HomeHopewell Valley NewsHopewell NewsHOPEWELL BOROUGH: Anniversary year continues with art and artifacts 

HOPEWELL BOROUGH: Anniversary year continues with art and artifacts 

By Ruth Luse, Editor Emeritus
An exhibit, “The History of Hopewell: Photographs and Artifacts from Hopewell’s Past,” will begin with an opening reception from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, March 4, at Morpeth Contemporary, a gallery at 43 W. Broad St., Hopewell.
The show, which will end on March 13, is being held to help celebrate Hopewell’s 125th anniversary of incorporation.
Hopewell’s road to incorporation as a borough began with an election in March 1891. It was reported that 97 out of the 157 people who cast ballots supported incorporation and the eventual election of a Board of Commissioners. The first meeting of the commissioners was held on April 15, 1891, at the law office of John S. VanDyke.
The upcoming exhibit, called “Faces and Places,” will feature historic photographs of Hopewell Borough, assembled by David Blackwell of the Hopewell Valley Historical Society.
In addition, the show will focus on historic photos related to the March 1, 1932, kidnapping of the baby boy of aviator Charles Lindbergh and wife Anne. These are from the private collection of borough resident David Sellers. Most of these photos have not been seen locally.
Twenty-month-old Charles Augustus Lindbergh Jr. was abducted from his family home, Highfields, in East Amwell, nearly 84 years ago. Only a few miles from the kidnapping site, Hopewell Borough became the nerve center for the press and for those investigating the case in the days and weeks following the incident. Over two months later, on May 12, 1932, the child’s body was found in nearby Hopewell Township.
Mr. Sellers’ 125th anniversary commemorative letterpress broadside (a large sheet of paper printed on only one side) also will be unveiled at the March 4 event.
A similar letterpress broadside, which will be displayed at the exhibit, was created for Hopewell’s 100th by Mr. Sellers. His “Quasquicentennial Broadside” (quasquicentennial is the word for a 125th anniversary) was made for the borough’s 125th, Mr. Sellers explained.
Mr. Sellers will hand-number each broadside. They will be for sale at the opening. Unlike a typical edition, they will not all be the same. Mr. Sellers has used color (red) in some and overlapping images in others.
“Proceeds from the first 10 sold will benefit some tangible project of the borough (to be determined). The next 10 sold will benefit the Hopewell Public Library,” Mr. Sellers said.
The colophon (an identifying mark used by a printer or a publisher) on the broadsides says:
“Display of original wood types used by Hopewell’s first printers, designed and letterpress-printed by David Sellers, Pied Oxen Printers, in Hopewell, February 2016. Thirty copies done, 1-20, for the benefit of Hopewell Borough and Public Library, and copies I-X reserved for the press, of which this is copy.“
For more information about “Pied Oxen Printers, visit: www.piedoxen.com. Also through the courtesy of Mr. Sellers, the Hopewell Herald’s original proof press, dating from the 1880s, will be at the exhibition. The Hopewell Herald is the Hopewell Valley News’ predecessor. The Hopewell Valley News fetes its 60th birthday this month. The Herald ceased publication in 1955. It had served Hopewell and environs since the 1880s.
Mr. Blackwell, local historian and author of the Hopewell history featured in the 125th commemorative booklet, has assembled the exhibit, “Faces and Places,“ which will include 19th- and early 20th-century photographs depicting Hopewell Borough citizens of the past, and the residences and businesses in which they lived and worked.
“Some images are from the Historical Society’s collection, and many are shown by the generosity of local residents from their private collections,” Mr. Blackwell said.
“Faces and Places“ will feature an enlargement of the Baptist Congregation photo of 1893, “displaying the very faces you would have seen on Hopewell streets just two years after the borough was formed,” Mr. Blackwell noted.
Identifications of most people in the photo were given to Mr. Blackwell in 1966 by Carrie Blackwell and Ann Holcombe. There also is a life-sized portrait of Elder Purington, a minister of the Old School Baptist Church (located on West Broad Street across from Morpeth Contemporary) in the period just before the borough was established. The exhibit conveys the sights and faces of the late 19th and early 20th village of Hopewell, according to Mr. Blackwell.
After the Morpeth display, the “Faces and Places” exhibit will relocate to Borough Hall, 88 E. Broad St., for the remainder of 2016.
For information, call 609-333-9393 or email info@morpethcontemporary.com. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sundays, noon-5 p.m.

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