Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Learn How to Become a Document Doctor!

Who would have thought that removing 17th century manuscripts, glued down to acidic paper, would actually feel like an operation?! 

My experience as an intern at Washington’s Memorial Headquarters was nothing short of inspiring and intriguing. My job as an intern was to process and rehouse scrapbooks from Lloyd W. Smith. There are about 30 scrapbooks in his collection and all of them are glued down onto ridiculously acidic paper that is burning the manuscripts from the inside-out. Handling 17th century manuscripts that have not been touched in 50+ years was one for the books. I knew I had a daunting task ahead of me.

To me, research is an ambiguous word. Some people think about reading pages upon pages of books and letters to educate themselves on a specific topic they are studying. That is what I thought research was until it came time to dissemble these scrapbooks. My research consisted of dissecting each manuscript. I tried to figure out who the letter was from/to, the date, the language, the context behind it, and why Smith specifically placed it in the order that he did. Was each document connected to the one following it? Were they completely random and did he place them there because he thought they were unique? Some of these questions I was able to answer and some of them I was not. If there is a word to describe someone who is more than a perfectionist, I would be the definition of that word! I am curious and constantly searching for answers. It was challenging and frustrating to retrace the steps of someone as mysterious as Smith because I did not always discover the answers I was looking for. It was also challenging because the first scrapbooks I tackled were titled the “Thirty Years War”. After 3 months of reading Dutch, Swedish, Latin, and German, I can officially confirm that I am not fluent in any of these. How could I possibly do research, successfully, in different languages? Luckily this type of research did not consist of as much reading as I initially thought. I was able to identify context clues to help me. I think my generation was one of the last one to be taught cursive in elementary school but was not forced to continue with it after that. As sad as this is to say, I am thankful that I actually remember the entire alphabet. I thought knowing basic cursive would be beneficial for me when reading 17th century paleography. Well, I was gravely mistaken. Languages and handwriting have evolved so much in the past 400 years that the “1”, “7”, “S”, “R”, and “T” looked way different back then than they do now.

This manuscript gives you a glimpse of the paleography I was handling. As elegant as it appears, do not be deceived by its undecipherable letters.

I thought that archival processing was difficult until it came to archival preservation. One of the most frustrating parts about removing these ancient documents was that the collector casually glued these precious and priceless artifacts to acidic paper. For someone who appreciates and loves history as much as I do, this was tragic to look at, let alone dissemble. As shown in the photo, I used a scalpel and a scissor to remove most of the manuscripts and engravings. The majority of the documents were glued down in all four corners. Some of the manuscripts already had the first layer peeled off but others were still completely glued down.

To my dismay, some of the manuscripts were not removable which led to a couple of different options. If the manuscript was glued down to the acidic paper in certain spots, I would try cut around the glued section and remove as much as the acidic paper as possible.

If the manuscript was completely glued down, painfully, I would have to sacrifice it to the acidic paper furnace and just make a copy onto non-acidic paper and place it into the appropriate folder. The hardest removal I had was removing two primary documents completely glued down on the same corners. They were the same exact size as well. Although I did not feel completely comfortable removing them, I also did not feel comfortable leaving them to decompose. I designed a couple of contraptions out of paper and foam in order to create a barrier between all three surfaces. After about 15 minutes of careful cutting, I successfully removed both with minimal acidic paper left behind. I uncovered that sometimes the best practices are the most abnormal or unusual ones. Archival preservation will always have its complications, but it is important to be versatile and think outside of the box.

The final step to my internship was to create a finding aid. A finding aid is a tool used to facilitate research for others. It is that excel spreadsheet or document that you come across while trying to discover what is actually in a museum or library without physically being present there. In my experience of doing research, I was always too focused on my project and never realized how much effort goes into creating an accessible research platform for others. Being the woman behind the scenes for creating the finding aids was stressful but so fruitful. Whenever classmates are out of class for a day and ask for my notes, I always tell them to ask someone else. Simply because I have the messiest and most disorganized notes you probably have ever seen. My brain processes research and lectures in a very scattered and disorganized way. When I review my notes, it makes sense to me, but not to everyone else. Creating the finding aid challenged me to think like the person on the other side of the screen who thinks completely different than me. Where would they look for a date or a specific detail about the manuscript or the type of manuscript it is? I learned how important it is to be effective and organized in your work. 

It is mind-blowing to me that hundreds of people will be viewing this finding aid and my work might have an impact on their research or the way they perceive history.

This blog post by Madeline Narduzzi, University of Dallas.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Featured Artifact: An Account of the Late Revolution in New-England

MORR 9557
In April 1689, inhabitants of Boston and the surrounding countryside overthrew Sir Edmund Andros, the unpopular governor of the newly-established Dominion of England.¹ Writing to acquaintances in London, Nathanael Byfield, a merchant from New England, explained the events that culminated in Sir Edmund Andros’s arrest and included a declaration by the leaders of the Revolution justifying their actions. Printed in London as “An Account of the Late Revolution in New-England Together with the Declaration of the Gentlemen, Merchants, and Inhabitants of Boston, and the Country Adjacent,” Byfield’s letter and the enclosed declaration provided a detailed description of Sir Edmund Andros’s appointment, his administration, and the reasons for his overthrow.² Following the Glorious Revolution of 1688 in England, which deposed King James II -- the last Catholic Stuart -- the pamphlet justified the revolt against Sir Edmund Andros as a bloodless revolution that restored the rights of the inhabitants of New England.³ As Englishmen, the leaders of the revolt protested the arbitrary government of Sir Edmund Andros and his disregard for the representative and legal rights of the colonists. The New Englanders insisted that the “Revolution in New England” was not treasonous, but an extension of the principles of the Glorious Revolution to the New World. With the revolt, the New Englanders claimed English liberties for themselves and reasserted their rights to representative government and autonomy from the Crown. 

While the Dominion of New England existed for a short period between 1686 and 1689, the English Lords of Trade had planned to enforce a new government on the New England colonies since the reign of King Charles II.⁴ In 1675, proprietors or companies owned and administered two thirds of English colonies in the New World.⁵ Because the New England colonies had the “most numerous infractions of the navigation laws,[and] the most blatant repudiation of royal authority,” it was thought that reducing their independence might improve the Crown’s control over colonial policy.⁶ But in order to restrain the independent operations of these colonies, the Lords of Trade, with the support of the Stuart monarchy, sought to challenge the legal basis of colonial charters granted to private companies or proprietary owners. The Lords of Trade began the process of challenging the charter of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1681. But after the successful prosecution of the Bermuda Company in 1684, the English Crown issued a writ of scire facias against the Massachusetts Bay Company revoking its charter.⁷ 
The charter of Massachusetts Bay granted the company self-government in its executive, legislative and judicial affairs. Issued in 1629 by King Charles I the charter established a government for Massachusetts consisting of a governor, deputy governor, and council “to be from tyme to tyme constituted, elected and chosen out of the Freemen” of the colony.⁸ Each year, those “free of the… Company and Body” assembled in the “Generall Court” were to elect the governor, deputy governor, and members of the council called “Assistants.”⁹ In addition to electing the chief officers of the government, the King authorized the General Court “to make Lawes and Ordinances for the Good and Welfare of the… Company” provided that they “be not contrarie or repugnant to the Lawes and Statutes of this our Realme of England.”¹⁰ But the right to self-government in its domestic affairs led to Massachusetts Bay becoming a center of resistance to royal regulations, “set[ting] a tone of independence which affected to a greater or lesser degree, all the English settlements east of the Hudson River.”¹¹ By reconstituting the New England settlements as royal colonies, the Lords of Trade intended to render them more dependent on the Crown. But the establishment of the Dominion of New England and the appointment of a royal governor not only curtailed the independence of the colonies, but almost entirely repealed their legislative rights. 
In 1686, King James II appointed Sir Edmund Andros the governor of the Dominion of New England and granted him extensive powers over executive, legislative, and judicial government in the colony.¹² As governor of the formerly separate colonies of Massachusetts, New Plymouth, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire Andros ruled at the head of an unelected executive council.¹³ The King permitted Sir Edmund Andros and his council to “make constitute and ordine Laws statutes and ordinances for” the Dominion of New England “as conveniently may be agreeable to the Laws and statutes” of England.¹⁴ While the former charter of Massachusetts established an elected government that executed the laws of the General Court, Andros and his council were not responsible to any legislature. In addition to the right to “Impose” any “such rates and Taxes” that Andros and his council found “necessary,” the King also “require[d]” the new colonial government “to continue such taxes and imposition as are now layed and Imposed on” the colonists until they would “agree & settle such other taxes as shall be sufficient for the support of our Government” in New England.¹⁵ While this left room for taxes to be reduced, it did not guarantee that they would not be raised. Instead it gave Sir Edmund license to raise taxes as he or the King saw fit without the consent of the inhabitants of New England. Because Andros and the council also controlled the judiciary, they had effective control of the entire colony without responsibility to its citizens.¹⁶ As governor, Andros was also authorized to “Levy Arme muster command or imploy all persons whatsoever residing within” the colony “to transferr from one place to another for resisting...all Enemies Pirates and Rebells” threatening New England.¹⁷ By 1688, New York, East Jersey, and West Jersey had been absorbed into the Dominion of New England, only further empowering the governor.¹⁸ Sir Edmund Andros’s appointment rendered New England dependent on the Crown, revoking the rights of self-government that the inhabitants of New England had enjoyed. 
While Sir Edmund Andros’s infringement of these rights angered colonists, the New England elite were unwilling to oppose his administration until after learning of the overthrow of King James II. By early August, the inhabitants of Boston received news of William of Orange’s invasion of England and the overthrow of the unpopular James II in the Glorious Revolution.¹⁹ With the monarch who had appointed him governor deposed, Sir Edmund recognized that news of the Glorious Revolution imperilled his administration. Though he sought to prevent the reports of the events in England from becoming widespread, the success of the revolt in England had become common knowledge to the public of Boston.²⁰ While the New England elite had been acquiescent to the administration of Governor Andros -- not wishing to directly oppose the King -- the change in circumstances led them to consider a revolt.²¹ Writing in the decade after the revolt about a clandestine meeting of Boston elite that April, Cotton Mather indicated that the gentlemen of New England intended to discourage revolutionary sentiments “in daily Hopes of Orders from England” that might dismiss Andros.²² However, “if the Country People by any violent Motions push’d the Matter on so far, as to make a Revolution unavoidable” it was resolved that “some of the Gentlemen” of Boston “should appear at the Head of the Action with a Declaration accordingly prepared” in order to prevent “the shedding of Blood by an ungoverned” mob and to justify their actions.²³ Because Cotton Mather had traveled to London in order to seek redress from King James II for the actions of Andros, his depiction of the level-headedness of the New England elite was certainly not impartial.²⁴ But the careful planning of a revolt by the elite of Boston and the preparation of a declaration in advance does indicate that there were concerns that the legality of their actions might be called into question. While Governor Andros was connected to the deposed James II, he had been appointed governor by an English monarch. By portraying the “Revolution” in New England as a response to the tyranny of Governor Andros, the leaders of the revolt intended to demonstrate to William of Orange that their actions were equivalent to his own against James II.  By April 18,1689, the leaders of the revolt had prepared a declaration justifying their conduct and local militia occupied Boston demanding the surrender of Governor Andros. In his letter to friends in London, Nathanael Byfield reported that 1,500 men from Boston and the surrounding country had occupied Boston. With the “People in Arms,” the orchestrators of the revolt arrested those loyal to the governor, who had sought refuge in a local fort.² The leaders of the revolt, Waite Winthrop, Simon Bradstreet, William Stoughton, Samuel Shrimpton, Bartholomew Gidney, William Brown, Thomas Danforth, John Richards, Elisha Cook, Isaac Addington, John Nelson, Adam Winthrop, Peter Sergeant, John Foster, and David Waterhouse, dispatched a letter to Sir Edmund requesting his surrender.² Claiming that they had been “surprised with the Peoples sudden taking of Arms… whereof we were wholly ignorant,” the revolutionaries recommended that Andros “surrender and deliver up the Government and Fortification to be preserved and disposed according to Order and Direction from the Crown of England.”² In a veiled threat, the gentlemen promised “all security from violence” for himself and his officers if he surrendered.² If he refused, the writers informed him -- without acknowledging their own part in the rebellion -- that there was little they could to dissuade the mob from “the taking of the Fortification by Storm.”² With Boston in the hands of the rebels, Sir Edmund surrendered and was placed under arrest.³  With Sir Edmund Andros in confinement and the militia in control of Boston, the leaders sought to justify their actions. In “The Declaration of the Gentlemen, Merchants, and Inhabitants of Boston, and the Country Adjacent,” the orchestrators of the revolt presented a careful argument against the legal basis of the Dominion of New England and Sir Edmund Andros’s infringements of the natural liberties of the inhabitants of New England.³¹ The establishment of the Dominion of New England, the writers claimed, was part of the “Popish Plot” facilitated by the Catholic King James II to “crush and break a Countrey so entirely and signally made up of Reformed Churches.”³² Furthermore, the legal basis for the revocation of the charter of Massachusetts Bay was predicated upon a “most injurious Pretence [and scarce that] of Law” without the chance to appeal.³³ This pretence was used to “put [the inhabitants of New England] under a President and Council, without any liberty for an Assembly, which the other American Plantations have, by a Commission from His Majesty.”³ Though the dissolution of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the establishment of the Dominion of New England was illegal, the revolutionaries insisted that they refused to resist in order to prove that they were “dutiful and loyal to our King.”³ But their acquiescence became more difficult when their government became “more Absolute and Arbitrary” with the arrival of Sir Edmund Andros.³ Governor Andros and his council made laws and raised taxes with impunity, levied and dispatched troops when he wanted, and even brought troops from England to impose his arbitrary government upon New England.³ In effect, Sir Edmund Andros’s administration declared that the King’s subjects in New England “must not think the Priviledges of English-men would follow us to the end of the World.”³ Having been “treated with multiplied contradictions to Magna Carta, the rights of which we laid claim unto” the people of New England had justification enough to overthrow Andros.³ But the New Englanders remained complacent until they learned of the Glorious Revolution and the overthrow of James II. Although Andros had “taken all imaginable care to keep [New England] ignorant… [of] the noble undertaking of the Prince of Orange,” the New Englanders decided to “follow the Patterns which the Nobility, Gentry and Commonalty” of England had taken against James II and they overthrew the tyrannical government of Sir Edmund Andros.⁴⁰

With the “Revolution in New-England,” the inhabitants of Boston asserted their rights as Englishmen to representative government against the arbitrary whims of the Crown and its officers. With the establishment of the Dominion of New England and the appointment of Sir Edmund Andros as governor of the new colony, the English Lords of Trades sought to implement the Stuart policy of centralizing control of the colonies and increasing their dependence on the Crown. But the commission of Sir Edmund Andros completely transformed the government of the New England colonies, which had traditionally enjoyed representative government and a significant degree of autonomy from the Crown. Having been deprived of the rights that the colonists had retained since their arrival in the New World, the inhabitants of New England sought to return to their previous form of government. With the deposition of James II in the Glorious Revolution, the people of New England initiated preparations to overthrow the governor. The arrest of Sir Edmund Andros and the declaration against the excesses of his government allowed the revolutionaries to claim English liberties for themselves in an attempt to extend the principles of the Glorious Revolution to the American colonies.

1.      Nathanael Byfield, An Account of the Late Revolution in New-England Together with the Declaration of the Gentlemen, Merchants, and Inhabitants of Boston, and the Country Adjacent (London: Rose and Crown, 1689), p. 19. Collection of the Morristown National Historical Park.
2.      Ibid., pp. 1-20.
3.      Ian K Steele,"Origins of Boston's Revolutionary Declaration of 18 April 1689,” The New England Quarterly 62, no. 1 (1989), p.  78.
4.      Philip S. Haffenden,"The Crown and the Colonial Charters, 1675-1688: Part I," The William and Mary Quarterly 15, no. 3 (1958), pp. 298-299.
5.      Ibid., p. 299.
6.      Ibid.
7.      Ibid.,pp. 304-307: “The King had the right to repeal a patent by scire facias where he was deceived in his grant or it was to the injury of the subject.”
8.      Charter of Massachusetts Bay, (Teaching American History),
9.      Ibid.
10.  Ibid. 
11.  Haffenden, "The Crown and the Colonial Charters, 1675-1688: Part I,” pp. 299-300.
13.  Ibid., p. 3.
14.  Ibid., p. 5.
15.  Ibid.
16.  Ibid., pp. 6-7.
17.  Ibid., pp. 8-9.
18.  Philip S. Haffenden, "The Crown and the Colonial Charters, 1675-1688: Part II," The William and Mary Quarterly 15, no. 4 (1958), pp. 459-461.
19.  Steele, "Origins of Boston's Revolutionary Declaration of 18 April 1689,” p. 77.
20.  Ibid.
21.  Ibid., p. 78.
22.  Ibid.
23.  Ibid.
24.  Byfield, An Account of the Late Revolution in New-England Together with the Declaration of the Gentlemen, Merchants, and Inhabitants of Boston, and the Country Adjacent, p. 16.
25.  Ibid., p. 4.
26.  Ibid. 20.
27.  Ibid. 
28.  Ibid.
29.  Ibid.
30.  Ibid., pp. 4-5.
31.  Ibid., pp. 7-19.
32.  Ibid., pp. 7-8.
33.  Ibid., p. 8.
34.  Ibid.
35.  Ibid., p. 9.
36.  Ibid.
37.  Ibid.
38.  Ibid., p. 12.
39.  Ibid.
40.  Ibid., p. 18.

This Featured Artifact by Damiano Servidio; Summer Intern

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

William Franklin: The Collapse of New Jersey’s Last Royal Government

wikicommons image
In 1763, William Franklin, arrived in New Jersey to assume his post as royal governor.¹ As the illegitimate son of Benjamin Franklin, William’s appointment by King George III was evidence of his acceptance by the British elite. In 1757, William had accompanied his father to Great Britain where Benjamin Franklin represented the interests of the Pennsylvanian legislature in London.2 Having obtained an exclusive legal education at the Inns of Court, William was prepared to begin his own independent political career.3 As royal governor, he sought to balance the rights of the people of New Jersey with the right of the Crown. For his efforts to preserve the British constitutional order as he regarded it, William experienced periods of harmony and conflict with both the legislature of New Jersey and the British government. But by 1774, William’s position became untenable. Regarding the Continental Congress as an illegitimate institution, William remained loyal to the Crown. As an American, William Franklin was an ardent proponent of representative government and English liberties.4 But he regarded the political and social order of the British Empire as the best means to secure those rights against what he saw as the excesses of democracy.
As New Jersey experienced a shortage of gold and silver specie, William Franklin encountered a disagreement between the Legislature and British government on the printing of paper currency. New Jersey had accrued £200,000 in debt during the French and Indian War.5 As the colony paid the debt and traded with New York and Pennsylvania for goods from Europe and the West Indies, gold and silver specie became scarce. The shortage of currency convinced the Legislature to print bills of credit to promote commercial exchange, but Parliamentary regulations on paper currency prevented them from addressing the crisis.6 In Governor Franklin’s first report to the Board of Trade, he wrote that he was “inclined to think your Lordships may not be averse” to allow New Jersey to print £10,000 to £12,000 in bills of credit. Paper currency, he explained, was needed “as a Medium of Commerce” in a colony with little gold and silver.7 The colony was expected to provide provisions for military personnel and for the construction of public buildings, which, Franklin informed the ministry, New Jersey could not provide without currency. While the Board of Trade considered Franklin’s request, the governor also set out to improve his relations with the principal gentlemen of the colony.

In the same letter to the Board of Trade, William recommended that King George III appoint two gentlemen to the governor’s Council. Because New Jersey had two capitals in Burlington and Perth Amboy, William sought to appoint gentlemen from West and East New Jersey in order to preserve the balance between the two divisions. But more importantly, he sought to appoint political allies, whom he could trust to uphold the British constitution as loyal subjects of the King.8 Although being appointed to the Council was a great honor, it was also an unprofitable time commitment and William remarked that it was “with great Difficulty that Gentlemen of Character & Fortune sufficient for that Station can be prevail’d upon to accept it.”9 With three open council seats to fill, Franklin initially found “but two...suitable to the Office & willing to undertake it.”10 Samuel Smith from Burlington was a “leading Member of the Assembly where he has always exerted himself in promoting His Majesty’s Measures,” while John Ladd from Gloucester County was also an experienced Assemblyman who “was always on the Side of the Administration.”11 While Governor Franklin did not recommend a third person, he informed the Board of Trade that he hoped to find someone from East Jersey with similar political leanings. But for the time being, he was satisfied that he had successfully promoted two gentlemen who would advance the interests of the Crown.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Summer Interns

Meet the interns!!! 

This summer’s curatorial interns are working on some very special projects. 

Rising Washington University sophomore, Damian Servidio, is studying New Jersey’s development as a royal colony, with special attention to the life of William Franklin. 

Rising Muhlenberg College Junior, Rose Spady, is examining a chest of drawers donated 75 years ago by the Morristown Jewish Community Center, and its possible connection to John Hancock. 

Rising University of Dallas sophomore, Madeline Narduzzi, is working to process a collection of Lloyd W. Smith rare manuscript scrapbooks. 


Stay tuned for blog and social media posts about these students’ work! 

#findyourpark #encuentratuparque .

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Congrats to BONJ Conductor, Dr. Robert Butts

Congratulations to Morristown NHP partner and collaborator
Dr. Robert W. Butts

Music Director and Conductor of the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey

On being recognized by the Morris County Chamber of Commerce
With an Excellence Award in the Not For Profit field as an
Exemplary Leader in the revenue under $1 million category.

Maestro Butts is a well-known figure in the community for leading the Baroque Orchestra for over twenty years. He has been collaborating with Morristown NHP for over ten years, directing multiple performances of works by Scarlatti and other famous composers, as well as works which he himself wrote. We congratulate Maestro Butts and look forward to working with him in the future.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Maison Trio Morristown on May 26

Chamber Music Concert by the Maison Trio
Elly Toyoda, Violin; Suejin Jung, Piano; Issei Herr, Cello

1 pm, Sunday, May 26, 2019
Morristown NHP’s Museum
30 Washington Place
Morristown, New Jersey   07960

Free Admission

Morristown, NJ – Please join Morristown National Historical Park (NHP) as it welcomes for the first time the Maison Trio. The trio will present a chamber music concert at 1 pm on Sunday, May 26, 2019. The free event will be in Morristown NHP's Museum, 30 Washington Place, Morristown, New Jersey.

Consisting of Elly Toyoda on the violin, Suejin Jung on the piano, and Issei Herr on cello, the Maison Trio will perform works by Beethoven and Mendelssohn. For the program, Dr. Jung will play the park’s 1873 Steinway Grand piano.

For more information on the concert, contact Chief of Cultural Resources, Dr. Jude Pfister at email: