We have over 250 years worth of archives, ranging from paper receipts to a Christian Dior dress and literally everything in between! But every once in a while, we have people call us and say “hey…I have something that I think belongs to you.”
This happened to us just today, hence this blog topic.
A women called this morning telling us that at her family home, is a bell once belonging to Green Lane Farm (owned by the Kean Family, now home of Kean University). This women’s grandfather was a police officer in Elizabeth for 45 years and was given this bell. It resided at his home until his passing where his daughter (our caller’s mom) then took it to her home. The caller’s mother passed away in June and one of her last request was to call Kean University and ask if they want their bell back. Curious, we quickly looked through our archives, we found a picture from Green Lane Farm that had a bell on an entrance way. Can it be the same bell??? Our new friend sent us a picture of the bell she has, and we realized it WAS the same exact one! What are the chances that she happened to call us this morning, we happen to find a picture of said bell, and it happened to be the same bell. The picture on the left is from our archives & the picture on the right is the one she sent:
Another time something like this happened was when a distant relative called and asked a) Are we Ursino? b) Do we know Christine Kean Griffin?
Um, yes and yes. Turns out this lady did not realize that Liberty Hall and Ursino are one in the same. And it also turns out, through her family, she had Christine’s Wedding Dress (from 1849!!) and wanted to know if we wanted it. Uh is that a serious question??
Christine gave her wedding dress to her sister Julia Kean Fish and this lady is a descent of Julia and the Fish family. What is even more fascinating is that this wedding dress had been worn by FOUR other descents! That’s one fashionable dress! The family was generous enough to bring the dress back to it’s rightful home and it is now part of the archival collection at the museum. There was one loop hole, a current family member wanted the option to wear the dress for her wedding….but she said yes to another dress.
While these are two examples of people reaching out to us, Liberty Hall does have it’s “ghosts” and they are just as helpful as these random phone calls…but that’s for another day!