The Cumberland County Historical Society Receives First Prize in the
Kevin M. Hale Publication Awards

The League of Historical Societies of New Jersey has announced that the Cumberland County Historical Society has won first prize in the Kevin M. Hale Publication Awards for their book Early Wood Architecture of Cumberland County, New Jersey by Joan Berkey.   The award is being presented on June 11, 2016, during the League of Historical Societies of New Jersey’s Spring Meeting at the Tewksbury Historical Society in Hunterdon County.

The LHSNJ is composed of nearly 250 local historical societies, museums, libraries, historic sites, cultural and heritage commissions, genealogical societies, and other history-related organizations. The Hale Awards were created to mark the achievements of member societies. The award categories include books, booklets, brochures, calendars, DVDs, journals, newsletters, pamphlets and posters.

The Cumberland County Historical Society received grants from the New Jersey Historical Commission: New Jersey Department of State that allowed the Society to hire noted architectural historian Joan Berkey to research and write the book over a four year period, and to publish the hardcover book in August 2015. Berkey spent countless hours examining 51 buildings, focusing on those erected before ca. 1750 and researching the history of heavy timber frame construction to place the buildings in context. The Cumberland County Historical Society is grateful for all of Joan’s efforts to make this amazing publication possible!!

New Book about Cumberland County’s Historic Architecture Available

The Cumberland County Historical Society is proud to announce that its newly-published book, Early Wood Architecture of Cumberland County, New Jersey, is now available for purchase.  

Written by architectural historian, Joan Berkey, the heavily illustrated book examines the forces that shaped the earliest wooden buildings erected in Cumberland County.  Dating as early as the late 1600s, these heavy timber frame (also known as post and beam) structures are strikingly similar to those built by the Pilgrims in Massachusetts.  Years of research and examination of more than 40 extant buildings reveal important differences, however, and suggest a direct-from-England influence as well.

While the book focuses on those built before 1750, it also includes others dated as late as ca. 1840 to demonstrate how timber framing evolved over a century and a half.

Berkey also encountered several log and Dutch-American frame buildings during her research and devotes a chapter to each in the 208-page volume.  More than 230 photographs (many in color), drawings, and maps enrich the text.

Berkey spent more than five years conducting the research leading up to the book.  All phases of the project were assisted by grants from the New Jersey Historical Commission of the New Jersey Department of State.

“The Cumberland County Historical Society is extremely proud to have sponsored this first in-depth study of the county’s earliest wood buildings,” Linda Hruza-Jones, president of the Society’s board, commented.  “Berkey’s work presents an exceptional portrait of our architectural and cultural heritage.”

Copies can be purchased for $20 at the Historical Society’s Warren and Reba Lummis Genealogical and Historical Library at 981 Ye Greate Street in Greenwich, New Jersey.  The Library is open on Wednesdays from 9 until 4, and on Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 1 until 4.  Mail orders are fulfilled by the author:  send your mailing information with a check or money order for $25.00 (cost of the book to $20.00, plus $5.00 postage and packaging) to Joan Berkey, 707 N. Delsea Drive, Cape May Court House, New Jersey   08210.  The book can also be purchased on