Historical Society of Princeton Presents 2019 House Tour

The Historical Society of Princeton is pleased to present its 18th annual House Tour from 10 AM to 4 PM on Saturday, November 2, 2019. This signature fall event celebrates significant architecture and design in the homes of HSP’s supportive community. This year’s Tour features six unique homes, each one a distinct example of its own time and style. Visitors will marvel in the modifications, redesigns, furnishings, salvaged materials, and architectural features during a self-guided tour of the homes throughout the day.

This year’s Tour will feature:

Manor House at Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart (pictured): Perhaps one of the most intricate homes designed by prolific Princeton architect, Rolf Bauhan, the Manor House was constructed for Mr. and Mrs. Thomas S. Dignan and completed around 1930. Mrs. Dignan’s family owned the Ward Baking Company, makers of Wonder Bread. Bauhan’s largest residential project, Manor House showcases his characteristic attention to detail, from stained glass representing Arthurian legends to complex plasterwork, carved wood detail, and decorative copper downspouts. The original 1930s kitchen, with antique dishwasher, remains preserved. Manor House’s expansive grounds retain a walled garden with stone gazebos and a groundskeeper’s cottage.

56 Balcort Drive: This imaginative renovation extended what was once a 1,600-square-foot pattern-book house, built in the 1930s by a carpenter for the Matthews Construction Company, into a sizable modern home respectful of the original’s Dutch Colonial style. Original features of the cottage, such as fireplaces, a staircase, and cabinetry, dot the expanded home, with pre-war fixtures and other salvaged antiques added throughout. The rare tiger maple and typhoon green granite kitchen was featured in the Wall Street Journal. A nature walk winds under large American Elms through the thoughtfully landscaped grounds.

211 Winant Road: This stunning Tudor Revival home was constructed for Moses Taylor Pyne’s mother, Albertina. Pyne, a noted philanthropist and owner of Drumthwacket, engaged his favored architect, Raleigh Gildersleeve, to design the house, which was completed around 1900. In the century that followed, the grand home fell into disrepair. The current owners completed a top-to-bottom renovation by architect David Abelow, a protégé of I.M. Pei, opening up the structure to give the home an urban, loft-like feel while still retaining the appropriate grandeur. The original brick walls and Carnegie steel beams are exposed and juxtaposed with formal plasterwork. A striking three-story glass and metal main stair illuminates the space. Extraordinary attention-to-detail distinguishes this mansion’s not-to-be-missed rescue story.

6 Highland Road: This modern house serves as the design laboratory of interior designer Katie Eastridge. The house forms part of the unique Province Hill neighborhood, which was developed by Richard Dickson and designed by Short and Ford in the late 1970’s with empty nesters in mind. The original home, which features a dramatic central fireplace and tall angled ceilings, has been completely reimagined by Katie Eastridge in her signature exuberant style. The highly edited interior blends Katie’s personal collections (some from her childhood home) with her own furniture design and rare, authentic specimens of mid-century modern design. 

29 Cleveland Lane: This classic Tudor-style home was one of the earliest residences on Cleveland Lane, a street carved out of the former Morven Tract enclave. The home recently enjoyed a top-to-bottom renovation by Baxter Construction, installing a gleaming new kitchen and bathrooms and faithfully upgrading period hardware, including turn-of-the-century knobs and push-button light switches. Works by local artists decorate the walls of this house that seamlessly blends the traditional with the modern. A new bluestone patio graces the backyard next to an original shed built out of the argillite stone used in Princeton University’s collegiate gothic buildings.

17 Maclean Street: This traditional house nestled in the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood, built around 1880, encloses a jewelbox of whimsical design. A recent addition and renovation led by Material Design Build and Steven S. Cohen, Architect P.C. created a colorful new kitchen, master bath, and treehouse library space. Eclectic furnishings and exposed wood salvaged from the original home, as well as the former SAVE animal shelter and a high school gymnasium’s bleachers, add accents throughout the house. The backyard features an array of fruit trees and sizable home garden.

“Princeton’s uniqueness and historicity as a town is grounded in its remarkable built environment,” said HSP Executive Director, Izzy Kasdin. “This year’s Tour provides a window into the variety of twentieth-century architecture in Princeton and the varied revivalist and modern styles that defined that period. We’re so pleased to be able to recognize homeowners who steward this legacy of magnificent architecture in Princeton. The House Tour is always an enjoyable and enriching experience for all involved!”

New this year, the Historical Society will be offering a pre-House Tour lecture to ground the visitors’ architectural history experience during the Tour. On October 24 at 7 pm, author/historian Clifford Zink will offer “Rolf Bauhan’s Architectural Legacy,” an exploration of the renowned local architect who was behind the Manor House at Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart and over 100 other local revivalist buildings.

Advance tickets for the Tour are $45 for HSP members and $50 for non-members. All tickets purchased the day of the tour are $50. Proceeds help fund the Historical Society’s core history education activities throughout the year, including collections stewardship, exhibitions, public programs, and co-curricular support for schools.

For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit www.princetonhistory.org or call 609.921.6748 x106. On the day of the event, tickets will not be available at any of the houses on the Tour. Tickets can be purchased online during the tour, and emailed confirmations can be shown at the check-in tables at the houses. On the day of the tour, tickets can also be purchased from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm at Updike Farmstead, 354 Quaker Road. From 9:30 am to 2 pm, tickets will also be available for purchase at Princeton’s municipal building, 400 Witherspoon Street.

Lead Sponsors Charles Schwab and Callaway Henderson Sotheby’s International Realty generously support this event.

Reviving New Jersey’s Hard Cider Heritage

On October 10, the Historical Society of Princeton (HSP) welcomes writer/educator Fran McManus for a talk on New Jersey cider, past and present. The program will take place at 7:00 PM in the historic barn on the Society’s six-acre site, Updike Farmstead, at 354 Quaker Road.

Apple-picking is a popular fall activity, but few may realize the significant history of apples in the “Garden State.” New Jersey colonists started planting apple orchards in the 17th century, providing not just fruit to eat, but also to make cider, the favored alcoholic drink of the day. By the end of the colonial period, Newark Cider was renowned, and even fueled a thriving industry in counterfeit champagne.

The evening will include a sampling of New Jersey’s own Ironbound Hard Cider. Named for the historic Newark neighborhood, Ironbound Hard Cider is crafted by Jersey Cider Works, and made with fresh-pressed apples sourced from orchards in NJ and nearby states. The company’s mission is to restore Jersey cider to its former glory.

“Hard cider has become very popular in recent years,” said Eve Mandel, Director of Programs and Visitor Services. “We’re thrilled to partner with Ironbound to share this story, and taste two varieties of their cider!”

Tickets are $10, and are available on HSP’s website, www.princetonhistory.org. The program is held in conjunction with the Garden State History Garden exhibition at Updike Farmstead. 21 and over only.

 

Time-Traveling Fun at HistoryFest on October 6

HistoryFest: Time Travel through Princeton
October 6, 2019
1:00 – 4:00 PM
Free

Join us for the third annual HistoryFest, a free exploration of Princeton history for the whole family! Visitors will travel through four centuries of Princeton history, with hands-on activities and presentations showing the town’s changes over time. Children will receive a “Time Travel Passport” to be stamped at each station. A slide-show presentation featuring vivid images from HSP’s photograph collection, Princeton: Then and Now, will be offered at 3:00 PM.

 

Historical Society Completes Five-Year-Long Collections Review

Culminating a five-year collections planning and review process, on August 26, 2019, the Historical Society of Princeton’s (HSP) Board of Trustees approved items from HSP’s objects collection for deaccession, upon the recommendation of HSP’s Collections Committee. HSP retained and improved use, access, and interpretive strategy for the majority of its vast collection as part of this process.

As per field-wide best practices, HSP periodically reviews its holdings, a process that includes determining which items truly support HSP’s mission and which items are not relevant. HSP has reviewed and deaccessioned material several times over the course of its history, in 1978, 1997, and 2004.

Starting in 2014, HSP began its most recent collections review, an extremely thorough look at each and every three-dimensional artifact in HSP’s possession, of which there are approximately 3,000. HSP’s extensive archival holdings, including 35,000 historic photographs, over 800 manuscript collections, and 2,000 maps and architectural drawings, were not part of this artifact review.

As part of this process, HSP reunited objects with records, improved the documentation of objects in its collections database, repackaged holdings according to conservation standards, extensively researched objects to confirm their provenance, and identified 487 items that do not support HSP’s mission, which were recommended for deaccession. Each item was reviewed three times in the last three years. HSP has retained the majority of its collection.

Consistent with established best practices, deaccessioned objects deemed suitable will be offered to other cultural institutions, while others will be sold at a well-advertised public auction. Some will be retained at HSP as handling objects to be used for educational programs. All proceeds generated by the auction sale will be restricted for the direct care of HSP’s important remaining collection.

From its inception in 1938, the Historical Society of Princeton has actively collected museum and reference materials relevant to Princeton or of general historical interest as part of its history education and stewardship mission. Over time, a substantial and important collection of over 100,000 items was established, consisting of artifacts, maps, architectural drawings, archival manuscript materials, photographs, newspapers, and reference books.

“HSP’s collections create tangible links between the past and present, allowing community members to come face-to-face with Princeton’s story. Nothing is more educationally powerful than this encounter. It’s what makes museum collections so essential,” said Stephanie Schwartz, HSP’s Curator of Collections and Research. “As a history organization, we always prioritize strategies to more effectively bring our exciting and important collections to the public, through school curricula, public programs, exhibitions, and more.”

As with all professional museum institutions, a formal, Board-adopted Collections Management Policy governs all collections practice at HSP. This policy aligns with all best practices, industry standards, and American Alliance of Museums guidelines. Within its Collections Management Policy, HSP outlines its criteria for the acquisition and deaccession of museum materials. Primarily, items in HSP’s holdings must document the history of the Princeton area or its role in state or national history. The deaccessioned items did not meet HSP’s collecting criteria, largely because they lacked sufficient connections to Princeton history.

“Deaccessioning is a healthy process that is part of the natural life cycle of a museum collection,” said Dan Scheid, HSP’s Vice President of Collections. “This review process has positioned our collection to be the best possible historical resource for the Princeton community, and has allowed the Historical Society to ensure it focuses on preserving, interpreting, and sharing the collections that are truly meaningful to the Princeton community.”

Rago Auctions will sponsor the public auction of deaccessioned items designated for sale on October 4. More details about this event will be released soon.

Travel Back to the 80s at HSP’s Concert Under the Stars

The Historical Society of Princeton will host its eighth annual Concert Under the Stars fundraiser on Saturday, June 8, 2019, from 6:30 – 10:00 PM at Updike Farmstead. This year’s event will feature a vivacious live performance by The Breakfast Club on the mainstage. The Gerry Rosenthal Trio will open the event on the farmhouse porch.

The Breakfast Club is the longest running, most recognized 1980’s tribute band in the United States. Formed in 1993, The Breakfast Club’s mission is to embody the enigmatic, creative, and buoyant spirit of the music and live performances of the original MTV generation. Members of The Breakfast Club have shared the stage with numerous music legends, including Whitesnake, The Romantics, Poison, Drivin’n’Cryin’, Hootie and the Blowfish, White Lion, The Smithereens, Edwin McCain, and many others.

The Gerry Rosenthal Trio, formed in Jersey City, NJ in 2015, features Gerry Rosenthal on acoustic guitar and lead vocals, Jack Breslin on upright bass, and Sean-David Cunningham on violin. Gerry’s songs fall directly into the Americana/Folk/Singer-songwriter category, with comparisons to Mumford and Sons, Punch Brothers, and Ben Folds, rounded out with three-part harmony and improvised instrumental and solos sections. The Trio released an EP in April 2019 entitled “First.”

“This year’s artists bring exciting talent and flair, as well as some of your favorite tunes, to the always-fun Concert Under the Stars,” said Jud Henderson, a long-standing member of the Concert Committee. “They’ll keep guests entertained all evening!”

Baxter Construction, Charles Schwab, PNC Wealth Management, Callaway Henderson Sotheby’s International Realty, MacLean Agency, and Kale’s Nursery & Landscape Service are all major event sponsors. Jammin’ Crepes will serve a farm-to-table dinner menu. Local craft beers and a selection of wines will be available.

“This year’s Concert will, as always, be a fantastic night with delicious local food and drink, fabulous upbeat music, and an unparalleled historic setting – a true celebration of this remarkable town,” said HSP Executive Director, Izzy Kasdin.

Concert Committee members Tracy Sipprelle and Debora Haines describe the event as “the kick-off-to-summer party, with a casual blue jeans and boots vibe.”

Net proceeds from the Concert Under the Stars support the Society’s mission of history education, provided via collections stewardship, exhibitions, public programs, and co-curricular support for schools to the Princeton community and beyond. In so doing, HSP enhances community vitality and builds historical literacy, cornerstones of healthy civic culture.

Tickets to this unique benefit event are available online at www.princetonhistory.org, or by phone: (609) 921-6748 x106.

HSP to Host Grand Opening for Garden State History Garden

The Historical Society of Princeton (HSP) will hold a family-friendly opening event on Sunday, May 19, between 1:00 and 4:00 PM, unveiling a brand-new exhibition in the Sipprelle Unity Garden at Updike Farmstead, the Garden State History Garden. Coinciding with National Public Gardens week, this event is free and open to the public.

The Garden State History Garden creates a living, growing display of Princeton and New Jersey’s agricultural history. The HSP mobile app will offer multimedia content to interpret the local agricultural histories represented by crops in each bed of the 520-square-foot organic garden at Updike Farmstead. These stories include farming during wartime, gentleman farmers, and the Poor Farm workhouse in northern Princeton, among many others. Visitors will be able to listen to narratives and explore photographs and documents from HSP’s collection within the app as they wander through the beds of the garden.

“Support from the Church & Dwight Employee Giving Fund was instrumental in transforming our beautiful 21-bed organic garden into a heritage-rich (as well as a fruit and veggie-rich!) space,” said Izzy Kasdin, Executive Director of the Historical Society of Princeton. “Agriculture is core to the historical identity of Princeton, and sparks important discussion about land use, food security, and the environment today. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to tell those stories here at Updike Farmstead, in view of one of the last remaining in-tact historic farms in Princeton.”

At 2:00, a screening of “Farming in New Jersey’s Millstone Valley: Past and Present,” will take place in the Wojciechowicz Barn. Produced by the Millstone Valley Preservation Coalition of Rocky Hill, in association with the Van Harlingen Historical Society of Montgomery, the 35-minute video documentary describes the 300-year agricultural history of the area, culminating with the local farm-to-table movement. MVP Coalition President Brad Fay will introduce the film, and a panel discussion will follow, featuring Fay, Terhune Orchards’ Pam Mount, and Tessa Lowinske Desmond, a Princeton University research scholar in the Program in American Studies. 

Ongoing activities during the day include a garden craft for children, a scavenger hunt around the property, and time to explore the garden and newly-launched app content. Guests are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch or snack to enjoy on the property.

HSP Nears Completion of Collections Review

From its inception in 1938, the Historical Society of Princeton has actively collected museum and reference materials relevant to Princeton or of general historical interest. Over time, a substantial and important collection of over 100,000 items was established, consisting of artifacts, maps, architectural drawings, archival manuscript materials, photographs, newspapers, and reference books. This collection is at the heart of all HSP’s core programs, with many of these items aiding in our mission of bringing the remarkable history of Princeton, NJ to life for diverse audiences.

“HSP’s collections create tangible links between the past and present, allowing community members to come face-to-face with Princeton’s story. Nothing is more educationally powerful than this encounter. It’s what makes museum collections so essential,” said Izzy Kasdin, HSP’s Executive Director. “As a history organization, we always prioritize strategies to more effectively to bring our exciting and important collections to the public, through school curricula, public programs, exhibitions, and more.”

As per field-wide best practices, HSP periodically reviews its holdings, a process that includes determining which objects truly support HSP’s mission and which objects are not relevant.

Starting in 2014, HSP began its most recent collections review, an extremely thorough look at each and every three-dimensional artifact in HSP’s possession, of which there are approximately 3,000. As part of this process, HSP reunited objects with records, improved the documentation of objects in our collections database, repackaged holdings according to conservation standards, and identified approximately 500 objects that do not support HSP’s mission and will be recommended for deaccession. HSP will retain the vast majority of its collection.

“Deaccessioning is a healthy process that is part of the natural life cycle of a museum collection,” said Stephanie Schwartz, HSP’s Curator of Collections and Research. “Most of the objects being considered for deaccession were acquired decades ago and have not been displayed or used in any way for many years.”

As with all professional museum institutions, a formal, Board-adopted Collections Management Policy governs all collections practice at HSP. This policy aligns with all best practices, industry standards, and American Alliance of Museums guidelines. Within its Collections Management Policy, HSP outlines its general criteria for the acquisition and deaccession of museum materials. Primarily, items in HSP’s holdings must document the history of the Princeton area or its role in state or national history.

Despite the good intentions of HSP and its many generous donors over time, there are some items that do not meet HSP’s collecting criteria, largely because they lack sufficient connections to Princeton history.  HSP has been researching these objects extensively to confirm that there is no compelling reason for them to be in HSP’s collection; each item has been reviewed three times over the last five years as part of this process.

“This review process has positioned our collection to be the best possible historical resource for the Princeton community, and has allowed the Historical Society to ensure it focuses on preserving, interpreting, and sharing the collections that are truly meaningful to the Princeton community,” said Dan Scheid, HSP’s Vice President of Collections.

In May of this year, objects recommended for deaccession will be presented to HSP’s Collection Committee and Board of Trustees; upon final approval, these objects will no longer be a part of the museum collection.

Consistent with established best practices, deaccessioned objects deemed suitable will be offered to other cultural institutions, while others will be sold at a well-advertised public auction. All proceeds generated by the auction sale will be restricted for the direct care of HSP’s important collections.

Second Annual Building Princeton LEGO Event at Updike Farmstead

Sunday, April 14, 2019
2:00 – 4:00 PM

 After last year’s sold-out event, the Historical Society of Princeton (HSP) is excited to host its second annual Building Princeton on Sunday, April 14 in the Wojciechowicz Barn at HSP’s Updike Farmstead.

Designed to increase awareness of the town’s rich architectural heritage, Building Princeton, led by Building Blocks Workshops, uses 70,000 LEGO bricks. Teams each receive a photograph and story of a historic building, which they build within the 2-hour program. When the models are finished, they are placed on a 30-foot map of Princeton, providing an amazing aerial view of the town. This program, with adults and children working together, is ideal for children ages 8-12, but all ages are welcome to participate.

At the conclusion of the program each family receives a copy of “The Princeton Architectural Treasure Hunt Map” and are encouraged to go out as a family and find the real buildings.

“Understanding buildings and their stories helps us forge deeper connections to our communities, and we’re so thrilled to offer an experiential, interdisciplinary program that accomplishes this,” said HSP’s Executive Director, Izzy Kasdin.

This event is made possible by generous community sponsors Adams Rental, jaZams, McCaffrey’s Supermarkets, and Pinneo Construction.

Tickets are $35 per team (up to four people with at least 1 adult). Pre-registration is encouraged, as space is limited. Registration is available online at www.princetonhistory.org.

HSP Seeking Walking Tour Guides

Looking for volunteer opportunity for the new year? The Historical Society of Princeton (HSP) is in search of walking tour guides to lead historical tours of Princeton. Guides educate locals and out-of-towners on topics including the founding of the University, the American Revolution, and the evolution of the town over time.

This is a unique opportunity to expand your knowledge and share Princeton’s stories with visitors from around the world. Ideal candidates are in good physical condition, with a passion for history and a love of sharing stories with others.

Richard Moody started leading tours more than ten years ago, after he and his wife participated in a downtown tour and the guide encouraged him to join the team. “Having recently retired, I jumped at the offer and have since loved every minute of telling the story of Princeton to a wide variety of delightful people from all over the USA and around the world,” Moody reminisced.

Barry Singer, a guide for the past 12 years, considers himself a Princeton ambassador. “I continuously learn about the place where I live and its rich Revolutionary War era history, as well as more modern history. I enjoy being of value to a great organization like the Historical Society, which is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the rich history of Princeton.”

HSP develops signature programs of learning and discovery to connect the lessons of the past to the issues which inform our future. Audiences – both local and international – learn that history is relevant in daily life, and can be used to explore a shared connection among people; to celebrate a love of place; and to promote conversations on creating a better future.

Before leading tours, volunteers dedicate their time to learn the rich cultural history. Once trained, guides lead 1-3 tours per month, for public or private groups. Availability at least one Sunday per month is required.  

Please email a letter of interest and resume to Eve Mandel, Director of Programs and Visitor Services, at eve@princetonhistory.org.

Woodrow Wilson and the Great War Exhibition Opens

On November 8, the Historical Society of Princeton opened a new temporary exhibition, Woodrow Wilson and the Great War, which will run at Updike Farmstead through December 30.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I’s conclusion, the Lewis University History Center, Naper Settlement and Give Something Back collaborated on developing the traveling exhibition, which examines the Great War and the presidency of Woodrow Wilson during this catastrophic global event.

The Historical Society of Princeton is the final stop of a five-city tour that included Naperville, Lockport, and Romeoville in Illinois, and the Woodrow Wilson House in Washington, DC.

Woodrow Wilson and the Great War displays stories and historical questions about events in the United States and abroad from 1914 to 1918. The approach used in the exhibition illustrates the multitude of perspectives that can be considered to raise questions about historical events. Several objects from the era are featured, including trench art, a gas mask, and original documents from Woodrow Wilson.

“We’re very excited to host this exhibition here in the town where Wilson lived and served as University President,” said Izzy Kasdin, Executive Director of the Historical Society. “This is an important global story with a local connection and contemporary relevance.”

The exhibit explores the role of women, African-Americans, and propaganda in the war, as well as Wilson’s domestic reforms during the period. Visitors can leave their mark at the “Your View” board, sharing thoughts on what they learned.