The East-Enders

“No place has such natural attractions; no place such beautiful rivers; no place has such pure, invigorating air; no place better water; and I am certain there is no place better adapted to men of means,” reported the East Hampton Star in the 1890s. The turn of the century brought about the greatest change on the East End—with a swank New York crowd coming to the island for the first time. The “life of quietness and peace,” as the Star described it, was set to change. These newcomers became known as “summer colonists.” By the 1930s, East Hampton and Southampton were in full swish mode with fashionable families spending their summers in these charming villages by the sea.

Peter Sullivan, Suzanne Mitchell, Anne Ford, and Chandler Hovey at the Tennis Ball at the Meadow Club (Bert Morgan/Courtesy of the Southampton Historical Society)

Photographer Bert Morgan (1904-1986) began his career syndicating photographs for the Chicago Tribune and the New York Daily News. By 1930, he was chronicling high society in The Social Spectator, Vanity Fair, and Town & Country. Promising never to publish an unflattering picture, Morgan became the photographer of choice and gained unique access to a rarified post-Gilded Age world, which he would continue to photograph through the 1980s. During the 1950s, he could be found daily during the summer months in Southampton—cataloguing
the comings and goings of the social set.