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11/06/2016

Kidder, Larry

I have many great Allegheny memories, but the most important was freshman orientation week when I met Jane. We will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary shortly after the reunion weekend. Other memories are hearing of the assassination of President Kennedy and being involved in civil rights activities, such as successfully working to break the color barrier at Delta Tau Delta. I took many great courses, but perhaps the most significant were those with Jay Luvaas that taught me so much about historical research and writing, as well as making history interesting by getting back to original sources to answer questions and visiting the physical locations where events took place. The work on my senior project proved to have a lasting impact on my life and I recently completed the manuscript for a book that in several ways is an outgrowth and revisit of it.

Education after Allegheny

After graduating in 1967, Jane and I continued on the five year program for teacher certification and earned our masters degrees from Allegheny. While serving in the US Navy I learned a number of different things in Navy schools, including court reporting. After the Navy I earned certification as a library media specialist.

Marriage

Jane and I were married the Saturday after graduation.

Where we’ve lived

We first lived in Twinsburg and taught in Hudson, Ohio. During my four years in the Navy, I lived at Great Lakes, Illinois; Saigon, Vietnam; and Newport, Rhode Island (partly stationed aboard ship and partly on shore duty). After the Navy we lived in Ewing Township, then Princeton, then Lawrenceville, and now again in Ewing Township, New Jersey.

My jobs

My first teaching job was in Hudson, Ohio as part of Allegheny’s five-year program and I taught seventh grade social studies. When I was going to be drafted before the end of the teaching year, I applied to Navy officer candidate school and then enlisted with a four month delay to allow me to finish the school year while my application was being processed. I wound up going to boot camp and ultimately being rejected for OCS – at the time they were taking one out of twenty qualified applicants because so many men were applying. So, I served a four year enlistment instead of three years as a commissioned officer.  After eight months of training I was assigned to the US Navy Research and Development Unit, Vietnam located on the edge of Saigon. In this assignment I served essentially as a technical writer, editing research project reports written by our officers into English that could be understood and then getting reports published and distributed throughout the military. I also did a variety of manual labor jobs and car and truck driving. After Vietnam, I served a little over a year on an Atlantic Fleet destroyer, the USS Brownson (DD868), homeported at Newport, Rhode Island. I was in charge of the ship’s office and basically worked directly for the commanding officer and executive officer. I was responsible for the various administrative functions of the ship and during general quarters and other ship maneuvers was the captain’s phone talker on the bridge – I was the communication link between him and the rest of the ship. After the Brownson I was assigned to shore duty at Newport working on the staff of OCS and finished my Navy life as essentially the executive secretary to the commanding officer of OCS – rather ironic I thought. After active duty in the Navy I stayed in the drilling reserves to the completion of my six year enlistment.

While on leave during my final month of active duty I began teaching in Ewing Township and taught eighth grade Western Civilization. After seven years I was in danger of having my position eliminated due to declining student enrollment and being the most recently hired history teacher in the district. I was able to move into a middle school history position at the independent Hun School of Princeton. After a year I moved to the upper school (high school) where I worked for thirty-one years in various capacities, including teaching various grade levels and courses , serving as history department chair, head of the upper school, dean of academic affairs, and director of freshman and sophomore academic programs at different times. Jane and I were dorm parents for ten years. Working in a private school was great, because I had the freedom and encouragement to develop a variety of courses and an approach to teaching history that made sense to me.

Our children / grandchildren

Jane and I have two daughters, both of whom are teachers.  Our older daughter, Susan, graduated from Allegheny and teaches second grade at a New Jersey private school. Our younger daughter, Debi,  is chair of the history department at Butler County Community College and has three children – two in college and one a junior in high school. They live in Butler, PA about 40 miles north of Pittsburgh.

Retirement

I retired from The Hun School after 32 years., and a total of 40 years teaching. The first year after retirement I still taught one course – an honors seminar for juniors and seniors – that I designed. The next year I served as a mentor for a beginning teacher. We still participate in some activities at Hun.

Current activities / hobbies

When we retired from Hun we stayed in our Ewing home and have become involved in a variety of activities that keep us as busy, or busier, than when we were employed. I have continued to do volunteer work at the Howell Living History Farm about 25 minutes from our house and to do historical research and writing. At Howell Farm, where I have volunteered for almost thirty years, I act as the Farm’s historian, do historical farm interpretation for visitors, and have learned to do farm field work with draft horses. My interest in the Farm’s history has led to writing two books on the history of the area. One research project focused on activities of the Revolutionary War and how local farmers became involved. This led to a book on the New Jersey militia in the Revolution – a subject that had not been dealt with in book form before. Although the book only dealt with one regiment from one county, it has been well received and has led to a number of talks to various groups throughout the State. It also led to becoming involved with the organization Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area established by Congress about fifteen years ago. For Crossroads I have become the coordinator for their Meet Your Revolutionary Neighbors project. For this project I have created over 50 biographies of New Jersey people whose lives were affected by the events of the Revolution. These are people from all walks of life and include males, females, adults, children, ethnic groups, various occupations, etc. The bios are located on the Crossroads website and 25 of them have been put into a book. I describe myself as editor for the website and book because other local historians often do most of the research and prepare a rough draft for a bio and I then rewrite it, and often do additional research, to standardize the format, length, voice, etc. For many of the bios, though, I do all the research and writing. These bios are aimed at school children as well as the general public and we include a list of sources for further reading and research and links to any historic sites relating to the person. This is part of the Crossroads efforts to help New Jersey citizens of all ages better understand the history of their State and also encourage tourism from out of state.

I recently submitted a book manuscript to my publisher on the story of Trenton, New Jersey during the American Revolution, 1774-1783. This was an outgrowth of my work on the militia and also the Neighbors. While many people know that Trenton was the location of a December 1776 battle in which Washington captured almost a thousand Hessians at a time when the war seemed about to be lost, no one has ever really explored the other important ways that Trenton served the cause of the Revolution.  Trenton’s strategic location meant that virtually everyone involved came through Trenton at one point or another, and Trenton became the location of a Continental supply depot and hospital.  In several ways, this book is an extension of my senior project at Allegheny in which I studied the supply systems used to feed Washington’s army at Morristown, New Jersey during two winter encampments there. The Trenton supply depot and Trenton people working at it were a part of my project report as well as a major theme in my book.

All of my history activity was recognized recently when I was presented a New Jersey Historical Commission’s Award of Recognition for my “significant contributions to the history of New Jersey.”

My contact Info

Address:  9 Colleen Circle, Ewing, New Jersey 08638
Phone:  609-771-4115
Email:  

Larry plowing at Howell Living History Farm with Belgian draft horses Jack and Chester

Larry plowing at Howell Living History Farm with Belgian draft horses Jack and Chester

Larry takes visitors to Howell Farm on a bobsled ride behind Jack and Chester

Larry takes visitors to Howell Farm on a bobsled ride behind Jack and Chester

kidder-portrait

Graduation

Graduation

Freshman Book

Freshman Book

One Comment on “Kidder, Larry

jeff williams
jeff williams
11/08/2016 at 12:38 pm

Hi Larry–

Hard to believe it’s 50 yrs since our rooming together in Baldwin. I’m a marine geologist but always interested in history, more recent history than geologic history. I’m current reading Ron C’s new book on G Washington and just getting to near defeat and his move to Trenton in ’76. Lots of detail but fascinating man and crucial early leader. Oh to have that leadership in this election cycle.

jeff williams

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