Today, Barb Solem, author of Ghosttowns of the NJ Pines and Other Quirky Places, and I attended the NJ Forum. Our first program was Panel 1: American Revolution. Three presenters gave information on Monmouth County in NJ during the Rev., Loyalist Estate Seizures, and The Fate of Slavery in NJ. It was interesting and I really enjoy the new focus on the individual in historical context. Also, I'm interested in what happened to ordinary citizens during the Revolution and we learned quite a bit about that, how the forming of militia allowed for the rise of men into local politics, for example.
We attended Panel 4: Pickets, Progressives and Pageants, Woemn and Social Change in NJ, but only for the first presenter who spoke on Cornelia Bradfords Role in the NJ Settlement House Movement. She was interesting and had visuals which was a helpful boost. I must say that listening to a historican read from his paper for half an hour can be challenging to even the most dedicated history fan. A little color goes a long way, especially in a WHOLE day of history presentations. We moved before the next two speakers because we had already heard them. One of them is EXCELLENT, Mary Walton, author of A Woman's Crusade: Alice Paul and the Battle for the Ballot, but I'd heard her speak and bought her book at Women's Equality Day at Paulsdale in August.
We wanted to hear Panel 5: Rich Man, Poor Man, Pioneer, Theirf: Rethinking EArthfast Architecture in NJJ, c.1680-1799, Michael Gall. We missed the first part (due to attendance at Panel 4, so we only caught the end, but we had the chance to hear the entire presentation on the upcoming restoration of the house of James Still. That presentation was entitled The James Still Office: Hidden Treasure Lies Beneath, by Suzanna Barucco, Dir. of Historic Pres., KSK Architects, etc. I'd always wanted to see the interior and had driven by the house many times and heard a number of presenters both on James Still and his family, including William Still, the famous Underground Railroad operative in Pa. It will be interesting to see where this goes in the future, how the place is restored and what the focus in the interior will become. I'm pleased and hopeful that this place has been saved.
The day was long - there were too many wonderful topics to choose from, and the historic building in which the symposium was held was breathtakingly beautiful in architectural detail. It is called Woodrow Wilson Hall. The mansion was built in 1929 for about 10.5 million by the president of Woolworth Company, Hubert Templeton Parson and his wife Maysie. It is in the French style Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Well worth the visit in and of itself.
Now I'm off to Albert Hall in Waretown for some pickin' music!