Contact the NJ Historical Commission
NJ Historical Commission
P.O. Box 305
Trenton, NJ 08625

Tel: (609) 292-6062
Fax: (609) 633-8168


New Jersey Historical Commission (NJHC) and New Jersey Studies Academic Alliance (NJSAA) Announce 2012 Award Recipients

The New Jersey Historical Commission (NJHC) and the New Jersey Studies Academic Alliance (NJSAA) will be honoring several individuals and organizations for their outstanding contributions and/or scholarly research in the promotion of New Jersey history at the 2012 New Jersey Forum on Saturday, November 17, at Georgian Court University.

2012 NJHC Awards

Richard J. Hughes Award

Marc Mappen will receive the NJHC’s highest honor, the Richard J. Hughes Award, for his lifelong contributions to New Jersey history. After receiving a Ph.D. in American History from Rutgers University, Dr. Mappen went on to serve at the University in various positions, culminating his distinguished career as an associate dean at University College in New Brunswick.

In 2000, he retired from Rutgers to become the executive director of the New Jersey Historical Commission, a position he held until 2010. Dr. Mappen still teaches an occasional course at Rutgers University while speaking extensively across the state on New Jersey history.

In addition, he has also garnered a reputation as an author and columnist of distinction and today is widely considered one of the preeminent voices on the history of the Garden State. Dr. Mappen authored a series of columns for the New York Times that later became Jerseyana: The Underside of New Jersey History (1992), co-edited the Encyclopedia of New Jersey (2004), and most recently authored There is More to New Jersey than the Sopranos (2009). He is currently at work on a book about gangsters in the 1920’s and 1930’s.

Over several decades, Dr. Mappen has amassed an impressive portfolio of achievement in practicing and promoting New Jersey history as an educator, writer, lecturer, and public servant that has left residents of all ages richer and more aware of the state’s vibrant and diverse past.

Alfred E. Driscoll Dissertation Prize

Greg Walsh (Boston College) will receive the Alfred E. Driscoll Dissertation Prize for his work, Splintered Loyalties: The Revolutionary War in Essex County, New Jersey. The well-researched study builds on other examinations of New Jersey’s war-torn eastern region, one that was distinctive because of its proximity to the British, divided loyalties, and numerous skirmishes.

His dissertation focuses on popular commitment to the Revolution and argues that loyalties were more fluid than scholars have typically shown. His analysis rests on an impressive dataset of over 3,000 Essex men and women, including elites and ordinary folk, patriots, loyalists and neutrals.

This broad base supports a careful reconstruction of Essex County’s revolutionary political, legal, social, economic, and military history. His examination of military service, and the treatment of Loyalists and smuggling are particularly insightful.

Awards of Recognition

Awards of Recognition for outstanding contributions to New Jersey history will be given to following individuals and organizations:

The Newark History Society will be recognized for ten years of innovative and educational programming celebrating the city’s rich and vibrant historical legacy, made possible by the commitment and foresight of its founders Warren Grover, Tim Crist, and the late Charles Cummings.

The Chinkchewunska Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will be honored for their historic preservation, educational, and patriotic programming in Sussex County.

Joseph M. Laufer will be recognized for his tenure as Burlington County Historian, and for an exemplary 30-year career spent educating audiences of all ages on the historical wonders of Burlington County.

David Kimball will be honored for an exceptional career as a longtime National Park Service historian, and for his fine stewardship in leading and reshaping the Historic Burlington County Prison Museum Association during its most turbulent period.

2012 NJSAA Awards

Paul A. Stellhorn Award Recipients

Lauren A. Wells of Kendall Park is a middle-school teacher in South Brunswick Township. She is the recipient of the 2012 Paul A. Stellhorn Undergraduate New Jersey History Award in the senior thesis category for her work, “The Early Roots of School Desegregation: Hedgepath-Williams, Trenton, and the History Behind Brown v. Board of Education, 1943-1954.”

Her work was applauded for its extensive research and insight into the social history of Trenton of the 1930s and 40s, and its analysis of the racial and class origins of the Hedgepath-Williams protest against segregation in the city’s schools.

Ms. Wells received a B.A. in history and secondary education from The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) in May 2012. She graduated with honors and is a member of Phi Alpha Theta, the history honors society. In January 2012, Ms. Wells presented a paper based on her thesis at the Phi Alpha Theta Bi-annual Conference in Orlando, Florida.

Trevor J. McLaughlin of West Caldwell is an eighth-grade social studies teacher in Caldwell. He is the recipient of the 2012 Paul A. Stellhorn Undergraduate New Jersey History Award in the term/seminar paper category for his work, “A View from the Chalkboard: Trenton School Desegregation and the Struggle of Black Teachers in the pre-Brown era, 1944-1954.”

His work was recognized for its sophisticated analysis, strong narrative, and extensive use of primary and secondary sources. Mr. McLaughlin graduated summa cum laude from The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) in May 2012 with a B.A. in history and secondary education.

In the spring of 2012, he was inducted into the Delta Chapter(New Jersey) of Phi Beta Kappa, and received the Bernice Samalonis Scholarship of the Middle States Council for the Social Studies, which is awarded to two pre-service teachers in an open competition among undergraduates from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.

Mr. McLaughlin’s paper has also won the TCNJ History Department’s yearly award for the best research paper written by a junior history major, and has been accepted for publication in the TCNJ Journal of Student Scholarship.

Graduate Student Awards

Steven Elliott, who is completing his M.A. thesis in the Federated Department of History at Rutgers-Newark/New Jersey Institute of Technology. Mr. Elliot is being recognized for a paper drawn from his master’s thesis, “Sustaining the Revolution: Civil-Military Relations, Republicanism, and the Continental Army’s 1780 Morristown Encampment.”

In his study, he uses archival research on the social life of the Continental Army in New Jersey to show how the Continental Army’s officers were able to promote the cause of the Revolution and to serve as a symbol of national authority.

In developing his thesis, Mr. Elliott pays particular attention to the ways in which officers punished soldiers who stole private property, thus reinforcing their authority, while simultaneously turning the requisition of private property by the quartermaster’s department into a temporary sacrifice for the sake of the republican cause.

Laurie Lahey, who is completing her Ph.D. in American Studies at George Washington University. Ms. Lahey is recognized for a chapter from her dissertation, “Too Much Singing: Christianity and the Limitations of Nonviolence in the Ghetto.”

In her dissertation, “The Grassy Battleground”: Multiethnic Coalitions and the Long Civil Rights Movement in the Urban North,” she uses archival research combined with oral interviews to examine changing multiethnic alliances in Camden, New Jersey as they shifted from 1930s and 1940s, when they were organized around labor issues, to the 1960s and 1970s, when they were primarily concerned with social equality.

In her chapter, Ms. Lahey focuses on the emergence of new leadership and new coalitions during the 1960s that were galvanized by the War on Poverty, especially around issues of housing.

NJSAA Teacher Awards

John Wefing will be being honored for his extensive teaching experience in the area of New Jersey Constitutional Law. Mr. Wefing has taught New Jersey Constitutional Law at Seton Hall University for many years.

He has published Law Review articles on the New Jersey Supreme Court, and has authored a book about former New Jersey Governor and Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Hughes. John is also the recipient of numerous public service awards.

Rosanne Lichatin is the supervisor of social studies for the West Morris School District, and is being recognized for her work in promoting New Jersey history.

Previous honors include being selected as the New Jersey State History Teacher of the Year (2005), the New Jersey History Teacher of the Year: Daughters of the American Revolution (2006), and Gilder Lehrman/Preserve America National History Teacher of the Year (2005).

In addition, she also serves as a volunteer at the Washington Township Historical Society Museum.