Greater Cape May Historical Society


2021 Programs and Events

Artwork of Black players from the the Cape May Giants baseball team

October 26–28

Out of the Shadows and into the Light

The Greater Cape May Historical Society, Cape May MAC, Congress Hall and the Mad Batter Restaurant and Bar are co-presenting a three-day conference on South Jersey and Philadelphia's rich history of Negro Leagues ball clubs and their impact on baseball heritage will be held in Cape May, NJ from October 26-28 at the Cape May Convention Hall.

The event features authors and historians who will present accounts of the Black ballplayers who starred on the region's teams, including the Atlantic City Bacharachs, the Philadelphia Pythians and the Cape May Giants. The rich history of Negro Leagues ballplayers deserves to be remembered to understand their courage and their contribution to baseball and life in America," said Mark Kulkowitz, proprietor of the Mad Batter and avid baseball fan.

DAY 1 (10/26) 

Location: Convention Hall, Cape May City, New Jersey

  • The first day program will feature a discussion by Jerrold Casway, a retired history professor who specializes in 19th Century baseball, about the origins and contributions of Negro Leagues clubs, including the Pythians and the Giants.
  • Sportswriter and author Gaylon H. White will discuss his book Singles and Smiles, about Artie Wilson, the Birmingham Black Barons star who was the last pro ballplayer to bat over .400 and was a mentor to Hall of Famer Willie Mays. Sydnei SmithJordan, an acclaimed artist who has created numerous portraits of Black baseball stars, will join White. SmithJordan’s work has been collected by noted celebrities including, Denzel Washington, Whoopi Goldberg, and Forest Whitaker.

DAY 2 (10/27)

Location: Convention Hall, Cape May City, New Jersey

  • Historian and lecturer Mike Everett will speak about John Henry “Pop” Lloyd. Lloyd played professional baseball in the Negro Leagues from 1906 to 1932, including two stints with the Bacharach Giants of Atlantic City. Everett will also talk about Max Manning and Monte Irvin of the Newark Eagles, who were teammates on the Negro Leagues World Series 1946 championship team. Joining Everett in the discussion will be Manning's daughter, Belinda.
  • The second part of the evening will feature White speaking about "The Mystery of Eddie Locke," the Negro Leagues pitcher and slugger. In 1953, Locke won 21 games in half a season in the West Texas League. Eight of those victories came when he pitched complete games in both ends of four double-headers. He ended his career in the Mexican League and disappeared from public view. 

DAY 3 (10/28)

Location: Convention Hall, Cape May City, New Jersey

  • Thursday's program will be a panel discussion on "Who from the Negro Leagues belongs in the Hall of Fame" featuring White, SmithJordan, Everett and Casway. 
  • The event will conclude with a look at the career of Phillies great Dick Allen and his pending eligibility for the Hall of Fame. 

NOTE: All programs will be held 4:30 to 7 p.m. at Convention Hall. Admission is $30. 10/26 and 10/27 programs will be followed by a "ballpark favorites" buffet dinner at historic Congress Hall, for a separate price of $38.

Call Cape May MAC at 609 884-5404 or visit MAC's website for information and to purchase tickets.

Society Successful Nomination of the Allen AME Church to New Jersey’s 10 Most Endangered Historic Properties for 2021

Recognizing the importance of preserving the Allen AME Church circa 1888, the Greater Cape May Historical Society, nominated the Church to be included in the 2021 Preservation New Jersey (PNJ) list of the ten most endangered historic sites in New Jersey. The nomination of the Church to the ten most endangered list was made prior to the City purchase of the Church.

Front view of the church showing fire damage and missing windows

The Society submitted photographs and video of the devastating fire along with documentation about the history and importance of the Church. Harry Bellangy, President and Historian for the Greater Cape May Historical Society, was interviewed by members of the PNJ selection committee to discuss the importance of the Church to the African American community in Cape May and why it should be on the ten most endangered historic sites list for 2021. The Society learned on May 5th that Preservation New Jersey accepted its nomination and is placing the Allen AME Church as one of the ten most endangered historic sites in New Jersey.

Corner stone reading 1888

Blower for Hook and Hastings pipe organ

The Society maintains a local history archive and hosts events celebrating local history and cultural heritage. The Society was awarded a grant to clean and restore the Soldiers and Sailors monument for the World War I centenary program "100 Cities 100 Memorials”. A Congressional medal is affixed to the base of the monument for this award. In addition, the Society led a program with Cape May City and community non-profits to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s participation in the Society of Friends General Conference held in Cape May. At the 1958 conference, Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke on “Nonviolence and Racial Justice”. Permission was granted to the Society to reproduce two hundred copies of the original cklassSociety of Friends journal that included the full text of Dr. King speech.

“Cape May is our museum”, Mr. Bellangy said, “we collect history from the colonial first settlement era to current times. We are a source for new residents to learn about the area and we help guide folks to find resources for history research”.

A typical stained-glass window for the church

The Society receives funding that is made possible in part by the New Jersey Historical Commission / Department of State and The Cape May County Board of County Commissioners through the Division of Culture & Heritage. The Society is a 501c3 non-profit; a NJ Cultural Fund Qualified Organization; and an Association of State and Local History Steps--a standards and excellence program for history organizations.

More reading:

Bound by Family and Faith: The Story of the Allen A.M.E. Church

2020 Programs and Events

May 2 cancelled until further notice

Civil War Program Partner with MAC for Lunch and Learn Series

Lutheran Church 2 at 1pm.

Gene Barr speaks on the Irish immigrants and first generation Irish-Americans played a critical role in the American Civil War. Their fighting prowess was legendary and much Irish blood was spilled on numerous battlefields. This talk will explore some of the more fascinating stories of the Irish and discuss how others viewed them during the 1860’s”.

Irish brigade flag Troiani Sons of Erin

May 5 cancelled until further notice

The Society commemorates the Year of Suffrage with “Someone Must Wash the Dishes”

Cape May Methodist Church at 1:00 PM

This year, numerous historical societies, museums, and institutions are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment by Congress on June 4, 1919. The passing of the 19th amendment gave women the legal right to vote in the United States of America. What a brave new world emerged after World War I ended. Men and women returned to the right to vote and prohibition looming on the horizon. Ratified by the states on January 16, 1919, prohibition officially went into effect on January 17, 1920 with the passage of the Volstead Act. Join us for this side-splitting lecture that helped women with the vote with the fictional “Anti” in Marie Jenny Howe’s brilliant satire.

Michele LaRue

Many women fought against getting the vote in the early 1900s, but none with more charm, prettier clothes—and less logic—than the fictional speaker in this satiric monologue written by pro-suffragist Marie Jenney Howe. “Woman suffrage is the reform against nature,” declares Howe’s unlikely, but irresistibly likeable, heroine.

“Ladies, get what you want. Pound pillows. Make a scene. Make home a hell on earth—but do it in a womanly way! That is so much more dignified and refined than walking up to a ballot box and dropping in a piece of paper!”

Reviewers have called this production “a rare treat,” “wicked” in its wit, and have labeled Michèle LaRue’s performance “side-splitting.” An Illinois native, now based in New York, LaRue is a professional actress who tours nationally with a repertoire of shows by Gilded Age and Progressive Era American writers.

September 2020 not scheduled at this time

Just in time for Hurricane Season: A Mighty Wind: Cape May Hits and Misses

Location: TBD

Just in time for hurricane season, join Historian, Harry Bellangy, and a special guest who knows a lot about weather, for the great storms and information on when to start packing your bag with essentials. Learn about what tide will flood your road out of town.


2019 Programs and Events

Greater Cape May Historical Society and MAC Lunch and Learn present

Love Letters

A Civil War Captain and His Lady by Gene Barr | Love, Courtship, and Combat from Fort Donelson through the Vicksburg Campaign

Date: February 9 at Lucky Bones. Doors open at 11:30


A Civil War Captain and His Lady is a true “Cold Mountain” love story from the Northern perspective.

"More than 150 years ago, 27-year-old Irish immigrant Josiah Moore met 19 year-old Jennie Lindsay, a member of one of Peoria, Illinois’s most prominent families. The Civil War had just begun, Josiah was the captain of the 17th Illinois Infantry, and his war would be a long and bloody one. Their courtship and romance, which came to light in a rare and unpublished series of letters, forms the basis of Gene Barr’s A Civil War Captain and His Lady: Love, Courtship, and Combat from Fort Donelson through the Vicksburg Campaign.

"The story of Josiah, Jennie, the men of the 17th and their families tracks the toll on our nation during the war and allows us to explore the often difficult recovery after the last gun sounded in 1865. Josiah’s and Jennie’s letters shed significant light on the important role played by a soldier’s sweetheart on the home front, and a warrior’s observations from the war front. Josiah’s letters offer a deeply personal glimpse into army life, how he dealt with the loss of many close to him, and the effects of war on a man’s physical, spiritual, and moral well-being. Jennie’s letters show a young woman mature beyond her age dealing with the difficulties on the home front while her brother and her new love struggle through the travails of war. Her encouragement to keep his faith in God strong and remain morally upright gave Josiah the strength to lead his men through the horrors of the Civil War. Politics also thread their way through the letters and include the evolution of Jennie’s father’s view of the conflict. A leader in the Peoria community and former member of the Illinois state house, he engages in his own political wars when he shifts his affiliation from the Whig Party to the new Republican Party, and is finally elected to the Illinois Senate as a Peace Democrat and becomes one of the state’s more notorious Copperheads.

"In addition to this deeply moving and often riveting correspondence, Barr includes additional previously unpublished material on the 17th Illinois and the war’s Western Theater, including Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Vicksburg, and the lesser known Meridian Campaign—actions that have historically received much less attention than similar battles in the Eastern Theater. The result is a rich, complete, and satisfying story of love, danger, politics, and warfare, and it is one you won’t soon forget."

About the Author: Gene Barr is the president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, the largest broad-based business advocacy group in Pennsylvania. He has spent more than forty years in the political and government affairs world, including more than twelve years with a Fortune 100 energy company. Barr is a board member and former chair of the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and spent many years engaged in Civil War living history events. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and lives in Mechanicsburg with his wife Mary. July 2016 ISBN: 978-1-61121-290-7 eBook: 978-1-61121-291-4

Funding has been made possible in part by the New Jersey Historical Commission / Department of State, and the Cape May County Board of Chosen Freeholders through the Cape May County Department of Tourism, Public Information and Culture & Heritage.

My Dear Wife – A Letter from a Soldier
Prepared by Jim Campbell

From the Society archives is a love letter written by John Reeves who lived at the corner of Stevens Street and the Turnpike (now Sunset Boulevard). Mr. Reeves died in 1925. His funeral was held in the Old Brick Church and buried in the Cold Spring Presbyterian Church.

Jim Campbell was Historian for the Society for many years. He documented the graveyards and burial grounds in Cape May as his life’s work, including a detailed collection of the Old Brick graves in Lower Township.

The City of Cape May and the Greater Cape May Historical Society present

Soldier and Sailors Monument: The “All Wars” Rededication Ceremony

November 11, 2018 following the Veterans Day Ceremony

At the All Wars Monument
Columbia and Gurney Street, Cape May City
Starting Promptly: 11:00 AM with the Bells of Peace

Veterans MonumentOn September 27th, 2017, the United States World War One Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum & Library announced the First 50 official "WWI Centennial Memorials" through 100 Cites/100 Memorials program. The Greater Cape May Historical Society in partnership with the City of Cape May was selected as one of those first 50 grant awardees. The Society selected the Soldier and Sailors Monument, the “All Wars” for their grant submission to the Commission.

Since the April 6th centennial of the United States declaration of war and the subsequent national awakening about WWI, the interest and focus on local WWI memorials around the country has had a nation-wide resurgence. During the World War One Centennial Commission meeting in Washington DC on September 13, 2017, the Commission resolved to designate the awarded memorials as "WWI Centennial Memorials". Being the congressionally created U.S. government agency for the national commemoration of World War One, such a designation is an official national designation.

All awardees will be presented with an official certificate and a bronze medallion of the designation available to the awarded memorials suitable to be affixed to them. The rededication ceremony will officially close , the Society and the City’s commemoration for the 100th anniversary of the “Great War” in honor of those who in the name of liberty either made the ultimate sacrifice or who came back from Europe victorious. Their victory changed the world and helped forge the United States into the arsenal of democracy. 100 Cities / 100 Memorials recognizes and helps restore World War I memorials nationwide in order to create an ongoing conversation about the Great War, lest we forget.

“To put it in an American context: imagine an officer in the United States Army — in his 50s, say — on the Argonne front in 1918. As a young soldier he could conceivably have fought, 30 years earlier, in the last of the wars against the Plains Indians in the late 1880s. Yet now he stands surveying a different world. The tactics were 19th century — advance on the enemy. But the enemy had weapons of mass destruction — the battlefield was dominated by tanks, machine guns, howitzers, aircraft and poisonous gas. Some 117,000 American servicemen died in the 19 months of United States participation in World War I — more than twice as many as in Vietnam, nearly 20 times as many as in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Why World War I Resonates By WILLIAM BOYD JAN. 21, 2012


Sponsored by the United States WWI Centennial Commission, Pritzker Military Museum and Library, and the City of Cape May


Funding has been made possible in part by the New Jersey Historical Commission / Department of State, and the Cape May County Board of Chosen Freeholders through the Cape May County Department of Tourism, Public Information and Culture & Heritage.


Program: Martin Luther King, Jr. in Cape May: A 60th Anniversary Event

This year on Wednesday, June 27 at Cape May Convention Hall, the Greater Cape May Historical Society partnered with Cape May City, and community non-profits to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s participation in the Friends General Conference. The conference was held the week of June 23 to 30, 1958 in Cape May. At the conference, Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke on “Nonviolence and Racial Justice”. The conference held that year covered topics ranging from theology, leadership, artistic, economic, education, the UN, peace, science, creative maturing, and race.

The Society was granted permission to reproduce two hundred copies of the original journal that includes the full text of Dr. King speech.
From the Editorial Comments for the 1958 conference:

…."Faith as well as fear might be likened to [such] rivers. Nobody came to Cape May to check whether faith minus fear would really equal peace of mind. Both faith and fear are mighty streams coursing together toward the manifestation of strength or disaster. Cape May rather turned our eyes to many new openings in the secret life of the spirit that will remain neither private nor subject to human proportions. The mysterious forces of faith and fear can only in part be managed by human loyalties. Their ultimate course is one with the eternal destiny and the divine grace which so richly blessed this year's Friends General Conference."
William J. Hubben, Editor and Manager. Friends Journal. July 26, 1958

Program: “WWI CENTENNIAL MEMORIALS” 100 Cities-100 Memorials

In September 2017, The Greater Cape May Historical Society, in partnership with Cape May City, was selected as one of the “First 50” winners by the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission and The Pritzker Military Museum and Library. To learn more about the WWI 100 Cities-100 Memorial project and the complete list of only 100 memorials selected as finalists across the country:

Program: World War I Memorial Inventory

In the aftermath of World War I, Americans erected thousands of memorials throughout the country to commemorate US participation. Many were the work of the leading sculptors, artists, and architects of the day; others, such as simple honor rolls, were more modest but no less heartfelt. Sadly, as we approach the war's centennial, these memorials and their original purpose - to honor in perpetuity the more than four million Americans who served in the war and the more than 116,000 who died - have largely been forgotten. Many of the memorials have fallen into disrepair through neglect, theft, or vandalism.

The World War I Memorial Inventory Project is a volunteer-based effort to assemble a comprehensive, online record of World War I memorials and monuments in the United States. Its mission is to promote the documentation, preservation, appreciation, and interpretation of these memorials, and in so doing, to raise the profile of World War I in American public consciousness.

The only World War I monument in Cape May county is the Soldiers and Sailors monument in Cape May City. Commonly, referred to a the “all wars monument”.

The monument was commissioned by The Grand Army of the Republic and Kindred Spirits by Post 40 John Mecray in Cape May City. Johnn Mecray is buried in Cold Spring Cemetery.

The "Grand Army of the Republic" (GAR) was a fraternal organization composed of veterans of the Union Army (United States Army), Union Navy (U.S. Navy), Marines and the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service who served in the American Civil War for the Northern/Federal forces. Founded in 1866 in Decatur, Illinois, and growing to include hundreds of posts (local community units) across the nation, (predominately in the North, but also a few in the South and West), it was dissolved in 1956 when its last member, Albert Woolson (1850–1956) of Duluth, Minnesota, died. Linking men through their experience of the war, the G.A.R. became among the first organized advocacy groups in American politics, supporting voting rights for black veterans, promoting patriotic education, helping to make Memorial Day a national holiday, lobbying the United States Congress to establish regular veterans' pensions, and supporting Republican political candidates. Its peak membership, at more than 490,000, was in 1890, a high point of various Civil War commemorative and monument dedication ceremonies. It was succeeded by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW), composed of male descendants of Union Army and Union Navy veterans. (source: Wikipedia)

For information on John Mecray visit: