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Proprietors & Adventurers - Newspaper Articles



New Jersey's Colonial History Rediscovered
Codey Unveils Rare Historical Documents
Colonial Documents Unveiling Set for September 27th
State Secures Rare Historical Documents




State of New Jersey

Department of State
Trenton, NJ 08625
(609) 984-1900

RICHARD J. CODEY
Acting Governor
 
REGENA L. THOMAS
Secretary of State

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 27, 2005
 

 

NEW JERSEY’S COLONIAL HISTORY REDISCOVERED
Historic Documents Unveiled in State Archives’ Exhibition at Morven Museum & Garden

Statewide – Secretary of State Regena L. Thomas and the New Jersey State Archives today unveiled rare treasures of New Jersey's colonial past purchased by the State at Christie's in June. Acting Governor Richard J. Codey joined Secretary Thomas at Princeton’s historic Morven Museum and Garden to open the State Archives’ new exhibition, “Proprietors & Adventurers: A Rediscovery of Colonial New Jersey,” featuring all eleven original manuscripts, maps and books recently acquired by the State.

In June, the State acted to secure ownership of a priceless piece of New Jersey’s heritage by purchasing a cache of rare colonial manuscripts, maps and imprints auctioned at Christie’s in New York City. The collection includes unique 17th-century documents and maps originally belonging to Robert Barclay, proprietary governor of the Province of East New Jersey from 1682 to 1690.

Thomas and Codey welcomed classes from Lawrence Township Intermediate School and more than 100 historians, genealogists, archaeologists, and state officials to the ribbon-cutting for first-ever public display of the original documents in two second-floor galleries at the historic mansion. “East Jersey Governor Barclay’s archives were privately held and closed to research for over 300 years,” said Thomas, “and now they belong to the people of New Jersey.”

Thomas hailed the State’s success in acquiring the treasured documents. “Securing these documents is an investment not only in our history, but more importantly in our future,” she said. “More than just a part of a collection, these records are a part of our heritage,” Thomas continued. “They are a vital and invaluable resource that will provide new insight and understanding of our past as a colony, state and nation.”

Historian Dr. Richard P. McCormick, a retired professor of history at Rutgers University, and a
keynote speaker at the ceremony, congratulated the State for arranging the acquisition of what he called “an outstanding collection of maps and documents, many unavailable to scholars or the public for over three centuries.”

McCormick expressed special interest in Barclay’s records, which include previously unknown minutes of the East Jersey Board of Proprietors—New Jersey’s first owners by royal patent. “We have always known of the existence of the [proprietors], but now we may learn about their precise activities.” Decades ago, McCormick combed archives and manuscript collections in England to research the earliest period of British settlement in “Nova Caesarea,” the Latin name for New Jersey found in many ancient documents. Then in private hands, he never saw the Barclay documents.

Karl J. Niederer, director of the State Archives Division, said the acquisition of the unique Barclay documents may mean to New Jersey history research what the 1947 discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls represented to scholars of the Bible. “That so many valuable documents from New Jersey’s proprietary period surfaced at the same time at the Christie’s auction was unprecedented,” Niederer said. “The State Archives acquired the records of the Board of East Jersey Proprietors when the ancient corporation disbanded in 1998,” he said, “but Governor Barclay’s records appear to be new and unique material. This is a victory for New Jersey history.”

Joseph R. Klett, Archives chief of operations, planned and curated the exhibition, “Proprietors & Adventurers: A Rediscovery of Colonial New Jersey,” personally researching and writing most of the display’s narrative and captions. Klett credited the vigilance, cooperative spirit, and quick action of New Jersey’s historical community as essential in the State’s successful bid to acquire the colonial documents at Christie’s. “We are sincerely grateful for the outpouring of timely support that resulted in the purchase of these rare treasures,” Klett said.

Klett recognized Princeton rare book dealer Joseph J. Felcone for notifying the State Archives immediately when the auction of the documents by Philadelphia collector Jay T. Snider was announced by Christie’s in the spring. Klett said, “The Archives, David Cowell of the Advocates for New Jersey History, Ronald Becker of Rutgers University, Chad Leinaweaver of New Jersey Historical Society, and other prominent New Jersey archives and research institutions quickly recognized an unprecedented opportunity to rescue New Jersey’s documentary heritage from private hands. Fast-spreading news of the auction led to a dynamic public campaign to encourage the State to acquire the documents.”

Acting Governor Codey and Secretary Thomas authorized the Archives to bid for the documents at Christie’s. To pay for them, Codey allowed the Archives to draw from the State’s Public Records Preservation Fund, established in 2003 by the legislature and dedicated to improve the preservation, management and storage of New Jersey public archives and records. The New Jersey Hall of Fame contributed $15,000 to the State to assist with the acquisition of the documents and their public display.

On June 21, the State prevailed over vigorous competition in the bidding for all eleven lots of New Jersey documents at Christie’s, bringing into public possession many rare and previously unknown records of the colonization, settlement, government, and mapping of seventeenth and eighteenth century New Jersey.

Niederer acknowledged the New Jersey State Museum for providing staff support and guidance in preparing the exhibition of the documents. “The museum’s assistance was vital in making ‘Proprietors & Adventurers’ a reality,” he said. “Led by Beth Beitel, the exhibit bureau staff literally made the impossible possible.” Jack Koeppel of Queenstown Gallery helped secure the donation of several display cases to the Archives for the exhibition from Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Following today’s opening, the exhibition will remain open to the public at Morven in facsimile form during October. The State Archives plans to open an expanded version of the facsimile display in its own gallery in Trenton in November. The Archives expects to unveil an online version of the exhibition in its web site in 2006.

Most of the original documents will undergo conservation treatment during 2006 for cleaning, de-acidfication, mending of torn or separated paper fragments, photography and digitization. The State Archives’ dual goal is to ensure the permanent preservation of the documents, and provide the public convenient access to the information in them for research and educational purposes.

The State Archives is part of the Division of Archives and Records Management in the New Jersey Department of State, located at 225 West State Street in Trenton. The Archives’ second floor research center is open to the public Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For general information on the Archives services and programs, contact (609) 292-6260.

For more information on the exhibition and updates on the status of the colonial documents, visit http://archives.nj.gov/adventurers.html.




State of New Jersey

Governor Richard J. Codey

Office of the Governor
Trenton, NJ 08625

Codey Unveils Rare Historical Documents

(PRINCETON) – Acting Governor Richard J. Codey today unveiled an exhibition of extremely rare colonial New Jersey historical maps and manuscripts, including the first printed map of New Jersey and Governor Robert Barclay’s personal copy of the minutes of the East Jersey Proprietors, that were acquired by the state in June.

“We read about great historical events in books, but rarely do we get to see it first hand,” Codey said. “Today, for the first time in 300 years this entire collection is open to the public. These 17th and18th century manuscripts, maps and books offer an opportunity for residents and historians to examine New Jersey’s rich colonial history.”

The State Archives, assisted by the New Jersey State Museum and hosted by Morven Museum & Garden, prepared a stunning display of the original documents in an exhibition titled “Proprietors & Adventurers: A Rediscovery of Colonial New Jersey.

Highlighting the exhibition are John Seller’s first printed map of New Jersey from 1677, and Proprietary Governor Robert Barclay’s manuscript minute book of the Lords Proprietors of East Jersey, 1664-1683. Comprised of transcripts of all the significant early charters, concessions and grants from the Duke of York, Sir George Carteret and others, as well as the first constitution of East Jersey, these transcripts were intended to supply Barclay with relevant records of the Colony. More importantly, these artifacts provide a rare glimpse at early colonial New Jersey.

Also part of the exhibition was an untitled manuscript map of New York Harbor, 1683; a rare survey of Perth Amboy entitled “Description of Amboy Point;” an extremely rare map including the colony of New Jersey entitled “A Map of ye English Empire,” 1684-5; and a manuscript map entitled “East Jarsey,” 1686.

Other items include a “List of the Names of all Adventurers…Proprietors of West Jersey,” 1697; the first official compilation of the laws of New Jersey as documented in Bradford’s “The Acts of the General Assembly of the Province of New Jersey…” 1732; “A Bill in the Chancery of New Jersey,” 1747, relating to one of the most important legal and land cases in colonial New Jersey; “The Grants, Concessions and Original Constitutions of the Province of New Jersey,” 1758; and the first published history of New Jersey, “The History of the Colony of Nova-Caesaria,” 1765.

The manuscripts and maps were a part of a collection of colonial and early American documents auctioned at Christie’s in June. The state paid $547,300 for the 11 lots. Funding was provided from a dedicated public records preservation account. The documents will be preserved and made accessible to the public for research and exhibition at the New Jersey State Archives. The state archives, one of the nation’s premier archival repositories and popular historical and genealogical research facilities, is a fitting home for these documents, which supplement significantly the records of the East Jersey Board of Proprietors acquired by the Archives in 1998.

 




State of New Jersey

Department of State
Trenton, NJ 08625
(609) 984-1900

RICHARD J. CODEY
Acting Governor
 
REGENA L. THOMAS
Secretary of State

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 21, 2005
 

 

COLONIAL DOCUMENTS UNVEILING SET FOR SEPTEMBER 27th
State Archives’ Exhibition of New Jersey Treasures Will Open at Morven Museum and Garden

Statewide – Secretary of State Regena L. Thomas and the New Jersey State Archives will unveil the treasured rare documents of New Jersey's colonial history purchased at Christie's in June. Secretary Thomas joined by Acting Governor Richard J. Codey, will open the State Archives’ exciting exhibition “Proprietors & Adventurers: A Rediscovery of Colonial New Jersey,” that will feature all eleven original manuscripts, maps and books recently acquired by the State. The event will take place at historic Morven Museum and Garden in Princeton on September 27, 2005 at 11:30 a.m.

Dr. Richard P. McCormick, professor emeritus of history at Rutgers University will be the featured speaker.

In June, the State acted to secure ownership of a priceless piece of New Jersey’s founding heritage by purchasing a cache of rare colonial manuscripts, maps and imprints auctioned at Christie’s in New York City. The collection includes unique 17th-century documents and maps originally belonging to Robert Barclay, proprietary governor of the Province of East New Jersey from 1682 to 1690. Privately held and closed to research for more than three centuries, the Barclay documents now belong to the people of New Jersey.

For more information on the colonial documents, and the public unveiling and exhibition, visit http://archives.nj.gov/links/adventurers.html. For directions to Morven Museum & Garden, visit http://www.historicmorven.org/directions.html.

Members of the media are encouraged to attend and to R.S.V.P. to ensure the appropriate amount of materials are available.

 

WHAT:

Secretary of State Regena Thomas and Acting Governor Richard J. Codey to unveil New Jersey’s recently acquired colonial documents to the public for the first time.
 
WHEN:
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
WHERE:
Morven Museum and Garden
55 Stockton Street
Princeton, NJ 08540




State of New Jersey

Department of State
Trenton, NJ 08625
(609) 984-1900

RICHARD J. CODEY
Acting Governor
 
REGENA L. THOMAS
Secretary of State

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 21, 2005
 

 

STATE SECURES RARE HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS
Codey applauds efforts to keep colonial manuscripts and maps in New Jersey

(TRENTON) – Acting Governor Richard J. Codey today announced the state secured 11 lots of extremely rare colonial New Jersey historical maps and manuscripts, including the first printed map of New Jersey and Governor Robert Barclay’s personal copy of the minutes of the East Jersey Proprietors, that were up for auction.

“Today, an important part of New Jersey’s history is coming back to the state where it belongs,” Codey said. “More than just a part of a collection, these records are a part of our heritage. They are a vital and invaluable resource that will provide new insight and understanding of our past as a colony, state and nation. Securing these documents is an investment not only in our history, but more importantly in our future.”

Highlighting the acquisition are John Seller’s first printed map of New Jersey from 1677, and Proprietary Governor Robert Barclay’s manuscript minute book of the Lords Proprietors of East Jersey, 1664-1683. Comprised of transcripts of all the significant early charters, concessions and grants from the Duke of York, Sir George Carteret and others, as well as the first constitution of East Jersey, these transcripts were intended to supply Barclay with relevant records of the Colony. More importantly, these artifacts provide a rare glimpse at early colonial New Jersey.

Also acquired was an untitled manuscript map of New York Harbor, 1683; a rare survey of Perth Amboy entitled “Description of Amboy Point;” an extremely rare map including the colony of New Jersey entitled “A Map of ye English Empire,” 1684-5; and a manuscript map entitled “East Jarsey,” 1686.

Other items include a “List of the Names of all Adventurers…Proprietors of West Jersey,” 1697; the first official compilation of the laws of New Jersey as documented in Bradford’s “The Acts of the General Assembly of the Province of New Jersey…” 1732; “A Bill in the Chancery of New Jersey,” 1747, relating to one of the most important legal and land cases in colonial New Jersey; “The Grants, Concessions and Original Constitutions of the Province of New Jersey,” 1758; and the first published history of New Jersey, “The History of the Colony of Nova-Caesaria,” 1765.

The manuscripts and maps were a part of a collection of colonial and early American documents auctioned at Christie’s. The state paid $547,300 for the 11 lots. Funding was provided from a dedicated public records preservation account. The documents will be preserved and made accessible to the public for research and exhibition at the New Jersey State Archives.