President’s Letter

As we ease back into some version of normal, the Durand-Hedden House is pleased to launch our 2021-2022 program year, full of exciting discoveries about local and natural history. On September 19 th , our Herb Garden will welcome adults and children to explore the history and uses of the plants. In October, we’ll learn about the Battle of Springfield of 1780, a “forgotten victory” of the Revolutionary War. In time for Veterans Day, we’ll explore the evolution of the American flag. And in December—our beloved Gingerbread House contest!

In the spring we’ll explore African American foodways, hear abolitionist and suffragist Sojourner Truth (interpreted by the amazing Daisy Century), and at a special event, we’ll have a professional antiques expert help you find out if you have treasures or trinkets in your attic. And we look forward to honoring Juneteenth again.

Each open house is made more interesting and exciting by the people who work with us in planning programs and creating and mounting the exhibits (no experience necessary, just a willingness to learn!), as well as those of all ages who come to enjoy them and to learn new, intriguing information about the history of our community. There are often activities for children, and the Country Store offers a growing array of unique gifts and books for everyone.

After some 25 years as a member of the Durand-Hedden House Board of Trustees, I am excited to become the new President of this organization. I follow in the very great footsteps of Susan Newberry, who was president for some 23 years. Susan did amazing work on everything Durand-Hedden—programming, management of the grounds and buildings, the Robert H. Grasmere Local History Center—and will continue to remain a valued advisor and member of the Board. She will also continue as Township Historian, as well as a member of the Maplewood Historic Preservation Commission and the Maplewood Memorial Park Conservancy.

I am also grateful to have a group of Trustees who use their creativity and talents to ensure that this organization continues to fulfill its mission of bringing history alive by caring so well for the House and grounds, and providing diverse educational exhibits and programs that enable the public to learn about and appreciate the development of the Maplewood area and surrounding towns from the time of its original settlement in the 17 th century to the present.

I look forward to seeing you at our monthly programs throughout the coming year.

Gail R. Safian

Slavery in New Jersey: A Troubled History is an illustrated 40-page book that traces the evolution of slavery in New Jersey, which began with Dutch settlement in the seventeenth century and continued through the end of the Civil War.

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