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Greetings from New Jersey: Popular Culture & The Garden State

November 2, 2018

Monmouth University


From The Perils of Pauline to War of the Worlds, Count Basie, and The Sopranos, New Jersey has undeniably made its mark on popular culture in the United States and around the world. In 2018, the New Jersey History Forum, Greetings from New Jersey: Popular Culture & The Garden State, considered the impactful work of New Jersey artists, musicians, filmmakers, writers, and actors over the course of the state’s history. The New Jersey Historical Commission, New Jersey State Archives, and New Jersey State Museum co-sponsored this year’s Forum, held on Friday, November 2nd at Monmouth University, in partnership with the University’s Department of History and Anthropology.

The Forum is a biennial program that highlights the importance of studying and sharing local history and invites established and emerging scholars, educators, public historians, and a broad spectrum of social science and humanities researchers to present new research that facilitates greater public awareness of New Jersey history.

Greetings from New Jersey considered the impact of music, television, foodways, design, and film on the state. The event kicked-off with an opening keynote talk by Bob Santelli, founding director of the Grammy Museum and author of Greetings from E Street: The Story of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and The Big Beat: Conversations with Rock’s Great Drummers, co-authored with E Street Band’s Max Weinberg. The keynote included a special introduction and Q&A session facilitated by Louis Masur, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of American Studies and History, Rutgers University – New Brunswick.

Over lunch, attendees were joined by actor Ian Kahn, who portrayed George Washington in the AMC hit series Turn, Sandy Mackenzie Lloyd, historian at Historic Philadelphia Inc., and Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Ph.D., historian and author of Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge, for a discussion about the history of the American Revolution in popular culture. Presentations and workshops throughout the day featured topics in New Jersey popular culture history such as the new Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music, teaching with Thomas Edison, how the state has shaped American television, and more. Over twenty participants, many of them students, presented research on history, culture, and medicine as part of the Forum’s Posters and Projects session.

Check out the event’s Final 2018 Forum Program for the full list of sessions and speakers. Please see below images from the event photographed by Joanne Nestor of the NJ State Archives. These include our 2018 New Jersey Historical Commission and New Jersey Studies Academic Alliance award winners.



About 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.