MCHA Presents

Historically Speaking...

A Virtual Lecture Series 

- Co-Sponsored by the Monmouth County Library -

Please join us each month on the specified date at 7 pm for FREE Zoom lectures given by Monmouth County's most interesting and well-respected historians! You'll have the chance to engage in a Q&A at the end.

*Register below to be sent the Zoom link and simple instructions to join!

Browse our upcoming line-up:

Thursday, May 20th

Gary Saretzky Oct 2019 by Gregg Gaal.jpe
Gary Saretzky presents
19th Century New Jersey Photographers:

Gustavus Pach

The most successful 19th century photographer in Long Branch was Gustavus Pach (1845-1904), one of the several brothers in the Pach Brothers, a prominent firm with more than a dozen branch studios in the Northeast U.S. Gustavus Pach began photographing in Long Branch from a mobile wagon in 1866 and opened a gallery there the following year. He is highly regarded for hundreds of scenic stereo views of Monmouth County. Pach also made thousands of fine portraits, for which many of the glass negatives are at the Monmouth County Historical Association. This slide lecture provides a history of the Pach Brothers with an emphasis on the life and work of Gustavus Pach.

Gary D. Saretzky, archivist, educator, and photographer, worked as an archivist for more than fifty years at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Educational Testing Service, and the Monmouth County Archives. Saretzky taught the history of photography at Mercer County Community College, 1977-2012, and served as coordinator of the Public History Internship Program for the Rutgers University History Department, 1994-2016. He has published more than 100 articles and reviews on the history of photography, photographic conservation, and other topics, including “Nineteenth-Century New Jersey Photographers,” in the journal, New Jersey History, Fall/Winter 2004, a revised version of which is available at


Kevin Coyne is a respected journalist and adjunct professor at the Columbia Journalism School. He has authored several books, including the acclaimed Marching Home: To War and Back with the Men of One American Town, about six WWII veterans from Freehold. He has served on the Borough Council, where he helped establish the town’s Historic Preservation Commission. He has served as Freehold’s Borough historian for over twenty years.


For all of these amazing accomplishments, Kevin can more simply be described as a son of Freehold. This gives him an innate understanding of local culture that goes beyond the archives and the books. He is a storyteller. He loves history, especially local history, and this shines through when he speaks about it. 

TUESDAY - June 15th

Kevin Coyne Presents
Nathaniel, William and Bruce:

Three Men, Three Centuries, One Town

Local history is not just local – it intersects in powerful and surprising ways with the nation’s history, and its small stories can teach us much about those larger stories, too. Nathaniel Scudder, William Dayton, Bruce Springsteen – three men, three centuries, one town.

Nathaniel Scudder was a Princeton-educated physician who gave up his medical practice in Freehold to fight for the American colonies’ independence from Great Britain. He signed the Articles of Confederation, led his regiment at the Battle of Monmouth, and was killed by a British raiding party in the final days of the Revolution, the only member of the Continental Congress to die in combat.

William Dayton was a Princeton-educated lawyer who practiced in Freehold and was the vice-presidential nominee in 1856 on the Republican Party’s first national ticket, running with John Fremont of California. The runner-up for the Republican vice-presidential nomination that year – Abraham Lincoln – later appointed Dayton during the Civil War as ambassador to France, where he helped keep the French from joining the Confederate cause.

And Freehold High School-educated Bruce Springsteen, descendant of Monmouth-born veterans of the Revolution and the Civil War, has chronicled the lives of Americans over the last 50 years in his songs and stories, and along the way has introduced his vast audience to the town he shares with Scudder and Dayton.

What can their stories – joined with all the other stories from this one small town – tell us about America’s story?

Thursday, July 15th

John Barrows presents
Three Curious Stories from the Monmouth History Timeline

  • Thomas Edison is one of the most famous figures in history. He spent about a year in Monmouth County, but it’s curious, hardly anyone seemed to know about it then...or now. What was he doing here? How could one of the world’s most famous celebrities spend a year here unnoticed? And why isn’t this a more well-known story?


  • Before the Coast Guard, the U.S. Life-Saving Service provided assistance to foundering ships close to shore. Before that, those who came to the aid of distressed vessels were known as “wreckers.” These people were often reviled as the most rapacious and vile humans on Earth. Eventually, the people of Monmouth County would be accused of heinous crimes associated with plundering a shipwreck. An analysis of 150 years of newspaper coverage reveals a number of curious things about the Land Pirates of Monmouth County.


  • On December 7, 1941, two Army privates using the newest radar developed at Fort Monmouth detected the incoming Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, but their warning was not heeded. From that point forward, these two men would see their lives go in very different directions. One was rewarded, promoted, and honored; the other was not. They both spent time here in Monmouth County, but again there was a curious duality to this: One remained for only a brief time, while the other chose to stay and raise his family here.                         

John R. Barrows is the founder and editor of Monmouth Timeline (, and producer of the “This Day in Monmouth County History” syndicated graphic features. There are currently more than 215 stories on the Monmouth Timeline, covering 400 years of regional history, with new ones added every month. Some of these stories are familiar, others are obscure, all are fascinating in their own way.  


Before creating the Timeline, John Barrows was a corporate communications and public relations executive, where he spent ten years as global head of corporate communications for a Fortune 500 company. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Newspaper Journalism from Syracuse University, and a master's in Communication from Rutgers. A native of Massachusetts, he has lived in Little Silver for nearly 30 years.

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Register with the last name of each lecturer you would like to attend (example: Saretzky / Coyne), or just type "All" if you would like register for the entire line-up. If you register for all, you will not have to sign up separately for future lectures!
You will receive a reminder email a few days before the lecture date, and the link will be emailed a couple of hours prior to start time.  

See you there!