Contact the NJ Historical Commission
NJ Historical Commission
P.O. Box 305
Trenton, NJ 08625
Tel: (609) 292-6062
Fax: (609) 633-8168
Haddy the Dinosaur
One of paleontology's most important events happened in New Jersey. In 1858, the first nearly complete dinosaur skeleton found in America was discovered by William Parker Foulke in a marl pit in Haddonfield, New Jersey. Hadrosaurus Foulkii went on to become the country's first publicly displayed dinosaur skeleton. Now New Jersey's state dinosaur, Haddy continues to draw crowds!
Effa Manley and the Newark Eagles
Effa Manley, with her husband Abe, was the co-owner of the Newark Eagles and the first woman inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Eagles won the Negro League World Series in 1946 against the Kansas Monarchs. Among the Eagles players during her ownership were future major league stars such as Larry Doby, who in 1947 was the first player to integrate the American League.
The Founding of New Jersey
New Jersey began as a royal gift from James, Duke of York, to Sir George Carteret and Lord Berkeley. It was named after a battle fought to defend the Isle of Jersey in the English Channel. New Jersey marks its 350th anniversary on June 24, 2014 with a look back at the colonial roots of New Jersey, originally divided into territories known as East Jersey and West Jersey.
The New Jersey Plan
The Constitutional Convention was held in Philadelphia in 1787. The "Great Compromise" combined elements of the New Jersey Plan, put forth by William Paterson, that proposed two representatives from each state regardless of population, with the proposal that representatives be given based on population.
Born in Bernardsville, she was elected to the United States House of Representatives at the age of 64. She became known for her energy, enthusiasm, and strong views. She was considered a moderate, progressive Republican and was outspoken in favor of civil rights and the women's movement.
Lincoln in Trenton
Abraham Lincoln journeyed through New Jersey by train in February 1861. He was on his way to his first inauguration in Washington, D.C. Although the state had not voted for Lincoln, he was invited to speak at the State House in Trenton, where he addressed both the Senate and the General Assembly.
The 28th president of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, began his political career in New Jersey. A popular professor, he was known for his speeches. He became president of Princeton University in 1902 and then governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913.
Einstein in Princeton
Albert Einstein is the world's most famous theoretical physicist. He received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921. When Hitler came to power in 1933, Einstein was visiting the United States; he decided not to return to Germany. He settled in Princeton, New Jersey, becoming an American citizen in 1940. Einstein was a familiar figure about town on his bicycle. He was affiliated with the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton until his death.
Paul Robeson: Civil Rights Activist
Paul Robeson was both an internationally renowned actor, singer and an activist for civil rights. Born in Princeton, he attended Rutgers University where he was a football All-American and the class valedictorian. Robeson stood up for workers and the oppressed, and embraced sometimes unpopular causes such as the Spanish Civil War. He was blacklisted during the McCarthy era, and his career never fully recovered.
Thomas Mundy Peterson, First African-American Voter
Thomas Mundy Peterson lived in Perth Amboy, where he became the first African-American to vote after the passage of the 15th Amendment in 1870, which prohibits federal and state governments from denying a citizen the right to vote based on that citizen's "race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
1936 State House Occupation
The depression was in its seventh year, and things got even worse when relief efforts were suspended on April 15, 1936 due to lack of funds. Protesters took over the state house for eight days in an early "occupy" movement.
Rosie the Riveter
When the U.S. declared war, production increased dramatically and in a short amount of time. Auto factories were converted to build airplanes, shipyards were expanded, and new factories were constructed. All of these facilities needed workers since so many men volunteered or were drafted for military service.
Fort Lee Studios: Where the Movie Magic Began
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.
Paterson Silk Strike of 1913
The Paterson Silk Strike of 1913 lasted 5 months, shutting down some 300 mills and dye houses, and attracting national headlines and support. Although worker demands were not met, the historic strike left behind a legacy of solidarity and common purpose that reached far beyond Paterson.
Alice Paul, Women's Rights Activist
This episode of "It Happened Here: New Jersey" features Alice Stokes Paul (1885-1977), a women's rights activist who led the campaign for women's suffrage resulting in the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920, which prohibits discrimination in the right to vote. Alice Paul grew up near Moorestown, New Jersey. Her family home, Paulsdale, is now the Alice Paul Institute.