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Stony Brook University

George Washington and the Culper Spy Ring

Research Materials about George Washington, the Culper Spy Ring, and the American Revolutionary War




Spies do exist in the archive! Visit SBU Libraries’ Special Collections during the 9th Annual Culper Spy Day to view an original 1779 letter from George Washington to Benjamin Tallmadge concerning the Culper Spy Ring.

Location and time: Stony Brook University, Melville Library Level 2, Special Collections
11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Free admission; Free parking in the Administration garage

Culper Spy Day is a celebration of the people and places involved in the history of the Culper Spy Ring during the American Revolution, and the organizations that preserve, document, and promote it.

For a complete list of all events from area organizations and institutions,

Culper Spy Day is presented by the Three Village Historical Society and Tri-Spy Tours.



Saturday, September 10, 2022 

Saturday, September 18, 2021 

2020 CULPER SPY DAY (virtual)
Visit many cultural organizations in a virtual format. 

  • Take a close look at the George Washington spy letters at Stony Brook University's Special Collections and Archives (lecture, website, and research guide)

  • Join Margo Arceri from Tri-Spy Tours live from the Village Green at 9 a.m.

  • Meet Big Bill the Tory live at the Sherwood-Jayne House

  • Take a Virtual Spies! Exhibit Tour with TVHS Historian Bev Tyler

  • Visit the famous Brewster House with Ward Melville Heritage Organization Education Director Deborah Boudreau

  • View a resource guide to everything Culper Spy Day courtesy of the Emma S. Clark Memorial Library

  • Watch a short film on Long Island's South Shore from the Ketcham Inn Foundation

  • Make your very own periscope with Gallery North

  • Read up on the Revolutionary War History from Caroline Church of Brookhaven

  • Look back at the festivities from our 2016 Culper Spy Day

  • Don't miss the 5 part virtual spy tour series with Bev Tyler

  • Find out who Agent 355 was from Bev Tyler

  • Listen to the story of Nancy's Magic Clothesline, written by Kate Wheeler Strong, told by Margo Arceri

Saturday, September 15, 2019
 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

As part of Culper Spy Day, Special Collections will have on view from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. its original Culper Spy Ring letters authored by George Washington. Read more and learn about purchasing tickets here

  • Learn about Anna Smith Strong.

  • Tour Caroline Church of Brookhaven & Setauket Presbyterian Church and historic cemeteries

  • Take part in an invisible Ink Demonstration and learn how the Culper Spies communicated with one another

  • Join children’s book author, Selene Castrovilla for a Book Signing

  • View the Vance Locke murals at Setauket Elementary School

  • Visit with a Miller Grinding Grain and a Blacksmith working with iron

  • Enjoy Live Colonial Music and have a taste of Colonial food from a live Hearth Cooking Demonstration

  • Enjoy a Spy Themed Breakfast at The Historic Three Village Inn 

  • Enjoy a Special Spy Themed Lunch at The Historic Country House Restaurant 

  • Visit with a Revolutionary War Encampment & view Battle Re-Enactments

  • Meet Benjamin Tallmadge, Abraham Woodhull, Robert Townsend, Anna Smith Strong and Big Bill the Tory

  • Visit the historic Brewster and Thompson Houses

  • View the Setauket and Stony Brook Grist Mills in action

  • Take a historic walking or bike tour

  • Visit the Historical Society Tavern on the Field for snacks or lunch

Saturday, September 15, 2018 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. A collaboration of more than 25 local institutions and organizations, an activity-filled day of community events will highlight the amazing history behind George Washington’s Culper Spy Ring. To purchase tickets and read about the events, please visit the website of the Three Village Historical SocietyA ticket is required to access the participating venues.

Special Collections will have on view its two George Washington letters from 11 am to 12 pm and 1pm to 2pm.

The Three Village area is full of hidden intrigue and stories of how America's first spy ring secretly came together to provide George Washington the information he needed to turn the tide of the American Revolution. On Culper Spy Day, you will have the chance to visit the places where history was made and visit with area groups to learn about the patriots who risked their lives. Culper Spy Day is collaboration of local historical and cultural organizations that host diverse events to tell the amazing history behind the Ring. Activities throughout the community included tours, battle reenactments, colonial cooking demonstrations, musical performances, crafts and more. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Special Collections Hosts Tours and More on Culper Spy Day.
More than 100 visitors experienced history first-hand in Special Collections on Saturday, September 16 for the third annual Culper Spy Day. Through guided tours, they learned about the spy ring and viewed SBU’s two original George Washington letters written during the American Revolution. 


Saturday, July 23, 2016 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Special Collections proudly participated in “Culper Spy Day: Our Revolutionary Story” on Saturday, July 23.
A collaboration of 17 local institutions and organizations, an activity-filled day of events from Oyster Bay to Port Jefferson highlighted the amazing history behind George Washington’s Culper Spy Ring.
Visitors from the New York metropolitan area, and from as far as Missouri, made the trip to Special Collections to view its two George Washington spy letters written in 1779 and 1780. Guests learned details about the content of the letters, background about how they were acquired, and their restoration by the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts in Philadelphia. Dozens of questions were fielded and answered throughout the day, and visitors shared their own research and ideas about the impact of the Culper Spy Ring during the American Revolution. Special Collections looks forward to participating at future Culper Spy Day events!