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Richard P. McCormick, John T. Cunningham, and Roger H. McDonough are often spoken of together as having a remarkable impact on the field of New Jersey history. Exploring that narrative demonstrated that the story was much more complicated than that. McCormick had a great gift for gathering allies. The most prominent of his allies, when dealing with public history, were Cunningham and McDonough, for very different reasons. The narrative also highlights the contributions of Donald Sinclair, Clifford Lord, Robert Lunny, Bernard Bush, Miriam Studley, Charles Cummings, Donald Cameron and many others. Together they renovated and reenergized the New Jersey Historical Society. They created, structured and supported the explosion of energy during the Tercentenary celebration. Finally, they left us with a long-term public history infrastructure, with the launching of the New Jersey Historical Commission, the Historic Sites Council and the New Jersey Historic Trust.

This story was also a reflection of a different era. New Jersey in the post World War II era was a smaller state, with a much more stable and homogeneous population. The post-war boom generated a golden age of building and expansion. It was an age when the entrepreneurial spirit stimulated new programs and built mainly in concrete and marble. New libraries were built and several New Jersey history collections matured, a vital counterpoint to the growth of New Jersey history as a field.


A thesis submitted to the Graduate School – Newark Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey In partial fulfillment of requirements For the degree of Master of Arts Graduate Program in History



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