Most painful intelligence

MAJOR Francis L. Dade accepted an urgent salute, and was handed his orders. The six weeks they had needed to travel from St. Augustine to Key West, and Dade’s own month-long leave of absence, meant the orders were no longer new. Poor communications between the mainland and the Keys plagued the military as much as … More Most painful intelligence

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The greatest gifts

LOWER latitudes and warmer climes than William Whitehead had previously known defined his nineteenth full winter, and each of the nine that followed. On its face this decade of residence in the South answered no maverick yearning for wild frontiers; it sprang instead from Whitehead’s trusted role in the business concerns of his family, spun … More The greatest gifts

The Daily

BETWEEN the day on which William A. Whitehead, at age 13, left Newark with his family for Perth Amboy and the day that he returned, at age 33, to live there once more with a new family, the place, like Whitehead, had come of age. The Newark he returned to was a far cry from … More The Daily

Our man in London

SELDOM are scholars, scientists or other devotees of learning able to practice their devotions apart from institutions, whether it’s by choice or necessity that they work with or under them. The power wielded by the likes of learned societies, religious organizations, schools or governments at any level, and their shifting propensities to foster or frustrate … More Our man in London

Scot’s Model

THERE’S no second chance to make a first impression, and this had all the makings of an audacious debut. Notices of a new historical society for New Jersey, emanating from the busy pen of its corresponding secretary, had barely reached the meeting rooms of other learned associations around the country. Now they, and the wider … More Scot’s Model

Field work

CONVENING in January 1846 at the place of its birth to celebrate the New Jersey Historical Society’s first year, members could look back with satisfaction, and look expectantly ahead. They reviewed the Society’s achievements over the past eleven months, chose officers for the year to come–a formality, as the incumbents were re-elected without exception and … More Field work

Together apart

CITY fathers in 1876 planned a Fourth of July more memorable than any Key West had yet seen. They would not only mark the centennial of American independence, but use the occasion to dedicate a new city hall. Walter C. Maloney was commissioned to deliver an address on Key West’s history, but with scant forethought … More Together apart

The collectors (part 1)

JOHN James Audubon, always lavish in his prose, bestowed on the fabled sunsets of the Florida Keys a description as rapturous as any ever written.1 After he’d beheld such a spectacle from the deck of the revenue cutter Marion, now resting at anchor in “the beautiful harbour of Key West,” the tireless naturalist briefly savored … More The collectors (part 1)