Building a Community: Italian Americans of Princeton
September 12, 1993 – June 12, 1994
1995 Exhibition on Albert Einstein
March 5, 1995 – September 15, 1995
March 1, 1996 -September 15, 1996
Rolf W. Bauhan
June 27, 1997 – February 7, 1998
The Rose Family Studio
March 25, 1998 – December 31, 1998
May 25, 1999 – April 25, 2000
Old Traditions, New Beginnings: Celebrating 250 Years of Princeton Jewish History
June 6, 2000 – March 31, 2001
From Towpath to Bikepath
April 23, 2002 – March 1, 2003
October 14, 2004-September 25, 2005
November 1, 2005- September 3, 2006
The Windmill Turns Slowly
November 1, 2005 – September 3, 2006
Princeton During the Civil War
October 17, 2006 -July 15, 2007
Landscapes by Brett Weaver
July 31, 2007 -August 19, 2007
100 Waiting Children
July 21, 2009- August 16, 2009
Princeton in the 1930s
September 11, 2007-July 13, 2008
Stand Up, Speak Out
September 3, 2008- July 5, 2009
July 21, 2009- August 16, 2009
September 2, 2009- January 18, 2010
February 9, 2010 – July 4, 2010
The Recession Hits Home
July 20, 2010 – August 22, 2010
Princeton’s First Responders
September 7, 2010 – January 17, 2011
Caring Kids in the Community
July 20- October 19, 2011
The Art of First Lady Ellen Axson Wilson
February 8 – September 15, 2012
Progress at the Updike Farmstead, 2009-2010
January 1 – September 15, 2012
We ♥ Princeton: Stories from the Street
February 14, 2013 – January 6, 2014
2014 Concentric Circles of Influence: The Queenston Press
December 2013 – June 2014
On September 12, 1993, The Historical Society of Princeton opened the exhibition, Building a Community: Italian Americans of Princeton as part of the celebration to reopen Bainbridge House after the building’s major restoration. The exhibition ran through June 12, 1994. Building a Community featured loans from twenty-five individuals, families and community groups. Guest Curator Mary-Angela Hardwick interviewed many of the area’s older residents and collected photographs, documents such as passports and citizenship papers, and artifacts, including an elaborately embroidered banner from the Marconi Lodge of the Sons of Italy. An original wooden sign from Toto’s Market was among the artifacts that were recognizable to many Princetonians.
The exhibition examined the immigrant experience, work life, family life and social organizations that developed in the community. Some of the objects on display were brought here from Pettoranello and from the island of Ischia, areas from which many immigrants to Princeton originated. Other items, including a tiger-striped ballot box owned by the Marconi Lodge, reflect traditions which started in this country.
Many of the early Italian immigrants to Princeton were employed as stonemasons, carpenters, and foremen by the Matthews Construction Company, the general contractor for most of Princeton’s distinctive architecture from 1902 to 1960. Others worked in the local Margerum and McCarthy Quarries breaking and hauling the Lockatong argillite, a flint-like gray and maroon stone used in the construction of many of Princeton University’s buildings.
Mirroring the settlement patterns of most immigrant groups, Princeton’s Italians sought out and settled with their own countrymen. By 1910, over 75% of the residents of Humbert Street were Italian. Significant numbers of Italian immigrants were also living on Baker and Lytle Streets as well as Witherspoon Lane.
Italian immigrant numbers in Princeton continued to increase as relatives and friends arrived to join those already here. Numerous Italian-owned businesses were established including Zazzali’s Bakery on Vandeventer Avenue in 1895, Toto’s Market on Witherspoon Street in 1912, and Caruso’s tailor shop on Nassau Street in 1917.
Once settled in Princeton, the Italians began to establish social clubs and cultural organizations, such as the Italian-American Sportsmen’s Club. The groups often met at Dorothea’s House, located on John Street. Dorothea’s House was named in memory of Dorothea van Dyke McLane, a popular Sunday school teacher of the children of the Italian members of the First Presbyterian Church in Princeton. Dorothea’s House provided the Italian community a place to gather for club meetings, instruction, recreation, and entertainment. Space was provided for a library, billiards, and music room. Volunteers from the town and the University taught classes in English, math, and citizenship.
Although for most the assimilation process was a gradual one, the Italians of Princeton generally began to participate in the freedoms and liberties provided by their new lives in the United States. Many proudly became American citizens, joined political parties, spoke out in behalf of a variety of causes and served with honor in the American armed forces.
Since their arrival in Princeton over 100 years ago, Italian Americans have worked with enduring vitality to overcome the difficulties faced by so many of America’s new immigrants. Most were able to achieve for themselves and their families the dreams which brought them to America. Today, the Italian-American community continues to be an integral part of the social, economic and cultural framework of Princeton, infusing it with warmth and enthusiastic life.
Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) first gained worldwide prominence in 1919, when British astronomers verified predictions of Einstein’s general theory of relativity through measurements taken during a total eclipse. Einstein’s theories expanded upon, and in some cases refuted, universal laws formulated by Newton in the late seventeenth century.
Einstein captured the world’s imagination with his blend of brilliant scientific theories and humanitarian concern. Forty years after his death, the public is still intrigued by Einstein. Visitors come to Princeton from throughout the world to see where Einstein spent the last twenty years of his life.
“REVOLUTION IN SCIENCE
New Theory of the Universe
Newtonian Ideas Overthrown”
– The London Times, November 7, 1919
Einstein’s initial prominence stemmed from his spectacular, yet controversial, advances in theoretical physics, in particular his Special Theory of Relativity (1905) and his General Theory of Relativity (1916), in which he demonstrated the relationship between mass, energy, and gravitation. He was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize for his work in theoretical physics and, in particular, for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect. Einstein’s early work became popularized through the equation E=mc2.
Einstein’s contributions to physics also included advances in statistical mechanics and quantum theory, especially the quantum theory of radiation. During his years in Princeton, Einstein worked on a unified field theory, which sought to discover the relationship between two fundamental interactions of nature – gravitation and electromagnetism. Despite criticism from contemporary physicists and years of unsuccessful research, Einstein never relinquished his search for a unified field theory.
Although Einstein was best known for his theories and writings, he also applied science to daily life through his patents for a noiseless refrigerator, a light intensity self-adjusting camera, and a hearing aid.
Institute for Advanced Study
“. . .a haven where scholars and scientists may regard the world and its phenomena
as their laboratory without being carried off in the maelstrom of the immediate.”
– Abraham Flexner, 1931
The Institute for Advanced Study was founded in 1930 by noted educator Abraham Flexner, with funding from department store magnate Louis Bamberger and his sister Mrs. Felix Fuld. Advised to begin this experiment with one field of study, Flexner chose mathematics because it was a fundamental subject which required the smallest investment in buildings or books; there was also greater agreement on the identity of the most eminent mathematicians than on leading scholars in other disciplines.
Flexner first recruited noted mathematicians from Princeton University to join the Institute, and Einstein accepted a faculty position in August, 1932. During the 1930s, Flexner broadened the scope of the Institute by including established scholars in economics, politics, and humanistic studies.
Throughout his tenure at the Institute, Einstein worked closely with numerous assistants on his unified field theory. Although Einstein officially retired from the Institute in 1945, he continued his research there until his death in 1955.
“I do not consider myself the father of the release of atomic energy.”
– Albert Einstein, Atomic War or Peace, 1945
In the late 1930s, rapid advances in physics led to the discovery of the fission process, making possible a controlled chain reaction; this meant that the release of atomic power could be sustained at a controllable rate. Many physicists believed that this energy could be harnessed in a powerful nuclear weapon. As political conditions in Europe continued to deteriorate, many scientists became concerned that the German government might have access to the knowledge and materials needed to construct such a weapon. Under the leadership of Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard, scientists, including Einstein, sought to warn the United States government of the need “for watchfulness and, if necessary, quick action on the part of the Administration.”
Einstein collaborated with fellow physicists Leo Szilard, Eugene Wigner, and Edward Teller on a letter in August, 1939, informing President Roosevelt of recent discoveries that indicated it might be possible to build “extremely powerful bombs of a new type.” Motivated by a host of factors, including Einstein’s letter, President Roosevelt initiated programs that led to the Manhattan Project and the eventual development of the atomic bomb.
Einstein’s role in the development and use of nuclear weapons has attained mythic proportions. As Einstein stated after World War II, “My participation in the production of the atomic bomb consisted of one single act: I signed a letter to President Roosevelt . . . in which I emphasized the necessity of conducting large-scale experimentation with regard to the feasibility of producing an atom bomb. . . I saw no alternative but to act as I did, although I have always been a convinced pacifist.”
Einstein opposed the use of the atomic bomb; he urged the United States to demonstrate the weapon to foreign governments rather than use it on an actual target. He was at the forefront of the campaign waged by atomic scientists beginning in the mid-1940s to educate the public and the leaders of the world about the implications of nuclear energy and the absolute necessity of not developing nuclear weapons. As late as the spring of 1955, Einstein worked with Bertrand Russell to launch a project to start a worldwide movement among scientists to reverse the Cold War trend toward nuclear war.
112 Mercer Street
“But I also found Princeton fine. A pipe as yet unsmoked. Young and fresh.
Much is to be expected from America’s youth.”
-Einstein to a reporter in 1921
In 1932 Albert Einstein accepted a position at the newly-created Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Coming to Princeton in October 1933, he and his wife Elsa, along with his personal secretary Helen Dukas, spent ten days at the Peacock Inn, while Elsa looked for a suitable house and Einstein dodged reporters.
The Einsteins’ first two years in Princeton were spent in a two-family house at 2 Library Place. By 1935 Einstein had decided to remain in Princeton and began the formal process of obtaining permanent residency in the United States. The family moved to the white, two-story house at 112 Mercer Street, which would become their permanent home.
After Einstein’s death in 1955 (Elsa had died in 1936), his daughter Margot and Helen Dukas remained in the house until their deaths in 1986 and 1982, respectively. At Einstein’s request the house has never been turned into a museum or public shrine; today it is owned by the Institute for Advanced Study and is used as a private residence.
“. . . these two old people sitting together with their bushy hair, in complete agreement, understanding and love.”
-Lily Kahler, a close family friend, describing Einstein and his sister Maja
After Elsa Einstein’s death, Helen Dukas took charge of the household, which consisted of Einstein, his daughter Margot, and his sister Maja. Einstein was devoted to his sister, who lived with him from 1939 until her death in 1951, reading to her nightly after she was bedridden from a stroke.
Einstein had two sons, Hans Albert and Eduard, from his first marriage to Mileva Maric, which ended in divorce. In 1919 he married his cousin, Elsa Einstein Löwenthal, and adopted her two daughters, Ilse and Margot. (Ilse died of an illness in 1934.) Margot, an artist and sculptor, shared a deep love of nature with her father.
Devoting the majority of his time to scientific work, Einstein also found enjoyment in sailing, often taking advantage of Princeton’s Lake Carnegie, and music, especially the work of Mozart. Einstein was a well-known figure in Princeton, due in no small part to his shock of white hair, his refusal to wear socks, and his total absorption in scientific problems. Many Princeton residents have fond memories of spotting the famous physicist, lost in thought, walking to and from his office at the Institute for Advanced Study.
Celebrations and Commemorations
“. . . especially when he has, through no will of his own, become a kind of legend in his own lifetime. All manner of fable is being attached to his personality, and there is no end to the number of ingeniously devised tales.”
-Einstein describing himself in a 1954 letter to his lifelong friend Elizabeth, the Queen Mother of Belgium
Einstein’s scientific achievements, coupled with his unpretentious attitude and concern for humanity, made him a beloved, world-renowned figure. Wherever he traveled he was mobbed by people hoping to catch a glimpse of or even touch the genius who had changed their perception of the universe. Einstein himself never understood the public’s fascination with his every word and deed, saying once: “Why is it that nobody understands me and everybody likes me?”
Every year on March 14, Einstein would receive cards, letters, and telegrams with birthday wishes from throughout the world. Even on the centennial of his birth, in 1979, the world celebrated with newspaper and magazine articles, symposiums, publications, and commemorative stamps.
Einstein died on April 18, 1955 in Princeton Hospital; he was cremated and his ashes scattered in an undisclosed location. The worldwide fascination with this kind and gentle genius has not dissipated to this day.
“. . . my relationship to the Jewish people has become my strongest human bond, ever since I became fully aware of our precarious situation among the nations of the world.”
-Einstein in a letter to Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, November 18, 1952
In the early 1930s Einstein recognized the threat that Hitler posed to Jews living in Germany and to himself in particular as a world-famous Jew. In 1932 Einstein left his country of birth never to return. Throughout the thirties Einstein was deluged with pleas for help from relatives and strangers desperate to flee fascism in Europe. Working against harsh immigration quotas imposed against Jews, Einstein wrote affidavits and enlisted the help of friends in assisting as many refugees as possible. By the end of the 1930s, Einstein had written so many affidavits that his signature on a document no longer carried any weight.
At the same time, Einstein was busy raising funds for organizations such as the United Jewish Appeal, and working toward securing a Jewish homeland in Palestine, which was realized in 1948 by the creation of the State of Israel. When Chaim Weizmann, the first President of Israel and an old friend of Einstein’s, died in 1952 Einstein was offered the Presidency. He regretfully declined, writing: “I am deeply moved by the offer from our State of Israel, and at once saddened and ashamed that I cannot accept it.”
“. . . I have become a kind of enfant terrible in my new homeland, due to my inability to keep silent and to swallow everything that happens there.”
-Einstein in a 1954 letter to his lifelong friend Elizabeth, the Queen Mother of Belgium
Einstein was a lifelong pacifist dedicated to the establishment of a World Government, which he felt would allow nations to work together and abolish the need for war. He could not keep silent about the ills he saw in society; during the anti-communist “witch hunts” of the 1950s Einstein spoke out against the persecution of those who were accused of being “unAmerican,” urging them to commit civil disobedience. He saw a parallel between the American political climate of the postwar period and the fascism of Europe in the thirties.
In answer to a request for advice from William Frauenglass, a Brooklyn high school teacher under investigation by the Senate Internal Security subcommittee, Einstein wrote a letter which was published in The New York Times on June 12, 1953. It read, in part: “Every intellectual who is called before one of the committees ought to refuse to testify, i.e., he must be prepared for jail and economic ruin, in short, for the sacrifice of his personal welfare in the interest of the cultural welfare of his country.”
EINSTEIN: CULTURAL ICON
Einstein in Popular Culture
“…the public image of Albert Einstein has come to represent intelligence in general, and the scientific mind in particular.”
Alan J. Friedman and Carol C. Donley, Einstein as Myth and Muse
A well-known image in marketing and advertising, Albert Einstein graces magazine ads, T-shirts, mugs, cartoons, calendars, and post cards, and is featured in popular films. The wild-haired, sockless, disheveled, eccentric genius with a heart–our popular culture hero, Einstein–is the currently accepted symbol of intelligence.
Einstein’s image in the mass media evolved during and after his lifetime. Overwhelmingly positive views of Einstein as an intellectual hero prior to the Second World War gave way to tragic portrayals linking him to the development of the atom bomb in the years following the war. Though E=mc2 had no crucial role in the unleashing of atomic energy, Einstein was portrayed in popular culture as the sorrowful father of the atomic age, whose genius was used to tragic ends.
As this mythical connection between Einstein and the atomic bomb was gradually refuted, his name and face once again became the symbol of genius. His status as an icon evolved from intellectual hero to intel-lectual victim and back again. Today, Einstein is again a popular culture hero.
March 1, 1996 marked a pivotal moment in Princeton history; the exhibition, A Community Remembers: African-American Life in Princeton opened at the Historical Society of Princeton. This was a watershed moment not only for African Americans but for the entire Princeton community, for after two centuries the presence and contributions of African Americans in Princeton was finally being recognized. Hailing this event as significant does not imply that Princeton’s African-American community needs recognition to validate its existence. In fact, the community’s long-standing presence suggests quite the opposite
A Community Remembers: African-American Life in Princeton was theculmination of over a year’s worth of research and planning in 1995 and 1996. Funding from the New Jersey Historical Commission, the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, the J. Seward Johnson, Sr. Charitable Trusts, and other sources, and the time and support provided by community members enabled the Historical Society to present some of the issues, concerns and remembrances of African-American Princetonians.
A Short History
African Americans in Princeton have been a vital community presence dating back to the late 17th-century when Blacks worked as slaves on large farms and in homes. (There was also a free Black community in Princeton dating from about 1687.) Under the Gradual Abolition of Slavery Law (1804), Black males born into slavery were to be free upon their 25th birthday, and females, at their 21st birthday.
Employment opportunities developed as the College of New Jersey, which had moved to Princeton in 1756, grew from a small college into a major institution of higher learning. Increasing wealth in the community created a high demand for labor and service positions that were generally filled by African Americans. By about 1910, there was also an extremely active Black business community; florists, barbershops, candy stores, beauty parlors, restaurants, clothing stores, and taxi services were owned and run by Black entrepreneurs.
In 1929, Edgar Palmer announced plans to develop a commercial square in the heart of town. The construction called for the shifting of a neighborhood which housed primarily Black residents. Houses were moved and new ones were built on Birch Avenue to accommodate the displaced residents. Housing continued to be a problem for the African American community up to the 1950s when an Urban Renewal Plan proposed tearing down homes and building public housing. Residents defeated the plan.
Churches acted as the backbone of the African-American community, as they provided a center for personal and spiritual development. Community schools offered instruction during an era where unequal access to educational opportunities was legal and common. The increasing availability of housing and jobs with private businesses gave many residents a feeling of permanence and a stake in the development of their community.
Princeton’s African-American community has withstood segregated schooling and theaters, limited employment opportunities, escalating housing costs, and the subtle but powerful effects of racial discrimination. Through the 1990s, many African Americans still expressed concerns over issues such as the rising cost of housing, which has pushed many people outside of the community, and discrepancies in education and employment opportunities. The memories of struggle, and of past accomplishments, remind everyone that progress is an on-going process that must be taken on by new generations to come.
The Albert E. Hinds Memorial Walking Tour: African-American Life in Princeton
In 1996, a walking tour of the African-American community was established. Shirley Satterfield, HSP trustee, has led these tours since that time and continues to offer them to the public and private groups. In 2007, the Historical Society of Princeton renamed this walking tour in memory of Princeton resident, Albert Hinds.
Albert E. Hinds was born in Princeton on April 14, 1902. He and his siblings attended the Princeton segregated school, Witherspoon School for Colored Children, and he continued his education at Talladega College in Talladega, Alabama.
Mr. Hinds’ services to the Princeton community were numerous. In 1925, he, along with another resident of Princeton, reopened the Colored YMCA that had been closed for a number of years. He served as the Y’s physical director, and in 1933 was the playground director for both Hightstown and Princeton. Another notable accomplishment was helping to pave Nassau Street, transforming it from a simple dirt road to major thoroughfare.
Over the years, Mr. Hinds was a member of the Zoning Board, a trustee of the Mt. Pisgah AME Church, and on the advisory board of the Historical Society of Princeton. An invaluable member of the community, Mr. Hinds passed away in Princeton at the age of 104.
A self-guided brochure of The Albert E. Hinds Memorial Walking Tour is available to purchase from the Historical Society for $1. Private group tours may also be arranged. Please contact Eve Mandel, email@example.com or 609.921.6748 x100 for more information.
June 27, 1997 – February 7, 1998
The exhibition, Craftsmanship, Comfort, and Elegance: The Architecture of Rolf W. Bauhan, 1920-1966, was on view at Bainbridge House from June 27, 1997 to February 7, 1998. The exhibition celebrated the work of Rolf W. Bauhan whose architectural designs of homes and buildings greatly influenced the physical character of the Princeton community. Over a span of five decades, from the 1920s to the mid-sixties, he designed more than 70 buildings and renovated or designed additions to more than 150 other local buildings.
The exhibition included 150 architectural drawings, details, renderings, photographs, and sketch books. They are part of a collection of more than 2,000 architectural drawings and photographs in the Historical Society’s Bauhan collection, which was acquired from the family in the early 1990s.
Emily Croll, former director of HSP and curator of the exhibition noted that, “Bauhan designed in many revival styles, including Tudor and Norman; however, the majority of his work was Colonial Revival. Over the course of his very prolific career, he became known for the fine craftsmanship of his buildings, his ability to integrate historical styles with the needs of modern living, and his attention to detail. Every house he built in Princeton is still standing, and most have only had two or three owners, even those built in the 1920s.”
Bauhan’s many prominent clients included H. Alexander Smith, former U.S. senator from New Jersey; James Kerney, owner of the Trenton Times and an important supporter of Woodrow Wilson; Richard H. Church, heir to the Church & Dwight Company, manufacturers of Arm and Hammer Baking Soda; and Kenneth Chorley, first director of Colonial Williamsburg, who also engaged Bauhan as a consultant to Colonial Williamsburg.
Bauhan is also considered to be Princeton’s first preservation architect. Included among the many historic structures he restored and renovated were Bainbridge House, Tusculum and Morven.
Bauhan was a member of the Princeton University class of 1914. In the 1920s, Bauhan returned to the University and became the first Princeton graduate to be awarded a degree of Master of Fine Arts from the newly-formed School of Architecture.
The exhibition was made possible in part through the support of the James Kerney Foundation, Caroline and Helmut Weymar, Everett and Barbara Garretson, Elizabeth and John Tukey, Dr. and Mrs. James J. Chandler, Mrs. Francis G. Clark, and others.
In 1994, the Historical Society of Princeton acquired its single largest photographic resource: the Rose Collection of glass plate and film negatives. This collection includes nearly 10,000 glass plate negatives from the Rose photographic studio which operated in Princeton from the early 1870s to 1951. While an intact group of this many glass plates is unusual, what makes the Rose Collection particularly significant is that it consists of images of the Princeton community created by three generations of one family. These photographs are especially important because they are the work of professional rather than amateur photographers. The exhibition demonstrates the wide range of work required for the studio to remain a viable business.
This exhibition is truly a community “work in progress.” Because of the loss of studio records and the age of the images, many are unidentified. We hope that visitors may recognize some unknown subjects and have information to contribute. All photographic images in the exhibition are numbered; visitors are invited to place any information they may have into the “ID Box” in the Main Hall. (Please use the forms provided.)
The exhibition was made possible by major grants from:
the New Jersey Historical Commission,
the Horizon Foundation, and
RCN of New Jersey and the History Channel.
Additional funding was provided by
the Rotary Club of Princeton, Cy and Jackie Meisel,
Annette Merle-Smith, Betty Reed, and
Anastasia Schulze in memory of her grandmother, Lucy H. Schulze.
Exhibition curators: Maureen M. Smyth and Sally K. Davidson;
exhibition designer: Steve Tucker;
exhibition interns: Marisa Morigi and David Rodan;
curatorial assistants: Dante Arcamone, and Maryline Cotentin-Agrawala;
exhibiton committee: Henry Drewry, Elric Endersby, Wanda Gunning,
Jackie Meisel, Gail Stern, and Elizabeth Bates Zenowich;
costume consultant: Marie Miller; additional assistance: Janet Arrington,
Harriet Callaway, Bernie Danish, Christine Finklestein, Herb Halprin, George Helmke,
Albert Hinds, David Koch, Jake Lutz, Henry Pannell, Benjamin Primer, Jane Rudes,
Shirley Satterfield, and Evelyn Turner.
Exhibition preparation: Steven Rowland with Andy Schmitt, and Joe Waldron;
photographic processing: Taylor Photo, Sally K. Davidson, and David C. Wurtzel;
photographic mounting: Framesmith Gallery;
business contributors: Smyth Electric and Urkins Hardware
Rose collection volunteers: John Apostolos, Dante Arcamone, James Goodman,
Henry Isaac, Winnie Okamitsu, Libby Shanefield, and Jessica Stearn;
Rose collection committee: Jackie Meisel, Larry Parsons, Helen Schwartz,
and Betty Reed.
The Rose Family
Royal Hill Rose was born in Hudson, NY in 1840. After serving in the Civil War, he worked in photographic studios in Newark, NJ and Poughkeepsie, NY. He started his Princeton photography studio in 1873, where it remained until 1951. Rose was a respected member of the business and town community. He served on the Princeton Borough Council as Commissioner of Streets and was active in local politics, the Hook and Ladder fire company, and the Princeton Continentals, a militia company which frequently re- staged the Battle of Princeton.
An experienced photographer, Royal Hill Rose demonstrated the methods of the older daguerreotype process at the San Francisco World Expositon in 1894. Great-grand daughter Virginia Rose Hinson relates that Royal Hill Rose also attended the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis “…to demonstrate both the older daguerreotype and the newer plate method of photography. [He] was said to be one of the very few men in the country who knew both methods.” The July 20, 1904 Princeton Press reports that his photographs of Princeton’s Model School were displayed as part of that Fair’s exhibits.
Son Royal Cutting Rose joined the business around 1889. He, too, was an active community member. He played flute and piccolo in the town band and, like his father, served as a fireman. Carlton Wallace Rose joined the family studio started by his grandfather and continued by his father. Before becoming a photographer, he worked as a paymaster in a New York shipyard and for the Woolworth Building construction project. Like both his father and grandfather, Carlton’s passion was fishing. In 1951, Carlton W. Rose, Sr. closed the studio after three generations and 78 years of operations.
The Rose Photography Business
When Royal Hill Rose came to Princeton in the early 1870s, he started his photography business at 60 Nassau Street. In 1881, he opened a new studio at 34 Nassau Street, the old Post Office building. He and his family lived in the apartment above the shop. The Rose studio remained there until the 1950s. Photographs were taken in his studio as well as throughout the community.
In his January 15, 1876 Princeton Press ad Royal Hill Rose declared himself a “Practical Photographer.” The Rose studio accepted diverse work ranging from formal portraits to landscapes to copies of photographs. His ad in the 1887 Princeton Directory proclaims, “Students [sic] Rooms a Specialty.” All through their tenure in Princeton, the Rose family faced competition from photographers in Princeton and the surrounding communities including New York. By 1914, four other studios operated in Princeton Borough.
By 1889, the studio’s official name had become Rose & Son, acknowledging son Royal Cutting Rose’s place in the business. After the death of Royal Hill Rose in 1918, the business continued as R.C. Rose & Son with grandson Carlton Wallace Rose, Sr. joining the family business. The studio remained a family business until the 1951 when Carlton Wallace Rose, Sr. closed up shop.
In 1868, a colossal-columned house in the form of a Greek temple arrived by barge from Massachusetts, disembarked at Princeton Basin, traveled up Alexander Street, and settled into Dr. Miller’s orchard on Mercer Street. The Reverend George Sheldon had purchased the orchard in 1866 and had plans drawn up for a new house in the latest Victorian fashion. But when his brother died, leaving Sheldon a family house in Northhampton, Massachusetts, Sheldon came up with a new idea. He took a Princeton builder to Northhampton to evaluate the practicality of moving the 1830s wooden house to Princeton. The house was disassembled, freighted through Connecticut to New York City, shipped up the Raritan River, barged through the D & R Canal to Princeton Basin, and reassembled on Sheldon’s new parcel.
The Sheldon House was not the first building moved in Princeton, nor, surprisingly, did its long-distance move attract much notice at the time. Within a few short years after the Sheldon House arrived, moving older buildings became commonplace, as Princeton and its major institutions grew. Over the next one hundred and thirty years, nearly two hundred buildings were moved in Princeton. Not only is the number of relocated buildings astounding, but the types of buildings, the changes made to the buildings during and after the moves, the distances moved, and the locations and characteristics of the new sites are very diverse. Elegant houses, modest workers’ cottages, elaborate Victorian dwellings, stately Colonial Revival houses, estate outbuildings, clubhouses, churches, pharmacies, boarding houses, a rectory, a theater, and a school are among the buildings moved to new locations. Some buildings were moved twice, two houses were moved three times, and three houses were moved to Princeton from other states.
Old Traditions, New Beginnings: Celebrating 250 Years of Princeton Jewish History
June 6, 2000 – March 31, 2001
An exhibition on the history of Princeton’s Jewish community, Old Traditions, New Beginnings: Celebrating 250 Years of Princeton Jewish History, presented by the Historical Society of Princeton and The Jewish Center of Princeton, opened on June 6, 2000 and ran through March 31, 2001. The show coincided with The Jewish Center’s 50th anniversary celebration. Part of the exhibition was installed at each of the two locations. The Historical Society’s portion provided a broad picture of the Princeton Jewish community’s history through photos, documents, and artifacts.
Subjects covered in the exhibition included early arrivals, family life, social organizations, work and business pursuits, religious traditions, institutional life, and incidents of anti-Semitism.
The earliest item in the exhibition was an account book, dated 1737-1769, kept by Ann Elizabeth Schuyler of New York City. In it are listed transactions in the years 1737-1739 pertaining to a Judah Mears of “Prince-town,” a Jewish merchant with business dealings in New York and Princeton. Also included were journals, photographs and a portrait illustrating the life of Sarah Marks, originally of New Orleans, who converted to the Episcopalian faith after her marriage to John P. Stockton in May 1845.
Early itinerants were documented through photographs and an autobiography. The families who settled in Princeton in the 1920s and ‘30s established shops and other businesses. In 1926, under the leadership of local jeweler Isadore P. Braveman, 25 families joined to form Princeton’s first synagogue, B’nai Zion. Services were held in the Branch Building on Witherspoon Street and later in the same building’s Spring Street storefront. (A large, embroidered quilt, with scores of names of the founding congregants of B’nai Zion, and non-Jews who purchased squares as part of an early fundraiser, was featured in the show.) Other families who settled in Princeton in the 1920s and ‘30s established apparel shops, a stationery store, a furniture shop, a jewelry store, and a variety of other businesses.
The most famous of the Nazi refugees who found a home in Princeton in the 1930s was the world-renowned physicist and Nobel Prize winner, Albert Einstein. He was among the scholars who were rescued from Europe and brought to Princeton by the Institute for Advanced Study, which was established in 1930 by the Bamberger and Fuld families of Newark and Philadelphia.
The refugees included such distinguished academicians as Eric Kahler, Erwin Panofsky and Elias Lowe. Photographs and correspondence documented their contributions to Jewish activism and philanthropy, particularly during the war.
The exhibition included evidence that Jews were not always welcomed into the Princeton community. A property deed dated 1937, for land which would later become the residential development Carnassa Park, includes restrictive covenants prohibiting those “of Hebrew or Hittite extraction, or members of the Hebrew faith” from buying a house. (The term “Hittite” was meant to include anyone of Near Eastern origin.)
In the years following World War II, the number of corporations locating in the area and the opening up of opportunity for faculty at Princeton University encouraged Jews to make their homes in the community. Many made substantial contributions in the areas of aeronautics, engineering, communications, physics, mathematics, and other fields.
At Princeton University a parallel experience could be found. Princeton University maintained its sectarian character and restrictive admissions until after the Second World War. A portrait of Solomon Lefschetz, the first tenured Jewish professor, was among those included in the exhibition. As early as the Class of 1863, Albert H. Mordecai, a Jew from Baltimore, is listed as a student and was very likely the first to enter the University. He left before graduating to join the Confederate Army. Moe Berg, one of the first Jews to play baseball in the major leagues, was an American spy during World War II. A photo of Berg and the Princeton University baseball team was also included.
In 1870 the University began the practice of determining religious affiliations of students which then were published in yearbooks. Class statistics indicate that between 1879 and 1950, the number of Jewish students was small. During that seventy-five year period 796 registered as Jewish—a little over an average of ten students per class in those years.
In 1950, the University dropped the question regarding religion from admission forms and in 1958, the Interclub Committee repudiated its position on quotas and accepted responsibility for eliminating discrimination at all eating clubs. Yavneh House for orthodox Jewish students was established in 1967 at 46 Wiggins Street with four full-time residents, and in 1982 the University offered its first class in the study of Yiddish.
The current Jewish Center synagogue building, designed by Abraham Goodman, includes the art and craftsmanship of New Jersey artisans. Princeton artist Judith Brodsky advised on the elements of the sanctuary. Sculptor John Goodyear designed the exterior wall relief sculptures; Emanuel Millstein, the ark; Harold Rabinowitz, the eternal light and other decorative elements; and Judith Wadia, the leaded glass windows. Articles, artifacts, and photographs documenting the history of the Jewish Center building and community were featured in the Jewish Center portion of the exhibition.
From Towpath to Bike Path:
Princeton and the Delaware & Raritan Canal
April 23, 2002 – March 1, 2003
In 1830, a charter was granted simultaneously creating the Delaware & Raritan Canal and the Camden & Amboy Railroad, and construction was started on both in that same year. Commodore Robert F. Stockton and his father-in-law John Potter, both prominent Princetonians, provided much of the capital for the construction of the canal. By 1834, the canal was fully completed and formally opened for navigational business. The new canal allowed freight goods to bypass the hazardous coastal waters of the Atlantic while also avoiding lengthy land expeditions.
The D & R Canal served as one of America’s busiest canal routes during its one hundred year lifespan. In 1859, it broke the Erie Canal’s record for tonnage carried. From Tow Path to Bike Path: Princeton and the Delaware & Raritan Canal explores the history of the D & R Canal and its relation to the development and settlement of the Princeton area.
The exhibition also looks at the creation of the D & R Canal: its Princeton origins and administrative center, its construction, and its technological systems. Included is background on the development of Princeton Basin, a canal settlement of over forty buildings as well as a turning basin, an area for loading and unloading boats. Although about half of the buildings of Princeton Basin were related to the operation of the canal, the other half were a result of the increased industry the canal brought to Princeton. Princeton Basin was home to dealers of lumber, coal, and groceries; a bottling plant; tradesmen such as paperhangers, shoemakers, and innkeepers; and small factories manufacturing window sashes and blinds, and bricks. The life of the boatmen, lock tenders, and their families are also presented.
The exhibition discusses environmental and preservation issues surrounding the canal in the recent past such as water supply use, habitat creation, recreation, and concerns about preserving open space. The D & R Canal was closed to industrial transportation in 1932, and in 1973 declared a National Historic Site. Sixty miles of the canal and the banks bordering it are now a state park that serves as a link between more than a dozen historic districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Historical Society of Princeton played a role in preserving the canal route as a park during this time period. Today, the park is a place where people boat, jog, bike, fish, and picnic.
1875 Mercer County Atlas, Everts and Stewart Major support for FROM TOWPATH TO BIKE PATH: PRINCETON AND THE DELAWARE & RARITAN CANAL was provided by the New Jersey Historical Commission, Department of State. Additional support was provided by The Bunbury Company and Princeton Rotary Club. Dorothy Hartman, Guest Curator, Maureen Smyth, Project Director, Steve Tucker, Exhibition Designer, Yvonne Skaggs, Research Assistant.
Events happen; history is what is remembered
In 1970, Elric Endersby was a 24-year-old Princeton native with a degree in Fine Arts and Architecture and a passion for the human side of history. One morning he wandered into Bainbridge House to observe the restoration of its front door. A casual conversation with board members of the Historical Society of Princeton turned serious, and Endersby left with an assignment to collect oral histories.
From this chance event began the Princeton History Project. As a separate organization affiliated with the Society, the Project was dedicated to collecting, preserving, and presenting memories as a resource for future study.
It was also a truly social phenomenon. As stories were recorded and special events held, senior citizens communicated with each other and the town at large. High school students, enlisted to help, found new appreciation for their own places in history. A broad range of ethnic and socio-economic groups was involved, their stories told in a most democratic form of scholarship.
During its decade and a half of activity, the Project had grand ambitions and meager funding. Only a labor of love, a zealous mission, or a wildly improbable quest could hope to succeed.
The Project was all of those things. And so it did.
This exhibition celebrates the accomplishments of the Princeton History Project, including the monthly publication it spawned, The Princeton Recollector. And it commemorates the donation of their archives to the Historical Society of Princeton, a bequest of tapes, transcripts, photographs, documents, and objects adding immensely to the Society’s holdings in late 19th and early 20th century history.
The spectrum of the Princeton History Project collection is illustrated by the photos, objects, and oral history excerpts featured in these rooms.
“There is more than simple satisfaction in realizing that you and the 80-year-old man sitting next to you learned to swim in the same stretch of brook.”
– Elric Endersby in Harper’s Weekly, June 20, 1975
The Princeton Recollector is Formed
So many good recollections deserved expression outside the typed transcriptions of taped interviews. Their initial outlet was “Princeton Yesteryear,” a column written by Elric Endersby for the Princeton Packet between 1972 and 1974. But a broader format beckoned, encompassing photographs and documents as well as reminiscences. The result was The Princeton Recollector, first published in May 1975.
Part newspaper, part magazine, the Recollector was abundant with information and illustrations laid out in a pleasing perfusion of period graphics. It was also a huge risk for Endersby and for Jamie Sayen, its first editor, who freely recognized they had no idea at first of what they were doing.
One good story begets another. The meeting series called TOWNSPEOPLE, co-sponsored by the Princeton History Project and the Public Library of Princeton, was a lively producer of oral histories. Held at the Library on a monthly basis from 1974 to 1981, TOWNSPEOPLE yielded hundreds of pages of remembered history from some 60 participants. It stimulated the donation of period photographs and objects to the Project.
And it was good, satisfying, instructive fun.
The Recollector quickly found its readership, and the publication blossomed. Free issues were distributed to retirement homes and geriatric facilities. It was supported by subscriptions and advertising, but the staff drew no pay.
Its creators worked day jobs and then assembled the paper until dawn in a cramped but congenial office in the Bainbridge House attic. Enthusiastic and sleep-deprived, these young idealists propagated the past.
“There was magic in the transformation of written words into living voices. I loved the way the people rose right off the pages of the Recollector, sharing their stories in their own words, the patterns and rhythms and color of their language illuminating both the teller and the telling.” – Tari Pantaleo, Recollector co-editor
In time, The Princeton Recollector had subscribers in 48 of the 50 states and several foreign countries. Most were former Princetonians who cherished the paper as a link to the town, its past, and each other.
Says Elric Endersby, “We referred to ourselves as a town alumni association.”
The Scholarly Significance of Oral Histories
Written sources (like census sheets or municipal records) provide verifiable facts. But oral histories are unmatched in their power to preserve a sense of the sights, smells, sounds, and experiences of bygone eras. Both have their place in historical research.
Our legal system wisely differentiates between first-hand eyewitness testimony and “hearsay” stories that have become inaccurate after passing through multiple listeners and tellers. Similarly, scholars must evaluate which oral histories contain valuable personal information and which merely perpetuate popular myths.
“Here at the Recollector, we don’t believe in using dry textbook documentation to recall any man …”—Editors, the Recollector
“The appearance of the Recollector has spurred me to attempt the rejuvenation of my memory buds … Meanwhile, I am anxiously awaiting the next issue.” – Fred Osborne, Savannah, Georgia, letter
“I am really pleased to see your information being returned to the community. Too often academics …collect material from ‘the folk’ and then consider them too unlettered to appreciate its value.” – Emilie W. Gould, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, letter
“Thank you for remembering us and saying we are missed … I knew I liked Princeton, but now I know it is the ideal place to live and work.” – Eleanor Waddell, former owner of Country Antiques, Richmond, Virginia, letter
“You can’t go back – but the Recollector does a fantastic job of taking us there.” – Robert J. Stout, Tustin, California, letter
A Link to Material Culture
Spontaneously, area residents began to donate photographs, letters, scrapbooks and other items to the Princeton History Project and the Recollector.
Old objects might seem unneeded, even junk. But in time, some may be recognized as having historical importance. Items donated to the Princeton History Project will now be preserved in the collections of the Historical Society of Princeton and help document the recent past.
“We were The Antiques Road Show of Princeton, to an extent. We didn’t get valuable objects, but things that you or your parents had and that were important to you.” – Jeff Macechak, Recollector photograph editor
One-Room Schoolhouses Recalled
In the years before widespread motor vehicle transportation, local schools were a necessity. During Project oral history recordings and special reunion events, area residents who had attended one-room schoolhouses in the nearby settlements of Stony Brook, Mount Lucas, Cedar Grove, and Mount Rose shared childhood memories of this primal and more personal era in American education.
“I always felt [Miss Louise Snook] was some great teacher because she had eight grades in one room … the way she worked it out was the older children taught the little ones. When I got toward eighth grade I taught them arithmetic and spelling … And of course that trained us, too … if there was a seeing or hearing problem she was very careful about that. The ones that couldn’t see so well or hear so well, they were in the front seat. She was a very fine teacher. She was ahead of her time, she really was.” — Helen Updike Wilson, student at Stony Brook School
“Of course, the children brought their lunches … I would heat up soup in the stove for anyone who wanted it. I suppose they paid me ten cents, and if anyone was too poor to pay I guess I just let them have it … I remember one time a boy – I was giving him soup because he was poor – and I found out he was going up to a little store on the corner, and he had money and was buying candy. So I guess we had a little talk about that.” – Eliza Reed Moore, teacher at Mount Rose School
Models Used to Recall Princeton’s Past
After attending Cedar Grove School, G. Vinton Duffield joined the Princeton University Library and became head of Circulation and Shelving. Duffield, who died in 1978, was also a skilled miniaturist who created delightfully accurate models of important Princeton buildings – recollections of a special kind.
“It’s surprising how many people have seen them … Someone sent me a photograph of one of them taken up at the Public Library with youngsters looking at it, which pleases me.” – G. Vinton Duffield
Although Princeton has been home to many world-famous persons, the Recollector and its informants took special delight in memories of colorful local characters, beloved businesses, and fond everyday activities that gave town life its shape.
“Too often, what is called history is but the record of the fairest fact of a single famous individual, or a favored few … Too often we forget that it takes the peasant as well as the priest and the president to make society, to form the constituency of a state.” — Cornelius W. Larison, 19th century historian, quoted in the Recollector
… And Not So Local Ones
Laurence Hutton, the literary editor of Harper’s Magazine, was a Princeton resident. The Recollector revealed that among those who visited him at his home “Peep O’Day” in the early 1900s were Samuel Clemens (better known as “Mark Twain,” author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn), and Helen Keller, who triumphed over deafness and blindness to become a writer and inspirational figure.
Norman Armour met Samuel Clemens (1835-1910) when he came to view the Armours’ splendid home library. It was snowing, and young Norman asked his mother for money to buy an expensive Flexible Flyer sled. Mrs. Armour pointedly remarked that when Mr. Clemens was a boy he probably built his own sled.
“Mr. Clemen’s left eyelid lowered slowly in my direction (he was always on the side of the young, you know) and he spoke very deliberately, very slowly. ‘Yes Ma’am, I suppose we did, and I advise no boy of this generation to slide down a hill on such a contraption.’
“He then commenced a detailed description of such an adventure, describing the rapid disintegration of the sled, piece by piece. ‘First one runner decides it has found a better route to the bottom. Then the other follows its lead, and finally the boards themselves assert their independence, until the unlucky carpenter finds himself sliding racily down the hill on little more than the skin God gave him.’”
“Whereupon my Mother handed over the money and I went off to buy my sled; but I didn’t buy a Flexible Flyer. No, I bought a cheaper sled and used the rest of the money to buy my first copies of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.” – Norman Armour
Mr. Armour also met the remarkable Helen Keller (1880-1968), whose wondrous schooling by Anne Sullivan later inspired the play and movie The Miracle Worker.
“Helen Keller came over to our house, brought by Mr. Hutton … she was deaf, dumb and blind, you see, but she conquered all that in some extraordinary way … she put her fingers to your lips and you were supposed to speak and she would know what you were saying … I was terrified, as a small boy … and said something about the weather, I suppose.” – Norman Armour
Albert Einstein (1879–1955) was the subject of major articles in the Recollector. Neighbors had fond memories of the kindly genius who had fled Nazi Europe to live among them. Einstein was recalled less for his far-reaching theories in advanced physics and more for his common touch, as a human being rather than an icon.
The Institute for Advanced Study, where Einstein was a faculty member, has graciously donated his furniture to the Historical Society of Princeton. Albert Einstein sat for many photographic portraits in this easy chair — a fitting setting for a man who was both famous and informal.
“Of course, Einstein received fan letters … and he would shake his head and say, ‘I absolutely cannot understand what the attraction of my personality is to all these people. What have I done to deserve all this attention?’ Many of these letters ended up in the waste basket, but he always answered when a child wrote.” — Alice “Lili” Kahler
“He used to walk by here on his way to the Institute with a couple of his satellites walking two steps behind, and we could set our clocks by the moment he came by this house. Something like four minutes past two every single day, with his little stocking cap on.” – M. Vreeland Barton
One evening, Albert Einstein was given a ride to a meeting of the Princeton chapter of the United Jewish Appeal by a Mr. Schweitzer, a German refugee who had a farm in Skillman.
“When it came to the end of the meeting, Mr. Schweitzer approached me very embarrassed that he would have to take the professor home in his truck, and he suggested someone else take him … [When I informed Einstein] he said, ‘Well, how is Mr. Schweitzer going to go home?’ I said, ‘Well, he’s going in his truck of course.’
“He said, ‘But I came with Mr. Schweitzer. That would be insulting to him if I went with someone else.’ He insisted and went back with Mr. Schweitzer in his dilapidated truck. This just indicates how he felt about people.” — Erwin Panovsky
The Start of a Regional Legacy
As the Recollector’s readership expanded outside the immediate Princeton area, so did the stories it chronicled. History from Cranbury, Hightstown, Hopewell, Pennington, and the nearby Delaware Valley received in-depth coverage. More readers contributed articles.
The Recollector also became a strong voice for the preservation of local architecture and environs. This final phase of the Princeton History Project and its magazine was exciting and productive.
Princeton Nurseries is Celebrated
Princeton Nurseries was founded in 1911 by William Flemer Sr. on land near Kingston that had first been farmed in the 1700s by Dutch-Americans. It grew to become the world’s largest wholesaler of trees, bushes, and shrubs. The land was sold in the 1980s, and Princeton Nurseries now has a smaller operation in Allentown, N.J. In the Recollector, William Flemer Jr. planted detailed memories of this remarkable business.
Christie Whiteman’s Barbershop and Novelty Items
Christie Whiteman was among the most versatile and entertaining of Princeton’s entrepreneurs. His barber shop at 54 Nassau Street, founded in the 1890s, later doubled as headquarters for a mail order business in novelty items. Soon came a colorful business in postcards, with Whiteman selling thousands between 1910 and 1915. He sold phonograph records, opened a movie theater at 124 Nassau Street, and brought the first vaudeville shows to town. When electrical appliances (including radios) became popular, Christie Whiteman sold them — and repaired them, too.
Jazz afficionados hold Princeton-born stride pianist Donald Lambert (1904-1962) in the same high regard as the better-known Fats Waller and Art Tatum. Except for an acclaimed appearance at the 1960 Newport Jazz Festival, “The Lamb” performed mostly in small New York and northern New Jersey restaurants, and he made only a few recordings. A special Recollector edition championed his music and celebrated his life.
On May 8, 1982, through the efforts of Tari Pantaleo and the Recollector, family, friends and fans gathered to dedicate a headstone to Lambert, whose grave in the Princeton Cemetery had gone unmarked for two decades.
“My brother Donald started playing when he was four years old. We used to put him on the piano. He was gifted.
“In those days, at Christmas, they’d give us nice toys, and my mother always gave my brother a [child’s] piano. And she used to sit up in bed and say, `Bring me Don’s piano.’ And she’d sit it in front of her, just like you would sit a tray. Then she would call us: ‘I want you to learn this …’” – Olive Lambert Rutledge
The Crime of the Century!
One of the most intensely-reported news stories in American history was the March 1, 1932, kidnapping death of the infant son of aviator Charles Lindbergh, the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, and author Anne Morrow Lindbergh, from their home near Hopewell. At a riveting 1935 trial in the Hunterdon county seat of Flemington, Bruno Richard Hauptmann was convicted of the crime. (Contrary to recent revisionist claims, the evidence against Hauptmann was very strong.) Area residents shared their memories of “The Crime of the Century” with the Recollector.
“… we had a pencil sharpener up on the back windowsill at home. I went out to sharpen my pencil and looked out the window, and I saw these lights come out from behind our woods, from the little road that was between us and the Lindberghs. I seen a car come down Featherbed Lane – the road was in bad shape and very muddy and he had quite some trouble getting on down … He turned off his lights soon as he came from behind our woods so people wouldn’t see him. But I seen that car come down that night from the Lindberghs.” – Henry Conover
“The War of the Worlds” Broadcast
Another national event with a Princeton-area connection involved the October 30, 1938, CBS radio adaptation of the science fiction novel The War of the Worlds. This version — directed by and starring Orson Welles, with script by Howard Koch — had the malevolent Martians landing in nearby Grovers Mill before advancing on New York City. Its news broadcast-style format terrified millions of listeners who thought they were hearing bulletins about a real alien invasion.
“We was out in the field husking corn … And all of a sudden these cars started coming by. And I said, ‘I wonder where all of these damned cars is comin’ from?’ ‘I don’t know,’ Pop says. ‘I guess they’re all out for a Sunday drive.’
“Next thing we knew one of them stops out there and says ‘You’d better start running … Men from Mars just landed near the mill!” Pop says, ‘You’re crazy!’
“Meanwhile the cars is getting’ thicker. I guess we should’ve started chargin’ admission to park there …
“So it got dark. We got done huskin’ and went into the house. Telephone rang. In those days I think it was still the old crank ‘phones. And friends of ours in New York called up. Wanted to know if everything was all right …’Well, are there any casualties?’ ‘No, what are you talkin’ about?’
“He says, ‘Well, we heard it on the radio. A program came on and then, ‘Flash, Flash! Men from Mars just invaded Grovers Mill, invaded the Earth!’ …
“And I says, ‘Well, maybe they did, but there ain’t nothin’ around here. Ain’t no Martians around here.’” – Erving Press
Princeton’s Sacrifices in World War II
World War Two touched all Americans during U.S. involvement from 1941 to 1945. Two Recollector topics eloquently recorded the human side of this terrible conflict:
The Jugtown News, edited by Lillian Schafer, was a newsletter for servicemen from the neighborhood around Nassau and Harrison streets. Its chatty format cheered soldiers and sailors far away, and it gave the comfort of community to their families.
The letters written home by 19-year-old Louis Venta of 63 Leigh Avenue were straightforward and reassuring. Venta was killed on April 1, 1943, in North Africa while successfully destroying a marker used by enemy forces to aim mortar strikes. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart.
To: Albert Venta
March 22, 1943
“Somewhere in Africa”
I received your package about the middle of this month and it arrived in excellent condition. We very rarely get candy of any kind, so you can imagine how long it lasted. Thanks a lot. Say Al, in your last letter you said you planned on enlisting in the navy. The only advice I can offer you is to complete your high school career and then follow out your plans. I know though if you have your heart set on it no one can change your mind …
We saw some action, captured a small town, and marched about 250 miles without the loss of a single man. Later on our company was chosen as a guard of honor for President Roosevelt and other high ranking military officials.
Love to all,
P.S. Keep up the good work in school.
Local History Uncovered
In addition to donating family items, local residents occasionally contacted the Project and Recollector when historical objects were discovered. In addition to photographing area churches and cemeteries, Recollector staff photographer Jeff Macechek documented finds ranging from the haunting murals uncovered in a house at 31 Humbert Street to an antique baseball bat discovered here in the walls of Bainbridge House.
Elric Endersby’s Outlet for History
Elric Endersby’s passion for history and his college studies in architecture found synergy in his work of restoring old barns. A modern barn raising, featured in a Recollector photospread, was an exercise in living history. This event eventually formed the foundation of Endersby’s current endeavor, the New Jersey Barn Company.
The End of the Project
As the Project’s principals advanced into their thirties, their funding lagged behind. The reality of pursuing careers curtailed Project operations down to a final end. The last Princeton Recollector was published in Autumn 1986.
But the recollections had been collected and shared while their holders still lived to enjoy well-deserved attention as historical informants — their vivid memories preserved in time, for all time.
And there are tales yet to be told.
“We ran out of funding long before we ran out of stories.” – Elric Endersby
Oral history is living history. You and members of your family, community, school or house of worship are valuable repositories of historically important stories. Tape recorders and camcorders make it easy to preserve this information. Ask the Historical Society of Princeton about recording and documenting your own oral history for generations to come.
The Historical Society of Princeton opened the exhibition U.S. Presidents: Famous Faces in Princeton Places on November 1, 2005. The Princeton community and campus have had the great fortune of receiving visits from half of all United States presidents. The exhibition documented the relationship that these U.S. presidents have had with the Princeton community.
Beginning with George Washington in the early days of the Republic to William Clinton’s visit in 2000, U.S. presidents have been drawn to Princeton for varying reasons. Some came to participate in events in town, such as the Continental Congress meeting in Nassau Hall in 1783 or the dedication of the Princeton Battle Monument. Others visited to celebrate significant milestones in the history of Princeton University, notably the Sesquicentennial in 1896, the Bicentennial in 1947, and the 250th anniversary in 1996. Nineteen U.S. presidents have received honorary degrees from the university, and two presidents, James Madison and Woodrow Wilson, graduated from Princeton. John F. Kennedy briefly attended Princeton.
Two U.S. presidents and their families called Princeton their home during some point in their lives. Grover Cleveland, at the conclusion of his second term in 1897, retired to Princeton and lived out his remaining days at his home, Westland. Here he raised his young family and participated in university affairs as a trustee. As a young professor at the university, Woodrow Wilson lived on Library Place. When he became president of Princeton, Wilson moved to Prospect House on campus, and during his tenure as governor of New Jersey, he resided on Cleveland Lane.
Photographs, documents, and objects illustrated what drew the presidents to Princeton. Visitors will a diary entry about Princeton by John Adams, saw a photograph of Theodore Roosevelt at the Army-Navy football game in 1905 and view the Cleveland family dollhouse. The exhibition drew on resources from the Historical Society, the Princeton University Archives, the Grover Cleveland Birthplace in Caldwell, New Jersey, and private collections.
The Historical Society was grateful to the J. Seward Johnson, Sr., 1963 Charitable Trust, lead sponsor for the exhibition and Princeton Financial Systems-State Street New Jersey. The Historical Society receives an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. Related programming included a gallery talk by exhibition curator Kristen Turner, Saturday, December 10, 2005. The exhibition closed September 3, 2006.
Photographs of the Updike Farm
In The Windmill Turns Slowly: Photographs of the Updike Farm, lawyer/photographer Michael Johnson reflects on the last working years of the Updike family farm on Quaker Road in Princeton Township. The exhibition opened to the public on Tuesday November 1, 2005 and closed September 3, 2006.
Although difficult to imagine while driving on the highways of Central New Jersey, farming was a way of life for many people in Princeton through the mid-20th century. A vast acreage off Quaker Road served as the Updike family farm beginning in 1890 with George Furman Updike and Mary Hartwick Updike. Descending in the family line with George Furman Updike, Jr and his wife Dora Drake Updike and their eight children, the farm was actively tilled until 1969. In that year, grandsons of George Furman Updike, Stanley and his brother Sewell, sold the cropland to the Institute for Advanced Study with the understanding that the acreage would remain farmland. The Updike family retained six acres which included the farmhouse, barn, chicken coop, woodshed, corn crib and orchard.
Through the 1990s, Stanley Updike and his sister Sarah maintained their routine of life on a farm. On their six acres, Stanley gathered eggs from the chicken coop, sprayed the peach trees and split firewood. Sarah canned fruit, tended to the garden and prepared their daily meals. Their activities were in striking contrast to the hustle and bustle of the modern world and the commuters driving along Quaker Road to their high-tech and pharmaceutical jobs on Route 1.
Great-nephew of Stanley and Sarah, Michael Johnson captured this endangered way of living over a series of eight visits to the Updike Farm between 1992 and 1997. While helping out with chores, and listening to family stories, Johnson photographed Stanley working in the chicken coop, tending his corn and harvesting peaches. Johnson documented Sarah in the domestic sphere, canning peaches, making pies and hanging the laundry. The exterior photos of the land and farmhouse reveal the quiet beauty of this Princeton Township property.
The Windmill Turns Slowly: Photographs of the Updike Farm featured 35 black and white silver-gelatin prints made from full-frame 35mm negatives shot with Leica rangefinder cameras and Leitz lenses. In addition to Johnson’s photographs, the exhibition included early 20th century images of the Updike family including Stanley and Sarah Updike’s parents, brothers and sisters.
Upon the deaths of Stanley and Sarah Updike, the Historical Society of Princeton purchased the farm’s six acres from the family. The Historical Society plans to use the farm for its headquarters and family programming. Interpretive signage will identify the historic farm structures and activities.
The Historical Society was grateful to the J. Seward Johnson, Sr. 1963 Charitable Trust, lead sponsor for this exhibition and to Princeton Financial Systems-State Street New Jersey. The Historical Society receives an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. Related programming included a gallery talk by Michael Johnson on Saturday, November 12, 2005.
The Historical Society of Princeton opened a new exhibition in Fall 2006 concerning Princeton and its role in the Civil War. Princeton’s Civil War opened to the public Tuesday, October 17, 2006 and ran through Sunday, July 15, 2007.
The War of the Rebellion; the War Between the States; the Civil War: by any name, it was the 19th century’s most lethal conflict. Movies and books about the Civil War often focus on where the battles were fought. Although the actual fighting never got much closer than 200 miles from Princeton, the war was fought here, too. As the fighting raged, the people of Princeton followed the bloodshed, fretted over the fates of their families, neighbors, and friends, and debated the great issues of federal authority and race that precipitated the war. Few families were untouched.
The war began in 1861 with each side naively optimistic it would dispatch the other; but instead of a quick march, the conflict became protracted. The Lincoln administration quickly realized the insufficiency of its April 1861 plan to suppress the rebellion with 75,000 three-month volunteers. In May, it called for additional enlistees to serve for three years, or the duration of the war. More than 10,000 New Jerseymen, including many from Princeton, enrolled in 1861. Initially the fighting went badly for the Union, until a number of battlefield wins in early 1862 brought much of the south under Federal control, and made a swift Union triumph seem achievable. In the summer of 1862, the Confederates regained momentum, and by September, Union troops were backpedaling. Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation turned the war to save the Union into a war to end slavery, but much of the North, including Princeton, was lukewarm about emancipation. That year, the Union began recruiting African-Americans in earnest. New Jersey did not form a black unit, so African-Americans from Princeton, and elsewhere, served in units organized by other states, particularly Pennsylvania, or in the United States Colored Troops. After important late-1863 wins, most notably at Gettysburg, a Federal triumph in 1864 seemed possible. Southern resistance stiffened again, however, and mid-1864 saw some of the bloodiest months of the war. The fall 1864 capture of Atlanta, along with victories in Virginia, once more returned momentum to the Federals and the war finally ended with an unconditional Confederate surrender on April 9, 1865.
Numerous Princetonians distinguished themselves during the War. Margaret Breckinridge (1832-1864), raised as a child in the household of her maternal grandfather, Samuel Miller (professor at the Princeton Theological Seminary), served as a war nurse. In 1862, she set out on her own for Lexington, Kentucky, where she served briefly. She then headed north to St. Louis from where she twice sailed down the Mississippi on a hospital ship to bring sick and wounded troops from the front. A grandson of Richard Stockton, the signer of the Declaration of Independence, David Hunter (1802-1866), a graduate of West Point, was badly hurt in 1861 at the first Battle of Bull Run. Sometimes called Lincoln’s “abolitionist general,” Hunter subsequently raised an African-American regiment in South Carolina, one of the first. African-American veterans of Princeton recognized Hunter’s pioneering racial politics by naming their G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) post in his memory.
Featuring images and newspaper accounts, Princeton’s Civil War documents the town and University’s response to the outbreak of war. Upon the proclamations of war and calls for volunteers by President Abraham Lincoln and New Jersey Governor Charles Smith Olden, the national flag was hoisted over the Princeton Theological Seminary, Nassau Hall, and several private residences. The southern students of the college left campus; none returned until after the end of the war. Princeton men populated all of the first four New Jersey regiments initially stationed in Camp Princeton in Arlington, Virginia, with the purpose of guarding Washington, D.C. Soldiers’ items illustrate their life on the front and the Panorama of the Seat of War, an 1864 map, helps demonstrate how nearly every major battle of the Civil War involved Princeton men. At home in Princeton, women knitted socks and mittens, collected food and other items for the soldiers at the front. Commemorative publications, personal scrapbooks, reunion badges and pins will testify to the legacy of the war in the memories of local residents.
This exhibition is assisted by a grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. Additional support is provided by Princeton Financial Systems—State Street; and the American Legion, Princeton Post No. 76. The Historical Society of Princeton is open Tuesday through Sunday, 12PM – 4PM. Admission is free. For more information call (609) 921-6748.
Civil War Clothing, Civil War Fabrics, Brown Sheep and Jagger Spun Yarns, 19th-century Yarn Kits, & Fashion Information from the Civil War era
Gettysburg National Military Park
Landscapes by Brett Weaver
July 31, 2007-August 19, 2007 at Bainbridge House
Fall 2010-July 5, 2011 at the Updike Farmstead
The Historical Society of Princeton was pleased to exhibit the work of the artist Brett Weaver (b. 1973) to inaugurate the galleries at the Updike Farmstead from Fall 2010 to July 5, 2011. The artist’s work was also the subject of a three-week exhibition at Bainbridge House from July 31st to August 19th, 2007.
Weaver is a plein-air painter in the tradition of American Impressionists and Tonalists, such as John Twachtman, George Inness, and William Lathrop. His oil paintings of rural locations throughout the United States – Maine, Tennessee, Colorado, and Princeton, New Jersey – capture a seemingly unchanged landscape. In many of these locations, however, suburban encroachment looms around the corner. In Weaver’s paintings of the Delaware and Raritan Canal and the Updike Farmstead, the unseen Route 1 corridor lies just beyond the edge of the canvas. While the viewer contemplates the green fields and blue sky, the hurried pace of modern life melts away.
A Special Photographic Exhibition from the Heart Gallery of New Jersey
The Historical Society of Princeton, in collaboration with the Princeton Public Library and the Arts Council of Princeton, presented 100 Waiting Children this summer. This powerful photographic exhibition is produced by the Heart Gallery of New Jersey and the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF). The exhibition focuses on the 100 children who have been in New Jersey’s foster care system the longest and are in greatest need of finding a permanent home before they “age out” of the system. Some of these children are considered hard to adopt because of their age, special needs, or because they want to be adopted with their siblings. These children are available for adoption nationwide.
The Heart Gallery of New Jersey is a unique not-for-profit corporation dedicated to raising awareness about foster children available for adoption. Through the volunteer efforts of some of the country’s most prestigious photographers, portraits were taken that help capture the individuality and spirit of each foster child who is eligible for adoption. The photographs are then shared via the Web and through exhibitions that travel throughout the state in hopes that potential loving families will be moved to inquire about adoption. In Princeton, 100 Waiting Children will be exhibited at the Historical Society of Princeton’s headquarters, Bainbridge House, at 158 Nassau Street, and at the Princeton Public Library’s Witherspoon Street building.
The Heart Gallery idea began in New Mexico and quickly spread to other states. New Jersey is the site of the largest project to date. In 2005, the Heart Gallery of New Jersey photographed 346 of the state’s foster children. More than 100 have been adopted and many more are in the adoption process.
All children featured in the Heart Gallery participated with the permission of the DCF Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS), the state child welfare agency responsible for their care. The photographers involved followed guidelines set by DYFS and the Heart Gallery and met with caseworkers responsible for the children chosen to be in the gallery.
For more information about the Heart Gallery of New Jersey, visit www.heartgallerynj.org
Exhibition Dates: Tuesday, July 22 through Sunday, August 10, 2008
Exhibition Locations: Historical Society of Princeton, 158 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ
Princeton Public Library, 65 Witherspoon Street, Princeton, NJ
Historical Society of Princeton: Eileen Morales, 609.921.6748 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Princeton Public Library, Tim Quinn, 609.924.9529 x258 or TQuinn@princetonlibrary.org
Arts Council of Princeton: Maria Evans, 609.924.8777, email@example.com
Heart Gallery: Janina Hecht, 908.334.2474 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Historical Society of Princeton opened its exhibition, Princeton in the 1930s, on Tuesday, September 11, 2007 and ran through Sunday, July 13, 2008.
The Dust Bowl. Hoovervilles. Okies. Brother, can you spare a dime? These phrases evoke a distinct era in United States history: the Great Depression, bounded by the Stock Market crash of October 29, 1929 and the entry of the United States into World War II in 1941. Thoughts of Princeton, New Jersey in the 1930s do not typically evoke images of bread lines, thread-bare clothes, or soup kitchens. However, Princetonians, particularly those in the African-American and Italian-American communities, were affected by these national and international conditions, too. In the first months of the 1930s, numerous Princeton residents endured the loss of their livelihoods. The privately-run Community League of Princeton undertook relief drives, endeavoring to raise $44,000 to be spent on procuring food, shelter, fuel and clothing for the needy of Princeton. A visiting nurse traveled throughout Princeton, providing free care as needed. Princeton University students were also affected. Newspaper accounts of the day recorded a jump from 550 (1931) to 672 (1932) undergraduates registered for work with the Student Employment Section of Princeton University. Applications for scholarships and tuition loans increased. A 1937 report of the Princeton Social Service Bureau blamed difficulties in Princeton on the large numbers of men, primarily Italian, who came to Princeton when large-scale building projects were on Princeton’s campus. These men and their families stayed and could not keep up with the high cost of living in Princeton when these building projects ended. The African-American community in Princeton endured the movement of their homes and businesses as the Palmer Square project finally got underway in the latter part of the decade (after having been delayed by the Stock Market crash).
Despite the hard times in New Jersey, in many instances everyday life continued unaltered. Children went to school, families celebrated birthdays and anniversaries, and people entertained themselves with radio, movies and restaurants. McCarter Theatre, the Princeton Playhouse in Palmer Square, the Garden Theatre, and Struve’s Arcade Theatre on Nassau Street, provided multiple entertainment venues for Princeton residents. Princeton Community Players was an outlet for those with a dramatic flair. Princeton University students brought jazz bands into the eating clubs for their proms and parties. Louis Armstrong visited in 1930, and Cab Calloway and Benny Goodman played in 1931. At home, families enjoyed listening to the radio, gathering around for such programs as, The Lone Ranger and The Shadow. In October, 1938, many Princetonians believed in the invasion of men from Mars to nearby Grovers Mill, New Jersey, as described in Orson Welles’ airing of The War of the Worlds on his Mercury Theatre radio show. Both during and after Prohibition, the Nassau Inn on Nassau Street was one of the key places for men to relax and meet with friends at lunch or after a hard day’s work.
The 1930s in Princeton were in many ways the end of an era in the town’s history. After World War II, Princeton schools desegregated, Princeton University experienced massive growth and expansion, farmland became developed for business and housing and families were equipped with new technologies. By presenting the ways in which the people lived through this turbulent decade, Princeton in the 1930s helps set the stage for understanding the challenges of the mid-twentieth century.
This exhibition is assisted by a grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. Additional financial support from PNC Bank and PNC Wealth Management, Wilmington Trust, and the estate of Alice O. Breese. The Historical Society of Princeton, located in Bainbridge House at 158 Nassau Street, is open Tuesday through Sunday, 12 – 4 pm.
The Historical Society of Princeton’s exhibition, Stand Up, Speak Out: Princeton’s Citizens Find Their Voice was on view at Bainbridge House from Wednesday, September 3, 2008 through July 5, 2009. Stand Up, Speak Out examined the timely issues of political participation and voting rights, particularly through the experiences of women, African Americans, and university students. When denied the vote, how could individuals still be heard in a democracy? Once granted the vote, how could they make a difference?
In the course of Stand Up, Speak Out, visitors learned about important episodes in our national history, and explored their intersection with Princeton events. They saw how the promise of the Declaration of Independence was realized through acts and actions: in the 15th, 19th and 26th amendments, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the work of individuals in the anti-slavery, suffrage, civil rights, and youth movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
A convention at Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848 marked the first organized demand by women for the vote. The early 1900s saw new strategies emerge: direct lobbying and dramatic, public, nonviolent action. In 1920, the League of Women Voters was founded at the National American Woman Suffrage Association convention, held just six months before women gained the right to vote. The League’s aim was to help the 20 million women living in the United States to be responsible voters, and use their soon-to-be ratified power to vote and help shape public policy. On October 13, 1932, Princeton women formed a branch of the League of Women Voters. Since its founding, the group has held public forums featuring local candidates, mailed election information sheets to registered voters, and advocated for public housing, children’s rights, and a host of other issues.
African-American equality seemed a distant promise when the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. Neither it—nor the Revolutionary War—ended slavery. The enslaved were ineligible to vote. Most free African Americans could not meet property and taxpaying requirements for voting. Despite the abolition of slavery and the ratification of the 15th amendment, Jim Crow laws in the South shut the door to voting and political participation by African Americans throughout the late 19th and 20th century. Princeton’s African-American community experienced its own difficulties in participating in political life. By the 1960s, however, new citizen groups formed in Princeton to actively take up the struggle to give African-American citizens a political voice. In 1963, African-American citizens founded the Princeton Association for Human Rights (PAHR). Its goal was to have “full participation in the life of its community for all its citizens.” Other groups such as the John Witherspoon Civic Association and the Princeton Housing Group, along with churches, and faith-based leaders, worked to solve the issues of unemployment, poor housing, urban renewal, and inadequate education.
Twenty-one had been considered the age of political maturity since America’s founding. The age was based on English and colonial precedent, and it was hard to change. After every war, though, some argued that those who were old enough to fight should be able to vote. After World War II, the push to lower the voting age gathered steam. It took the Vietnam War in the 1960s, though, to bring about change. As the Vietnam War raged , young people on campuses across the country hoped to convince the American public and government of the hypocrisy of drafting 18-year olds to fight—and possibly die—when they had no political say. Princeton University students joined sit-ins and other actions against the Vietnam War in the late 1960s. In May 1970, reaction to President Nixon’s announcement that he was sending U.S. troops into Cambodia culminated in University’s largest protest to date. Debate and discussion among Princeton students, faculty, and administration led to a campus-wide strike against the war.
Throughout established democracies around the world, voter turnout has been declining over the past forty years. It is a trend in the United States (where average voter turnout is about 50%), in Western Europe, in Japan, and in Latin America. Some countries, though, have exceptionally high turnouts. In Ethiopia, for example, voter turnout can be 90% and higher. How does the rest of the world vote? How does United States voting turnout compare to other countries?
Stand Up, Speak Out encouraged visitors of all ages to be counted, to speak out, to participate in the democratic process: whether voting in a national, state, or local election, or standing up for an issue in which they believe.
The exhibition was assisted by a grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. Additional support for the exhibition and programming is provided by Horizon Foundation, Inc., PSE&G and Wilmington Trust.
Mercer Street Friends Food Bank. Crisis Ministry of Princeton and Trenton. Trenton Area Soup Kitchen. These three organizations opened their doors in the 1980s and hoped that they would fill an immediate, temporary need for food. Today, these organizations and many others still exist to relieve the persistent problem of hunger among people in New Jersey. Food banks in New Jersey experienced a 25 percent increase in clients along with a 20 percent decline in food supplies and donations in 2008. The issue of hunger is not limited to people who are homeless, those who live in urban areas, or the elderly. The middle class, affected by layoffs, foreclosures or the rising cost of living, now seeks assistance at food banks and soup kitchens, too.
The Historical Society of Princeton’s exhibition, Hunger Pains, was on view from Tuesday, July 21 through Sunday, August 16, 2009, examined this timely issue. Through photographs, video, and interactive elements, the exhibition informed visitors about the nature of this far-reaching problem in New Jersey and the efforts of those who work to solve it. Visitors to the exhibition discovered that the response to the issue of hunger is to not only provide the immediate need for food, but to also address the related issues of employment, housing, and medical needs. Visitors also learned about the Community Gardens program of the organization Isles, Inc. What began as a beautification project has become a self-reliant way for community members to provide food for themselves and their neighbors. Hands-on activities that focused on nutrition engaged visitors with children and adults asked for their ideas to find solutions to the crisis.
HSP ran a food drive to benefit all three agencies from July 7 – August 16. The following items were accepted:
Canned proteins (tuna, salmon, chicken, chili)
Shelf-stable milk (like Parmalat)
Peanut butter (no glass containers, please)
Cans of fruit, low-fructose
The Hunger Pains exhibition was part of the Historical Society of Princeton’s Community Outreach Initiative to examine human needs relevant to Princeton and the surrounding region. In the summer of 2008, HSP collaborated with the Arts Council of Princeton, the Princeton Public Library, and the Heart Gallery of New Jersey to present 100 Waiting Children, a photographic exhibition focusing on children in New Jersey’s foster care system. The Historical Society of Princeton is grateful to its partnering organizations to help make this exhibition possible.
Arriving in Princeton in 1947, Rex Goreleigh (1902-1986), an African-American artist, spent nearly 40 years in Princeton making and teaching art. Goreleigh spent the initial years of his career in Princeton as Executive Director of Princeton Group Arts, an attempt to bridge racial divisions in Princeton through the visual and performing arts. After Princeton Group Arts dissolved, Goreleigh established his own Studio-on-the-Canal, teaching students of all ages a variety of artistic techniques. In the 1960s and 70s, Goreleigh was particularly noted for his paintings of migrant farm workers in central New Jersey. The paintings and serigraphs in the “Migrant Series” depict both everyday hard work and moments of joy experienced by workers on the farms in the vicinity of Cranbury and Hightstown. Goreleigh called the series “a document and a lasting monument to the migrant workers who, like the rest of us, seek a way to security.”
The Historical Society of Princeton’s exhibition opened to the public on September 2, 2009, and examined the life and work of this important artist and how his career compared with other African-American artists at that time. Looking at Goreleigh’s place within the art historical canon today, the exhibition also explored how Goreleigh’s potentially politically-charged subject matter was received in the 1960s and 70s. These social themes in Goreleigh’s work continue to resonate as important issues today throughout New Jersey and the nation.
Rex Goreleigh, Mary Watts’ Store, 1969, watercolor on board, Collection of the Historical Society of Princeton Visitor Artwork from the Still Life Activity in the Goreleigh exhibition
“Stony Brook is my favorite part of town. Much of its landscape and structures are preserved so the area keeps its context and character. One can see how it looked before the Revolution – with Colonial houses built close to the roadway. We forget that Stony Brook was Princeton before there was a Princeton. But it was called Stony Brook! The Historical Society of Princeton’s exhibit Stony Brook: Gateway to Princeton is so important because it brings together so many things: the culture of the past and its relevance to the present and future, the daily life of its inhabitants, structures gone by the wayside and new plans. This exhibit put together for me the entire picture and handed to me the pieces I didn’t already know. ” – Christine Lewandoski, Historic Preservation Officer, Township of Princeton
The exhibition explored the changing use of land within the Princeton Battlefield/Stony Brook Village Historic District and the surrounding area in Princeton Township, including properties along Stockton Street, Lawrenceville Road, Quaker Road, Mercer Road, and the Stony Brook. Although the agricultural way of life which sustained the Stony Brook community through the early 20th century is largely gone, much of the rural landscape remains thanks to open space and historic preservation initiatives.
The exhibition illustrated the beginnings of the Stony Brook settlement with the purchase of several large tracts of land near the winding Stony Brook. A Piscataway resident and Quaker, Benjamin Clarke bought 1,200 acres in 1696 from Thomas Warne, one of the East Jersey Proprietors. In 1697, Clarke sold half of his acreage in two parts to two of his brothers-in-law, William Olden and Joseph Worth. Clarke was instrumental in the establishment of the Quaker Meetinghouse, a central facet of life for many of the Stony Brook residents.
Audiences experienced the evolution of the close-knit Stony Brook community, which came to include family farms, a mill, schools, and shops. New community residents began to take leadership of the area: beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, the Hale family owned the former Clarke property at Princeton Battlefield; Princeton University School of Science Professor Frederick N. Willson was a noted resident; and Mary Louise Snook became the beloved teacher of Princeton Township’s eight grades Stony Brook School. By the mid-20th century, however, most of the family farms ceased operation, the Stony Brook School closed due to low enrollment and its students were sent to the Valley Road School, and the large estates established in the late 19th century by Moses Taylor Pyne and Archibald Russell began to be sold off for single-family residential development.
The Historical Society of Princeton received a project grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division in the Department of State.
This program was made possible in part by the Mercer County Cultural and Heritage Commission through funding from the New Jersey Historical Commission/Department of State, and the Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
Meltdown. Financial crisis. Recession.
These words hit the newspaper headlines in fall 2008 as Lehman Brothers collapsed and other Wall Street firms stood on shaky ground. The economic fallout included job losses for workers in New Jersey and throughout the nation. Every job sector was impacted.
From September 2008 to December 2009, the unemployment rate in New Jersey rose from 5.8% to 10% (U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics). In January 2010, Mercer, Middlesex, and Monmouth Counties experienced unemployment rates ranging from 8.2 to 9.6%. Locally, GE Healthcare announced layoffs of 100 Princeton employees in January 2009. Two significant employers in nearby South Brunswick, Dow Jones and Pfizer, made announcements about closing facilities and eliminating 500 jobs in November 2009. Ligand Pharmaceuticals laid off half its staff in March 2010 and plans to close its Cranbury facility by the end of the year.
With unemployment levels reaching rates not seen in decades, many people in central New Jersey have had to seek assistance from the government and private sector with job training, career counseling, and networking opportunities. Besides dealing with financial setbacks, the unemployed also have to cope with the psychological effects of job loss.
There Is Hope
Visitors to The Recession Hits Home: Job Loss in Central New Jersey learned about organizations that assist the newly unemployed, career changers, and those about to enter the work force. Mercer County residents can take advantage of the services provided by the One-Stop Career Center in Trenton, including job readiness workshops, a resource room with access to phone, fax, and internet, and vocational training. The Trenton office is part of 1,853 One-Stop Career Centers sponsored by the United States Department of Labor, providing assistance to the unemployed throughout the United States.
Several private sector organizations and institutions, including the non-profit Dress for Success Mercer County; SCORE (America’s Counselors to Small Business); the Princeton Public Library; and the Career Services office of Princeton University aid people from all economic backgrounds, from the economically-disadvantaged to small business owners to recent college graduates.
Through the efforts of the organizations featured in this exhibition, people in central New Jersey affected by the global economic crisis have opportunities to regain entry to the work force.
When there’s an emergency, it’s our first responders and public safety professionals who put their lives on the line to save the lives of others.” Frank R. Lautenberg, United States Senator for New Jersey, July 8, 2009
On a daily basis, disasters are averted and countless lives are saved by the men and women who are the first to respond to emergency situations. In Princeton, the three fire companies, two police departments, first aid and rescue squad members, and American Red Cross staff and volunteers all work in concert to provide aid whenever and wherever necessary in the community. These dedicated professionals along with civilian volunteers from local churches and clubs also often assist with catastrophes in other locations in New Jersey, the United States, and the world.
Emergency! Princeton’s First Responders celebrated the history and contemporary efforts of the men and women of these organizations. Princeton’s first volunteer fire company was officially established in 1788, although prior to this year, the students at the College of New Jersey (Princeton University) were sometimes available to fight fires on private properties adjacent to the campus. A paid police department in the late 19th century provided additional protection for Princeton’s citizens. The establishment of the Princeton Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad in the first half of the 20th century created additional resources for the Borough and Township’s emergency response system. The exhibition featured photographs, manuscript materials, and objects drawn from the collections of these organizations to illustrate the history of these organizations.
The aftermath of the terrorist attacks in 2001 sparked a renewed examination of domestic emergency response in municipalities across the United States. The exhibition will explore changes in the organizations over the last ten years and also focus on specific recent disasters to which Princeton has responded. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, for example, local volunteers trained by the American Red Cross of Central New Jersey traveled to New Orleans to assist with the recovery effort and local Princeton residents also acted as hosts for displaced families leaving the Gulf Coast area.
Caring Kids in the Community explores the wide-ranging efforts of young people who seek to make a difference in people’s lives through community service. How many young people in the United States harness their passion and energy and volunteer their time to positively change their communities and the world? Across the United States (according to a 2009 report from the Corporation for National & Community Service), 4.4 million teenagers (ages 16 to 19) dedicated 389.5 million hours to community service. Some of these young people support well-established national organizations, such as the American Red Cross or the YMCA. Others start their own charities or projects to help fulfill an unmet need in their community. Still others provide service through projects sponsored by their schools.
In 2010, 1,229,579 young people took part in the programs of DoSomething.org, a national nonprofit organization that helps young people “rock causes they care about.” In 2011, DoSomething.org hopes “to inspire, empower and celebrate 2 million doers: young people (25 and under) who recognize the need to do something, believe in their ability to get it done, and then take action.” Do Something Clubs exist in schools throughout the Princeton region, including Princeton, Hamilton, Trenton, North Brunswick, South Brunswick, and Skillman.
Locally, the organization VolunteerConnect promotes effective volunteerism and service. Through their website, volunteerconnectnj.org, teen volunteers can find tips for contacting organizations that might need their help, learn how to prepare for a volunteer interview, and learn how to be an effective volunteer.
This exhibition highlights just a few of the ways that youth in the Princeton region get involved in their community. The NJMTA Children Helping Children Performathon, the service and fundraising projects of local Kids-for-Kids chapters, and Princeton High School’s Community Service/Career Awareness Projects provide outlets for hundreds of area kids to volunteer in the community.
The exhibition will be on view until October 19th, 2011 during open public hours at the Updike Farmstead on first Saturdays and third Wednesdays of every month.
The Historical Society of Princeton receives an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. Additional support provided by PNC Bank & PNC Wealth Management, and Wilmington Trust.
On view at Updike Farmstead, The Art of First Lady Ellen Axson Wilson: American Impressionist features landscape paintings by the first Mrs. Wilson that span the years 1902-1913, which include her time at Princeton during her husband’s presidency of Princeton University. The exhibition has been organized by the Woodrow Wilson House, Washington, DC, with generous support from the James Dicke family. Local support for the exhibition has been generously provided by Robert O. Carr.
“Having the work by Ellen Wilson and the Einstein Collection up at both sites is truly a groundbreaking time for HSP,” said Erin Dougherty, the Historical Society’s Executive Director. “We are excited to offer these stellar exhibitions to our wonderful visitors and devoted supporters.”
PROGRESS AT THE UPDIKE FARMSTEAD, 2009-2010
January 1 – September 15, 2012
Sixteen “before” and “after” photographs document the Progress at the Updike Farmstead, 2009-2010. The Historical Society of Princeton purchased the six-acre Updike Farmstead from the estate of Stanley Updike in 2004. Over the next few years, careful plans were laid for the rehabilitation of the late 18th/early 19th century farmhouse and related sitework to accommodate expanded operations for the Historical Society. With initial support for the purchase of the Farmstead from the New Jersey Green Acres Program and the Mercer County Open Space Preservation Board, the Historical Society also received funding from the New Jersey Cultural Trust for the renovation of the farmhouse roof and from the New Jersey Historic Trust for the rehabilitation of the remainder of the farmhouse.
The Historical Society partnered with the Princeton architectural firm of Farewell Mills Gatsch on the farmhouse rehabilitation from fall 2009 through 2010. The building renovation was completed by Precision Building and Construction of Bridgewater. The photographs illustrate the careful process of rehabilitation including the repair of plaster, replacement of major systems, and rebuilding of structural features worn away by time.
WE ♥ PRINCETON: STORIES FROM THE STREET
February 14, 2013 – January 6, 2014
The Historical Society of Princeton’s latest exhibition, We ♥ Princeton: Stories from the Street, is an interactive look at what the names of Princeton’s streets reveal about the people, places and events that make up its history. The themes of history, diversity, education and innovation are examined through four main roads: Nassau Street, Paul Robeson Place, University Place and Einstein Drive. Included is a collection of maps spanning four centuries, featuring an aerial view donated by Princeton University and the 2013 consolidated Princeton map. Visitors of all ages will enjoy designing a street sign, answering trivia questions and adding their favorite businesses and organizations to “Princeton’s Top 10.”
Images from our Opening Reception – March 7, 2013
CALL TO ACTION: HOW A PRESIDENT USED ART TO SWAY A NATION
World War I Posters from the Historical Society of Princeton
September 25, 2012 – January 6, 2014
100 years ago – on November 5, 1912 – Americans elected Woodrow Wilson as President. Four years later, while the Great War raged overseas, Wilson was reelected under the slogan, “He kept us out of war.” Yet before 1917 ended, the U.S. was at war with Germany, and its soldiers were fighting in France.
Americans were deeply divided over the conflict. President Wilson sought to rally support for participation with the art of persuasion – propaganda.
The posters in this exhibition are some of the millions created to persuade Americans to support the war. Specifically, they encouraged viewers to buy government bonds. By the time fighting ended in 1918, more than half of the U.S. war budget had been raised through bond sales.
The exhibition of posters is presented as part of the Wilson Centennial celebration in Princeton. Please visit www.wilsoncenter.org/celebrating-president-wilsons-centennial.
The Queenston Press: The Bicentennial Portfolio
The Queenston Press: The Ten Cruical Days Portfolio
January 18, 2014 – July 6, 2014
The Historical Society of Princeton is please to announce two exhibitions devoted to the work of the Queenston Press, organized around porfolios created as part of Princeton’s 1976 celebration of the American Bicentennial. At Bainbridge House, the Historical Society’s headquarters at 158 Nassau Street, visitors can view “The Queenston Press: The Bicentennial Portfolio, which charts the towns’ growth and place in the nation’s history through prints of such sites as the Deleware-Raritan Canal, Princeton University’s Nassau Hall, Morven, and Princeton Cemetery.
The Historical Society’s six-acre Updike Farmstead, which lies along the route followed by Continental troops on their way to engage British soldiers at the neighboring farm, is the setting for “The Queesnston Press: The Ten Cruicial Days Porfolio”. Prints in the portfolio interpret the dramtic evens that unfolded between the time George Washington crossed the Delaware on Christmas Day, 1776, and the surrender of British troops in Princeton ten days later. Both of the exhibitions will contextulize these important and significant prints and their makers through video, interactive elements, and images of the artists work.
The PNC Foundation is the generous Lead Funder for the 2014 Concentric Circles of Influence: The Queenston Press exhibitions at the Arts Council of Princeton, Historical Society of Princeton, and the Princeton Public Library.