The authoritative source on
  early churches of New Jersey


About this site
We've created a database and photographic inventory on more than half the 18th & 19th century churches in the state and add to it each month. We welcome and solicit all contributions and suggestions from our visitors.

How to use this site
Respond to readers' queries
Consult the database
Annotate the database
Upload a photo
Suggest a church for inclusion

Glossary
List of churches, by county

Photographic notes
Links to related sites
Bulletin Board

   pre-publication survey

Since publication of The New Jersey Churchscape in 2001, I have been working systematically on photographic inventories of several of the state's counties. My intention is to photograph all the buildings that were erected as churches in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in a county and publish that inventory with basic facts about the congregation's origin, when the building was erected together with notes and observations about its construction and architecture, current use, and street location—much more extensive annotations than are available at this website. Many churches have changed affiliation as well as their name, and some buildings are now occupied by other congregations, all of which are an important part of the historical record and in danger of being forgotten. Indeed, I have identified at least a dozen churches in Hunterdon, Somerset and Warren that were unknown to the counties' official surveys or historical societies.
     A 12,000-15,000 word essay accompanies the photographic inventory, sketching the county's settlement, religious patterns and practices, and influential events and activities that shaped the churchscape, such as the folkways, the efforts of the SPG, itinerant preachers and revivals, or the extension of a railroad line or canal. A list of all surviving churches, by date of construction and by municipality is included, together with some narratives of early organization, construction, or religious practices appropriate to each county. Each book has a glossary of architectural terms, bibliography and index.

Here's a typical two-page spread (from the Somerset book):

I have completed Hunterdon (101 churches), Somerset (57 churches), Warren (67 churches) and will finish Sussex (38 churches) shortly, and Morris and perhaps Monmouth by the end of the summer. All books contain a two-page spread on each of the old churches in the county, plus 10-12 other churches from adjacent counties that were mother-daughter churches or in some other aspect important to the churchscape of the subject county. The books are 8.5 x 11 inches, softbound, printed by high speed Xerox. Although the images were scanned at very high resolution (900-1200 dpi), the reproduction quality is only "acceptable," comparable to an average magazine; low cost rather than high image quality was the overriding consideration. I would rather do a "coffee-table" book with duotone images printed on fine paper, but the cost of such publication would exceed $75,000 and that is out of the question.

My intention was to print a only a few dozen copies for friends, local libraries and historical societies, and to make the books available as PDF files on cd-rom. When the Freeholders of one county decided they wanted all of their county's branch libraries and high schools to have printed copies, I decided to test the market to see if readers of this website might be interested in purchasing a copy, as the larger the print run the lower the individual copy cost. I have yet to get a firm quotation from the printer-binder, but I anticipate the cost will be $35-40 even if the print run approaches 100 copies, which may be ambitious. Obviously there is not much of a market for scholarly books on old New Jersey churches.

On the advice of a friend, I decided to survey another dimension— whether there is any interest in a signed original photograph of one of the churches (my choice) accompanying the book as a "special edition," at a higher price, of course. I get perhaps two dozen inquiries a year about selling prints but I am reluctant to sell my photographs (except to museums—flattery has some useful benefits). However, I will do so if there is sufficient demand. I love the work involved in making a single exhibition-quality print but I loathe making a half dozen copies of it, so I charge $350 for an 8x10 silver print, which pays for the time and aggravation. But a signed digital print (archivally mounted) can be priced at $150. Actually, my digital prints are superior to the silver prints, and indistinguishable from a silver print when framed under glass, but the art market still insists on silver (or platinum) prints.

Hunterdon. Less Stately Mansions: A Photographic Inventory of the Old Churches of Hunterdon County, New Jersey. 384 pages; with approximately 215 black & white photographs, map, glossary, bibliography, index. Estimated price: $45. With an original photograph (Lambertville's Presbyterian church or the ruins of the Bethlehem Baptist church) $195.

 

Somerset. The Somerset Churchscape: A Photographic Inventory of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Churches of Somerset County, New Jersey. 211 pages, with approximately 130 black & white photographs, map, glossary, bibliography, index. Estimated price: $30. With original photograph (probably Blawenburg Reformed door) $180.

 

Warren. The Warren Churchscape: A Photographic Inventory of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Churches of Warren County, New Jersey. 256 pages, with approximately 140 black & white photographs, map, glossary, bibliography, index. Estimated price: $35. With an original photograph (the ruins of the Thatcher Methodist church) $185.

 

Sussex. The Sussex Churchscape: A Photographic Inventory of the Nineteenth Century Churches of Sussex County, New Jersey. Approximately 124 pages, with approximately 70 black & white photographs. Estimated price: $25. With original photograph (probably the interior of the Bevan Reformed church or the Walpack Center Methodist church) $175.

The cd-rom containing three (or maybe four) PDF files (Hunterdon, Somerset and Warren; Sussex will be added when it is in final form) will be available for $75.

I am not prepared to take orders (yet) but simply trying to get some indication of interest. If there is a sufficient number of people who send me an e-mail [flg@njchurchscape.com] indicating what they are interested in, I will firm up all prices, shipping details, and payment methods. I am not setting up a business here but trying to respond to numerous inquiries from libraries, historical societies and people in attendance at my lectures. I expect this will be a one-time offer—the first edition is likely to be the only printing of these works. But purchasers of the cd-rom will be able to make their own printed book on a laser printer or by going to Kinko's.
      People will have to put up with some inconvenience in the handling of orders. I have no shipping department, no accounts payable or credit and collection; I will have to handle all details of purchase and fulfillment, as well as making the prints and packing the books or CDs. I haven't done that before and do not exactly relish the idea. If this makes you uncomfortable, please don't respond to this survey.

I am doing a final proofreading, adding a few footnotes, and additional entries to the indexes as I write this in late April. I estimate that all books will be ready to ship by the end of May (maybe—mid-June is probably a safer estimate. Binding is the bottleneck, it appears.); the cd-rom is available now.

 

 

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