your Name:
* Comments will be reviewed and posted in a timely fashion
* All fields are required
What color is the sky?
(For spam prevention, thanks)
Southrifty Drug 54 Jagger Lane, Southampton Village
Southrifty Drug is a small, neighborhood pharmacy with limited shelf space, and we have to be very selective about which over-the-counter items we carry. As a result you'll find a no nonsense concentration of very effective, high quality and useful products on our shelves. In this new section, we feature a number of these products that we feel are especially worthy of your consideration.

Aimee Fitzpatrick Martin, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Considered a West of the Shinnecock Canal expert with a 5-star Zillow ranking, Aimee specializes in the luxury and waterfront markets in Quogue, Westhampton Beach, Remsenburg, East Quogue and Hampton Bays. With exceptional communication skills and a buttoned-up approach to every deal, she is highly skilled in the art of the negotiation process. Understanding the nuances of buying and selling waterfront homes, especially on Dune Road, is a specialty.

Hamilton Hoge
As the owner’s representative our practice encompasses all aspects of a project from pre-purchase property due diligence, program development iterations, advisement on systems, analyze contracts/vendors, critical path analysis, feasibility and schedule. The strength of our approach is in facilitating organized communication. We strongly analyze all representations and warranties for the protection and benefit of our client.

The Citarella Standard. We’re passionate about sourcing and selling the world’s best seafood. When you order our fresh seafood online, what you receive always reflects the unrivaled standard of our markets. It’s hand-prepared, never frozen, and shipped overnight. 631-283-6600.