Contact the NJ Historical Commission
NJ Historical Commission
P.O. Box 305
Trenton, NJ 08625
Tel: (609) 292-6062
Fax: (609) 633-8168
Albert Einstein is one of the most important figures of the twentieth century. Born in Germany and overcoming initial failures, Einstein excelled in his schooling, especially in the fields of math and science. Einstein would reach the pinnacle of his career by winning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921.
The Hindenburg Tragedy
Herbert Morrison, the radio announcer from Chicago’s WLS radio station, was on assignment in Lakehurst, New Jersey when the majestic airship Hindenburg approached the air station. It was approaching nighttime, and Morrison described how the ship’s windows were “sparkling like glittering jewels on the background of black velvet.” Moments later the commentary turned to horror as the ship exploded in a ball of flame and crashed to the ground.
One such program was the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Managed by the Department of Agriculture, the program was designed to combat poverty in rural areas of the nation. One such project, found in the Garden State, was the resettlement of a community in western Monmouth County that became known as Jersey Homesteads.
The Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping: “The Crime of the Century”
“Mrs. Lindbergh, do you have the baby?” These dreadful words were uttered by Betty Gow, a nursemaid at Highfields, shortly after 10:00 pm of March 1, 1932. Newspapers quickly reported on the kidnapping of the hero’s twenty-month-old infant son, Charles Jr. A ransom note found on a windowsill in the nursery demanded a payment of $50,000 for the child’s safe return. Lindbergh paid the ransom, but the child’s dead body was later found in the woods not far from the home.
Women at Work: Rosie the Riveter and World War II
One of these tactics centered on the fictional character of “Rosie the Riveter” as the quintessential female worker: loyal, efficient, patriotic, and pretty. A song entitled “Rosie the Riveter” became very popular in 1942. Norman Rockwell’s image on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post
on May 29, 1943 was the first widely publicized pictorial representation of the new “Rosie the Riveter,” which led to many other “Rosie” images.
Effa Manley and The Newark Eagles
Of the nearly 300 members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, only one is a woman. Effa Manley and her husband, Abe, were co-owners of the Newark Eagles from 1936 to 1948. The Eagles played in the old Negro League, the home of black stars who were banned from Major League baseball because of their skin color.
Alice Paul, Women's Rights Activist
On March 3, 1913, the day before another resident of New Jersey, Woodrow Wilson, was sworn in as president, Alice Paul led a march in Washington, D.C. to demand equal voting rights for women. Some 8,000 women endured jeers and occasional violence as they paraded through the nation’s capital in an event that was hailed as a milestone in the suffrage movement.
Thomas Mundy Peterson, First African-American Voter
The 15th Amendment, granting African-American men the right to vote, was formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution ensuring that “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” On March 31, 1870, one day after it was adopted, Thomas Peterson Mundy of Perth Amboy, New Jersey became the first African American to vote under the authority of this new law.
Paul Robeson: Civil Rights Activist
Paul Robeson was one of the best-known African American actors and Civil Rights activists of the early twentieth century. But questions about race confronted him much earlier in his career. Born in 1898, Robeson grew up in Princeton, New Jersey.
Abraham Lincoln in New Jersey
Abraham Lincoln’s visit to New Jersey as President-elect began as many such visits do: traveling from Manhattan to Jersey City across the Hudson River on a route approximating that of the Lincoln Tunnel. On February 21, 1861, Lincoln was met by large crowds in Jersey City, Newark, and New Brunswick. He made brief remarks at each location before arriving in Trenton.
Women made up less than 5% of the total number of Representatives when Millicent Fenwick joined the U.S. House of Representatives in 1974. In 2013, women make up nearly 20% of the total number of both houses of Congress. How did Fenwick help to change the face of politics, during her own time and thereafter?
Paterson Silk Strike
In the late 19th century, Paterson, New Jersey became a manufacturing powerhouse. The Great Falls of the Passaic River provided energy for mills that produced nearly half the nation’s silk. Skilled dyers and weavers from Europe produced fabrics for New York’s burgeoning garment industry.
The Campbell Soup Company was founded in 1869 by fruit merchant Joseph Campbell and icebox manufacturer Abraham Anderson as a small canning company in Camden, New Jersey. They started out packing three products: French peas, fancy asparagus, and beefsteak tomatoes, then expanded to other vegetables, jellies, soups, condiments, and mincemeat.
Additional Resources: Campbell Soup Slideshow
On March 4, 1913, Woodrow Wilson became the first governor of New Jersey to take the oath of office as president of the United States. In the hotly contested national election of 1912, Wilson defeated two presidents: incumbent William Howard Taft, a Republican, and ex-president Theodore Roosevelt, who ran as a third-party candidate.
Fort Lee Studios: Where the Movie Magic Began
Although most people think Hollywood is the motion picture capital of the world, New Jersey was the real birthplace of the modern film industry. Motion pictures were invented and first produced at Thomas Edison’s laboratory and studio in West Orange. Fort Lee - just across from New York City - became a key site for early film production.
Thomas Edison: The Wizard of Menlo Park
With over one thousand patents to his name, Edison easily fits this description. He was renowned for his hard work and for persistence. “I have not failed,” he argues, “I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” What impact did Edison’s attitude have on his ability to be an innovator? What lessons can we take away from Edison’s attitude and work ethic?