The Gossipy Art Of Louis Larsen

When the Norwegian artist Lauritz Larsen Mossige emigrated to America in the early 1880’s, he settled in Deckertown—now Sussex—New Jersey, and changed his name to Louis Larsen. The Americanization process did not stop there, and Larsen seems to have made himself a scholar of all the small-town scandals that enlivened life in Deckertown. Unlike virtually all other such primitive paintings, the two on these pages have come down to us rich with gossip about the people in them.Read more »

His Most Detestable High Mightiness

Besides being a bigot, a fop, and a thief, the British governor Lord Cornbury, had some peculiar fetishes

Despite their many differences, Queen Anne’s North American colonies all shared a decent respect for propriety—or at least the appearance thereof. Why, then, did the early-eighteenth-century inhabitants of New York and New Jersey put up for years with a governor who paraded about in women’s clothes? One reason, no doubt, was that they were impressed by the governor’s royal connections and hoped to derive some benefit from them.Read more »

The Signer Who Recanted

Under duress in a British prison, Richard Stockton of New Jersey had the singular misfortune to become

Various legends linger around the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the circumstances of the signing.Read more »

The Small Bright World Of Anna Lindner

She was eighteen—pretty and sensitive, to judge by her photograph, taken in 1863. For many another girl, that age would have represented a new chapter in life in the form of a husband, children, a home of her own. But not so for Anna Lindner, for she had been crippled by polio when an infant in Germany, before her parents came to America; she could get about only on crutches, and was otherwise confined to a wheelchair. Instead 1863 marked the year of her first known dated painting.Read more »


Fourth in a series of paintings for AMERICAN HERITAGE

American spirits were at a low ebb as the year 1776 drew to a close. The Hudson River forts were gone, Long Island and New York were taken, and now Washington’s wretched army of three thousand men was in full retreat through New Jersey with Cornwallis’ veteran troops close behind. Moreover, the enlistments of many of the Continental soldiers were due to expire with the old year; after December 31 the army would virtually cease to exist. Morale demanded a victory, and if Washington was ever going to strike, it would have to be soon. Read more »