New Jersey celebrates 345th birthday
Thursday, June 25th, 2009
By: Phil Gregory
New Jersey celebrated
its 345th birthday yesterday with celebrations in Trenton.
teachers and students gathered at the State Museum to get a look
at two special documents: the 1664 charter establishing New Jersey
as a British colony and the only copy of the Declaration of Independence
that tours the country.
State Nina Mitchell Wells says it’s important to celebrate
the state’s founding and New Jersey’s historic venues.
The historic piece is a huge part of our travel and tourism industry.
Cultural and heritage tourism are really growing areas and bring
a lot of revenue to the state.
New Jersey earned
the opportunity to display the copy of the Declaration of Independence
because students at schools in the state were winners of a National
Mock Election campaign last fall.
Trenton displays copy of Declaration of Independence
Thursday, June 25, 2009
By Derek Harper
TRENTON - When, in the course
of human events, a rare copy of the Declaration of Independence
comes to Trenton, a decent respect to the nation's history impels
hundreds of people to see it.
And so it was Wednesday, when several hundred people
visited the state library in the capital complex to see the so-called
"Dunlap broadside" declaration on New Jersey Day, the
345th anniversary of the founding of the state as a British colony.
The declaration is one of 25 copies known to exist
out of about 200 that were printed by Philadelphia printer John
Dunlap to spread the word of the 1776 revolt.
It is not the familiar, hand-lettered document signed
with a flourish by John Hancock that remains in the National Archives.
Instead, it is an off-white sheet on which the colonies' grievances
are printed, as is the name of Hancock, then-president of Congress.
The document was famously found behind a painting
a person bought for its nice frame at a flea market in 1989 for
$4. Most recently, sitcom writer Norman Lear and his wife, Lyn,
bought it for $8.1 million in 2000 and dedicated it to public display.
The state earned the right to showcase the document
- from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday and today in the state museum
at 205 W. State St. in Trenton - through its heightened involvement
in the 2008 National Student/Parent Mock Election campaign.
Gov. Jon S. Corzine told the mix of schoolchildren,
teachers and curious onlookers that democracy can only thrive with
"Today we mark New Jersey's 345th anniversary
and reflect on the state's unique role in contributing to the growth
and progress of America," Corzine said. "Having an original
copy of the Declaration of Independence here on display reinforces
this fact, and showcases the civic pride of New Jersey schoolchildren
for their impressive interest in the Democratic process."
Also on display is the royal grant issued June 24,
1664, by James, Duke of York, to John Lord Berkeley and Sir George
Cartaret, the original proprietors of the Colony of New Jersey.
Among the several hundreds who filed slowly past
the documents were children in Christina Guzman's 5th-grade class
from the Upper Freehold Regional School District.
The district ended classes June 17, making Wednesday
a rare summer vacation class field trip. However, her 11-year-old
students Ashley Mruk, Madison Nevins and Morgan Gravatt all thought
it was worth it.
"I thought it was, like, really cool that we
still have a real copy from history that we got to learn about in
school and actually got a chance to come here in the summer and
see it," Nevins said. "I was, like, really excited because
this was my first time seeing it."
Hundreds turn out in Trenton to view rare copy of Declaration
Wednesday, 24 June 2009
By Tom Hester
On the night
of July 4, 1776, Thomas Jefferson completed the Declaration of Independence
he had authored in Philadelphia and excitedly hurried to have 200
broadsides printed for distribution throughout the colonies.
nearly 233 years later, one of the 25 remaining copies, believed
to be among the first printed, showing its wrinkles and slightly
faded, went on display amid pomp and ceremony at the State Museum
Over 400 people,
including Gov. Jon Corzine, turned out as part of a celebration
of the state's 345th "birthday," to see the historic document
and a copy of a land grant that led to the establishment of the
English colony of New Jersey on June 24, 1664.
has one more chance to see the declaration without charge at the
museum from 10 am. to 3 p.m., Thursday before it moves on to Juneau,
Al. where it will be part of a July 4th celebration.
the declaration's display as a spectacular moment for New Jersey.
is one of the most historic documents in the history of mankind,''
he said as he stood near the locked glass case that holds the document.
"We are so proud we have a chance to display these documents
side by side.''
New Jersey earned
the opportunity to display the declaration because of the widespread
participation by New Jersey school children in a mock presidential
election in the autumn sponsored by the non-profit voter registration
organization, Declare Yourself.
is secure if young people understand democracy demands participation,''
the governor said.
The pomp and ceremony began with Corzine and Erika Johansson of
Los Angeles, the Declare Yourself program coordinator, removing
the heavy metal case in which the declaration travels from the State
Archives vault under the guard of state Troopers Clifford Pollard
and Rasheed Joaquin.
Karl Niederer oversees the vault where the declaration and land
grant were stored. "These are documents that record seminal
events in New Jersey history of the highest order,‘' he said.
"They connect today's New Jerseyans with a people and what
we are as a state.''
along West State Street with the Old Barracks Fife and Drum Corps
leading the way, the musicians dressed in British redcoat uniforms,
and followed by Corzine carrying the metal case, troopers and an
honor guard of a dozen students from Trenton, Ewing, East Hanover
and Upper Freehold.
what's inside here?'' Corzine asked the children as they surrounded
him. "The declaration,'' one of them shouted. "Are you
going to protect me now if anybody comes after us?'' the governor
The copy of
the declaration Corzine carried has even more colorful history than
that in 1989, a man wandering in a Pennsylvania flea market purchased
a painting he admired for $4. Later, while inspecting a tear in
the back of the painting, he discovered the copy where it had been
folded and forgotten. The man sold the document for $1.1 million
and writer Norman Lear purchased it for $8.1 million in 2000. Lear,
the founder of Declare Yourself, has had the document displayed
nationwide. It travels with two armed guards.
Johansson said Lear's copy is believed to be one of the first printed
because it bears "ghost printing,‘' and smudges from
a printing press still initially wet with ink.
Commission Director Marc Mappen said the land that is now the state
was called Lorraine, New Sweden and New Netherlands before June
24, 1664 when James, the Duke of York presented a portion of the
land to Sir John Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret in recognition
of their loyalty to the crown during the English Civil Way.
Described by one of the duke's followers as some of the "most
improvabelest land'' held by James, the new colony was called Nova
Caesaria or New Jersey.
of the hand-written land grant, "This document, in a very real
sense, is New Jersey's birth certificate. Our unique identity and
history as New Jerseyans begins here.''
For more information
on the viewing see: njarchives.org or nj.gov or trentonparking.com.
New Jersey turned 345 years old
we gotta say that the Garden State could easily pass for much younger,
and family gather to celebrate a loved ones birthday over cake and
candles. But, a state celebrates a little differently.
their state in style at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton Wednesday
three and half centuries the Garden State kicked it old school --
two priceless historical documents were put on public display and
special tours of Jersey history were given.
Heck, over the
past 50 years the state became more known for Bon Jovi, the Jersey
Shore and hair product than for its rich history. So, this birthday
was a great chance to show off some of the state's past.
including Gov. Jon Corzine, Secretary of State Nina Wells and the
Department of Education Commissioner Lucille Davy were in the house
teachers were recognized for their achievements in history at the
event. There was also a slide show of student projects from around
tours of the State House, State Archives and the World War II Memorial
were given to Jerseyeans.
And of course
some special papers were displayed. The first document was the birth
certificate that established New Jersey back on June 24, 1664. The
second document was an original copy of the Declaration of Independence
printed on July 4, 1776.
And, don't worry,
the folks in N.J. knew that you can’t have a birthday without
cake. Those who attended got to taste the 345th birthday cake for
the Garden State.
For those history
buffs out there who want to know more about the background of Jersey
visit the state's Web site.
And, don't worry
if you want to celebrate Jersey in your own style by listening to
Bon Jovi's "Living on Prayer," feel free.
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NJ marks 345th birthday with rare document display
The Associated Press
TRENTON, N.J. - A joint display of New Jersey's
two "birth certificates" is highlighting an observance
of the 345th anniversary of the state's founding as a British proprietary
One of the documents is the June 24, 1664 Royal
Grant issued by King Charles II's brother James, Duke of York, establishing
an English colony called New Jersey.
The other is an original copy of the Declaration
of Independence printed on July 4, 1776.
Both will remain on display at the State Museum
in Trenton through 3 p.m. Thursday.
New Jersey earned the opportunity to display the
rare copy of the Declaration thanks to the widespread participation
of Garden State students in voter education and mock election activities
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New Jersey celebrates 345th birthday
By Megan DeMarco
An original copy of the Declaration of Independence,
printed by Philadelphian John Dunlap on the day it was signed, was
an honored guest yesterday at New Jersey's 345th birthday party.
The rare document and the original royal grant establishing
the English colony of New Jersey on June 24, 1664, helped commemorate
New Jersey Day. Both will remain on exhibit at the State Museum
in Trenton today.
"We are so proud that we have a chance to display
those two documents side by side," Gov. Jon S. Corzine said.
The Declaration of Independence is one of 25 known
existing copies of the "Dunlap imprint." Dunlap printed
200 in his Philadelphia shop after Thomas Jefferson rushed the document
to him July 4, 1776, according to New Jersey officials.
The only copy that travels around the country, it
will be exhibited in six cities recognized for participation in
last fall's National Student/Parent Mock Election campaign. The
timing coincides with New Jersey's birthday.
Proud New Jerseyans came out in droves for the occasion,
packing into the first floor of the museum and snapping pictures
of the artifacts.
If anything outshined the documents, though, it
was New Jersey's students.
The Pearson Foundation and Declare Yourself, a nonprofit
youth voter-registration organization, chose the state for the tour
because more than a quarter-million New Jersey students - out of
more than five million nationwide - took part in the mock election.
Several of the 802 New Jersey schools reported 100 percent participation.
When planning the anniversary celebration, Secretary
of State Nina Mitchell Wells said, "we had no idea that we
would receive the honor and distinction that we have received because
of our fantastic, fantastic students."
In addition to congratulating the students, teachers,
and principals involved in the mock election, ceremony officials
honored several other groups of students for their accomplishments.
One student was Kristine Thomas, an eighth grader
at Rosa International Middle School in Cherry Hill. Thomas and a
team of fellow students represented New Jersey at a National History
Day contest at the University of Maryland this month.
She enjoyed a piece of cake in celebration of New
"It's a tiny state, but it means a lot to everyone,"
The ceremony concluded with a rousing version of
"Happy Birthday," and the distribution of birthday cake
and cupcakes sprinkled red, white, and blue.
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