Browse Exhibits (2 total)

The Legacy of Women of Morris County

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The North Jersey History and Genealogy Center of the Morristown and Morris Township Library celebrates the 100th anniversary of women achieving the right to vote in the United States. We have chosen to commemorate this milestone by highlighting the accomplishments of the women who once lived and worked in Morristown, Morris Township and Morris County at large; specifically those who made positive contributions in a variety of fields to their community. 

Our first digital exhibit explores a number of topics starting with the suffrage movement, with special attention paid to former Morristown resident Julia Sampson Hurlbut. Shortly after the vote was gained, Morristown benefitted from the work of dedicated female doctors and African-American women nurses. The town has also been home to African-American educators, the first Major of the United States Marine Corps Women’s Reserve, and a Gilded Age gentleman farmer’s philanthropic daughter, to name a few.  

The Twenties: Big Business, Pleasure-Seeking, and Daily Life in Morris County, 1920-1930

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America of the 1920s conjures images of smartly dressed men and women in formal wear, flappers and vibrant jazz bands in speakeasies, fast cars, exuberant stock markets, and the birth of Hollywood’s golden age. However, while modern society changed rapidly for many, this only tells part of the story for the decade that started with the end of the Great War and a worldwide pandemic, and ended with the economic turmoil unleashed by the 1929 stock market crash and the resulting Great Depression.

In many aspects, Morris County was a microcosm of how the Twenties affected Americans. A number of illicit clubs and gambling halls operated downtown with impunity, corrupt officials squared off against good governance reformers, a growing middle-class bought new homes and automobiles on credit, and everyone sought new and exciting entertainment options, which were ubiquitous thanks to the many fads, films, and radio programs.

Life changed dramatically in other areas as well. A rising Black middle class joined the ranks of other new homeowners and exercised newfound economic influence, women enjoyed new careers and less domestic drudgery thanks to labor saving devices and smaller families, while cinemagoers wondered at foreign vistas and others enjoyed traveling to new destinations. In embracing the modern era, Morris County’s residents sought to reform corrupt policies, pursued new business opportunities, searched for novel leisure activities, enjoyed the tranquility of domestic life, and strove for ever-faster means of transportation.