New Jersey Women's History



Notable Facts



 Material Objects


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The Women's Project of New Jersey, Inc. (WPNJ) is a nonprofit organization formed in 1984 by a group of scholars, librarians, teachers and community activists to retrieve and disseminate New Jersey women's history.  It was incorporated in 1985 in the State of New Jersey and is governed by a board of trustees.  Its research and organizational papers are held by Special Collections, Alexander Library, Rutgers University.

WPNJ's initial project was the researching and writing of Past and Promise: Lives of New Jersey Women, a comprehensive, illustrated reference volume on the history of women in New Jersey.  The WPNJ has also sponsored a traveling exhibit based on the book that opened at the New Jersey State Museum, March 1, 1990 and circulated throughout the state until June 1994.  In conjunction with the book, it produced a set of four posters on New Jersey women for school use that were distributed through the Consortium for Educational Equality at Rutgers University.

WPNJ can be reached at 34 Maynard Court, Ridgewood, NJ 07450.

Past and Promise: Lives of New Jersey Women

The 1997 paperback edition of Past and Promise: Lives of New Jersey Women was issued by Syracuse University Press.   It includes a new preface by Editor-in-Chief Dr. Joan Burstyn of Syracuse University (formerly of Rutgers University) and a necrology of subjects deceased since initial publication of the hard cover edition in  1990.


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How to Purchase Book

The book  includes:

  • nearly 300 biographical essays, arranged alphabetically by time period, of well known and lesser known women who have figured in the state's history or whose lives are representative of women's lives in the state in different time periods.

  • 468 pages, 80 illustrations

  • bibliographies with each entry

  • detailed index

  • 4 overview essays

The volume was funded with public, foundation and corporate funds and was sponsored by Drew University, Jersey City State College (now New Jersey City University), Rutgers University, the New Jersey Historical Society, and the New Jersey State Library.   An essential tool for teachers, schools, public and personal librarians, the book has received the Recognition Award of the New Jersey Historical Commission and the Certificate of Merit of the American Association for State and Local History.  It has been endorsed by the New Jersey Council for the Social Studies.

Purchasing Information

The 1997  edition can be ordered through most commercial book stores and through on-line book sellers.

It can also be ordered directly from the publisher, Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, NY by:

  • PHONE:  315-443-5534

  • FAX:  315-443-5545

  • MAIL: 621 Skytop Road, Suite 110, Syracuse, NY, 13244-5290

Price: $26.95 plus shipping and handling.

Burstyn, Joan. (ed.)(1997). Past and Promise: Lives of New Jersey Women. Paperback.  ISBN: 0-8156-0418-1

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