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Revolutionary Times Weekend
April 16-18, 2010

On April 16, a naturalization ceremony for 40 new American citizens from 19 different countries was held in the newly refurbished Auditorium at Washington's Headquarters Museum. Later the newly sworn in citizens, along with their families, enjoyed tea and sandwiches with those who had come to view the proceedings.

April 17 saw Breakfast with George Washington at the Grasshopper Off the Green, hosted by WANJ. After breakfast the General, portrayed by actor Dean Malissa, walked to the Morristown Green, where he addressed the people, and posed for pictures. Later that day Washington returned to Jockey Hollow, where he spoke at a dedication ceremony for a new plaque commemorating the Irish Americans who fought in the War for Independence, attended by Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, among others. An encampment was held over the weekend, at which re-enactors showed visitors what army camp life was like 240 years ago.

Photographs courtesy of Dan Beards and Randy Turner.

136th Annual Luncheon held at the Madison Hotel on President's Day, February 15.

From Morristown This Week, February 16, 2010:

Kosciuszko key to Revolution, Kean tells Morris audience

MORRIS TWP. ó The United States of America is "an ideal" that was brought together and is held together by people of different ancestries and the history of their sacrifices must be kept alive.

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That was the message former Gov. Tom Kean conveyed in a keynote speech he delivered Monday afternoon at the 136th annual meeting of Washington Association of New Jersey held in a ballroom at the Madison Hotel on President's Day. The Association was founded in 1874 and is one of the oldest historic preservation organizations in the nation.

"We're held together by one thing," Kean told the organization. "It's an ideal of living in this wonderful form of government."
Kean talked at length about Thaddeus Kosciuszko, a Polish military engineer who fought with the Continental Army.

Kean said Kosciuszko, who lived from 1746 to 1817, never quite got the recognition he deserved for the vital role he played in the American Revolution. ...

The former Drew University president admitted that he worries today's kids don't have a strong grasp of history. However, he said that groups like the Washington Association help in keeping the history of the American Revolution alive and interesting.

"You are here to preserve this," he said. "What you are doing is helping our kids understand democracy."

James Barry Jr., president of the Washington Association of New Jersey who served in the Kean Administration as director for the Division of Consumer Affairs, said the attendance of 150 people was one of its highest for the annual event.

"It was really remarkable," he said. "His (Kean's) presentation was excellent."

• Annual Meetings and Scholarly Addresses

From 1887 to the present, the Association's Annual Meetings have included presentations by an extraordinary list of distinguished guest speakers. Scholars, statesmen, jurists, clergymen, authors, and nationally known public figures including: Woodrow Wilson, William Howard Taft, Henry Cabot Lodge, Wilbur L. Cross, Douglas Southall Freeman, James Thomas Flexner, Carl Van Doren, and Harry Emerson Fosdick are representative of the 125 speakers who have addressed the Annual Meetings.

• Special Events

The Rules of Civility, a program of Revolutionary War era music and dance, and The Ring Leader, a reenactment of a celebrated early New Jersey counterfeiting scheme, are recent examples of the Martha Washington Receptions presented annually in the fall by the Washington Association.

• Symposia

Periodically, the Association presents programs of the following type often including  panels of scholars for presentations and joint discussion.

In October, 1995, for example, a symposium entitled "Impact" brought together seven historians of the Revolutionary War era for analyses of the effect of the War for Independence upon the civilian population.

In May,1999, four authorities on the representation of George Washington by painters, sculptors, printmakers, and craftspeople participated in a symposium with the title The Image of George Washington. This investigation of the changing image of Washington is one of the several events with which the Washington Association plans to commemorate the bicentennial of George Washington's death.

1999The Image of George Washington - In commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the death of George Washington, the Washington Association sponsored a major conference featuring four speakers who had written essays for the recently published George Washington: American Symbol: Barbara J. Mitnick (Moderator and General Editor of George Washington: American Symbol); William Ayres Chief Curator and Director of Collections, Long Island Museum; Mark Thistlethwaite, Kay and Velma Kimbell Chair of Art History, Texas Christian University; and H. Nichols Clark, Eleanor McDonald Storza Chair of Education, High Museum of Art.

2002 –“The 225th anniversary of Washington’s first  encampment in Morristown” – The Washington Association sponsored a series of special events during the first weekend of January to commemorate the 225th anniversary of Washington’s first encampment in Morristown at the Arnold Tavern, then located facing the Morristown Green. The first event was a Saturday morning symposium titled “From Retreat to Triumph: Washington Comes to Morristown,” Participants included Thomas Fleming, nationally-known author and Revolutionary War historian; Richard Patterson, Director of Trenton’s Old Barracks; and Eric Olsen, Morristown National Historical Park Ranger and historian. WANJ Trustee Barbara J. Mitnick served as moderator. That evening, the Association sponsored a “Washington Ball.” Guests in colonial costume were presented to “General and Mrs. Washington” (played by re-enactors William Summerfield and Pat Jordan) in the parlor of the Ford Mansion; attendees then proceeded to a local hotel for dinner and period dancing. The next day, the streets of Morristown were closed as more than 2000 people of all ages witnessed the arrival of “Washington” on horseback into Morristown, where he was greeted by “Jacob Arnold” (played by Clifford Starrett, former President of the Washington Association) at his “Tavern” – a recreation constructed and painted by the Morristown High School Art Honor Society. A tour by Trustee Scott Shepherd of the Revolutionary War graveyard at the Presbyterian Church followed.

2002BOOK SIGNING - Two WANJ Board members, Richard C. Simon and Nancy N. Johnston, mounted an outstanding exhibition at the Park to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the death of Martha Washington. The opening featured a lecture and book signing by author, Mary Higgins Clark, who had recently re-published her first novel, Mount Vernon Love Story. Although written as a novel, Ms. Clark had conducted careful research for historical accuracy.

2004 –“ Caught in the Crossfire; Churches, Taverns and the Revolution in New Jersey” - Lectures by major New Jersey historians, Mark Lender and James Turk, to accompany installation of the New Jersey State Museum exhibition of Caught in the Crossfire; Churches, Taverns and the Revolution in New Jersey at Morristown National Historical Park.

2005The Return of George Washington to Morristown” – A symposium sponsored by the Association to commemorate the 225th anniversary of Washington’s second encampment in Morristown. Moderated by President of the Association, Barbara J. Mitnick, the keynote address, “Morristown: Where America Survived” was given by John Cunningham. Park Ranger Thomas Winslow spoke on “The Morristown Encampment of 1779-1780: Up Close and Personal,’ and Eric Olsen provided a first person reenactment of the life and Revolutionary War service of a soldier in the Jockey Hollow encampment titled “Continental Soldier – Sergeant Joseph P. Martin.”

October 1, 2005 – Symposium - The Washington Association and the Morris Museum  co-sponsored a symposium to celebrate the recent publication of “New Jersey in the American Revolution” edited by Barbara  J. Mitnick, held in the Morris Museum’s Bickford Theater. Eleven of the thirteen authors of this new anthology took part in the day-long conference.  That same day,  After the conclusion of the Symposium, the Washington Association sponsored “The Washington Ball” at the Madison Hotel.