Exhibitions

Currently on View at Bainbridge House

Princeton's Portrait Opens July, 30, 2014
Einstein at Home
Princeton Pride Gallery

Currently on View at the Updike Farmstead

Princeton's Portrait Opens July 30, 2014
The Clarke and Updike Families at the Farmstead
The A-TEAM Artists of Trenton
Rex Goreleigh’s Field Workers
A Morning at Updike Farmstead: Photographs by the Princeton Photography Club

Exhibitions at Bainbridge House

Princeton's Portrait

Now on view at Bainbridge House and the Updike Farmstead, Princeton’s Portrait celebrates our town through extraordinary, vintage photographs, many never before exhibited. Drawn from HSP’s archives—a visual storehouse of Princeton history—they are an unparalleled view into the past.

Most of the photographs were taken just as photography blossomed, at the turn of the last century (and many are the product of Princeton’s esteemed Rose Photography Studio). At Bainbridge House, located in the heart of Princeton, the photos feature life in and around town.  In them, Nassau Street storeowners display their wares; Princeton University students don costumes for a St. Patrick’s Day parade; Princeton Borough’s first African American police officer, Philip Diggs, poses proudly in uniform. At the Updike Farmstead, different images celebrate the land and a way of life that is largely gone. Farmers toil in the sun. Haystacks dot rolling fields. Families show off their country homes; a young boy shows off his prized hen.

EINSTEIN AT HOME

 Einstein sitting on the front steps
Photo Credit: Einstein sitting on the front steps of his home in Princeton, wearing his fuzzy slippers.
Photo courtesy of Gillett Griffin.

A Special Exhibition at the Historical Society of Princeton's Bainbridge House location

The Historical Society of Princeton is pleased to announce the opening of a new version of our popular Einstein at Home exhibit in February 2013. The new installation features selected pieces of furniture from the Einstein Collection of the Historical Society of Princeton. Through these rarely-seen objects, visitors will have the opportunity to glimpse the personal side of the world-famous scientist, Albert Einstein. Photographs and other memorabilia will tell the story of Einstein's life in Princeton, his home from 1933 until his death in 1955.

Bainbridge House hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 12-4 pm; admission is $4, free for HSP members.

The Historical Society of Princeton receives an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. The exhibition is generously supported by PNC Bank & PNC Wealth Management, and Wilmington Trust.

Images from our Opening Reception - February 13, 2011

PRINCETON PRIDE GALLERY

When visiting Bainbridge House, be sure to visit the Princeton Pride gallery, an exhibition of photographic reproductions of images from our extensive photographic collections.

Since the time of our establishment in 1938, the Historical Society of Princeton has collected “old pictures.” These images feature a diverse range of well-known landmarks, streets, people, and events in Princeton and the region. Some are serious in nature, such as the documentation of Booker T. Washington’s visit to Princeton in 1914 or Grover Cleveland’s funeral procession in 1908. Others are lighthearted, such as a group outing on the Stony Brook or a couple frolicking in the aftermath of a snow storm.

Digital imaging has enabled easy public access to these photographs through the Historical Society’s digital database (to search the database, click here). Visitors to the database can search by keyword (e.g. Witherspoon, Palmer Square, Bainbridge) through 4,000 photographs in the Society’s massive collection.

The Historical Society encourages the reproduction and framing of these photographs for use as gifts or office décor. Other uses are also possible, including publication, exhibition, or documentary films. Society staff are happy to assist with finding appropriate images for a variety of projects. Contact: information@princetonhistory.org

Exhibitions at Updike Farmstead

Evelyn Dolsky, a member of one of Princeton’s earliest Jewish families, sits near Carnegie Lake with Eva and Sadie Keeley
c. 1930s
Collection of the Historical Society of Princeton

PRINCETON'S PORTRAIT

Now on view at Bainbridge House and the Updike Farmstead, Princeton’s Portrait celebrates our town through extraordinary, vintage photographs, many never before exhibited. Drawn from HSP’s archives—a visual storehouse of Princeton history—they are an unparalleled view into the past.

Most of the photographs were taken just as photography blossomed, at the turn of the last century (and many are the product of Princeton’s esteemed Rose Photography Studio). At Bainbridge House, located in the heart of Princeton, the photos feature life in and around town.  In them, Nassau Street storeowners display their wares; Princeton University students don costumes for a St. Patrick’s Day parade; Princeton Borough’s first African American police officer, Philip Diggs, poses proudly in uniform. At the Updike Farmstead, different images celebrate the land and a way of life that is largely gone. Farmers toil in the sun. Haystacks dot rolling fields. Families show off their country homes; a young boy shows off his prized hen.

Images from our Opening Reception - January 18, 2014

THE CLARKE AND UPDIKE FAMILIES AT THE FARMSTEAD

The Clarke and Updike Families at the Farmstead incorporates family photographs, memorabilia, and maps to describe the history of the Updike Farmstead. The six acres of land that now make up the Farmstead were originally part of a 1200-acre tract purchased by Benjamin Clarke (1670-1747) in 1696 from Thomas Warne, an East Jersey Proprietor. In 1697, Clarke sold 400 acres to his brother-in-law William Olden, and 200 acres to another brother-in-law, Joseph Worth. In 1709, Clarke also set aside nine acres of land for the purpose of establishing a Meeting House and burial ground for the Society of Friends (Quakers). With these transfers of land, Clarke helped to establish the village of Stony Brook.

Descendants of Benjamin Clarke maintained their land in the village of Stony Brook through the 18th century. Their quiet life in rural Stony Brook was interrupted during the American Revolution. On January 3, 1777, American troops marched across the Clarke property on Quaker Road. Fighting eventually ensued on the William Clarke and Thomas Clarke farms, properties adjacent to present-day Mercer Road. (The battle ended with a victory for the Americans at Nassau Hall.)

After the Battle of Princeton, Benjamin Clarke’s Quaker Road property continued to remain in the hands of his descendants for nearly a hundred years. The family farmhouse on the Historical Society’s property was built in the early 19th century, likely incorporating another earlier structure. By 1892, this property (which at that time consisted of 190 acres) was acquired by George Furman Updike, Sr. Following Updike Sr.’s death in 1920, George Furman Updike, Jr., acquired this farm.

George Updike, Jr. and his wife, Dora Drake, had eight children on this farm: Verna, Sewell, Oscar, Irving, Furman, Dora, Sarah and Stanley. Other members of the household at various times included Dora Drake’s mother and aunt, and numerous farmhands. Some farmhands stayed a day or two and others stayed for years, including Clarence Hatton. All of the children received their primary education at the eight-grade Stony Brook School located on today’s State Road 206. They attended a variety of local universities, including Princeton, Rutgers, and Rider.

The Updike household saw many technological changes during the first half of the 20th century: indoor plumbing was installed in 1925; the house was wired for electricity and a party-line telephone was put into place later that same decade. Social life for the children on the farm included baseball, church picnics, and parlor games. In a memoir, Sewell Updike described taking the trolley to see the Barnum circus. (From the late 19th century to the 1930s, public trolley service connected Princeton to Trenton through the Stony Brook neighborhood.)

Two of the eight children of George Updike, Jr., Stanley and Sewell, continued to farm the 190 acres through the mid-20th century. To protect the property from development, in the late 1960s the Updike brothers sold most of the land (with the exception of six acres) to the Institute for Advanced Study. A conservation easement ensures that the entire property will remain as open space; a local farmer has planted and harvested the crops on the land owned by the Institute since the late 1970s. The last remaining Updike family members to live in this house, sister and brother, Sarah and Stanley, passed away in 2002. Through the photographs and family papers left behind, the Historical Society is able to share the story of this historic farm.

THE A-TEAM ARTISTS OF TRENTON

A selection of work from The A-TEAM Artists of Trenton is on view in the first floor hallway of the farmhouse. The A-TEAM Artists of Trenton is an independent art cooperative based at the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK). Membership in the A-TEAM is open to everyone who uses the services and programs of TASK. The artists and program coordinator meet once per week to create artwork in all different media. The work of the A-TEAM artists is shown at TASK and at exhibitions throughout Mercer County. Proceeds from the sales of related posters, notecards and the work itself go directly to the artists.

The artwork shown in the farmhouse resulted from visits by the A-TEAM to Updike Farmstead, most recently in July 2012. The Historical Society first exhibited the work of the A-TEAM in the summer of 2009 at Bainbridge House during the exhibition Hunger Pains: Feeding People in Central New Jersey.

To learn more about the A-Team artists, visit http://www.ateamartists.com.

FIELD WORKERS

On loan from the Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church, Rex Goreleigh’s Field Workers is on view in the first floor hallway of the farmhouse. Artist Rex Goreleigh began the Migrant Series when he discovered that the “children of migrant workers were being systematically segregated from other children.” They were also not taking part in the summer arts and crafts program that Goreleigh was teaching in Roosevelt, New Jersey during the summers of 1955 and 1956. His watercolor drawings and oil paintings brought to light the difficult conditions under which African-American migrant laborers worked and lived on the farms of central New Jersey in the 1950s through the 1970s. An exhibition of Goreleigh’s work, Rex Goreleigh: Revisited in Princeton was on view at the Historical Society’s Bainbridge House location in the fall of 2009.

A MORNING AT UPDIKE FARMSTEAD: PHOTOGRAPHS BY THE PRINCETON PHOTOGRAPHY CLUB

From the simplicity of an age-worn windowsill to the expansive sweep of swaying cornfields, the Farmstead’s beauty shines through a selection of photographs from members of the Princeton Photography Club (PPC). Taken on May 19, 2012, the images create a unique portrait of a special place that stands at the juncture of past and present.

The Historical Society is grateful to the PPC for partnering with us to create and exhibit these remarkable photographs. Their work is the fruit of our efforts to encourage visual and performing artists to use the Farmstead to inspire reflection, creativity, and imagination.

2012 marks the Princeton Photography Club’s 30th anniversary of striving to stir its members’ photographic aspirations, abilities, and techniques. To learn more about the PPC, visit http://www.princetonphotoclub.org.