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MCHA Presents

Historically Speaking...

A Virtual Lecture Series 

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Previous Lectures

Season 1


John Schneider claims to have more video footage and historical photographs of Monmouth County than any living person. His most recent book, "A Historical Journey Across Raritan Bay," recounts what he's learned during his own nautical voyages to seek out the relics and stories left behind by our ancestors.  His weekly television program on Comcast documents the results of his exploration with almost 250,000 viewers and some 135,000 members from all his Facebook groups.  Learn more about his book at www.AHistoricalJourney.comWhen asked about his upcoming presentation, John responded by saying he'd be "thinking out loud" and will be showing a lot of "really old photographs from the shoe box." 

Season 2

Graham Russell Gao Hodges, author and professor of History, Africana and Asian Studies at Colgate University, details how early African American experiences and contributions helped shape New Jersey. The Revolution is discussed, including the effects of Lord Dunmore's Proclamation, ex-slave Colonel Tye, runaways and abolition. 

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Previous Lectures 2023

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Melissa Ziobro presents

NJ’s Dollar Princesses

"Downton Abbey" enjoyed immense popularity as the fictitious story of a fabulously wealthy English noble family. Lady Cora Crawley was an American however, and embodied the real-life experience of many women of the Gilded Age. Advances in American industrialization created a sect of "new money" families; while they had wealth beyond belief, they could not compete with the social standing of the more established "old money" families. To remedy this, daughters from these American families traded wealth for titles as they married into the nobility of Europe...particularly those families who were experiencing a shortfall of cash. 

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Bernadette Rogoff presents

Julia's Wardrobe

In 1868, Julia Norton Hartshorne ordered a brand new wardrobe to take advantage of the latest style trends. Her husband, Benjamin Minturn Hartshorne, was born and raised in Monmouth County and ran a successful steamboat company along the West Coast. The couple and their three children traveled from their home in San Francisco for an extended summer visit with Benjamin's family in Middletown. Upon returning, Julia fell ill and died in February 1869. Benjamin packed away all of Julia's things and returned with his children to Monmouth County. Through the generosity of Hartshorne family descendants, Julia's Wardrobe is now part of the Association's historic textile collection. Director of Collections Bernadette Rogoff will introduce you to Julia and explore her style and personality with an enjoyable virtual fashion show through Julia's Wardrobe.


Dr. Stanley Blair presents

Asbury and Ocean: Fictionalized!

Margaret Widdemer (1884-1978) was an award-winning poet and novelist who grew up in Asbury Park. In one of her early novels, Why Not? (1915), correlations between the novel’s fictional setting and local history suggest that the setting fictionalizes two Monmouth County communities. The novel was soon adapted into a silent film, The Dream Lady (1918), directed by one of America’s first female film directors, Elsie Jane Wilson. Last year, a partial manuscript of the novel and related materials were discovered in Widdemer’s papers at Syracuse University. In turn, the discovery suggests a possible autobiographical approach to the novel. In this presentation, actually entitled “Welcome to Wanalasset, N.J.: Margaret Widdemer’s North Asbury Park and Wanamassa, Ocean Township, c. 1901-1915,” we will consider the novel, the film, and the manuscript relative to local history and Widdemer’s life.

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Jack Grodeska

Prohibition in Monmouth County

Monmouth County was bubbling with bootlegging activity during Prohibition! The 18th amendment banning the production, sale and transportation of alcohol went into effect in 1920; so began the Roaring Twenties and the Gatsby-esque intrigue of speakeasys and covert partying. Discover the underworld of bootlegging and booze - from well-known wiseguys to those who were smart enough to keep their heads down and their business up. Learn about the operations that made them wealthy and powerful...until their luck inevitably ran out. Join journalist Jack Grodeska as he takes us back to a time rife with cocktails and criminals.

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