The Soldier City of Suffolk County

Imagine a city rising from the fields of Suffolk County in the early 20th cenutry, a wooden metropolis covering almost 20,000 acres. It has its own post office, theater, library and fire department. The place could fit close to 40,000 people with room for 15,000 horses. Imagine that and you’ve got Camp Upton.

Suzanne Johnson and David Clemens.

Today our guests Suzanne Johnson and David Clemens discuss the history of Camp Upton, the vast military training camp in Brookhaven that served the US Army in World War I and II. We focus on their new book, Camp Upton, from Arcadia Press which features images of the life of the camp throughout 1917-18 and beyond. Many of the images are drawn from the Longwood Public Library where both Suzanne and David were directors.

You’ll hear about the 77th Division, the Harlem Hellfighters, Irving Berlin, and the amazing feat of raising an army to fight The War to End All Wars.

[UPDATE 2/11/18] Suzanne and Dave are out on tour with their book but checked in with two updates:

  • More research has shown that Camp Upton did not double Suffolk’s  population but it did increase it by 50%
  • They will both be at the Suffolk County Historical Society on March 10th for a symposium on “Long Island and the Great War.” More here.
Yip Yip Yaphank.
From The New York Public Library

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