2016 Press Releases


A Talk with Anne Simon, Illustrator of Einstein, a Graphic Novel

Thursday, October 6, 2016
5:00 PM

You’ve never seen Einstein like this! Corinne Maier and Anne Simon’s graphic novel explores the life of the most influential physicist of all time. This biography features a caricature version of Einstein, who narrates and comments on the story of his life.

In conjunction with the exhibition The Einstein Salon and Innovators Gallery, the Historical Society is thrilled to host the illustrator, Anne Simon, at the Updike Farmstead museum, 354 Quaker Road, on Thursday, October 6 at 5 PM. Ms. Simon will share the steps of her artistic process to create her “own” Einstein.

In addition, at 4 pm, a pre-talk conservation will be broadcast live on the official Albert Einstein Facebook page. The video will also be available online for later viewing.

Free, with book signing to follow. Labyrinth Books will be on site to sell copies of Einstein.

ANNE SIMON was born in 1980 in France. She studied in the Beaux-Arts in Angoulême, and then in the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, one of the most prestigious art schools in France. In 2004, she received the “New Talent” prize at the Angoulême festival, and she released her first comic book Persephone in the Underworld in 2006.

HSP Announces Stephanie Schwartz as new Curator of Collections and Research

The Historical Society of Princeton (HSP) is pleased to announce the hiring of Stephanie Schwartz as Curator of Collections and Research.

Stephanie joined the staff of the Historical Society in June 2012, previously serving as Research Assistant and Admissions Associate. As Curator, Stephanie now oversees all collections management operations at HSP, including maintaining the catalogue and online database, supervising the care and conservation of the collection, and fielding acquisitions in line with HSP’s collecting priorities. Stephanie works with the Executive Director to develop museum and travelling exhibitions, and continues to manage HSP’s research services and assist with educational programming.

“During her time at the Historical Society, Stephanie has delved deeply into HSP’s collection to assist hundreds of researchers, scholars, and residents in answering their Princeton history questions,” said Executive Director Izzy Kasdin.

“Stephanie will carry her incredibly intimate knowledge of HSP’s collection into this new role at the Historical Society. We have big plans for making HSP’s extensive collection a more accessible, engaging, and enriching resource for the Princeton community, and we are so thrilled that Stephanie will be applying her expertise to those priorities. She is a keen researcher, a passionate historian, and a superb archivist; she is perfect for the job and will certainly hit the ground running!”

Stephanie earned her BA in History and a certificate in Museum Studies at Connecticut College. She recently received her MS in Archives Management from Simmons College. Stephanie has also worked at HBO, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the New Jersey State Archives, and the Mercer County Library System.


Gillett G. Griffin Makes Major Albert Einstein Gift to the Historical Society of Princeton

Gillett G. Griffin has made a significant gift to the Historical Society of Princeton of over 50 pieces of material related to Albert Einstein, previously in his personal collection.

Griffin was formerly the Curator of Pre-Columbian Art at the Princeton University Art Museum. He had been a personal friend of Einstein’s from 1953 until Einstein’s death in 1955, frequenting Einstein’s home on 112 Mercer Street, where he also became acquainted with the physicist’s stepdaughter Margot Einstein and friend and confidante, Johanna (Hanna) Fantova.

The collection gifted to the Historical Society includes several personal belongings and accoutrements of Einstein’s, including a drawing of Gandhi that used to hang in Einstein’s study and three small handheld puzzle games that Einstein reportedly used to thrust into the hands of acquaintances to solve upon first meeting them. The collection also includes Einstein’s compass – Einstein explained that his interest in physics arose from compasses he played with as a child – and Einstein’s pipe. The only other intact pipe of Einstein’s that is on public display is in the Smithsonian Institution, and it is the most heavily requested object for research and loans in the Institution’s Modern Physics Collection, according to the Collection’s Curator. Gillett received the puzzles and pipe as a gift directly from Margot.

The collection also contains the original snapshot, bequeathed to Griffin by Jeanette Mirsky, of Einstein sitting on his Mercer Street porch wearing large fuzzy slippers, as well as the only known self-portrait of Einstein. The drawing, scrawled on a sheet of equations, features Hanna Fantova on a beach, holding an umbrella and smoking a cigarette, with Einstein’s face beside her. Above his head is the exclamation, “Ich hab’s!!,” which translates to, “I’ve got it!” Fantova gave the sketch to Griffin as a gift in 1955, the year of Einstein’s death, because “she thought he would like the design,” according to Griffin.

Griffin’s gift supplements HSP’s preexisting Einstein holdings, which include the Einstein Furniture Collection, 65 pieces of furniture that eluded the Nazis and used to adorn Einstein’s home at 112 Mercer Street. The Institute for Advanced Study donated the furniture to the Historical Society in 2004.

Several of the pieces in the Gillett Griffin Collection had been on long-term loan and display at HSP for over a decade. “Gillett has been a dear friend of the Historical Society for many years and we are so unbelievably honored that he has given us the privilege of interpreting his fantastic Einstein collections long into the future,” said HSP Executive Director, Izzy Kasdin. “We are confident they will greatly enhance the permanent place Albert Einstein has in our exhibition program at Updike Farmstead and will help make HSP the destination for Einstein enthusiasts in the United States.”

“I am very pleased to have made this gift at this time, and I am confident that the Princeton Historical Society is the right place to house these items,” said Griffin.

The photographs, manuscript material, sculptures, books, newspaper clippings, personal possessions, and ephemera that comprise the collection will be featured in the Historical Society’s permanent Einstein Salon and Innovators Gallery and can be made available for public research by appointment.

“Albert Einstein was, of course, a remarkable and world-changing scientist, a humanitarian activist, and cultural icon, but he was also a resident of Princeton, and spent 22 years of his life here. At HSP, we try to touch on Einstein as a resident and as a person in a way that only a local Princeton institution can,” said HSP Trustee and Vice President of Collections, Daniel Scheid. “We are proud to have the remarkable collections and personal possessions of Einstein here at the Historical Society that enable us to share Einstein’s human story – his day-to-day life – with the world.”


Isabel Kasdin Appointed as New Executive Director of the Historical Society of Princeton

After an extensive search, The Historical Society of Princeton has announced the selection of Isabel (Izzy) Kasdin, currently the organization’s Curator of Collections and Exhibitions, as the organization’s new Executive Director. Izzy received her BA in History at Princeton University, graduating summa cum laude and earning the Laurence Hutton Prize in History. She also earned the Moses Taylor Pyne Prize, the highest award conferred on an undergraduate student at Princeton University, recognizing a student’s exceptional academic performance, extracurricular leadership, and overall strength of character.

Following her graduation from Princeton, Izzy earned her Masters in Archaeological Heritage and Museums at the University of Cambridge in England as a Gates Scholar. Izzy has also had experience working in a number of other historical organizations and museums, including the Ford’s Theater Society in Washington, D.C. and the Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. She completed her archaeological field school training in Colonial American material culture at the College of William and Mary in 2011.

“After reviewing a broad pool of talented candidates, we concluded that the person with the most compelling combination of experience, energy, and vision was already working inside the organization,” said Scott Sipprelle, President of the HSP Board of Trustees. “Izzy is very much a known quantity here at HSP, having served the organization since 2007 in a variety of roles including Docent, researcher, and exhibitions assistant,” said Sipprelle.

“As Curator, Izzy has provided the insight of an historian and the rigor of an academic to the review and formal inventory of HSP’s important collections currently underway,” said Daniel C. Scheid, Vice President of Collections and a member of the Search Committee. “In her new role, she will use her creativity to link these collections not only to the past but to the exciting history that is being made in Princeton today.”

“I firmly believe in the importance of local history in building community, promoting empathy, and enhancing sense of place,” said Kasdin. “It is an immense honor to lead the charge on these goals at the Historical Society of Princeton, in my own home town. I am bursting with innovative ideas about how we can use our fantastic collections and beautiful farm site to develop diverse public programming that pushes the boundaries of the traditional local history museum model.”


Spring Festival at Updike Farmstead

The Historical Society of Princeton is marking the first spring at its new headquarters, Updike Farmstead, 354 Quaker Road. To celebrate, the community is invited to a free Spring Family Festival on Saturday, April 30, from 11 AM to 3 PM.

There will be something for everyone: at 11 AM, Kids Music Round will present a music and dance class for infants to preschoolers. Ongoing family/children’s activities include an American Girl Doll inspired craft, colonial games and interactive tables with touchable artifacts.

Adults can join a tour of Historic Stony Brook at 12 noon and a talk on women’s roles in the Civil War at 2 PM. There will be a needlework demonstration by members of the Princeton chapter of the Embroiderers’ Guild of America between 12 and 3 PM.

“We’re very excited for this event as an opportunity for the community to get to know our new location,” said Eve Mandel, Director of Programs and Visitor Services. “We’re encouraging people to pack a snack or picnic lunch and enjoy the beautiful outdoors.”


Spring Walking Tours

The Historical Society of Princeton’s classic Sunday walking tours will resume on March 20, the first day of spring.

This signature program is enjoyed by visitors and locals alike, as they take a 1.9 mile (approximately 2 hour) walk around downtown Princeton and the University campus, learning about historic sites in the area, including Nassau Hall, University Chapel and Palmer Square. The early history of Princeton, the founding of the University and the American Revolution are just some of the stories from Princeton’s history learned on the tour.

Tours launch at 2 PM outside Bainbridge House, the Society’s former location, at 158 Nassau Street. The cost is $7 per person, and advance tickets can be purchased online by visiting www.princetonhistory.org.

On Sunday, February 28, a “Virtual Princeton Walking Tour,” a slide show version of the tour, will be held at 2 PM inside the museum at Updike Farmstead; program is included with $4 admission.

Tours of historic Stony Brook will be offered on the following Saturdays at 2 PM: April 9, May 7 and June 11. Starting at Updike Farmstead, this 90-minute walk follows a portion of the trail George Washington took from Trenton to the Battlefield, and includes stops at the Stony Brook Meeting House and cemetery. The tour is included free with $4 museum admission.


MLK Day Family Activities at Updike Farmstead

The Historical Society of Princeton, Christine’s Hope for Kids, Sheltered Yoga, GLSEN Central NJ and Kidsbridge are proud to offer a free afternoon to “Nourish the Mind and Body” on Monday, January 18th, from 1-3 PM.

In honor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, families can participate in a variety of activities that will engage and inspire. Sheltered Yoga will offer ongoing “Mindfulness Yoga” classes to get visitors physically active. In addition, they are collecting donations of underwear, bras, undershirts and socks (new or gently used) for adults and children, which will be distributed to area homeless shelters.

At 1:30 and 2:15, a Kidsbridge educator will lead groups in an interactive lesson and activity to promote tolerance. Also on site will be a reading room with books, quotes, and activity sheets for children to learn more about Martin Luther King, Jr. and his contributions to the civil rights movement. At 2:00, GLSEN Central NJ will be leading a discussion about No Name Calling Week.

Registration is not required. For questions, call (609) 921-6748 x102 or e-mail eve@princetonhistory.org.

Christine’s Hope for Kids is proud to partner and support Kidsbridge and the Historical Society of Princeton (both official NJ Holocaust Education Resource Centers) through their programs to stop bullying, promote self-esteem and show respect and sensitivity to people with diversity.