The Town of Huntington dedicated its Jo-Ann Raia Records Center and Archives on Wednesday, honoring the long-serving town clerk who established the center in 1982.
A constellation of Long Island officials, librarians, historians and others gathered for the ceremony to salute the much-honored clerk who retired in 2019. She served for 38 years as the town’s 38th clerk. She was succeeded in the job by her son, Andrew Raia, in January 2020.
“It is fair to say that her painstaking attention to detail and commitment have helped in the preservation of our town’s history,” Andrew Raia said. Her work to computerize records and preserve them “brought Huntington’s history into the 21st Century.”
The records date back to the town’s founding in 1653 and the center holds about 7,000 boxes of inactive Town records.
The Archives was established in 1993, by Jo-Ann Raia, and houses a total of 1,295.50 linear feet of permanent records. The manuscript collection consists of over 300 volumes and 45 linear feet of material dating back to 1653, the date the Town was founded. The collection includes Indian deeds and patents, chattel mortgages, thatch and underwater leases, highway, town accounts, assessment and tax records, documents pertaining to the Revolutionary Era and the Civil War, court records dealing with all aspects of life, vital statistics, records regarding elections, schools, the abolition of slavery, the poor, and town trustees. The mission of the repository is to identify, collect, preserve and organize resources essential to the Town’s legal, fiscal, administrative and historical needs.
The Archives are available to scholars, students, filmmakers, reporters, elected officials, business
people and the community. It conducts research, issues publications, prepares exhibits and presentations, hosts tours and activities and participates in local history events.
Among the people attending were: Supervisor Chad Lupinacci, Deputy Supervisor Ed Smyth, Town Council member Joan Cergol, who sponsored the resolution to name the archives for Raia, and Town Council member Mark Cuthbertson, Highway Superintendent Kevin Orelli, South Huntington school superintendent Dr. David Bennardo, Assemblyman Keith Brown, Deborah Harris, representing Assemblyman Steve Stern, Suffolk County Clerk Judy Pascale, Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine, former State Sen. Carl Marcellino, town historian Robert Hughes, Cynthia Shor, executive director of the Walt Whitman Birthplace, and representatives of several local libraries.
The Jo-Ann Raia Records Management Program is a division of the Town Clerk’s Department at Town Hall.