New Jersey Historical Commission (NJHC) Grantee Spotlight: Mary Lee Donahue

MLD Spotlight

To mark the 50th anniversary of the New Jersey Historical Commission (NJHC) and emphasize the significant work of history organizations and programs across the state, we asked our FY2017 and FY2018 grant recipients to submit a short narrative and photos describing the impact of NJHC funding. Each week until the end of our fiscal year in June, we will post a spotlight featuring the responses of our grant recipients. Whether NJHC support contributed to general operating, a brand new exhibit, an engaging education program or the restoration of a historic object, it’s truly amazing to see what New Jersey’s history organizations, libraries, and individuals have to offer.

This week we spotlight Mary Lee Donahue!

In response to new state requirements for New Jersey history in public schools with recommendations to incorporate local history, Mary Lee Donahue won a $3,000 grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission to develop a pilot project in Glassboro history for seventh graders. After forming a steering committee and planning some lessons along with a field trip to historic sites in the borough, Donahue was surprised by the school principal’s request for a textbook.  “Where’s the book?” the principal asked, explaining that he wanted something substantial for the students to share with their families. However, there was no textbook and no money in the budget to write and publish one. When the school district agreed to pay the printing costs, Donahue used grant funds to hire a print designer, then gathered maps, photos, and out-of-print resources to write a 32-page booklet titled “A Brief History of Glassboro,” 500 copies of which she donated to the school district.



Photo captions: On June 6, about 250 students plus faculty and administrators toured the borough’s Heritage Glass Museum and the West Jersey Depot Museum as well as the Holly bush mansion at Rowan University, the site of the 1967 Summit Conference. The textbook, “A Brief History of Glassboro,” will provide the nucleus for Intermediate School lessons for years to come.

For questions about NJHC Grantee Spotlights, please contact Greer Luce, Communications Officer, at 609-633-0776 or

pms-2016-historical-commission-logoAbout the New Jersey Historical Commission

The New Jersey Historical Commission (NJHC) is a state agency dedicated to the advancement of public knowledge and preservation of New Jersey history. Established by law in 1967, its work is founded on the fundamental belief that an understanding of our shared heritage is essential to sustaining a cohesive and robust democracy.