February 1, 1913 – Paterson Silk Strike

Beginning on Feb 1, 1913 the silk weavers of the Paterson mills went on strike to protest the proposed work increase from running two looms to four. The Strike involved 20,000 workers, and with the influence of the IWW (International Workers of the World)expanded the issues to include an eight hour workday, safe working conditions and an end to child labor. (more…)

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Published in: on February 7, 2010 at 2:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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January 23, 1976 – Paul Robeson died in Philadelphia.

Paul Robeson grave marker, Ferncliff Cemetery

Buried in Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, Westchester County, New York, Paul Robeson died on January 23, 1976 after a long, distinguished career, marked by racism and controversial political activism in which he fought for freedom. 

Athlete, actor, singer, Civil Rights activist and New Jersey native, Paul Robeson was born in Princeton in 1898.  He was a brilliant student and talented athlete at Rutgers University, where he was a Phi Beta Kappa recipient and and All American in football, yet he endured open racism and violence from his teammates.  He received a law degree from Columbia University, but gave up the practice of law because of racism in favor of a singing and acting career. (more…)

Published in: on January 22, 2010 at 8:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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January 9, 1886 – I dreamed I wrote a blog in my Maidenform bra

Does this woman look like someone who would revolutionize women’s undergarments and launch a successful and risqué advertising campaign for bras? Maybe not, but looks can deceive and today in NJ history –January 9— Ida Cohen Rosenthal, the co-founder of Maidenform Bra company was born in Rakow, Russia in 1886. She emigrated to the United States in 1905, began working as a seamstress and married William Rosenthal in 1907, whom she had known in Russia. (more…)

Published in: on January 15, 2010 at 2:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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January 11, 1966 – Mildred Barry Hughes becomes 1st female State Senator in New Jersey.

First female state senator elected 46 years after women get the franchise.  Does this seem surprising? Knowing NJ politics with its history of political machines, powerful county fiefdoms and old boy networks, I guess not. 

Women fared better in Assembly races, with two women out of seven elected to the Assembly in 1920, the first year women could vote, reaching a peak in 1927 with 15% of the Assembly being women.  The course of female legislative empowerment has not run smoothly and the initial climb in the 20’s was followed by a leveling off and an erratic, fitful pattern continuing to the present day.  (more…)

Published in: on January 11, 2010 at 2:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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January 7, 1894 – Thomas Edison’s labs produce “Edison Kinetographic Record of a Sneeze,” the first motion picture to receive a copyright.

The sneeze seen round the world!  Edison Employee Fred Ott performs an exaggerated sneeze for the motion picture machine called the Kinetoscope.

Fred Ott’s sneeze

(more…)

Published in: on January 8, 2010 at 12:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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March 1, 1683 – First counties established in the colonial NJ province

Can you guess which were the first counties created in New Jersey?   (more…)

Published in: on March 2, 2009 at 12:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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February 16, 1886 – Van Wyck Brooks born in Plainfield

 Who is Van Wyck Brooks?… you may ask, as I did. I’d never heard of him, but here’s the story of this famous literary critic who graced the cover of Time in 1944.  The interesting thing is that it made me want to visit Plainfield’s historic district.  (more…)

February 12, 1828 – City of Camden chartered

The beleaguered city of Camden,  located on the Delaware River, across from the thriving city of Philadelphia, was one of the first suburban towns.

Ferry service connected Camden to Philadelphia and with the construction of the Amboy Camden railroad in 1830, Camden grew as the middleman in the traffic corridor between NewYork and Philly. (more…)

Published in: on February 16, 2009 at 8:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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February 10, 1665 – Philip Carteret was appointed the first colonial Governor of New Jersey.

 The 25 year old Philip was appointed by his cousin, Lord George Carteret, who, along with Sir John Berkeley had been granted the lands by the King.  Carteret and Berkeley. Do you recognize these famous names?  (more…)

Published in: on February 15, 2009 at 1:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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January 17, 1911 – Thomas Woodrow Wilson was inaugurated as the 34th governor.

A native of Virginia, the son of a Presbyterian minister, Wilson graduated from Princeton University (then called the College of New Jersey) and University of Virginia Law School and later became a professor at Princeton in history and political science. He became president of the college in 1902 and was gradually transformed from a moderate conservative to a progressive reformer and radical social democrat, wary of the influence of the wealthy upper classes. His political fights at Princeton, trying to eliminate the undemocratic and elitist eating clubs brought him to the attention of some state political bosses who nominated him to be Governor. (more…)

Published in: on January 24, 2009 at 3:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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