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Greetings from Lake Hopatcong

by Anne Motto, F.M. Kirby Curator of Collections April 9, 2024 Beginning in the 1880s, Lake Hopatcong developed into a popular summer destination, and the newly arrived railroads brought crowds […]

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Playground of the Millionaires

by Erin Feith, Research Assistant April 2, 2024 On December 10, 1903, twelve millionaires, whose combined wealth surpassed $68,000,000, met on Wall Street and laid the plans for a highly […]

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Three Cheers (& 30 Years) for Liz Pierce!

by Anne Motto, F.M. Kirby Curator of Collections March 26, 2024 Virtually every single dress, shoe, hat, accessory, or object donated to MCHS in the past 30 years has been […]

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A Budd That Bloomed

by Erin Feith, Research Assistant March 19, 2024 Over three centuries ago, Budd Lake sprouted as an attractive destination offering both business opportunity and recreation.  While historical accounts vary, the […]

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Weaving Together a History

by Anne Motto, F.M. Kirby Curator of Collections March 12, 2024 Piecing together the story of longtime Morristown dressmaker Mrs. R.F. Dempsey (1850-1931) is a bit like attempting a jigsaw […]

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Masons of Morris County Part II

by Erich Morgan Huhn, PhD Candidate, Drew University March 5, 2024 Throughout the first two decades of the nineteenth century, Masonic lodges across the United States played an important role in fostering […]

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Hooked on a Ceiling

by Erin Feith, Research Assistant February 27, 2024 At the time of Acorn Hall’s construction and expansion in the mid-19th century, an element of interior décor was at the peak […]

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Hone Away from Home 2: Go West, Rich Man

by Anne Motto, F.M. Kirby Curator of Collections February 20, 2024 Fifty years after his father toured the UK’s Lake District, John Hone IV (1844-1915) traveled much of the American […]

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Mapping Their Pattern

by Anne Motto, F.M. Kirby Curator of Collections February 13, 2024 In 1905, more dressmakers than ever were operating in Morristown. Often working out of their home and sometimes in […]

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Attached at the Hip

by Erin Feith, Research Assistant February 6, 2024 For centuries, the chatelaine came in clutch, providing a solution for the often pocket-less garments worn by women. Though known by a […]

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Rubber-Made

By Erin Feith, Research Assistant January 30, 2024 By the latter half of the 19th century, the rubber industry met the roads of Butler, then a part of Pequannock Township. […]

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Masons of Morris County, Part I

by Erich Morgan Huhn, PhD Candidate, Drew University January 23, 2024 Freemasonry has a long and rich history in Morris County, from before the Revolution to the present day. This fraternal organization, […]

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They’d Like to Thank the Academy

by Erin Feith, Research Assistant January 16, 2024 At the close of the 18th century, there was a new school on the block: the Morris Academy. Organized by 24 local […]

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Mueller Atlas of 1910: Chatham & Madison (photo blog)

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections January 9, 2024 In 1910, an atlas with the very catchy name of Atlas of Part of Morris Co., N.J. Embracing the Town of […]

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Year in the Life of a Collections Assistant

By Noël Grabow, Collections Assistant December 19, 2023 As part-time collections assistant of an organization with an extensive historic costume collection, some of my favorite experiences have been when my […]

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Whatever Floats Your Canal Boat

by Erin Feith, Research Assistant December 12, 2023 In the mid-to-late 1860s, the Morris Canal was in its heyday. Recently expanded, it was more profitable than ever, and many hundreds […]

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Tickling the Chickering

by Erin Feith, Research Assistant December 5. 2023 200 years ago, piano maker Jonas Chickering quickly scaled to the top of the 19th-century music scene, creating instruments that set the […]

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Hone Away from Home

by Sara Weissman, MCHS Volunteer and Reference Librarian (Ret., Morris County Library) November 27, 2023 During his over two decades in Morristown, John Hone III (1819-1891) was a pillar of […]

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Day in the Life of an Executive Director

by Amy Curry, Executive Director November 14, 2023 The ironic part of my job as the executive director of a county historical society is that despite the name of our […]

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A Glowing Tradition: Mt. Tabor’s Paper Lanterns

by Michelle Munn, Mt. Tabor Historical Society November 7, 2023 Visitors to Mount Tabor’s Richardson History House often inquire with some curiosity about the lantern hanging in the parlor. They […]

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A “Plot” to Die for

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections October 31, 2023 When Green-Wood Cemetery opened in Brooklyn, it was a desirable place to visit even before one was deceased. Pre-dating New York […]

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Day in the Life of a Curator of Collections

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections October 24, 2023 The title Curator of Collections may seem very specific, but in a small organization, it can be surprisingly broad. Describing an […]

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Mueller Atlas of 1910: Gilded Age Estates, Part II

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections & Erin Feith, Research Assistant October 17, 2023 Beginning in the late 19th Century, Morris County became a hub for Gilded Age millionaires, who […]

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The Ayres Knuth Farm

by Sue Schmidt, The Ayres/Knuth Farm Foundation October 10, 2023 Top photo courtesy of The Ayres/Knuth Farm Foundation Located in the present-day Township of Denville, the Ayres/Knuth Farm is listed […]

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Me and My Shadow

by Erin Feith, Research Assistant October 3, 2023 Originally known as “shades” or “shadow portraits,” silhouettes gained international recognition as the 19th Century dawned. By capturing a sitter’s profile, the […]

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Mueller Atlas of 1910: Gilded Age Estates, Part 1

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections & Erin Feith, Research Assistant September 26, 2023 Beginning in the late 19th Century, Morris County became a hub for Gilded Age millionaires, who […]

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Day in the Life of a Research Assistant

by Erin Feith, Research Assistant September 19, 2023 “Oh, cool, you work at a museum! What do people who work at museums do?” is a question often asked when I […]

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Mueller Atlas of 1910: Hanover (photo blog)

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections September 12, 2023 In 1910, an atlas with the very catchy name of Atlas of Part of Morris Co., N.J. Embracing the Town of […]

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A Crane Slept Here

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections September 5, 2023 Once again this summer, MCHS closed at the end of August for what is internally dubbed “cleaning weeks.” Ironically, it is […]

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The Summer of (18) ’63

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections August 29, 2023 In the summer of 1863, the Cranes of Acorn Hall did what many of 19th-Century NYC’s most fashionable did: went down […]

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The Humans Behind the History

by Katelyn Rohlf, MCHS Summer Intern August 22, 2023 “Man, these things are heavy,” was my first thought after lugging the 10”x18”, Hone family scrapbooks (1869-1903) under the scanner. After […]

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The Piano Men

by Erin Feith, Research Assistant August 15, 2023 By the mid-19th Century, there were new ivories to tickle when Mason & Hamlin opened its doors. Starting production with harmoniums, a […]

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A Stroke of Brilliance

by MCHS Staff August 8, 2023 When “rich-cut glass” made its debut at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, a new era in American decorative arts began. While glass cutting […]

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Greeting from Morris County! (Part 2)

by MCHS Staff August 1, 2023 Some of the most dynamic historic images within MCHS’s archives are in fact postcards depicting the local landscape. Frequently hand-colored, they offer an often […]

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Crossroads of the Gilded Age

by Erin Feith, Research Assistant July 25, 2023 The corner of Madison Avenue and Danforth Road, being the site of a palatial estate that a number of the nation’s wealthiest […]

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Read It and Wear

By Erin Feith, Research Assistant July 18, 2023 In the mid-19th Century, couture-inspired trends came “haute” off the presses in the form of fashion periodicals. Read and followed across the […]

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Mueller Atlas of 1910: The Mendhams (photo blog)

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections July 11, 2023 In 1910, an atlas with the very catchy name of Atlas of Part of Morris Co., N.J. Embracing the Town of […]

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Foursquare & 170 Years Ago

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections June 27, 2023 Exactly 170 years ago, construction of the residence that is now known as Acorn Hall was nearing completion. A modest Foursquare, […]

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An Early Check-In to Morristown’s Hotel Scene

by Erin Feith, Research Assistant June 20, 2023 With travelers attracted by its fresh air and rural surroundings, Morristown could boast of a burgeoning hotel industry by the 19th century, […]

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Mueller Atlas of 1910: Morristown (Photo Blog)

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections June 13, 2023 In 1910, an atlas with the very catchy name of Atlas of Part of Morris Co., N.J. Embracing the Town of […]

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The Artist & the Shoemakers

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections June 6, 2023 When noted local artist Edward Kranich moved to Morristown, he was likely following in the footsteps of his brother-in-law twice over, […]

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Going the Extra 90 Yards: The Measure of a Historically Replicated Curtain

by Noël Grabow, Collections Assistant May 30, 2023 Top photo: Replica drape (left) and historic drape (right) in Acorn Hall’s front parlor. As stewards of one of the most remarkable […]

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Good Fences Make a Good Neighborhood

by Amy Curry, Executive Director May 23, 2023 When Augustus Crane purchased the house and property that became Acorn Hall and his gentleman’s farm in 1857, he no doubt was […]

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Morris County Through Kranich’s Paintbrush

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections May 9, 2023 The meticulously rendered paintings of local artist Edward Kranich (1826-1891) are rare indeed, not only in number, but also in the […]

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A League of Her Own

by Erin Feith, Research Assistant May 2, 2023 In the 1920s, a new figure emerged in the boxing industry who never fought yet packed a punch not soon forgotten, Madame […]

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Live from New York

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections April 25, 2023 Top photo: Poster for earlier flight by Charles Durant in his hot air balloon. NYC was a happening place in the […]

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Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls, Come to Schooley’s Mt. Springs

by Erin Feith, Research Assistant April 18, 2023 In pre-Revolutionary Morris County, a trip to Schooley’s Mountain was thought to keep the doctor away. Chalybeate (iron salt) mineral springs had […]

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A Centennial Celebration

by Erin Feith, Research AssistantApril 10, 2023 This year, two Morris County municipalities, Riverdale and Mine Hill, celebrate their centennial! While their origins differ greatly, both followed a similar path […]

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A Silver Reunion

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections April 4, 2023 From a library of books to monogrammed table linens, MCHS is phenomenally lucky to have an amazing array of Crane family […]

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Lucille Hobbie: Local History in Fine Detail

by MCHS Staff March 28, 2023 Born in Boonton, renowned artist Lucille Hobbie (1915-2008) was noted for her depictions of local historic landmarks. Enjoy an assortment of prints from within MCHS’s collection […]

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Gaining…and Losing…Traction

by Erin Feith, Research Assistant March 21, 2023 Getting on board with transportation trends that swept the nation at the turn of the century, the Morris County Traction Company (MCT) […]

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A Crane in China

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections March 14, 2023 In MCHS archives are 16 Crane family letters long dubbed “the Canton letters,” as they chronicle the 1833-5 journeys of Augustus […]

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Randolph: Reimagining Itself for 218 Years

by Sara Weissman, MCHS Volunteer and Reference Librarian (Ret., Morris County Library) March 7, 2023 Randolph became Morris County’s sixth municipality in November 1805 when the New Jersey Legislature passed […]

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Have You Met My Sister?

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections February 28, 2023 Before his move to Morristown, Augustus Crane and his four siblings lived among a tight-knit circle of family, friends, and friends […]

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Cooked to Perfection

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections February 21, 2023 In 1896, to much fanfare, a large Brooklyn manufacturer of stoves and furnaces, Richardson & Boynton, moved its plant to Dover, […]

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Hitting the High Notes

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections February 14, 2023 In stark contrast to their mothers’ generation, the 487 known students of the Morristown Sewing School went on to work outside […]

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Those Were the Days

by Erin Feith, Research Assistant February 7, 2023 In the mid-19th century, Morristown found its sweet spot with the opening of Wilbur F. Day’s confectionery and bakery on Park Place. […]

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The Odd Case of Carnot Ward

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections January 31, 2023 Carnot Meeker Ward was born into a life of Gilded Age opulence. The heir of two fortunes before he turned 21, […]

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A Morristown Millionaire’s Washington Valley Farm (photo blog)

by MCHS Staff January 24, 2023 Inamere Farm in Morris Township’s Washington Valley was NYC banker Rudolph H. Kissel’s country home in the early 20th century. Very near his elder […]

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Gone but Not Forgotten

by Erin Feith, Research Assistant, and Sally Capone, Publicity Coordinator January 17, 2023 The Morris County Children’s Home opened its doors in 1881. Utilizing funds raised by a local branch […]

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What if the Needle Isn’t Even in the Haystack?

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections January 10, 2023 Research into the Morristown Sewing School, its 56 known teachers, and 487 known students, which I first began in the summer […]

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Christmas at the Randolph Friends Meeting House

by Dr. Nick Steneck, President of Friends Meeting House & Cemetery Association, Randolph December 13, 2022 If you were looking for a cozy fire, holiday decorations and Christmas carols two […]

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My Dear Boy…

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections December 6, 2022 MCHS is phenomenally lucky to have 59 letters written to Augustus “Gus” Crane, Jr. by his father, Augustus Crane, Sr., and […]

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Snapshots of Morristown’s Italian Community, Part II

by MCHS Staff November 29, 2022 In 1982, when MCHS published New Neighbors, Old Friends, a book on Morristown’s Italian community, the book’s author donated nearly 1,000 images for the […]

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Put Your Records On

by MCHS Staff November 15, 2022 By the turn of the 20th century, the Industrial Revolution in Morris County had moved beyond the iron mines and rubber works into middle […]

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Going to the Chapel

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections November 8, 2022 For much of the fall of 1869, the Cranes were “busy as bees” preparing for perhaps the grandest social affair they […]

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International Travels of a Gilded Age Couple

by MCHS Staff November 1, 2022 Soon after their marriage, Walter and Emma Stone Kemeys set sail for Europe, joined for at least part of their journey by Emma’s sister, […]

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You Jump, I Jump, John Josiah

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections October 25, 2022 It isn’t much of a stretch to say that if you are ever wondering why Augustus Crane of Acorn Hall did […]

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A 1960s History Experiment

by Erin Feith, Research Assistant October 18, 2022 As national interest in historic preservation grew, resulting in the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act (1966), the oldest existing house […]

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Morristown Through the Lens of a Local Family

by MCHS Staff October 11, 2022 Over the course of the summer, two of MCHS’s dedicated volunteers, John and Mary Lou Skillin, catalogued an collection of many hundreds of historic […]

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The Next Big Restoration Thing

by Amy Curry, Executive Director October 4, 2022 In 1860, when Augustus Crane transformed his newly purchased country home, he had a clear vision for its style. Inspired by his […]

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Back (in Time) to School

by Erin Feith, Research Assistant, and Sally Capone, Publicity Coordinator September 27, 2022 Located at the intersection of routes 10 and 202 in Parsippany-Troy Hills, the Old Littleton Schoolhouse has […]

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The Bracket King of Morristown

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections September 20, 2022 Certain episodes in the centuries-long story of Acorn Hall and the Crane family can be rendered in remarkable detail thanks to […]

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Snapshots of Morristown’s Italian Community

by MCHS Staff September 13, 2022 In 1982, when MCHS published New Neighbors, Old Friends, a book on Morristown’s Italian community, the book’s author donated nearly 1,000 images for the […]

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Morris County’s “City Upon a Hill”

by Michelle Munn, Mt. Tabor Historical Society September 6, 2022 Morris County’s unique, historic, and unforgettable Mount Tabor community was established as a permanent Methodist camp meeting in 1869 and […]

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This One’s Fore the Girls

by Erin Feith, Research Assistant August 30, 2022 Near the end of the 19th century, the name of the game was golf and the ladies of Morris County were playing. […]

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Deed Searching in Morris County

by Sara Weissman, MCHS Volunteer and Reference Librarian (Ret., Morris County Library) August 23, 2022 One of the most frequent research requests posited to MCHS is the history of the […]

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Constructing a Gilded Age Mansion (Photo Blog)

MCHS Staff August 16, 2022 Documented through photographs in their family albums, construction of “Tranquility,” the Washington Valley estate of newlyweds Walter S. & Emma Kemeys, began in the summer […]

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Finding a Johnston in a NYC Haystack

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections August 9, 2022 This side of “John Smith,” John Johnston is about as common a name as can be imagined. In 1886 alone, the […]

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Chronicling Morris County, Part 2: The Crane Snowbirds

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections August 3, 2022 After the last Crane child had “flown” around 1885, Augustus and Mary Crane found themselves empty-nesters at Acorn Hall. Soon after, […]

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Gone Camping in Cedar Knolls

by Erin Feith, Research Assistant July 26, 2022 Though initially just over 100 acres, Cedar Knolls had a big reputation as a summer destination. The area drew visitors from near […]

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It Takes a Village

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections July 19, 2022 In Summer 1861, construction began on a new school in Morristown, the Morris Female Institute. Eight local builders and masons were […]

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Paradise Calling, I Have Your Treasures…

by Amy Curry, Executive Director July 12, 2022 MCHS regularly receives ‘out of left field’ phone calls, but in May 2015, we received an unforgettable one from Pacific National Bank […]

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You Are Hereby Summoned to Henry Mooney’s Tavern

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections July 5, 2022 This spring, MCHS received an extensive donation of local documents including everything from very early 19th-century daybooks to early Morris County […]

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Morris County’s Explosive Revolutionary Secret

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections June 28, 2022 In addition to archaeological exploration of Jacob Ford, Jr’s (gun)powder mill on the Whippany River just behind Acorn Hall in 2019, […]

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Move Over Jay Leno…

by Amy Curry, Executive Director June 21, 2022 Augustus Crane spent nearly half a century as a well-respected gentleman farmer, pillar in the Morristown community, and general man-about-town. However, there […]

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Fashion, Served Haute

by Erin Feith, Research Assistant June 14, 2022 By the time the Levilion fashion house debuted in mid-1860s Paris, the city of light was the undisputed capital of haute couture. […]

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Furniture Gone Wild

by Erin Feith, Research Assistant June 7, 2022 American interior décor went absolutely wild by the 1870s as furniture made from animals, particularly their horns and antlers, gained popularity. Encapsulating […]

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Chronicling Morris County, Part 1

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections May 31, 2022  In researching the 480 known students of the Morristown Sewing School, historical records are often plentiful. Insight into who they were […]

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An Heirloom Close to the Heart

by Noel Grabow, Collections Assistant May 24, 2022 One of the newest items in MCHS’s collection is a wooden busk from 1785. Busks varied widely in terms of size, shape […]

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Celebrating Historic Preservation Month

by Amy Curry, Executive Director May 17, 2022 The passage of the National Historic Preservation Act on October 15, 1966 brought unprecedented public awareness and recognition to the urgency of […]

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An Apple for Every Season

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections & Amy Curry, Executive Director May 10, 2022 Today, when MCHS looks back at Augustus Crane, we see him as he was for almost […]

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The Six Weeks to Showtime

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections May 2, 2022 Ever wondered what goes into the installation of an exhibit? As MCHS prepared for our current exhibit, From the Waist Up: Bodices, […]

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Washington’s Horse Was Shod Here

by Sally Capone, Publicity Coordinator April 26, 2022 While many historic homes boast that “Washington slept here,” the Luke Miller House in Madison can boast that “Washington’s horse was shod […]

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A Tale of Two Cities: The Morristown Sewing School

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections April 19, 2022 When 45 teacher’s books from the Morristown Sewing School were donated to MCHS in 2018, they opened a window into a […]

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A Lamp of Art

by Erin Feith, Research Assistant April 12, 2022 A light bulb went off in 1885 for Philip Julius Handel of Meriden, Connecticut that would glow brightly for half a century. […]

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1868 Atlas of Morris County (Photo Blog)

by MCHS Staff April 5, 2022 Throughout the mid to late 19th century, cartographer Frederick W. “F.W” Beers published atlases of towns and cities across the US. In 1868, he […]

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A Bevy-wyck of Condits

by Erin Feith, Research Assistant March 29, 2022 Almost 100 years after General Washington crossed the threshold of Beverwyck (see A Tale of Two Beverwycks), a new family entered the […]

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Parsippany’s Hidden Gem

by Sally Capone March 22, 2022 Just a hop, skip, and a jump from one of the busiest stretches of highway in the state, waterfowl and brightly colored sailboats glide […]

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Wax on, Wax off

Sara Weissman, MCHS Volunteer March 15, 2022 Acorn Hall brims with historic furniture, much of it mid-19th century, and some of which has lived at the Hall since it was […]

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The Legacy of Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge

by Sally Capone, Publicity Coordinator March 8, 2022 Born into one of the most powerful families in the country, Geraldine Rockefeller married Marcellus Hartley Dodge, Sr. in 1907 and moved […]

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In With the Old and New

by Erin Feith, Research Assistant February 28, 2022 When it was built in 1903, Alnwick Hall, the commanding home of General Edward P. Meany of the American Bell Telephone Company, […]

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Happy Birthday, Lincoln… Park!

by Erin Feith, Research Assistant February 22, 2022 While renamed in 1872 after the 16th President, Lincoln Park began as a small, rural community within Pequannock Township. In fact, the […]

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The Bass Family of Acorn Hall

by Erin Feith February 15, 2022 While Acorn Hall served as the home of the Crane-Hone family for over a century, another family played an integral part in the Hall’s […]

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Puttin’ on Your Sunday Best

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections February 8, 2022 In 1890, Robert McEwan and his seven sons took over the 100-year-old papermaking industry in Whippany. In the following years, they […]

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Greetings from Morris County!

by MCHS Staff February 1, 2022 Some of the most dynamic historic images within MCHS’s archives are in fact postcards depicting various historic sites, local landmarks, and streetscapes. Frequently hand-colored, […]

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King Kahn and His Royal Court

by Erin Feith, Research Assistant January 25, 2022 Among the estates dotting the Morris County landscape in the late 19th and early 20th century, “King of New York” Otto Kahn’s […]

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Enduring Legacy: Windows to the Past

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections January 18, 2022 Windows, both literal and metaphorical, into the history of Morris County’s Greystone Psychiatric Hospital are on display at Acorn Hall. A […]

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Heating Acorn Hall, A Tepid History

by Amy Curry, Executive Director January 11, 2022 Suffice it to say, today we don’t give much thought to how our homes are heated and many thermostats can be programmed […]

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Six Degrees of Morris County

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections January 4, 2022 Top photo: Silas Byram Condict (son of Silas Condict and Charlotte Ford), wife Mary Johnson, and children Charlotte Ford, Dr. Alice […]

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The Father of the American Christmas Card

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections December 21, 2021 Top image: L. Prang & Co. card, 1884 When imagining a holiday card, one might envision holly, reindeer, poinsettias, Santa – […]

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Dashing Through the Snow…

by Amy Curry, Executive Director December 14, 2021 Each year, MCHS lavishly decorates for the holidays with Acorn Hall’s rooms, mantels, doorways, and banisters impressively festooned. The season also marks […]

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A Tale of Two Beverwycks

by Erin  Feith, Research Assistant December 7, 2021 Once located along the route known as Washington’s Trail for the Founding Father who traveled it and even considered a gathering place […]

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A Not-So-Sparkly Holiday Tradition

by Sara Weissman, MCHS Volunteer November 29, 2021 For many, the approaching holidays bring the continuing tradition of family silver gracing the dinner table. Even at Acorn Hall, the holidays […]

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Who Were the Hones: The Engineer & the Southern Belle

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections November 10, 2021 Upon taking ownership following the death of his maternal aunt, Julia Crane Corning, in 1935, Augustus Crane Hone and his wife […]

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Morris County Did Its Bit

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections November 9, 2021 As the nation plunged headfirst into WWI in April 1917, millions of American men signed up to fight, including over 340 […]

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To Lenapehoking and Beyond!

by Pat Goodfriend, Membership & Volunteer Coordinator November 2, 2021 Morris County Historical Society is fortunate to have in its collection various objects that represent Native American history. Donated to […]

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Ancestor Searching in Morris County

Sara Weissman, MCHS Volunteer and Reference Librarian (Ret., Morris County Library) October 26, 2021 So many resources – books, databases, indexes, maps, etc. – have gone online in the last […]

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What About the Horses?

by Amy Curry, Executive Director October 19, 2021 In the 19th century, nearly every country home, like Acorn Hall, had a place to stable/house their horses. While these structures varied […]

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A Different Type of Mobile Home

by Erin Feith, Research Assistant October 12, 2021 The phrase “moving house” historically was often very literal. Since the 1700s, the process of transporting an existing structure from one location […]

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She’s Ready for Her Close-Up, Mr. DeMille

By Anne Motto, Curator of Collections October 4, 2021 An amazing journey that began for MCHS in the Summer of 2020 is nearing the home stretch! St. Cecilia, the 1886 […]

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Who Were the Cranes: Gus Leads, Ben Follows

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections September 28, 2021 Top photo: The Cranes at Acorn Hall, 1870. Although the Crane’s younger children, Augustus Jr. and Benjamin, inherited Acorn Hall alongside […]

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Who Were the Cranes: Two Very Different Sisters

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections September 21, 2021 Top photo: The Cranes at Acorn Hall, 1870 Augustus and Mary Crane of Acorn Hall had four children who all grew […]

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(Nearly) Untouched by the Passage of Time

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections September 14, 2021 When Acorn Hall was built for Dr. John P. Schermerhorn in 1853, it began its eventful 168-year life (and counting!) as […]

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The Phonograph of the Road

by Erin Feith, Research Assistant September 7, 2021 While all roads might lead to Rome, navigating them can still prove tricky. Today, Google Maps may eliminate some of the navigational […]

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Who Were the Cranes: The Country Gentleman & the Doting Mother

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections August 31, 2021 Top photo: The Cranes at Acorn Hall, 1870 Today, and for the past 50 years, Acorn Hall has been the headquarters […]

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Be Our Guest

by Erin Feith, Research Assistant August 24, 2021 The gates at Florham, the palatial Madison Avenue estate of Hamilton McKown and Florence Vanderbilt Twombly, began greeting guests nearly as soon […]

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Victory Gardens: A Homegrown American Dream

by Kat Kurylko, Research Assistant August 17, 2021 Nestled between Randolph and Dover, lies Victory Gardens, Morris County’s smallest municipality. Originally established during WWII, it provided housing and fan easy […]

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The Societal Olympics

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections August 10, 2021 By 1863, Mr. and Mrs. Crane of Acorn Hall had settled into life in Morristown relocating from New York City a […]

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Come Along on a Magic Carpet Ride

by Pat Goodfriend, Membership and Volunteer Coordinator August 3, 2021 Visitors to Acorn Hall are often surprised to learn that most of the furnishings they will see are original to […]

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You Again?!

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections July 27, 2021 Ever come cross something you’ve never seen before, but after learning about it, suddenly it’s everywhere? Well, that was the Hoffmans […]

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Seventy-Five Years Serving You, Morris County

by Amy Curry, Executive Director July 20, 2021 Across the US in late 1945, and with the formal end of WWII just weeks before, civic and national pride were at […]

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Going Along for the Ride: A Trip to Bertrand Island Amusement Park

by Kat Kurylko, Research Assistant July 13, 2021 In 1910, the construction of a trolley line that connected Newark to Bertrand Island’s popular dance hall made numerous attractions even more […]

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The Lasting Legacy of a Progressive

by Amy Curry, Executive Director July 6, 2021 Mary Crane Hone (1904-1990) of Acorn Hall had an impressive career by the time she came to Morristown in the late 1940s. […]

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I Wish I Could Tell You What I Know

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections June 29, 2021 Hindsight, they say, is 20/20. Today, when we look back at historical events, we do so with knowledge not afforded the […]

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Frogs in Our Faucets: A Ribbetting History of Mountain Lakes, NJ

by Kat Kurylko, Research Assistant June 22, 2021 Mountain Lakes is known for its Arts and Crafts style homes, but the story of its shaky and colorful development has faded […]

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Order Up! Milkweed for Monarchs

Pat Goodfriend, Volunteer & Membership Coordinator June 15, 2021 Land use on Acorn Hall’s six acres continues to evolve. In the 19th century, gentlemen farmer Augustus Crane planted fruit trees, […]

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A Rose by Any Other Definition

by Kat Kurylko, Research Assistant June 8, 2021 Floriography, the use of flowers as a means of communication, became a popular method of covert flirtation and discreet communication in the […]

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You Are an Enigma, Sir

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections June 1, 2021 Some of history’s 19th-century mysteries likely can’t be solved, but if there was any place with best odds of success, it’s […]

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Silk Gown for a Society Wedding

by Noël Grabow, Collections Assistant May 25, 2021 When plans for A Storied Past: History That Made Morris County were first discussed, prominent Morristonian Lucy Fitz Randolph’s elegant, opulent 1889 […]

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A Great Victorian Cover-Up!

by Amy Curry, Executive Director May 18, 2021 Augustus and Mary Crane had a definite aesthetic for Acorn Hall. They invested in decorative arts, like John Crossley & Sons carpets, […]

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Do 19-Year-Olds Often Get Hemorrhoids?

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections May 11, 2021 Rheumatism. Hemorrhoids. Pulmonary trouble. Loss of teeth. Joint stiffness. General debility. While the conditions attributed to the 134 men whose Civil […]

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Shippenport, Ever Heard of It?

by Amy Curry, Executive Director May 4, 2021 The Morris Canal is one of Morris County’s largest sources of industrial and engineering pride. In operation for nearly 100 years, the […]

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The Little Red Schoolhouse – Florham Park’s Pride & Joy

by Kat Kurylko, Research Assistant April 27, 2021 In 1830, the residents of Columbia, now Florham Park, sought to improve their thriving farming and broom-making community by establishing a public […]

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Look Out Bugs! We’re on Our Way!

by Pat Goodfriend, Volunteer & Membership Coordinator April 20, 2021 Acorn Hall’s native hardwood forest once seemed to fill the sky. The trees grew side by side, tall and straight […]

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Say Cheeeeeeeeeese…!!!

by Kat Kurylko, Research Assistant April 13, 2021 Not since the advent of portraiture some 5000 years ago had a new means for capturing likeness been invented, until 1837 and […]

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“Is It Alright If I Get Arrested, Dear?” -Mrs. Garrett Hobart IV

by Amy Curry, Executive Director April 6, 2021 Today, most intrepid travelers on State Route 287 would have a hard time imagining life, let alone the daily commute, without the […]

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Ford’s Secret and a Revolutionary Discovery

by Amy Curry, Executive Director March 30, 2021 In 2018, MCHS and the Morris County Park Commission partnered on a grant for the development of New Jersey & National Register […]

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Madison, the Rose City

by Kat Kurylko, Research Assistant March 23, 2021 Nicknamed “the Rose City” in the late 19th century, roses still hold a prominent place in Madison’s identity. Upon accessing the borough’s […]

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Lucille Hobbie: Our Local History in Images

Born in Boonton, renowned artist Lucille Hobbie (1915-2008) was noted for her depictions of local historic landmarks. Enjoy an assortment of prints from within MCHS’s collection that deftly capture some of Morris […]

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The Turnpike Era

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections March 9, 2021 The Turnpike Era dawned in the US in the early years of the 19th century. At the time, the average speed […]

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A Botanical Journal’s Place in Local History

by Pat Goodfriend, Membership & Volunteer Coordinator March 2, 2021 Tucked between volumes on landscapes and gardens, is a plain brown book in MCHS’s Research Library. Opening the cover of […]

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Uncovering St. Cecilia’s Artistic History

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections February 23, 2021 Armed only with two names, an old photograph, and a brief 1886 news article, research into the artistic history of MCHS’s […]

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Don’t Be Fooled by Unassuming Packaging

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections February 16, 2021 This past spring, in a giant case of taking lemons to make lemonade, MCHS undertook a reorganization of our archives and […]

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From Chains to Plates: The Surveys, Maps, and Atlases of Morris County

by Anne Motto, Curator of Collections February 9, 2021 Documentation of Morris County in maps and surveys evolved over time. Some of the oldest visual records were early surveys that […]

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Hair to Stay: A Look at Victorian Hair Art

By Kat Kurylko, Research Assistant February 2, 2021 Trends popularized by Queen Victoria often made their way across the Atlantic Ocean and were adopted as part of American cultural norms […]

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MCHS Anniversary Year: What It Means and What We Want to Accomplish

By Amy Curry, Executive Director January 26, 2021 This year, Morris County Historical Society (MCHS) will celebrate the 75th anniversary of our incorporation. A milestone naturally brings about reflection, pride, […]

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Prohibition: Speakeasies, Stills, and Organized Crime

By MCHS Staff January 19, 2021 Much like the rest of the U.S., Morris County felt the effects of Prohibition following the ratification of the 18th amendment and passage of […]

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In 2021, Morris County History Comes to You

By Anne Motto, Curator of Collections January 12, 2021 2021 is a landmark year for MCHS, representing both the 75th anniversary of our incorporation and the 50th anniversary of Mary […]

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Just Ad Animals: A History of Advertising with Animals

by Kat Kurylko, MCHS Research Assistant January 5, 2021 Cute dogs make for a great advertising logo, right? Victor Talking Machine Company (VTMC) must have thought so, too, when they […]

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A Change of Air: A Brief History of Randolph’s Resort Past

by Kat Kurylko, MCHS Research Assistant December 2020 In the late 19th century, Randolph, as a resort destination, flourished as doctors from New York City and Philadelphia recommended the area […]

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Taking the Waters: A Brief History of Lake Hopatcong’s Resort Past

by Kat Kurylko, MCHS Research Assistant December 2020 Attempting to escape noxious city air and dusty plough fields, many people reinvigorated themselves annually by visiting sea or lakeside resorts. As […]

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Morris County Taverns

by Kat Kurylko, MCHS Research Assistant December 2020 Long recognized for distributing spirits and information in equal measure, taverns played an important role in the history of Morris County. Tavern-keepers […]