All events are held in Mead Hall, Drew University, 36 Madison Avenue, Madison, NJ.

Location and parking: Mead Hall is located in the front center of the Drew University campus. The Greek revival style building, with its six massive white columns, is visible from the stone gate entrance on Madison Avenue (Route 124). Parking is available around Mead Hall, as well as in the main lot, accessed from Lancaster Road at the traffic light (on Madison Avenue).

The Friends of Mead Hall Lecture Series 2013

Sunday, November 3, 2013 – 3 p.m
“Mr. Jefferson Goes to Washington” 

How did Thomas Jefferson learn to think like a president after he was elected to office in 1800? In his first Inaugural Address he claimed that “we are all republicans; we are all federalists.” But over the preceding decade, which was intensely partisan, Jefferson emerged as the leader of the Democratic-Republican party. Using her insight as General Editor of the Jefferson Papers, Prof. Barbara B. Oberg of Princeton University will address the question of how Jefferson balanced his rhetorical “non-partisanship” with reality of leading his party and leading the nation.

Reception and informal tours following

Admission: Membership or $10 Donation

Past Events

  • The Friends of Mead Hall 2012 Lecture Series, Sunday, March 25, 2012.
    Susan L. Simon, president of the Madison Historical Society, talked about the role played by Isabel Gibbons on the disposition of the Gibbons property during the post-Civil War.  The youngest of the Gibbons children, Isabel Gibbons married Frank Lathrop, the son of the revered Judge F.S. Lathrop, who was a contemporary and neighbor of William Gibbons.
  • 19th Century New Jersey in Maps, Sunday, March 13, 2011.
    Co-editor of the first interpretive atlas of the state in more than 100 years, Maxine N. Lurie, history professor emeritus at Seton Hall University, shared highlights in creating Mapping New Jersey and Evolving Landscape (2009). She focused on mapping history and maps which illuminate 19th century New Jersey – the setting for the lives of William Gibbons and Daniel Drew. The atlas was available for purchasing and signing at the reception following the lecture.
  • Mourning and Commemoration in 19th Century America: Examining the Gibbons’ Family’s Monuments in Madison’s Bottle Hill Cemetery, Sunday, January 23, 2011
    Nineteenth century America saw a transformation of American attitudes toward mourning and commemoration.  The monuments of the Gibbons family in Madison’s historic Bottle Hill Cemetery are some of the most elaborate markers to survive from early 19th century New Jersey.  They are made even more intriguing by correspondence relating to their production that survives in the Drew University Archives.   This presentation by Richard Veit (C’90), Associate Professor of Anthropology at Monmouth University, examined the monuments, the carver who produced them, and the individuals they commemorate, within the context of commemoration in early 19th century America.
  • Benefit Program: Vanderbilt, Gibbons, Drew: The Intersecting Lives of Three Tycoons who Remade America, Sunday, March 7, 2010
    The lecture was presented by T.J. Stiles, author of the 2009 National Book Award winning biography of Cornelius Vanderbilt, The First Tycoon. The benefit program included a special exhibit of Gibbons-Vanderbilt historical documents. The talk was followed by a wine reception, book sales and signing by the author.
  • Daniel Drew’s New York City, Sunday, January 24, 2010
    Prof. John Perry Leavell, history professor emeritus at Drew University described New York City of the 1850s and 60s, where the lives of Daniel Drew and Cornelius Vanderbilt crossed. Special attention was given to Wall Street as a way to understand the context in which Daniel Drew made decisions about the founding of the Drew Theological Seminary. Was he a business scoundrel who redeemed himself with his generosity to the Methodist Church as many contemporaries thought?
  • Artificial Light: Technological Change, Lighting Devices and the Civil War, Sunday, November 15, 2009
    Retired professor of political science, Dr. David Cowell shared his expertise from many years in the antique business, with a display of period lighting, including examples from William Gibbon’s 1836 country home, Mead Hall.
  • 2009 Summer Tours:An opportunity to experience two historically significant buildings, both listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places.
  • Mead Hall, Drew University, Saturday, July 11
    This tour examined the Greek revival 1836 country home of William Gibbons in-depth, exploring its historical setting in the pre-Civil War period of the 19th century, its transformation into a theological seminary, and its magnificent restoration and adaptive re-use as a signature building of Drew University.
  • Gibbons Barn, 340 Loantaka Way, Chatham Twp., Saturday, August 8
    Situated about 1.5 miles from his country home (Mead Hall) William Gibbons built this brick barn in 1847. Its extraordinary preservation is illuminated by unique historical documents, adding to the understanding of its construction.
  • Nineteenth Century Music for the Country Home, Sunday, January 25, 2008
    A piano and harp are among the musical instruments mentioned in the Gibbons Family Papers archived in the Drew University Library. How would music sound in Mead Hall spaces?  The decades preceding the Civil War saw the full development of the Romantic musical tradition. Robert Butts, conductor of he Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey and New Jersey Concert Opera, and familiar with period music, presented and informed us about the kind of music the Gibbons family would have enjoyed. Reception and informal tours followed.
  • In High Spirits: Drinking Wine and Liquor in the 1830s, Sunday, March 8, 2009
    Drinking a different wine with every course of your meal was considered the height of elegance during the time the Gibbons family lived in Mead Hall. Mr. Gibbons had a notoriously well stocked cellar, and from his accounts, it is clear that he enjoyed many of the popular wines of the times: from Claret to Madeira to “Champaign.” He also seems to have consumed beer – quite different from the kind we drink today – and alcoholic cider – which in those times people sometimes had for breakfast! Jennifer Scanlan discussed the many kinds of wine and spirits that might have appeared on the table at Mead Hall. The talk was followed by a wine-tasting.
  • Spring Lecture and Mead Benefit: Fashion, Queen of the Turf, Sunday, March 9, 2008
  • Lecture: At Table with the Gibbonses, Sunday, January 27, 2008