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Contact: Paul C. DiNero

Pulitzer-Prize Winning Author David Hackett Fischer Draws Capacity Crowd to Liberty Hall Museum

UNION, NJ - Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian Dr. David Hackett Fischer spoke on New Jersey in the American Revolution to a capacity crowd on March 4 at Liberty Hall Museum at Kean University. Fischer discussed how New Jersey, because of its key geographic location, played a central role in the Continental Army’s struggle against the British Army.

"New Jersey is ground zero to study the American Revolution," said Fischer, the Earl Warren Professor of History at Brandeis University. He explained that, throughout the war, commanders sought to avoid great battles. New Jersey’s mountains, valleys and rivers served as the setting while opposing militaries engaged in "a dance, a minuet" to gain position, hoping to force the other side into submission.

Fischer focused particular attention on Washington’s inclusive style of leadership, which he credits for uniting American Revolutionary forces around a common cause. "He understood the power of being a good listener," Fischer said. "His style of leadership engaged other leaders in a web of leadership that the British could not match."

Fischer won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005 for Washington’s Crossing and has authored numerous other books on colonial and revolutionary America, including Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America, Paul Revere’s Ride, and most recently Champlain’s Dream.

Fischer’s appearance was held in conjunction with the exhibit Oh Freedom!, which examines the history of slavery and abolition in New Jersey during the era of the American Revolution. Oh Freedom! includes documents from the New Jersey State Library and Archives, as well as other sources, and takes a look into the reasons African-Americans fought, their contributions to each side and what happened to them in the war’s aftermath. The exhibit will be on display in the Carriage House through March 31. It is free and open to the public during regular museum hou.

Liberty Hall Museum at Kean University chronicles more than 200 years of American history. Built in 1772 by William Livingston, New Jersey’s first elected governor, the Victorian style mansion is a treasure trove of historic riches. Along with forgotten letters from Thomas Jefferson, Liberty Hall also houses extensive collections of antique furniture, ceramics, textiles, toys and tools owned by seven generations of the Livingston and Kean families. The Firehouse is the latest addition to the Museum’s complex housing two antique fire engines and a collection of fire memorabilia.

Founded in 1855, Kean University has become one of the largest metropolitan institutions of higher education in the region, boasting a richly diverse student, faculty and staff population. While Kean continues to play a key role in the training of teachers, it is also a hub of educational, technological and cultural enrichment, offering more than 50 undergraduatedegrees and more than 45 options leading to a master’s degree, doctorate, professional diploma and/or state certification(s). Five undergraduate colleges and the Nathan Weiss Graduate College now serve more than 15,000 students.