Dr. Sanford's talk to discuss, among other topics, murals by Francis Davis Millet and Howard Pyle that depict the early explorations and settlements of the Dutch and English in New York and New Jersey.
Online PR News – 27-September-2010 – – “Fighting for Beauty: The Muralists and Restorers of the Court House” is a featured talk by Dr. Cynthia Sanford at “Come Home to History: Celebrating 350 Years of Hudson County Heritage,” a history fair on Saturday, October 9. The fair, from 10 am to 6 pm, will take place at the Hudson County Community College Culinary Conference Center, 161 Newkirk Street, Jersey City. Dr. Sanford’s talk, at 11 am, will cover, among other topics, murals by Francis Davis Millet and Howard Pyle that depict the early explorations and settlements of the Dutch and English in New York and New Jersey.
Completed in 1910, the Hudson County Court House is considered one of the finest examples of Beaux- Arts architecture in the country, and is an early Jersey City historic preservation success. Threatened with demolition, the Court House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970, restored in the 1970s and 1980s, and is now reused for County court and other offices. Its stunning interior was decorated by Edwin Howland Blashfield, Kenyon Cox, and Charles Yardley Turner, in addition to Millet and Pyle.
Dr. Sanford herself has contributed to historic preservation in the County. In 1974 she undertook a Bicentennial project to inventory the museum collections in storage at the Jersey City Free Public Library. Together with Vance Stevens and interns from his gallery management course at Jersey City State College (now NJCU), she worked to organize and re-establish the museum. With the support of the library board and director Ben Grimm and funding from CETA, the museum reopened in 1975. She then served as curator/director for fifteen years as the Jersey City Museum grew to become an independent museum renowned for showing contemporary art as well as exhibitions on local history and architecture.
In her doctoral studies at CUNY Graduate Center, she focused on American art and architecture. Her research project on the muralists of the Hudson County Court House resulted in an exhibition and catalogue for the museum in 1985-86, with an accompanying symposium at the court house to celebrate the restoration. Sanford’s interest in American Renaissance mural painting led to her dissertation on the muralist Edward Simmons, a frequent colleague of many of the Hudson County Court House muralists.
Residing in Jersey City with her husband Randy and daughter Katharyn, Dr. Sanford is an adjunct lecturer in the Fine Arts Department of Saint Peter’s College. She also enjoys freelance research and writing on art and architecture and singing with Cantigas Women’s Choir.
Dr. Sanford’s talk is one offering in a program of exhibits, films, presentations, children’s activities, and a tour focusing on the 350th anniversary of the founding of the Dutch settlement of Bergen, in what is now Jersey City, as well as other key moments in Hudson County history.
See www.hudsoncountynjgenealogy.org/historyfair2010 for a full program and updates.