The South Jersey Culture & History Center at Stockton University has released of its latest publication, “Burlington Biographies: A History of Burlington, New Jersey told through the Lives and Times of its People,” by Robert L. Thompson. This 558-page hardbound book takes a fresh look at many aspects of the city’s rich heritage and longstanding lore through a unique approach to writing local history.
The chapters in this work sometimes strengthen well-known historical accounts, but the text just as easily topples a number of commonly held myths extending back a century or more.
The book will delight, entertain, and intrigue both the reader who possesses some knowledge of Burlington and its story and the neophyte who seeks to learn more about a community that intrepid Quaker founders settled in the second half of the 17th century.
For those people with a penchant for topical history, many issues are addressed in the pages of this work: African American history, the American War for Independence, architecture, artisanal work, city planning, immigration, merchants and prior local historians, among others.
The biographical essays that comprise this book will often take a reader far afield from where they begin, but always with the purpose of educating them about facets of Burlington’s historical past, before returning the reader to the original theme. So, for those individuals possessing any interest in the City of Burlington’s history, we invite them to find a comfortable chair and prepare themselves to be immersed in the Burlington of yesteryear
The book contains copious citations with notes appearing at the end of each chapter for ease of access. Two appendices at the back of the book document those people responsible for the City of Burlington’s built environment. The book also contains a comprehensive index.
Thompson began writing his history about 25 years ago while an employee of the city. He contributed articles to the “Burlington Story,” a local history pamphlet published by Dr. Henry Bisbee, Thompson’s mentor. These articles, updated and augmented, form the basis for much of the work that followed. Thompson is also a contributing author to the “History of Gloucester Township, New Jersey.” He also served as director of the Main Street Burlington initiative, before moving to a position as the City of Camden’s historic preservation specialist.
The book can be purchased from Second Time Books, 114 Creek Road, Mount Laurel, N.J. 08054; phone: (856) 234-9335. It can also be ordered directly from: South Jersey Culture & History Center, School of Arts & Humanities/Stockton University, 101 Vera King Farris Drive, Galloway, NJ 08205-9441; phone: (609) 652-4419.