Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thanks,Trail Crew!

Our volunteer trail crew has been hard at work making Morristown NHP's cultural landscapes safe and accessible for visitors.

The most recent Volunteer Trail Day was held September 8th. Groups working that day included the Volunteer Trail Crew and volunteers from the Groundwork Elizabeth.  Work was conducted on the Soldier Hut trail from Grand Parade road up to the huts themselves.  The Volunteer Trail Crew worked up around the soldiers huts installing seven water bars. The water bars are used to divert runoff water from the trial and reduce erosion.  The Groundwork Elizabeth crew, led by Volunteer Trail Crew Leader, Chuck Irwin, worked on the trail leading up to the huts.  They put down copious amount of gravel to rehab the trail from previous water erosion. A total of three hours was spent on the project.

A big thanks to the Volunteer Trail Crew and Groundwork Elizabeth!

This feature by Law Enforcement Ranger, Timothy Socha.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Volunteer Spotlight: Jennifer Hugman

We are excited to have volunteer Jennifer Hugman join the Division of Cultural Resources this fall.

Jennifer, who holds an M.A. in Architectural History, is working to write a supplement to our National Register nomination for the Park's Cross Estate property, in Bernardsville. Her research for this project is focused on cultural landscapes, particularity the formal garden of the estate, designed by former owner, Julia Cross, and landscape architect, Clarence Fowler.

Ms. Hugman comes to Morristown with prior experience with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, where she was involved in state and national register programs.

Welcome, Jennifer!

Monday, September 24, 2012

National Public Lands Day @MORR

MORRISTOWN, NEW JERSEY – National Public Lands Day will be celebrated on September 29 this year.  Beginning in 1994 with only a small handful of sites, National Public Lands Day is a time to get outside, enjoy the great outdoors and volunteer. 

“National Public Lands Day reminds all of us of the vast and diverse nature of America’s open spaces, from small neighborhood parks to large national parks, and the importance of each one,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “We are fortunate that more than 600 million acres of public land, including national parks, provide all of us with cherished places where we can go to unwind, recreate, or learn.”

Many people will lend a hand to help the land and spend part of National Public Lands Day volunteering on work projects. More than 170,000 people are expected to plant trees, clean watersheds, remove invasive plants, replace signs, and otherwise beautify 2,000 public sites throughout the country.

At Morristown National Historical Park, entrance fees to the Washington’s Headquarters Museum will be waived and park rangers will be leading hikes and presenting outdoor activities such as:

Civilian Conservation Corps Hike: During the Great Depression of the 1930’s a group of young men changed Jockey Hollow forever. Join a Ranger on a 2.25 mile roundtrip hike on the Yellow Trail to discover how these men transformed Jockey Hollow into what we love today while only earning $30 a month! 10:00am at the Jockey Hollow Visitor Center.

Flint and Steel: Ever wonder how people in the 18th Century survived without the invention of matches. Join a Ranger at the Wick House to see a flint and steel demonstration used to light a candle. 11:00am, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 3:30pm at the Wick House.

Colonial Games: Have some old-fashioned fun as you take on the same games that the soldiers and the Wick Family played. Try your hand at nine-pins, quoits, trap-ball, nine-man morris, fox & geese and other 18th century games. 1:30pm to 4:00pm at the Wick House.

Visit  or for more information. 


Location Addresses:

Washington’s Headquarters Museum
30 Washington Place, Morristown, NJ 07960


Jockey Hollow and the Wick House:
Entrance to the park is located on Tempe Wick Road in Morristown, NJ. 
Approximate GPS address is 600 Tempe Wick Road. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Flat Ranger Delgado Visits Morristown

We've been lucky to have some wonderful Flat Rangers visit Morristown this summer!  Flat Ranger Delgado, from Texas, stopped by last week to help out. Here are some of the things she helped out with.

She got familiar with the four Morristown NHP locations: Jockey Hollow, Ft. Nonsense, the New Jersey Brigade, and Washington's Headquarters. Here she is at the Ford Mansion.

She helped sort and organize historical slides by year and event.

She took some time to look at reproduction items in the Ford Mansion.

She helped survey artifacts in our Native American collection.

She even researched a James Madison letter in the Lloyd W. Smith Archival Collection.

Before she left, she got her Park passport stamped.

Thanks for all of your help Flat Ranger Delgado! Have fun on your journey!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Intern Spotlight: Julie Carlson

Morristown would like to welcome our fall intern, Julie Carlson.

Ms. Carlson is currently studying secondary education and history at Seton Hall University. She is especially passionate about enhancing learner experiences and has planned her internship field work around museum-based lesson planning.

This summer, she helped work on the Park for Every Classroom (PEC) project as a workshop participant and program evaluator. This fall, she is developing our Traveling Museum curriculum and adding new Mini-Lessons to the blog, among other education-centered projects.

Welcome, Julie!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Featured Artifact: Thomas Sully Painting

A nationally treasured painting from the Museum’s storage collection may be going on loan to several destinations across the country.  The painting was surveyed by an art conservator to determine if it would be safe for travel in its current state.

The painting, a 30-inch by 25-inch oil on canvas by renowned 19th century American portraitist Thomas Sully, is entitled Washington and His Family.  Washington and His Family was completed by Sully in 1850 – 51 years after George Washington’s death.  The painting is in good condition and depicts George Washington, Martha Washington and Washington’s two step-grandchildren bidding him goodbye as he leaves for a trip.  In the background, two African servants assist Washington.  One servant holds Washington’s hat and coat, while the other brings over his horse.  In the right foreground of the painting is an English Springer Spaniel.

Thomas Sully was born in Horncastle, England in 1789.  He studied under Benjamin West in London and briefly under Gilbert Stuart while on a trip to Boston in 1809.  His portraits include John Quincy Adams, Marquis de Lafayette, Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson and Queen Victoria.  Although Sully is primarily known as a portraitist, his best known work is the large scale historical painting Passage of the Delaware.  The painting, which is over 17-feet wide, contributed to making Washington crossing the Delaware an American historical legend. 

Sully’s Washington and His Family was given to the Washington Association of New Jersey in 1915 by a private owner. Throughout the years it has had numerous cleanings and at least two relinings.  Records indicate that the painting appears to have been relined and treated around 1979. 

Back in August, Principal Conservator Daisy Craddock from Craddock Painting Conservation Inc. surveyed Washington and His Family to determine if the painting was in good condition for travel.  Once the painting’s frame was removed, Craddock examined the canvas under raking light.  Raking light involves illuminating the painting on an oblique angle to examine the painting’s topography for any damages.  This method monitors the effects of prior conservation intervention, makes it easier to see cupping paint (cup-like formations formed from aged paint that becomes loose from cracking and has curled edges), and enables uneven tension in a canvas to become visible.  While raking light, Craddock noticed cracks throughout the painting that were slightly raised, but stable.  She suggested these cracks continue to be monitored.
 Cracks appear when light is raked over the painting's surface.

The painting appeared to have a lot of retouching, which Craddock attributed possibly to varnish.  Since varnish fluoresces under ultraviolet light (UVL), she hovered UVL over the painting and noticed speckling on the top left corner from varnish residue.  Craddock said if varnish was removed the painting would appear more vivid.  Additionally, she noticed blanching along the paintings small raised cracks.  Blanching occurs when varnish has been damaged by water, degraded through age or partially dissolved with solvents and has a white, clouded appearance.  Since varnish is soluble in acetone, Craddock removed a small area of varnish with an acetone swab and noticed that retouching from prior conservators was done well. 
Craddock examines the painting under UVL.
Craddock swabs the varnish.

Overall, the painting was determined to be in good condition and the lining was intact.  However, the painting’s frame is in poor condition.  While examining the carved wood gilded frame, Craddock saw extensive stress cracking, active lifting and plaster losses.  Several frame fragments even broke loose prior to her visit.  A framer will need to be contacted before this valuable piece of Americana travels around the nation. 
Blog entry by volunteer, Maria Ribaudo.
Photos by volunteer, Steve Santucci.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Featured Manuscript: 1917 Postcard

My name's Hunter Stires.  I'm a 15 year old rising high school sophomore with a keen interest in American History.  I'm honored to have been invited to blog for the Lloyd W. Smith Archives.
This month's featured manuscript is a 1917 postcard written from the Western Front to Albany, NY during the First World War.  It's amazing what can be discovered from such an innocuous piece of paper.

Initially, the identity of the postcard's sender was difficult to ascertain.  While his message was fairly simple to read, both signatures were written in somewhat flamboyant calligraphy.  Here's a transcript of his note back home:

LWS 677

My Dear Friends: _
            On the Battlefield of the Marne,
in a corner of a French artillery camp,
tucked away in a small room I
am writing these few lines by the
dim and flaring light of a candle
just to let you know that I am
well and thinking of my friends back in

LWS 677

Albany whom I feel
it an honor to represent
at the Front.
            Time and the censor
forbid my writing more

            Bonne nuit!
                        Faithfully yours
                                    [Flamboyant signature here]

After some scrutiny, his last name appeared to be “Cochrane.”  While this was a crucial piece of evidence, more information would be required to find out who he was.  His first two initials appeared to be “W.D.” and his signature was followed by “M.R.C.” (I'll spare you the details of the time and effort chasing down the red herring that was “W.D.”.  It turned out to be “H.D.”).  In addition, several previously unrecognizable scribbles in the “Reply to” section soon revealed themselves to be an abbreviation of “Major” as well as the line, “7th Regt. C.A.”  Let the sleuthing begin.

Harold Duncan Cochrane was a doctor from Albany, NY who, according to an article he wrote in the Journal of the American Institute of Homeopathy in 1919, served in the railway artillery as a regimental surgeon and then the surgeon for the entire division.  Officially, he was a Major in the Medical Reserve Corps (M.R.C.), an organization of medical doctors who would be called up to serve with the Army in the event of war.  Major Cochrane wrote his postcard on September 20, 1917 from a French artillery camp.  Since American combat troops didn't arrive at the Western Front until October of that year, Cochrane appears to have been among the first American servicemen to reach the front lines.

Major Cochrane served with the Railway Artillery, a military innovation that was fairly unique to World War I.  Large caliber guns were taken from battleships and coastal defense installations (“C.A.” stands for “Coast Artillery”) and mounted on railroad cars.  These weapons were far more mobile than older, fixed heavy artillery.  Since artillery was a very valuable asset for obliterating trenches and other fortifications, commanders would have to move their guns quickly and often to keep the enemy from finding and destroying them.  With railroad artillery, generals had at their disposal the power of a battleship almost anywhere along the front lines.

Cochrane's article in the Journal of the American Institute of Homeopathy dealt with the logistical issues of getting the wounded back to evacuation hospitals, and he wrote extensively about his experiences with the railroad artillery in other publications as well.

Cochrane also mentions his location as being on the “battlefield of the Marne.”  While this phrase makes it seem like he's in combat, history tells us that the two large-scale offensives that took place there were in 1914 and 1918, respectively.  Since the First Battle of the Marne stopped the German advance towards Paris and marked the beginning of the infamous stalemate and trench warfare that defined the conflict, Cochrane was giving his reader a reference point that was probably well-known at the time.

Cochrane used YMCA stationary to write his September 20 postcard.  When the United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917, the YMCA volunteered to run the post exchange for the American Expeditionary Force (the U.S. troops fighting in France).  Among the responsibilities  involved with this critical role was selling or making available to the troops candy, cigarettes and other personal items, including postcards.

Cochrane's card is housed in the Lloyd W. Smith Archives Collection at Morristown National Historical Park.

This post was written by guest blogger, Hunter Stires.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

We Have Merged Our Blogs

Dear Readers,

In order to provide timely content and a more comprehensive collection overview, we have decided to merge our Library and Archives blog with our Museum blog.

We hope you will enjoy our new collection features, online exhibits, intern and staff projects, and program updates.

Please follow our new site:

-MORR Staff