The surrey was a popular style of American family carriage that first appeared in the last quarter of the 19th century. The first surreys had two seats for four persons, on a carriage with a straight sill. Some had a folding or a standard top, as in this version, and the suspension was usually of American type, with a reach and two or three springs. Like most surreys, this carriage can be fitted with shafts for a single, or with a drop-pole for a pair.
The surrey was purchased from Mr. Ward Melville of Stony Brook, Long Island, the founder of the Museums at Stony Brook. It had been restored by George Isles, the first curator at the Museums. The names of former owners are not known.