Tag Archives: New Jersey

Ignoring New York’s 350th Birthday


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Articles about the Transfer of New Netherland on the 27th of August, Old Style, Anno 1664One of the news items in a recent summary of “This Week’s Top New York History News” here at The New York History Blog had a link to an article from the Albany Times Union (reprinted from the New York Times), entitled “New York Won’t Celebrate 350th Birthday.” The article noted that neither the city nor the state was commemorating the takeover of New Netherland by the British in August, 1664.

The writer suggested that “a dispassion for the past” among the public was a basic explanation. Continue reading

New York Times Op-Ed: The Threat to the Palisades


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Palisades LG“The building can be redesigned. The Palisades and the Hudson River cannot.”

This simple statement closed an op-ed by four former New Jersey governors in the New York Times last week. In the piece, the governors — two Democrats and two Republicans — write about the threat LG’s proposed tower in Englewood Cliffs would pose to the Palisades, and they highlight a win-win solution: Continue reading

Battle of Trenton: George Washington’s Surprise Attack


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George Washington Battle of Trenton BookLike many historical events, the American Revolution is often shrouded in romantic myth and stubborn stereotypes. Perhaps no event offers a better example than General George Washington’s famous crossing of icy Delaware River on Christmas night to lead the Continental Army’s defeat of the Hessians at Trenton, New Jersey, an event which revived the flickering morale American revolutionaries.

In George Washington’s Surprise Attack: A New Look at the Battle That Decided the Fate of America (Skyhorse Publishing, 2014), Phillip Thomas Tucker attempts to parse fiction from fact. He provides an in-depth look (more than 600 pages, with notes) at the events of the Battle of Trenton, presenting new insights and analysis about a battle that holds a mythical place in American national history. Continue reading

New Book: Greater New York American Indian Place Names


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Manhattan to MinisinkDrivers exiting the New Jersey Turnpike for Perth Amboy, and map readers marveling at all the places in Pennsylvania named Lackawanna, need no longer wonder how these names originated.

Manhattan to Minisink: American Place Names in Greater New York and Vicinity (University of Oklahoma Press, 2013) provides the histories of more than five hundred place names in the Greater New York area, including the five boroughs, western Long Island, the New York counties north of the city, and parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. Robert S. Grumet, a leading ethnohistorian specializing in the region’s Indian peoples, draws on his meticulous research and deep knowledge to determine the origins of Native, and Native-sounding, place names. Continue reading

New Book: Thomas Edison and the Rise of Innovation


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EdisonCoverThomas Alva Edison, one of the leading innovators of all time comes alive like never before in Edison and the Rise of Innovation (Sterling, 2013) by Leonard DeGraaf.  Perhaps America’s first business celebrity, Edison was more than history’s most prolific inventor.

Edison pursued more than a thousand patents by combining scientific knowledge, well-equipped laboratories, talented collaborators, investment capital and a bit of showmanship, according to DeGraaf, who argues that in the process Edison changed the way we innovate new technologies. Continue reading

Judge OKs Tower Over Hudson River Palisades


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SavePalisades1In a lawsuit filed by two public interest groups and four individuals, Judge Alexander Carver of the New Jersey Superior Court yesterday upheld the grant of a variance to LG Electronics that would allow it to construct a 143-foot tower atop the Hudson River Palisades, four times higher than the 35-foot height limit respected for decades by all other companies.

The variance, approved by the Borough of Englewood Cliffs in February 2012, authorizes construction of a building that would rise 80 feet above the tree line, ending an unbroken natural sweep of the Palisades north of Fort Lee. Despite this, the court ruled that the Englewood Cliffs Planning Board had not abused its authority in granting the variance that exempted the LG tower. Continue reading

The Social Fabric: To Knit or Not to Knit?


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1885 Delaware River WatershedsThe Delaware Company’s president John Conway (Sullivan County Historian), invited me to speak at the newly formed nonprofit’s inaugural fundraising gala this week at the historic Ardmore Mansion/Mountain View Manor, in Glen Spey, the day after the NYSHA annual conference in Cooperstown ended.

The mission of The Delaware Company is to promote and support the history and historic landmarks of the Upper Delaware River Valley through education, outreach, and fundraising. Also speaking were U.S. Representative Chris Gibson and NYS Legislator Aileen Gunther. The audience consisted of various county and local officials, municipal historians, historic organizations, and at least one teacher, a true sampling of the history community in the region. Continue reading

CFP: 17th Century Identity and the Middle Colonies


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New-France_2_6_Map-of-New-Belgium-or-New-NetherlandPaper and panel proposals are invited for a conference on “From Conquest to Identity: New Jersey and the Middle Colonies in the Seventeenth Century,” to be co-sponsored by the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, the New Jersey
Historical Commission, and Kean University and to be held in Trenton, New Jersey, on March 27–29, 2014.

Confirmed participants include Charles Gehring, Evan Haefeli, Ned C. Landsman, Robert C. Ritchie, and the members of the program committee: Wayne Bodle, Stanley N. Katz, Christian Koot, Maxine N. Lurie, Jonathan Mercantini, Daniel K. Richter, and Cynthia Van Zandt. Continue reading

Peter Feinman On New York’s ‘Ruin Porn’


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Ruin porn is in. Ruin porn is hot. Ruin porn is sexy. Ruin porn is the term coined by Jim Griffioen, who writes a blog about his life as a stay-at-home dad in Detroit.

As part of that effort he periodically posts photographs he has taken of the more than 70,000 abandoned buildings in his city. Such images included (as reported in the New York Times) “‘feral’ houses almost completely overgrown with vegetation; a decommissioned public-school book depository in which trees were growing out of the piles of rotting textbooks”. The term has become a familiar one in the city not without some misgivings by the locals as they watch tourists take souvenirs of their city back home. Continue reading

New ‘Crossing the Delaware’ on Display Amid Debate


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The New-York Historical Society is displaying Mort Künstler’s “Washington’s Crossing at McKonkey’s Ferry” until January 17, 2012. Emanuel Leutze’s 1851 painting “Washington Crossing the Delaware” commemorates General George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River on December 25 in 1776 during the American Revolutionary War. His original painting is part of the permanent collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Mort Künstler, a New York artist known for his historical paintings, has created what he considers a more historically accurate version of Washington crossing the Delaware River. The painting was unveiled at the New-York Historical Society on Monday, December 26, the date in 1776 that Washington led his troops into battle in Trenton after crossing the Delaware.

David Hackett Fischer, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book Washington’s Crossing, and featured speaker at the unveiling, says Künstler’s version is “quite accurate” and “got more right than any other image.”

The original painting shows the Betsy Ross flag flying, however that flag was not adopted until 1777; Mr. Künstler’s version has no flag. The original painting depicts the action taking place in the middle of the day, though the actual crossing took place during a stormy night. Based on historical research, the new painting shows Washington and company in a flat-bottomed ferry boat rather than on a row boat.

On that last detail however, there has been some debate. Rick Spilman, writing in the Old Salt Blog, noted:

“The problem is that most historians think that the American crossing of the Delaware used Durham boats, large flat-bottomed boats which hauled cargo such as ore, pig-iron, timber, and produce from upcountry mines, forests and farms down the Delaware River to Philadelphia’s thriving markets and port. Robert Durham, an engineer at the Durham Iron Works in Reiglesville, Pennsylvania, reputedly designed a prototype for these large cargo boats as early as 1757. Washington wrote to Governor Livingston of New Jersey, directing him to secure “Boats and Craft, all along the Delaware side…particularly the Durham Boats” for his anticipated crossing.”

In any event, you’ll have just one day to compare the two paintings first hand. The newly restored Luetze painting will be unveiled in a new frame in the New American Wing Galleries for Paintings, Sculpture and Decorative Arts at the Metropolitan Museum on January 16, the day before the new Künstler painting comes down at the New-York Historical Society.

Illustrations: Above, Mort Künstler’s “Washington’s Crossing at McKonkey’s Ferry”; below, Emanuel Leutze’s 1851 “Washington Crossing the Delaware”.

House Votes to Return Tripoli Vets Bodies


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Last week the United States House of Representatives passed a bill including an amendment authored by U.S. Reps. Mike Rogers, (R-MI), and Frank LoBiondo, (R-NJ), that would require the Department of Defense to repatriate the remains of 13 US Navy commandos buried in two mass graves in Tripoli, Libya since 1804.

The amendment – which would repatriate, identify and honor the sailors with a military funeral – was attached to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). After passing the full House, the NDAA now heads to the US Senate for consideration.

“My father, my father’s father, and his father’s father have wanted the remains of Master Commandant Richard Somers returned home, and we’ve worked for it since he and the men of the USS Intrepid were lost in Libya in 1804,” said Dean Somers of Somers Point, New Jersey. “This is long, long overdue, and it wasn’t until we met recently with Rep. Frank Lobiondo and Chairman Rogers when we thought it was finally possible.”

Somers and his crew were lost on an ill-fated mission to destroy Tripoli’s naval fleet during the Barbary Wars of the early 19th century. When their bodies of America’s first Navy commandos washed up on the beach in Tripoli, the bashaw – the king of the pirates – invited a pack of dogs to devour them as American prisoners of war looked on. The 13 remain buried today jumbled together in two Libyan graves. One of those graves is unmarked and underfoot on Green Square, the site of decades of anti-America rallies.

On September 4th 1804, Somers was in command of fire ship Intrepid which had been recently seized from its Tripolean crew, was prepared as a “floating volcano” and readied to be sailed into Tripoli harbor and blown up in the midst of the enemy fleet under the walls of the city. She exploded prematurely, while entering the harbor killing Somers and his entire crew of volunteers.

Since 1804, there have been six ships of the US Navy that have been named USS Somers in his honor. In 2004, the state assembly in New Jersey passed two resolutions calling for the return of the sailor’s remains. The town of Somers, New York, located in Westchester County is named in his honor.

The City of Somers Point, named after the Master Commandant’s family and still their residence, has worked on repatriation for decades. Additionally, the descendants of American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wish for the return of the remains of his uncle, Lt. Henry Wadsworth, who served as second in command on the fire ship Intrepid when it was lost during the Barbary Wars. Born shortly after the failed mission, the legendary poet was named after his heroic uncle.

Illustration: Engraving, “Blowing Up of the Fire Ship Intrepid commanded by Capt. Somers in the Harbour of Tripoli on the night of 4th Sepr. 1804.”

The Jersey Greys in New York Event


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Fort Montgomery State Historic Site (690 Route 9W, Fort Montgomery, NY) will be offering an evening lecture, “The 3rd New Jersey in New York: Stories from “The Jersey Greys” of 1776″ on Thursday, December 2nd at 7 PM.

Speaker Philip D. Weaver will utilize correspondence, company account books, and period diaries to acquaint you with one of the best equipped, most interesting, and dysfunctional regiments in the early Continental Army, the 3rd New Jersey of 1776. Attendees will be given a quick introduction to the organization and the personalities, followed by a discussion of their New York campaign. Weaver will focus on a number of stories and anecdotes. The program will also include information on their garrisoning of Fort Stanwix and their subsequent relocation to “the old French Barracks” at Fort Ticonderoga.

This lecture is FREE and open to all. For more information or directions, call (845) 446-2134.

Image: Charles Wilson Peale portrait of then Captain Joseph Bloomfield of the 3rd New Jersey.

Thanksgiving Time at Mrs. Kearney’s Tavern


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There will be 19th-century-style after-the-holiday open house programs at the historic Kearney House at Alpine Boat Basin & Picnic Area (Palisades Interstate Park Exit 2, then follow Alpine Approach Road to river) on Saturday & Sunday afternoons, November 27 & 28, from 1 to 3 PM. The programs will feature hot mulled cider and light food, period music with Mr. Thaddeus MacGregor, and fun and games for children. The programs, to be held rain or shine, are open to all with no reservations required; visitors are welcome to stay for as long as they like during the open hours. A donation box will be by the door. Suggestion: $3 adults, $1 children.

Listed on the National and New Jersey State Historic Registers as the “Blackledge-Kearney House”—but familiarly known as the “Kearney House” or the “Cornwallis Headquarters” (it was once thought that the British general had stayed here in 1776)—this house has been a Hudson River homestead, a riverfront tavern, a Park police station, and a “historic shrine.” Today it helps bring to life two centuries in the story of the Hudson River and the families who depended upon it for their lives and livelihoods.

For more information: 201 768-1360 ext. 108.

CFP: Staten Island, Am. History, 21st Cent. Education


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A Call for Papers has been issued for a conference entitled Staten Island, New York in American History and 21st Century Education, to be held at the College of Staten Island (City University of New York) on March 19-20, 2011.

An understanding of the role of place and the attachment to community in America has never been more critical than in our rapidly changing global environment. This conference seeks to explore major turning points and issues in American history as experienced by the residents of Staten Island past and present. Located at the entrance to New York harbor, Staten Island is one of the five boroughs that comprise New York City.

Since 1661, Staten Island has been the home of settlers and migrants from around the globe. Staten Island’s cultural diversity and its regional and global interconnections are reflected in its institutions, cuisine, art and architecture, businesses, social movements, recreational tourism, transportation heritage, and in the service of its military veterans. The organizers’ goal is to rethink the significance of Staten Island and its important historic sites, as part of New York City, the region, the nation, and the world through the interdisciplinary lenses of history and Place-based
Education.

In celebration of Staten Island’s 350th Anniversary in 2011, the organizers invite
innovative proposals from scholars, curators, teachers and public historians related to community history and education. Proposals must be relevant to and illustrate the conference theme, including but not limited to the following topics:

*History of ethnicity and immigration
*History of race, gender, sexual orientation, and disabilities
*Staten Island in the transatlantic world, e.g. Huguenot refugees, the Loyalist Diaspora, the Free Trade Zone
*Staten Island in the history of New York City, e.g. Civil War Draft Riots, Consolidation, 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Fire
*History of the arts, architecture, health, business, military, sports, transportation, religion, food and drink, education, childhood, or of the environment
*Geography, politics, and economics in the study of local history
*The historical interconnectedness of Staten Island to the New York/New Jersey region
*The role of the museum in public history and preservation
*Pedagogy, including Place-based Education, civic engagement and community-based research
*Memory and oral history

Proposals for complete panels and/or individual papers for this peer-reviewed conference are welcome. Proposals for panels must include the following: 1) a cover sheet with the panel title, paper titles, and the name, address, affiliation, and email addresses of the chair/commentator and of the panelists; 2) a 350-word abstract of the panel as a whole; and 3) a 350-word abstract for each paper included on the panel. Individual paper proposals for twenty-minute papers should include the following: 1) a cover sheet with the paper’s title, and the name, address, affiliation,
and email address of the participant and 2) a 350-word abstract of the paper.

All materials should be e-mailed to Dr. Phillip Papas, Associate Professor of History and co-chair of the SI 350 Academic Conference/Education Symposium at papas@ucc.edu. Proposals for panels and/or individual papers must be received no later than October 15, 2010. Successful applicants will be required to send a completed paper no later than February 7, 2011. E-mail Dr. Margaret Berci, Associate Professor of Education and co- chair of the SI 350 Academic Conference/Education Symposium at berci@mail.csi.cuny.edu with questions.

For more information and resources please refer to their website at www.si350.org.

The event is co-sponsored with Wagner College, St. John’s University and SI350, Inc, with major support from the Staten Island Foundation.

Harriman Family Palisades Founders Award Recipient


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On June 3, 2010, the Palisades Parks Conservancy hosted their eighth annual dinner along the Hudson River shoreline at the Ross Dock Section of the Palisades Interstate Park, Fort Lee, NJ. The dinner was well attended with over 250 guests.

The Conservancy’s Board of Directors recognized 100 years of service and dedication by the Harriman Family. Elbridge Gerry Jr. accepted the Palisades Founders Award on behalf of more than sixty family members. A former Harriman camper, NY State Senator Jose M. Serrano, chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism, and Parks and Recreation, was the keynote speaker. In addition, Samuel F. Pryor III, PIPC President and Carol Ash, Commissioner of the NYS Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation shared remarks.

A century ago, railroad executive Edward Henry (E.H.) and Mary Williamson Averell Harriman joined other Gilded Age families to reclaim our nation’s scenic and cultural treasures. Since then, the Harrimans have been at the forefront of every Palisades Interstate Park initiative. From the conservation of land and creation of parks, lakes, and beaches, to their unwavering support for nature education and relief camps, their dedication to the preservation of our traditions and environment serves as a model for us all.

After railroad magnate E.H. Harriman’s sudden death, his wife Mary carried on his vision to establish a grand park. Their gift of ten thousand acres and one million dollars safeguarded the scenic beauty of present-day Bear Mountain and the park that bears the family name. At the 1910 dedication ceremony, Mary and E.H.’s son, William Averell, presented the deed of land to the PIPC and thus started more than a century of family service on behalf of these 28 parks and historic sites.

W. Averell Harriman, the longest serving Palisades Commissioner, played an important role in the advancement of the Interstate Park. Always viewing himself as a volunteer to the PIPC and champion of nature, Harriman valued his service during his fifty-three year tenure (1915-1954, 1959-1973). To ensure access for all, Averell, with his brother Roland, himself a Commissioner for four years (1955-1958) contributed to the creation of transportation networks throughout the Palisades enabling millions the ability to easily travel deep into the wilderness and to connect with nature and our history via railroads, bridges, trails, and scenic byways.

In collaboration with the PIPC, Mary Harriman, who persistently encouraged education, suggested the creation of relief camps to aid underprivileged and homeless children and teach them about the power of nature. The family’s charitable foundations continue to assist today’s 32 camps allowing thousands of children the opportunity to learn lifelong skills each summer. Carrying on her grandmother’s legacy, Mary Harriman Fisk, a Commissioner from 1974-1996, sponsored the Tiorati Workshop for Environmental Learning, a program that trains NYC’s public schools to teach inner-city students the wonders of nature.

Photo: Edward Henry Harriman in his office 1899.

Communipaw Story Marathon in Jersey City


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A Communipaw Story Marathon will be presented tomorrow, Friday, June 4, as part of Jersey City’s quarterly arts and culture festival, JC Fridays. There will be dramatic readings by professional actors of several short stories by Washington Irving, including three set in Communipaw, from his 1855 collection, Wolfert’s Roost And Miscellanies.

Also included will be an excerpt from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Trish Szmanski will be reading A Tale of Communipaw / Guests from Gibbet Island, the story on which she is adapting a script for theater. According to Trish “The play is coming along well, not done, but close to final in form. Lots of new characters, dialogue, drama, four acts – exciting!”

Communipaw is the historic European place of origin for Jersey City begun in 1634 when one of the first “bouweries”, or farnmsteads, in New Netherland was built there. The homestead was part of Pavonia, a patroonship of Amsterdam businessman Micheal Pauw. Plantations, worked by enslaved Africans, were located there. The Tappan and Wecquaesgeek took refuge there in 1643 before being attacked by the Dutch in the Pavonia Massacre, which led in part to Kieft’s War.

The village of Communipaw was originally part of the Dutch West India Company holdings. After the British takeover it became part of the Province of New Jersey although it retained its Dutch character for hundreds of years. Washington Irving visited the area often and referred to Communipaw as the stronghold of traditional Dutch culture.

Illustration: Joan Vinckeboons (Johannes Vingboon), “Manatvs gelegen op de Noot [sic] Riuier”, 1639. “Manhattan situated on the North Rivier” with numbered key showing settlements at Communipaw.

Call for Papers: New Jersey Forum


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The New Jersey Historical Commission, the NJ State Archives, and the NJ State Museum invite proposals for research papers to be delivered at the New Jersey Forum, to be held on Saturday, November 20, 2010. Held every other year, the New Jersey Forum provides an opportunity for college and university faculty, teachers, graduate students, independent scholars, museum professionals, historical society members, and all others with an interest in New Jersey studies to present new research to their peers.

This interdisciplinary conference defines New Jersey studies broadly, covering not only traditional state history, but also archaeology, geography, fine and decorative arts, material culture, the humanities, literature, ethnic studies, the history of science and technology, labor and industry, public policy, religious history, and popular culture—all with special emphasis on new scholars and scholarship.

If you would like to present a research paper at the Forum, email a proposal to the following address: peter.mickulas@sos.state.nj.us

This proposal must include:

1) the title of the paper

2) contact information (address, telephone, e-mail)

3) a one-paragraph bio

4) an abstract of no more than 500 words

5) any audio-visual requirements for presenting your paper

You can also suggest a panel with two papers. Please include the information requested above for each proposed panelist. All information must be provided by e-mail. The deadline for receipt of proposals is December 15, 2009. All proposals will be referred to an advisory committee, which will select the papers to be presented at the Forum. Notifications of acceptance will be sent in February 2010.

Accepted papers may be considered for publication in the Commission-sponsored journal, New Jersey History.

The New Jersey Forum is sponsored by the three history-related agencies of the New Jersey Department of State: the Historical Commission, the State Archives, and the State Museum.

For more information contact Peter Mickulas at the above email address.

‘New Jersey History’ Journal Resurrected After 4 Years


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The journal New Jersey History, founded as the Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society in 1845 and published under the direction of the Society until 2005, has been re-launched under the editorial direction of historians at the New Jersey Historical Commission, Kean University, and the Society. This peer-reviewed journal will be published online twice a year by the Rutgers University Libraries.

Peter Mickulas, editor of New Jersey History, has written New York History to say that the renewal of the Garden State’s premiere historical journal should be of interest to historians of New York as well. “We’re likely to publish (and recruit) items of interest to New York historians and historians of New Netherlands in particular,” he told me in an e-mail, “As the editor, I’m going construe “regional” topics broadly.”

The editorial staff invites scholars, students, and writers to submit scholarly articles aimed at a non-specialized audience for its forthcoming issues. They welcome essays from all disciplines – for example, law, literature, political science, anthropology, archaeology, material culture, cultural studies, and social and political history – bearing on any aspects of New Jersey’s history.

They are also interested in documents, photographs, and other primary source material that could be published with annotations.

The Fall 2009 issue, Volume 124, number 1, is now available online. This issue, the first published in four years, includes the following essays:

* Lucia McMahon, William Paterson University, “‘A More Accurate and Extensive Education than is Customary’: Educational Opportunities for Women in Early Nineteenth-Century New Jersey”

* Matthew T. Raffety, University of Redlands, “Political Ethics and Public Style in the Early Career of Jersey City’s Frank Hague”

* Richard W. Hunter, Nadine Sergejeff and Damon Tvaryanas, “On The Eagle’s Wings: Textiles, Trenton, and a First Taste of the Industrial Revolution”

* Michael Kazin, Georgetown University, “The Arc of Liberalism and the Career of Harrison ‘Pete’ Williams”

The issue also presents a new historic “Survey of the Canals and Water Raceways of New Jersey” by the New Jersey Geological Survey and reviews of new and notable scholarship on the history of the state.

NJH is also supported by the New Jersey Digital Highway, which will provide an additional access point for the journal from its website, and will preserve the digital version of the journal via the RUcore preservation platform. Rutgers University Press will help market the new journal, enabling it to reach the broadest possible audience.

For further details email peter.mickulas[AT]sos.state.nj.us or visit the journal homepage.

Thomas Edison Home, Laboratory Complex Reopens


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The National Park Service is welcoming visitors to the new newly renovated Edison Laboratory Complex at the Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange, New Jersey. According to the site’s Superintendent Greg Marshall, “The original music recording studio, Thomas Edison’s private laboratory, and a photography studio will be open to the public for the first time in the history of the site.”

The renovation was a complex project to preserve the historic buildings and the artifact and archival collections at the Laboratory Complex and Glenmont Estate. The original historic furnishings and documents were beginning to deteriorate because of lack of adequate heating and cooling systems. They were at risk of loss or damage from fire because of old, outdated alarm and sprinkler systems. The vast majority of the artifact collection was inaccessible to visitors and researchers while stored on the upper floors of the historic main laboratory.

The original furnishings have been moved back into many rooms and the unique museum collections will be available to see, hear, and experience. Installation of a new elevator and stair tower adjacent to the main laboratory building allows new public access to the upper floors of the laboratory that now feature new exhibits. The Edison home at the Glenmont Estate has also been renovated. Other improvements include new fire detection system and upgraded fire sprinkler system, new heating and cooling systems, and exterior building repairs and an integrated drainage system.

The $13 million partnership project with the Edison Innovation Foundation and Charles Edison Fund of Newark, New Jersey also includes new heating and cooling systems, new fire detection and suppression systems, and structural repairs to the historic building’s roofs, foundations, and windows. The new Thomas Edison experience offers visitors self-guided audio tours, cell phone tours, films, grounds walks, school workshops and traditional guided programs.

Thomas Edison National Historical Park is a unit of the National Park Service that preserves and interprets the West Orange Laboratory and Home of inventor Thomas Alva Edison. Information is available at: www.nps.gov/edis.

The Edison Innovation Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports the Edison Legacy and encourages students (including women and minorities) to embrace careers in science, technology and engineering and is committed to educating the next generation of great innovators while using Edison and his Invention Factory as the foundation. For information on the Foundation, visit: www.thomasedison.org.

Dutch Colonial Clergy Conference Announced


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The Reformed Church Center of New Brunswick Theological Seminary, New Brunswick, N.J. will co-host an event titled The Colonial Clergy Conference: Dutch Traditions and American Realities with the Collegiate Church of New York, the Van Raalte Institute in Holland, Michigan, the Roosevelt Study Center in Middelburg, Netherlands, and the Reformed Church in America Archives. Planned as part of a larger celebration this year of Henry Hudson’s voyage for the Dutch to the Hudson River and New York, it is an international event being held September 27-28th at the Haworth Center at Hope College in Holland, Michigan and October 24th at First Reformed Church, 9 Bayard St., New Brunswick, N.J. Additional information about registration, etc. can be found on the website: http://www.nbts.edu/clergyconference/

In Holland, Michigan, the speakers will be Dr. Leon van den Broeke, Assistant Professor in Religion, Law and Society and Director of the Center for Religion and Law at Free University in Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Dr. Willem Frijhof, Emeritus Professor of Early Modern History at Free University; Dr. Hans Krabbendam, Assistant Director of the Roosevelt Study Center in Middelburg, The Netherlands; Dr. Earl Wm. Kennedy, Senior Research Fellow and Professor of Religion Emeritus at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa; Dr. Firth Haring Fabend, Fellow of the New Netherland Project and Historian for The Holland Society of New York,; and Dr. John Coakley, L. Russell Feakes Memorial Chair and Professor of Church History at New Brunswick Theological Seminary.

Speakers in New Brunswick, New Jersey will include Dr. Leon van den Broeke; Dr. Joyce Goodfriend, Professor of History at the University of Denver; Dr. John Coakley; Dr. Dirk Mouw, past Albert A. Smith Fellow at New Brunswick Theological Seminary; Dr. Firth Haring Fabend, and Dr. Robert Naborn, Director of the Dutch Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania. Also included in the day is a tour of the church’s historic cemetery and bell tower, lunch, and an opportunity to order a book which will be based on the papers presented. First Reformed Church was founded in 1717 and the current building dates to 1765.