Film Cameras on Display at New Providence Memorial Library

Every February, the New Providence Historical Society sponsors an exhibit display at the New Providence Memorial Library. This year, we have an array of 16 film cameras on display. These cameras are on loan from J.R. Bale, a former commercial photographer and current New Providence resident.

“While we now take digital photography for granted,” Bale said, “one has the respect the mechanical and chemical ingenuity of the past century.”

The cameras on display are from various eras and include both roll and sheet film equipment, used by both amateurs and professionals. The manufacturers include Kodak, Hasselblad, Agfa-Ansco, Polaroid, Nikon and others.


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10/25/2018 – Fall Talk: Samuel Morse, 19th Century Renaissance Man

Samuel Finley Breese Morse (1791–1872) epitomized the titans of the Industrial evolution in America with his wide-ranging accomplishments in technology and art. Although not his only contribution, Samuel Morse is best known for his invention of the telegraph and the code which bears his name.

On Thursday evening, photojournalist Jim DelGiudice details the life of the Massachusetts-born Morse, who worked for a time in New Jersey. Mr. DelGiudice will speak at 7 PM at the DeCorso Center at 15 East Fourth Street in New Providence.

Refreshments will be served afterward.

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New Providence Book Festival Set for 9/22/2018

Based on the success of last year’s event, a second New Providence Book Festival has been scheduled for Saturday, September 22, 2018. We plan to even more authors this year. The festival will once again take place on the grounds of the Salt Box Museum at 1350 Springfield Avenue in New Providence.  The museum will be open for tours on the day of the festival.

So far, scheduled authors include J.R. Bale, Linda Barth, Michael Stephen Daigle, Reyna Favis, Vivian Fransen, Kristina Garlick, Laura Kaighn, Bob Mayers, Ginger Pate, Bill Powers, Linda Raedisch and Amy Reade. Some of these authors are new to the festival. Others are familiar names  bringing their newest works. Either way, it’s going to be an exciting festival.

You can support the festival through purchase of festival t-shirts, mugs and buttons. All proceeds go to supporting the festival. Click here.

The rain date is September 29th.
Check back for a schedule of speakers.



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4/26/2018 Annual Dinner: Madame Bey’s

The New Providence Historical Society will hold its Annual Meeting on April 26th at the Murray Hill Hotel & Suites at 6PM.

Gene Pantalone, New Providence resident and author of Madame Bey’s: Home to Boxing Legends, will share the fascinating story of an aristocratic woman who managed a training camp in Chatham NJ for world champion boxers during the early twentieth century.

Come listen to this fascinating local history and enjoy the delightful cuisine from Moe’s Bistro. $40 per person. Makes check out to “New Providence Historical Society.” Send checks to the Mason Room, New Providence Memorial Library, 377 Elkwood Avenue, New Providence, NJ 07974, c/o Margaret Maurer.

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10/12/2017: Fall Talk: “Revolutionary War Spies”

Damien Cregeau will explore the murky world of Colonial espionage during the American Revolution. Mr Cregeau’s talk will be at 7 PM at the DeCorso Center, 15 East Fourth Street, New Providence, NJ 07974.
Refreshments will be served afterwards.

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9/21/2017: History Talks on Grounds for Sculpture

On Thursday night at 6:30 PM the New Providence Historical Society will host the third in series of four “History Talks.”

Grounds For Sculpture” is a 42-acre sculpture park and museum located in Hamilton, NJ, on the former site of the New Jersey State Fairgrounds. Founded in 1992 by John Seward Johnson II. The venue is dedicated to promoting an understanding of and appreciation for contemporary sculpture by organizing exhibitions, publishing catalogs, and offering a variety of educational programs and special community events.

Douglas Kale, owner and president of Kale’s Nursery & Landscape Service, will make his presentation in the Conti Room in the  New Providence Memorial Library at
377 Elkwood Avenue, New Providence, NJ 07974

Flyer for “Ground For Sculpture” History Talk

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September 16, 2017 – New Providence Book Festival

New Jersey authors will sign books and talk to visitors at the New Providence Book Festival on Saturday, September 16, 2017. The festival, located on the grounds of the historic Salt Box Museum, will include a series of author panels on a range of book-related topics.

“We wanted to create an event that connects authors with readers in a very personal way,” explained J.R. Bale, one of the organizers of the event.  “With over a dozen authors of various genres, it should be a stimulating event for even the most casual book lover.”

Anyone purchasing a book at the festival will also receive a free raffle ticket for a drawing for an overnight stay at the Murray Hill Hotel and Suites and a $50 gift certificate for Moe’s Bistro. Other vital festival sponsors include the Lantern Hill retirement community and Page Bound Success, an organization which supports the marketing efforts of local writers.

The festival will be held on the grounds of the Salt Box Museum at 1350 Springfield Avenue from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. The rain date is September 23, 2017.

The Salt Box Museum, the site of the festival, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The museum, operated by the New Providence Historical Society, will be open to visitors, free of charge. Refreshments will be available on the grounds.

More information is available at


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New Providence Historical Society Uniform Collection Part of Morris Museum Exhibit

A number of WWI and WWII military uniforms and accessories from the Society’s garment collection are included in a newly opened exhibit at the Morris Museum, 6 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown, NJ . The exhibit is titled “The Evolution of Military Fashion”, and runs from July 5 – November 26, 2017.

Members of the Morris Museum originally visited the Society’s garment collection, at our Salt Box Museum, back in November of 2016 with the purpose of inspecting a number of pieces in our garment collection in order to provide an expert opinion on what we have in our collection. When they discovered that part of our collection contained a number of military uniforms, dresses, and accessories dating from World War I and World War II; their interest was heightened. Most of the military uniforms and Red Cross dresses in our collection had been worn in service by New Providence residents.

Alexandra Willis and Ruth Zippler in Salt Box Attic

Ruth Zippler inspects uniforms






Morris Museum Curator, Alexandra Willis and Museum Volunteer Ruth Zippler returned to our Salt Box again on June 15, 2017 to take a closer look at the uniforms and dresses, and selected pieces they wished to borrow from our collection; boxed them up and transported them to their museum.

Alexandra and Ruth, with Barbara Pape, of our Society, packing up uniforms for loan to Morris Museum

Alexandra and Ruth, with Barbara Pape, of our Society, packing up uniforms for loan to Morris Museum

World War I Army Uniform

One of the military uniforms in our collection is from WWI and was worn by John Dodge Clark(1896-1998) New Providence’s first borough administrator(1967-1976).  In 1917 he volunteered to serve with the Allied Expeditionary Forces in World War I. He received the Silver Star and the Croix de Guerre and kept a diary of his war experiences. He later transcribed the diary as a 45-page typed manuscript that preserved his wartime experiences in his own words. The book was the subject of a Veteran’s Day article in the Independent Press Newspaper on Nov. 11, 1998. He volunteered for a commission as a second lieutenant in the artillery. His first assignment was an aerial observer flying with the French Escadrille.  His battery joined the U.S. 2nd Division and fought in many of the war’s most famous engagements, including Chateau Thierry, Belleau Wood, Soissons, the Argonne Forest and finally the crossing of the River Meuse. His memoirs describing each in vivid detail. His memoirs end with the signing of the peace treaty, his regiment’s return to the U.S. and his parade up Fifth Avenue. He returned to Brooklyn and married Emma Marie Zangler, an army nurse he courted in France. He worked for Monroe Calculator Company in Orange and in 1926 as a sales manager with A.R. Meeker in Newark. He retired from the company in 1962 as president.  He was New Prov. Borough Clerk in the 1960’s and when he retired as borough administrator in 1976 he was 81.  He passed away at the age of 103 at Heath Village, Hackettstown, NJ.

World War II Navy Uniforms 

From our WWII uniform collection, the following pieces were loaned to Morris Museum:
Navy Seabee uniforms worn by William C. Sawyer(1891 – 1996). Born in Basking Ridge, lived in New Providence for 84 yrs. Enlisted in U.S. Navy Construction Battalions (CB) or Seabees, during WWII and saw action in South Pacific on Saipan. Husband of Marie Hoag Sawyer. Employed for 47 years by the D.L. & W. Railroad in Hoboken, retiring in 1975. Member of New Providence Fire Dept., joining in 1931, serving as Fire Chief, Fire Inspector, Fire Commissioner and Treasurer. He was Deputy Police Officer in Borough in 1940. He also served as a councilman in the Borough in 1949, and also was a member of the N.P. Senior Citizens Club, serving as president and chairman of Board of Trustees. He was a member of American Legion Post 433 of New Providence. The Society has 4 Navy uniforms of Mr. Sawyer.

World War II Woman’s Red Cross Uniforms

There are three Woman’s Red Cross Dress Uniforms in our collection, two of which we know who wore them. One dress was worn by Marie Hoag Sawyer(1913-2004), wife of William C. Sawyer(above).  Born in Brooklyn, she lived in New Providence for 70 years. She was a secretary for N.P. Board of Education for 20 years, retiring in 1972. She was a member of the Women’s Club, N.P. Garden Club, and the Senior Citizens Club. We understand she was a Red Cross Volunteer during WWII at Overlook Hosp., in Summit, NJ. The uniform consists of a jumper, pale blue cotton, square neckline, back button closure, calf- length skirt gathered into waistband; a white cotton blend blouse, short sleeves, front closure; fabric label inside neckline: “HOOVER MFG. & SALES CO./ NEW YORK/SIZE 38”; cap, pale blue cotton with white brim.

The second Woman’s Red Cross Dress Uniform was worn by Jane Keisler Parcells(1909-1988), wife of Dayton Balcom Parcells. Born in Chatham, NJ, she graduated from Kent Place School, Summit and Wellesley College. She was active in the community, serving as treasurer, tax collector, and custodian of school funds for the Borough of New Providence for 30 years. She helped found the League of Women Voters, New Providence Historical Society and served with the American Red Cross Canteen during WWII. She acted as trustee and treasurer of the New Providence Presbyterian Church; past president of the Lincoln School P.T.A.; acted as a Cub Scout leader, and was involved with the Care and Concern group in N.P. An active member of the Republican Party. She was named “Woman of The Year” by the United Way of Summit- New Providence.  St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, New Providence was established through her efforts and dedication, and she later served as the first woman warden of the church and its Treasurer. The uniform has a fabric label inside neckline “Sterigarm, Altro Work Shops, 1021 Jennings St., NY; size 18.”

The third Red Cross Uniform is light blue with long sleeves, and dark blue epaulets, also with the label in neckline “Sterigarm, Altro Work Shops, 1021 Jennings St., NY”. We don’t know who may have worn this garment.

Our collection also includes WWII military helmets and caps.

We also have two framed WWI group panoramic photos, taken of the NJ State Militia, Sea Girt, NJ, 1917. One photo is approx.. 8” H X 30” L. Other panoramic photo not quite as long.

All of these items were loaned to Morris Museum for their “The Evolution of Military Fashion”, exhibit.

Here is the link to the Morris Museum website.

The Evolution of Military Fashion
July 5 – November 26, 2017

Highlighting the significant changes American military uniforms have undergone since the country’s inception in 1776, the uniforms featured in this exhibition include examples from the Revolutionary War through World War II.

Men’s Army Uniform, 1943, Gift of Robert Stoll
Red Cross Uniform, c.1918, Gift of the Beaver Family

Thanks to Society member & Trustee, Barbara Pape for assisting with this uniform project.

The Society will be organizing a personal tour the  of the Military Fashion Exhibit, with a Morris Museum Curator.

If you’d like to join in this tour, please contact Rick or leave a message at the Society Mason Archive Room at 1-908-665-1034.

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8/6/2017 – Open House at Salt Box Museum

Come visit the Salt Box Museum for a free tour between 1 and 3 PM on Sunday, August 6th.

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Salt Box Craft Fair Postponed to May 20th

Due to the projected increment weather, the Salt Box Craft Fair will be postponed to   Saturday, May 20th. See you all next weekend.


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