Archive | Liberty

Thomas Mundy Peterson’s Historic Vote

I first became aware of Thomas Mundy Peterson many years ago in graduate school at Columbia University while conducting research at the New Jersey Historical Society for Professor Eric Foner’s Civil War and Reconstruction colloquium.  New Jersey’s reaction to the Emancipation Proclamation was the focus of my research.  The colloquium paper served as the basis […]

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Rediscovering Women Who Made New Jersey History

In the summer of 1994, many preservationists and women’s history scholars gathered in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania for the first national “Conference on Women and Historic Preservation.”  From this dialogue, the New Jersey Women’s Heritage Trail was born. It’s not as though no one had thought about historic sites associated with New Jersey women before. A […]

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The Founding of New Jersey

Royalty in exile, nobility in drag, provincial power grabs, lions, wolves and crows, one unlucky bastard and a beheading… No, I’m not talking about the HBO series Game of Thrones. I’m talking about the founding of New Jersey! As we celebrate this 350th anniversary year, those of us in history fields—and perhaps a few folks […]

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Interpreting the Life of Molly Pitcher

June 28, 1778, Monmouth Courthouse, New Jersey.  A blazing sun beat down upon the heads of soldiers of the American and British armies.  Stemming an almost disastrous retreat of the forces under General Charles Lee, General George Washington counter-attacked with a barrage of artillery from a ridge across the farm of Henry Perrine.  In the […]

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A Moment at Monmouth

One of the most perilous – and least known – crises of the American Revolution occurred on blazingly hot June 28, 1778 in the sandy pine forest near the town of Monmouth Court House (now Freehold).  General George Washington was pursuing the British Army as it retreated from Philadelphia to New York.  His army’s 2,200 […]

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The New Jersey Tercentenary

In the early 1960s, the New Jersey Tercentenary commemorated the British colonial origins of our state, founded in the wake of the Stuart Restoration in 1660.  A half-century later, that observance itself may now be studied as a historical event and I hope that it will be.  As a participant I offer a brief personal […]

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Explosion on the Waterfront

In my years working local history reference at the Jersey City Free Public Library, I have found the explosion at Black Tom to be among the most requested research subjects. In one way, the event was all too common; explosions and fires plagued Jersey City throughout its years as a port. As early as August […]

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Learning from the Public About Public History

Thirty years ago, Ann and Thor Karlsson gave me a lesson in the meaning of the term “public history,” something about which I thought I knew a great deal. The New Jersey Historical Commission was and remains by definition a public history agency. It is funded by the New Jersey taxpayers and its mandate is […]

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The President and the Boss

It is hard to imagine two men more different in their backgrounds than Frank Hague, who served as mayor of Jersey City from 1917 through 1947 and as de facto political boss of New Jersey for most of that time, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, president of the United States from 1933 to 1945. Hague, for […]

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