2012-04-18 / Front Page

Seyfried Belongs To The Ages


Vincent F. Seyfried was 93 and the most prolific historian of Queens. 
Gazette Photo Vincent F. Seyfried was 93 and the most prolific historian of Queens. Gazette Photo He was the king of Queens historians.

His books, papers, essays and research reflected a lifetime of dedication, sacrifice and passion to preserve every aspect of the borough’s saga from its first settlers in 1635 through the 20th century.

Vincent F. Seyfried died on Saturday, April 14 just four days before his 94th birthday while living in a nursing home in Nassau County.

Seyfried, a former history teacher at Martin Van Buren H.S. in Queens Village, was the most prolific writer on the history of trolleys that operated in Queens and the Long Island Rail Road with more than 30 books published during a 60 year period.

His magnum opus, the seven-volume The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History, was published during a period of more than two decades and stands alone as the most celebrated historical record ever done on a railroad.

“He was the dean of the Queens County historians,” said Executive Director of the Greater Astoria Historical Society Bob Singleton. “The GAHS honored Seyfried with the Vincent F. Seyfried Research Center dedicated to furthering the high standards of Queens research that he established.”

He was also made honorary mayor of Long Island City.

The historian made his debut in 1949 with History of the Trolley Lines of Long Island and Manhattan From Horse Car Days to Motorization. In 1950 he published the bestselling The New York and Queens County Railway and Steinway Lines. Other titles include The Founding of Garden City (1969), Arverne (1986), Corona: From Farmland to City- Suburb (1986), The Story of Woodhaven and Ozone Park (1986), 300 Years of Long Island City: 1630-1930 (1986), Elmhurst: From Town Seat to Mega-Suburb (1995), Flushing in the Civil War Era 1837-1865 (2001) and Old Queens New York in Early Photographs (1991) and Old Rockaway New York in Early Photographs (1999), both co-authored with fellow historian William Asadorian.

Seyfried also compiled numerous index and research guides for the Archives at the Queens Library in Jamaica. He even created a multi-volume index for every issue of the Flushing Journal newspaper from 1840 until 1880.

In 2010, Seyfried released his final work, North Beach! Vanished Pleasureland of Queens.

“It’s the biggest loss we’ve had of the historians of Queens,” said Queens County Farm Museum President James Trent. “He was the most prolific author of Long Island Rail Road history and truly the likes of him will never be seen again.”

Seyfried was a widower and had no children. His funeral will be held on April 19 at 10 a.m. at Saint Joseph’s in Garden City.

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