|Theodore F. Randolph|
Researching Theodore F. Randolph, the 22nd Governor of New Jersey, through the Internet and the artifacts we have at MNHP was quite an interesting task. What was really intriguing were the artifact given to MNHP from the Washington Association of New Jersey (WANJ), a group that started the preservation of historical artifacts in New Jersey, especially that of George Washington’s time in Morristown during the American Revolutionary War. Most of the artifact about the company, such as their records and notes, were where I found much of the information about Governor Randolph and his part in the association. He was their first President and one of their biggest funders until the time of his death in 1883. Without Governor Randolph it appears the WANJ would have lack both leadership and unity at the beginning of their association.
|Official WANJ Stock, signed by Randolph|
from the Newark Advertiser,
advertising WANJ stock.
The project I was doing on Governor Randolph involved looking at the man himself, his involvement in the WANJ, and the WANJ’s connection to the Morristown National Historical Park. What I found was a laundry list of notes of the WANJ meetings as well as many other records of Governor Randolph and the other founders of the association. Governor Randolph political career was quite prolific according to my findings. Prior to his Governorship, he also represented New Jersey in many other government offices. As for his involvement with the WANJ, Theodore F. Randolph was there first president and one of their largest funders. One of the pieces that caught my eye, while researching the records of the WANJ, was a Newspaper add of sorts, which offered stock in the association a $100 a share and a membership, written by Governor Randolph. It appeared that in the need for funds at the beginning of the WANJ Randolph decided that allowing new members to be added to the association, with the purchase of stock, would create revenue for them. It would in fact work out and get the funds needed for the WANJ. Another interesting piece was the record of a transaction, which Governor Randolph and the other founding members had with the Attorney General of New Jersey. In this transaction a deal was struck that would allow the WANJ to receive money from the New Jersey government each year in order to sustain the preservation of their historical artifacts. Governor Randolph and the WANJ put it rigorous work to protect their venture of preserving such artifacts and it would pay off.
The hard work done by Theodore Randolph and the other members would be a building block in the future of historical preservation in New Jersey. Their efforts would lead to a government run parks and museum system in New Jersey, such as MNHP. Without Randolph the WANJ would have had a much more difficult time succeeding in the early stages of their association, which could have been detrimental to what I am doing today.
This post by Zachary De Leon, Kean University