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, 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

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

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.

HSP Installs History Trail at Updike Farmstead

The Historical Society of Princeton recently installed six pieces of interpretive signage at their Updike Farmstead headquarters on Quaker Road. The signs, spread widely throughout the six-acre site, are dubbed the “Farmstead History Trail.”

“We’re thrilled to install this interpretive signage, which contextualizes Updike Farmstead in broader local, regional, and national context,” said Izzy Kasdin, Executive Director of the Historical Society of Princeton. “The signs will undoubtedly create a richer heritage experience for visitors who come to the Farmstead.”

The signage links buildings and physical markers in the landscape with historical photos, documents, and artifacts. Interpreting the lives of Lenni Lenape Native Americans, Quaker settlers, Continental soldiers, family farmers, and other residents of the Stony Brook region, the signs encourage visitors to wander and explore the expansive grounds of the Updike Farmstead site, one of the last remaining historic farms in Princeton.

“We’re particularly proud of the way each sign connects a local history moment with enduring issues relevant to our visitors’ lives and communities,” said Stephanie Schwartz, HSP’s Curator of Collections and Research. “Each sign concludes with what we refer to as a ‘big question,’ which we hope will spark conversation about religious belief, development, economic change, war, and other important topics.”

Pennington graphic designer Kim Waters of Zoe Graphics designed the signage panels and Leigh Visual Imaging fabricated the signs. Funding for the design and fabrication of the signage was provided by a project grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.

The signage was developed with the support of the Princeton Municipal Historic Preservation Commission and the State Historic Preservation Office, and in consultation with representatives of the Nanticoke-Lenni Lenape Tribal Nation, the Princeton Friends Meeting, and the Princeton Battlefield Society.

The Updike Farmstead museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 12 pm to 4 pm, and Thursdays from 12 pm to 7 pm.

Two historical Princeton area publications now freely available online

The Princeton Herald, above, and the Princeton Recollector will now be available online via the Princeton University Library website. Papers of Princeton, Princeton University Library


An initiative undertaken jointly by the Historical Society of Princeton (HSP), the Princeton Public Library (PPL), and the Princeton University Library (PUL) has begun to unlock decades of the town and the university’s history by making the historical runs of two local publications full-text searchable and available online via a Princeton University Library website.

The Princeton Herald, a community weekly newspaper, published from 1923 to 1966, stated in its first editor’s column that it wanted “to be able to bring into the homes of Princeton and neighboring people those points of interest, news, and events…” 

The Princeton Recollector, a monthly local history newsletter published from 1975 to 1986 in association with the Historical Society of Princeton, documents Princeton’s past through oral histories, illustrations, and photographs gathered by the Princeton History Project. “The Princeton Herald and the Princeton Recollector both are invaluable resources for anyone conducting local history research. I’m thrilled that, with the help of the Princeton Public Library and the Princeton University Library, we can make them readily accessible through the University’s Papers of Princeton online platform,” said Stephanie Schwartz, HSP Curator of Collections and Research.

The Princeton Recollector, a monthly local history newsletter published from 1975 to 1986 in association with the Historical Society of Princeton, documents Princeton’s past through oral histories, illustrations, and photographs gathered by the Princeton History Project. Papers of Princeton, Princeton University Library


The Herald and the Recollector join the Daily Princetonian, the Princeton Town Topics, and several other local and university publications that have already been digitally photographed and transcribed in full. Jon Stroop, Director of Library Information Technology and Digital Services at PUL, said, “Newspapers are fundamental carriers of historical information, often providing us with the earliest and closest accounts of critical events and contemporary public opinion. Preserving and providing access to these types of resources is intrinsic to Princeton University Library’s mission, and we are excited to be a part of the project.”

The project began when the new leadership of the public library and the historical society met with the Princeton university archivist to discuss projects they could do together that they may not be able to accomplish individually. They agreed that digitizing local newspapers would benefit all three institutions and reviewed their holdings for what publications could be added. 

“Having more local newspapers online will serve the audiences of all three institutions,” said Daniel J. Linke, University Archivist at PUL. “The Princeton and Slavery Project made excellent use of historical newspapers and with the additions of these two publications, it opens up further avenues of inquiry for that, in addition to many other topics for Princeton students.” In addition, the Princeton newspaper collection is also being used by undergraduate computer science majors to analyze historical, linguistic, and cultural trends within the various publications. 

“When organizations with complementary missions work together, as is happening with the Historical Society of Princeton, the Princeton Public Library, and the Princeton University Library, we are able to provide better services for our constituents than any of us would have offered on our own,” said Brett Bonfield, Executive Director of the Princeton Public Library. “We are thrilled to take part in making this valuable and frequently sought after information as convenient to access as possible, and look forward to hearing how people with an interest in Princeton’s history are making use of it.” 

Princeton University Library funded the creation of metadata for the publications. Other local newspapers that have been microfilmed are being considered for the next phase.

For more information about this collection, please contact Daniel Linke, University Archivist, Princeton University Library.

HSP Announces 2018 House Tour

The Historical Society of Princeton is pleased to present its 17th annual House Tour from 10 AM to 4 PM on Saturday, November 3, 2018. 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, and personal art collections during a self-guided tour of the homes throughout the day.

This year’s Tour will feature:

Photo by David Dales, Callaway Henderson Sotheby’s International Realty

86 Mercer Street: This stunning Italianate and Gothic style house is the official residence for the President of the Princeton Theological Seminary. The noted architect, John Notman, also responsible for Prospect House, Lowrie House, and Guernsey Hall in Princeton, designed the original portion of the house, circa 1851. Built on land owned by the Stockton family, the house was presented by Commodore Robert Field Stockton to his son, probably as a wedding present. The house has enjoyed a recent major renovation, with much of the magnificent original cast ironwork restored and with modifications to make the building comfortable as a modern family home.

50 Random Road: This stucco contemporary architectural specimen was designed by Hillier Studio in 2012. The house represents a growing wave of modern and sustainable design in Princeton, featuring a sedum-covered green roof, rain cistern, bamboo flooring, smart thermostats, solar panels, and an electric car charging station. The house boasts large, open common spaces to encourage togetherness. Beechwood Landscape Architecture and Construction developed the relaxing outdoor space, through which Harry’s Brook gently flows.

34 Cleveland Lane: This classic early twentieth-century stone house, one of the earliest residences on Cleveland Lane, enjoyed a recent top-to-bottom renovation by A+B Architectural Design Lab, blending a contemporary addition with original historic features. A large, sun-soaked eat-in kitchen was added during the renovation and the backyard was luxuriously re-landscaped. An extended sunroom with cork flooring opens toward a sleek new pool. Dutch Masters art graces the home’s walls.

117 Library Place: This grand Georgian Revival home was built on the former Morven Tract in 1905 by the Matthews Construction Company, which later built many of the notable stone buildings on the Princeton University campus. The house has had a number of distinguished owners, including Judge William Clark, Chief Justice of the Allied Appeals Court in Nuremburg, Ambassador Ann Martindell, and Nicholas Katzenbach, Attorney General of the United States under President Lyndon Johnson. The current owners impressively renovated the expansive dwelling. Some exuberant features from when the house served as a Junior League showhouse remain, including a vibrantly hued staircase personally painted by architect Michael Graves. The house contains an exciting collection of 19th and 20th century art from around the world.

72 Library Place: Prolific Princeton builder-architect Charles Steadman built this house in 1836 at 26 Library Place. The house was moved to its current location in 1889, where Woodrow Wilson, then a Princeton University faculty member, made his first home in Princeton, before becoming Governor of New Jersey and President of the United States. Maps, prints, and African sculpture pepper the home’s comfortably-appointed rooms. Classic Steadman details, such as elegant transoms, molding, and fireplaces, remain preserved. A formal garden sits adjacent to the house.

Photo courtesy of Callaway Henderson Sotheby’s International Realty

52 Arreton Road: Also known as Rothers Barrows, this house, designed by famed Philadelphia architect Wilson Eyre. Jr. of Eyre and McIlvaine, was built in 1919 as part of a large Princeton equestrian estate. Comfortable American country houses, like 52 Arreton Road, define Eyre’s legacy. One of New Jersey’s finest examples of the American Arts and Crafts style, Rothers Barrows is on both the New Jersey and National Register of Historic Places. The current owners extensively renovated and restored the home, preserving important period features such as original Moravian tile, windows, and woodwork. Publications have featured the intricate foyer ceiling.

“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 almost two centuries of architectural development in Princeton and the varied styles that define our town’s landscape. We’re so pleased to be able to recognize homeowners who steward this long legacy of magnificent architecture in Princeton. The House Tour is always an enjoyable and enriching experience for all involved!”

Advance tickets 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 mission activities throughout the year, including exhibitions, historical collections access, and engaging educational programming for schools, families, and adults.

For more information or to purchase tickets, please call 609.921.6748 x106. Tickets may also be purchased online here. On the day of the event, all tickets must be purchased at Updike Farmstead, 354 Quaker Road, before venturing to any of the houses on the Tour. This is a change from previous years’ ticket purchasing policies.

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

HSP Presents Second Annual HistoryFest

The Historical Society of Princeton (HSP) is hosting its second annual HistoryFest on Sunday, September 30, between 1:00 and 4:00 PM at Updike Farmstead. This year’s theme is “Edible History.”

Admission is free, and guests are invited to bring a picnic lunch (or snack) to enjoy on the grounds, along with music and lawn games. Special activities include hands-on cooking for families, a costumed presentation, “Revolutionary Tea,” and an Open Archive featuring artifacts and documents from HSP’s collection.

“We’re always so excited to welcome community members of all ages to Updike Farmstead, particularly for HistoryFest,” said Izzy Kasdin, Executive Director of the Historical Society. “HistoryFest presents multifaceted activities that allow visitors to enjoy all that our historic property has to offer, and we’re thrilled that we can share the full day’s events free of charge with the community.”

HistoryFest is made possible by the generous support of Charles Schwab.

At 1:30 and 3:00 PM, educator Brianna Nurse, of Edible History, brings participants a food history experience that focuses on the ingredients and cooking styles of New Jersey residents of the past. The class is structured as a group learning experience, with a mini-lecture, followed by a hands-on cooking activity creating dishes with ingredients of the Lenni-Lenape and European settlers. The class will highlight the seasonal food lifestyles of both groups, including their diets, farming, and food storage practices. Registration, available online, is recommended, as space is limited. For ages 8 and up.

At 2:30 PM, History on the Hoof’s Stacy Roth presents her signature performance, “Revolutionary Tea,” which includes the social history of the era, as well as quotations, poetry, prose, and songs about the popular, and once controversial, beverage.

Throughout the afternoon, visitors can interact with HSP collections materials from classic Princeton restaurants and food culture. HSP’s Curator of Collections and Research, Stephanie Schwartz, will be on hand to share information and answer questions. In addition, between 1:00 and 3:00, a representative from the Peacock Inn will be there to share historical knowledge of the iconic property, as well as their vision for its future.