of the Nickname
Browning of Camden is given credit for giving New Jersey the
nickname the Garden State. According to Alfred Heston's 1926
two-volume book Jersey Waggon Jaunts, Browning called New Jersey
the Garden State while speaking at the Philadelphia Centennial
exhibition on New Jersey Day (August 24, 1876).
said that our Garden State is an immense barrel, filled
with good things to eat and open at both ends, with Pennsylvanians
grabbing from one end and New Yorkers from the other.
The name stuck ever since.
Benjamin Franklin is credited with a similar comparison
of New Jersey to a barrel tapped at both ends. Some have
used that to discredit Browning with naming the Garden
In 1954, the state legislature passed a bill to have "The Garden State" added
to license plates. Before signing the bill into law, Governor Robert Meyner investigated
the origins of the nickname and found "no official recognition of the slogan
Garden State as an identification of the state of New Jersey." He added, "I
do not believe that the average citizen of New Jersey regards his state as more
peculiarly identifiable with gardening for farming than any of its other industries
or occupations." Governor Meyner vetoed the bill, but the legislature overrode
the veto. The slogan was added to license plates soon after.