Meetings of minds

LONG after the event, William A. Whitehead recalled how, through the 1845 founding of a historical society for New Jersey, he penetrated a circle of “several prominent gentlemen … whom I had never met before.”1 By many standards, Whitehead would have been regarded as an interloper. The men who gathered in Trenton that February worked … More Meetings of minds

Try, try again

MORE ancient and enduring than New Jersey’s status as a Revolutionary battleground has been its contest for self-definition. The state has often been coarsely cast as suffering a kind of bipolar disorder, forever torn between the megacities it faces across its two frontier rivers. The nature of that struggle is of course far more complex, … More Try, try again

Lights and shadows

HISTORY was, ironically, news in New York City during William A. Whitehead’s first years living there. His initiation into the New-York Historical Society’s holdings (a membership in that body would have to wait some years more) came just as it was awakening from a long period of slumber. But far from being the preserve of … More Lights and shadows

Dust and din

IN the presence of friends and fellow votaries of history assembled in an upper room of the National Newark Bank, the normally serene William A. Whitehead confessed to having suffered from “something like outraged feelings.” A half century earlier, he had stood in awed silence at the sepulchre of the man who “gave a new … More Dust and din

Progress and place

FOR all that it has gained or lost in the tides of politics and war, Perth Amboy’s history attests to the power of place, the environment’s ability to span time and distance through the agency of human memory and motivation. For so many who spent the bulk of their lives elsewhere–and William Whitehead was by … More Progress and place