Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Congratulations, Sarah!

Our own Archives Technician and Museum Educator, Sarah Minegar, has achieved a personal and professional milestone by successfully defending her dissertation: 
Literary Utopias as Explorations in Human Ecology: Five Modern Works, 1880-2005. Congratulations to Dr. Minegar on this accomplishment.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Temporary Egg-Zibit

   The hunt is on...

Stop by the Morristown NHP Washington's Headquarters unit and find an egg-traordinary surprize hidden in one of our galleries.

Morristown NHP is participating in the Morris Museum Egg-Zibit  Egg hunt. This temporary exhibit is one of six placed around the Morristown area as part of the Morris Museum’s current installation, Egg-Zibit: The Art, Science, & Culture of Eggs.
Check out Morris Museum's Facebook page for more details.

The artist who painted our egg is Todd Doney.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Flat Rangers Help With Spring Cleaning and Tours

The snow has begun to melt and Morristown is geared up for an exciting March. Several helpful Flat Rangers flew in to help us prep the galleries, clean the mansion, and help Interp with tours.
Flat Ranger Caroline prepared the Gilbert Stewart painting of
George Washington for exhibit.
Flat Ranger Tina made sure exhibit cases were free of fingerprints
and helped clean the salty residue off the floors in the galleries.
Flat Rangers Yahir and Brain helped with tours. Here they are at the
Washington bust, the first stop on the Headquarters tour.

Flat Ranger Makenna led a school group to the Ford Mansion.
Here she is just before she began her tour.
Thanks for helping Morristown welcome spring, Flat Rangers!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Flat Rangers DeLaCruz and Hernandez Visit Morristown

It's pretty chilly here in New Jersey, but Flat Rangers DeLaCruz and Hernandez braved the polar vortex to help us with a gallery restoration project.  The 1930s section of our building is prone to leaks and over the past few years our American Style gallery has been slowly getting damp.  We were so glad to have these Flat Rangers around to help us move artifacts and cover exhibits in preparation for the maintenance crew.
Flat Rangers DeLaCruz and Hernandez assess the plaster damage.

Flat Ranger DeLaCruz prepares the tall case clock for relocation.

Flat Ranger Hernandez secured exhibit cases and covered them with packing blankets.

Phew, that was a lot of hard work!

Thanks for stopping by fellas!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Park Closures

Dear Friends,
Effective March 1, 2013, Morristown National Historical Park was required by "sequestration" (a series of automatic, across-the-board permanent spending cuts) to reduce its annual budget by five percent. The park has made several adjustments to ensure a continuation of the high level of service that you expect from your National Parks.
Beginning on January 5, 2014, the Jockey Hollow Visitor Center will be closed, and will not reopen until February 16. During that same period, the Washington's Headquarters Museum and the Ford Mansion will only be open on Saturdays and Sundays. The grounds of the park will remain open and restroom facilities in Jockey Hollow will also be accessible during the normal hours listed here.
In order to ensure high quality programming and services, we will be closing the Jockey Hollow Visitor Center, Wick House, Washington's Headquarters Museum and Ford Mansion on Wednesdays beginning March 2014. We will resume 7 day operations between Memorial Day and Labor day. This closure provides the park with the flexibility to continue offering education programs and workshops, and allows time to develop new and exciting programming.
We are sorry for the inconvenience that this may cause and thank you for your continued support during these times of fiscal constraint.
Thomas Ross
Superintendent, Morristown National Historical Park

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Passing of Scott Wakefield

It is with great sadness that Morristown National Historical Park reports the recent sudden passing of long-time employee Scott Wakefield, who died at his home on Thursday, December 26th.

Scott had been a maintenance worker at Morristown NHP since 1991, and in 2012 received a “Star” award for his assistance to the park after an unusual October 2011 snowstorm. He was a great help after the storm in cleaning up the debris and many downed trees from park roads and grounds and his hard work enabled the park to reopen to the public more quickly.

Scott loved dogs and lived in park housing with his German shepherd, Nicky. Nicky has already been adopted by a park colleague and friend and remains a member of the Morristown NHP family.

A memorial service for Scott will be at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 4th, at Our Lady of Mercy Chapel, 70 Whippany Road, Whippany, New Jersey 07981.

Condolences can be sent to his sister and brother-in-law at: Wendy and Mike Steindl, c/o Morristown NHP, 30 Washington Place, Morristown, NJ 07960.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Trustco Bank, c/o Scott D. Wakefield, 131 Main Street, Greenwich NY 12834.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Featured Artifacts: Large Silver Plated Pitchers

Today's featured artifacts are two large silver plated pitchers:
MORR 4532-- Touch Marks

MORR 4532: On the left is a double spouted pitcher embossed with floral and leaf designs. On one side is a blank cartouche while the other side has a cartouche with an engraved griffin. The touch marks include what appears to be an eagle or bird of some kind, possibly a number "3" in script, an animal, and a fouled anchor.

The touch marks to the right are as yet unidentified, leaving the time period and maker a mystery at this point.

MORR 4531-- Touch Marks

MORR 4531: On the right is a single spout pitcher with a high, curved handle. The body is embossed with floral and leaf designs. The cartouches are the same on this pitcher, one side is blank while the other has an engraved griffin. The touch marks include possibly three plumes, possibly a number "3" in script, an animal, a fouled anchor, and the letter "T" in script. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Hamilton

1779 – 1780
WikiCommons Images
The year 1779 began with Hamilton splitting his time between Middlebrook, New Jersey, and Philadelphia. General George Washington was also between the two locations conducting military business with the Continental Congress.
During his time in Philadelphia, Hamilton privately criticized the Congress, “declaring that ¾ of the members of Congress were mortal enemies to talent and that ¾ of the remainder were contemptuous of integrity.” However, word got to the public and some people were outraged.

General Washington spent the winter of 1778-79 at the Wallace House in Somerville while the soldiers were in Middlebrook. They left the area on June 3, 1779 and moved north to West Point, New York. During the year, Washington maneuvered and constantly repositioned troops throughout the New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania region. Hamilton was present at the war councils and strategy meetings. There would be over 10 battles, raids and skirmishes in the metropolitan area.

Two of the skirmishes that would influence the British strategy in the area were the Battle of Stony Point on July 15th and the Battle of Paulus Hook on August 19th.  In December the British would change their focus to the southern colonies and British General Clinton would re-deploy part of the army from the New York area. On December 25, a British garrison at Paulus Hook watched a fleet of 90 ships and 8,000 soldiers leave and head for Charleston, South Carolina. 

On November 27th, 1779, Washington and his “military family” left West Point, New York. He arrived in Morristown at the Ford Mansion with ten wagons and eighteen servants on December 1st. Hamilton would resume his duties as an aide-de-camp and French translator.

One bright spot during this harsh and cold winter was the fact that Hamilton fell in love in late January 1780. He had been thinking about marriage but could not find the right woman until Elizabeth Schuyler showed up at the headquarters. (Hamilton had been introduced to Elizabeth in early November 1777 when he was visiting the Schuyler Mansion in Albany, New York and he met her during the summer of 1779.) She had delivered a letter from her father, Philip, for General Washington.  Elizabeth arrived with her friend Kitty Livingston and a trusted male companion and stayed with her father’s sister Gertrude and her husband Doctor John Cochran in Morristown. They were living in the home of his friend Doctor Jabez Campfield.

On January 30, 1780, Washington responded to Schuyler’s letter and mentioned that his daughter had paid a visit to Mrs. Washington and himself. Before closing, he noted that “Miss Schuyler is well…”  There is a strong possibility that the carriage driver returned to Albany with General Washington’s letter.

It is not certain how Hamilton began courting Elizabeth – research indicates he may have encountered her at church or was a guest at a family event. According to one source, Hamilton became a “frequent visitor” at the Campfield home. Some of the aides called her “the little saint”. Elizabeth was “good-natured though somewhat serious, she was at ease in the outdoors and devout in her Christian faith.” Another description told that “She was a sweet, amiable and vivacious girl, with brown hair and beautiful dark eyes.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Some of Washington’s officers stayed at Arnold’s Tavern and others at the Continental House. The latter building was being used as a government warehouse on the first floor. The officers resided on the second floor and dances (called assembly balls) were also being held in the building. In one case, officers donated $400.00 each to have three dances with refreshments. Since Hamilton enjoyed dancing, it is certain that he and Elizabeth attended the dances.

In early March, history was turning another page in their lives when they expressed a wish to be married. Shortly afterward, Hamilton, General Arthur St. Clair and Lieutenant Colonel Edward Carrington left for a meeting with the British at Amboy to discuss a prisoner exchange on March 9th. The three men returned Morristown on March 26th and proceeded to write their reports.

Prior to his leaving, Alexander Hamilton had written a letter to Elizabeth’s parents asking for their permission to marry her, as was the custom at that time. He had to wait until April 9th for the favorable answer and he was overjoyed. Included in the approval letter was a statement that there must be no elopement. Her oldest sister, Angelica, had eloped three years before and it caused much pain to the both of them. (Interesting note is that all four of Elizabeth’s sisters had eloped.)

On April 28th, Philip Schuyler was in Morristown on government business where he would discuss with Washington the organization of the military staffing of the various departments and the strategy regarding the French. He had just arrived from Philadelphia after a conference with the Continental Congress in this matter. Philip was planning to spend a few months in town so he rented a house. He invited his wife Catherine to join him and meet her future son-in-law. He would stay until the army left in June.

Alexander and Elizabeth continued their dating and routine until Hamilton left about June 7th. Catherine and Elizabeth returned to Albany in early June. Philip would remain for a while and split his time between Philadelphia and the army. The demands of the military campaign of the summer of 1780 were great which prevented him from visiting Elizabeth but many letters were exchanged.

Hamilton left in late November, with Major James McHenry, for Albany. He had left all the wedding preparations to his future bride and her family. They were married on December 14, 1780, in the parlor of the Schuyler Mansion-her childhood home. General Washington, with the blessing of Martha, sent their greetings and best wishes from New Windsor, New York, where he was spending the winter of 1780-81.

Prepared by Lee Fahley,  Ranger  Morristown National Historical Park/Statue of Liberty    6 February 2013

Sourced from interpretive files, at Morristown NHP.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Featured Manuscript: The Federalist Papers, Volume II

MORR 11744, Volume Two, First Edition, First Imprint.

The eighty-five essays known as The Federalist occupy a unique place in American history. Their creation, immediately after the delegates who drafted the Constitution in Philadelphia had left the city, was perceived with as much skepticism by those who opposed the Constitution as if the essays were the Constitution itself. Of the fifty-five delegates who attended the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia during the summer of 1787, only thirty-nine signed the document in September, when the Convention concluded its work. In fact, some delegates left early to show their disapproval of the way discussions were progressing. Robert Yates and John Lansing, Alexander Hamilton’s fellow Convention delegates from New York, left the Convention on July 10, never to return.

The Federalist started life as political tracts designed to influence passage of the proposed Constitution in the state of New York. The Federalist expressed the ardent wishes and desires of those, who, during the period immediately following the conclusion of the Revolution, sought to “create a more perfect union.” Indeed, there were many who saw the need for a stronger central government. Before the Revolution was even over, Alexander Hamilton wrote a series of essays under the pseudonym “Continentalist” arguing for a stronger Continental Congress. By 1787, the chorus of voices calling for a stronger central government was only slightly louder than those advocating the weaker system operating under the Articles of Confederation and the Continental Congress at the time. By 1787, the Continental Congress had been in session since 1774, at the beginning of the Revolution.

Part of the impetus for writing The Federalist were the writings of those who opposed the Constitution, generally known as the Anti-Federalist. Two examples were the writers who went by the pseudonyms “Brutus” (believed to have been Robert Yates, Hamilton’s colleague at the Philadelphia Convention) and “Cato” (believed to have been New York Governor George Clinton). Their essays appeared in New York at the same time as The Federalist, but with a much different opinion of the Constitution.

Today though, The Federalist are variously seen as providing astute commentary on the Constitution; as harboring antiquated ideas about government theory; or, they are seen as just being plain difficult to understand. The Federalist, even with their arcane and hopelessly outdated language, continue to generate heated debate much like they did when originally written in 1787-1788.

Written collectively by Alexander Hamilton (who conceived and managed the project), James Madison, and John Jay, the eighty-five essays which comprise The Federalist appeared anonymously, under the pseudonym “Publius,” in various New York City newspapers beginning on September 27, 1787.[i] The first appearance was in the “New York Independent Journal.” The Federalist was designed to persuade readers of the merits and significant attributes of the recently drafted Constitution.[ii]  The Federalist, overall, was primarily meant to sway those who would be electing the state’s ratification convention delegates; and, the delegates themselves.  The New York State ratification convention met in July of 1788 in Poughkeepsie; finally approving the Constitution on September 27, 1788.[iii]

Morristown NHPs Book

The Federalist were originally published in 1788, in two volumes. Volume one contained essays one through thirty-six; and volume two contained essays thirty-seven through eighty-five. Volume one appeared on March 22, 1788, with volume two appearing May 28, 1788. Both volumes were published in New York by J. McLean & Company. Morristown has volume two only. How this occurred is not known, since most collectors buy sets, it’s hard to imagine a set being broken up, especially a set of something as important as The Federalist. Yet, at some point the volume two in the Morristown collection got separated from volume one.

Advertisement appearing in the newspapers announcing the imminent publication of the essays known as The Federalist, and being offered for sale via subscription service. (From the website; visited 6-27-13.)

[i] ‘Publius’ is for Publius Valerius Publicola. A late 6th century BCE Roman aristocrat who was instrumental in founding the Roman republic. Alexander Hamilton was eager to draw comparisons with Classical Antiquity to show the connection between the republican efforts in the United States as a way of burnishing its pedigree
[ii] Hamilton approached two other men as possible contributors to the project. William Durer and Gouverneur Morris (the man who actually wrote the Constitution from the assembled notes and drafts after the summer of debates) were both highly accomplished and educated New York statesmen who would have contributed significant analysis to the project. For a variety of reasons though, Hamilton decided not to include their essays.
[iii] New York voted to ratify the Constitution after the Constitution was already in effect. On June 21st, 1788, New Hampshire was the ninth state to ratify the document as the law of the land. Nine states were deemed necessary to put the document into effect after it was drafted in Philadelphia.

This blog entry written by Jude Pfister, Curator.