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Friends of Florham Events

Day Trip to the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park, NY

On Tuesday, December 5, 2017, join the Friends of Florham as we welcome the beauty of the season with visit to the Hyde Park Vanderbilt Mansion. Enjoy a day out with friends in the splendor of a Gilded Age mansion now dressed in the finest Christmas decor.

The bus trip begins and ends at the FDU Florham Campus in Madison. The 8:00 AM - 2:30 PM schedule includes transportation, admission and box lunch.

At Vanderbilt Mansion Day Trip see additional information and register for this exclusive event.

Previous Event: Architectural History, October 5, 2017

On October 5 the Friends enjoyed a reception followed by a talk by Gary Helm Darden, "Edifice Complex: The Vanderbilts and the Architectural Rivalries of America's Gilded Age." Darden, associate professor of history, chair of the Social Sciences and History department and a board member of the Friends, spoke about the buildings and architectural rivalries of the Vanderbilt siblings, including Florham, the home of Florence Vanderbilt and Hamilton Twombly. Vanderbilt family homes include six of the largest homes ever built in the United States, with Florham the eighth largest.

Previous Event: Luncheon and Tea, May 18, 2017

The Friends of Florham and Cosy Cupboard will host a Gilded Age Luncheon and Tea celebrating the history of the era and the role of tea in a grand household. The event will include a collection of silent auction items, a live auction and an opportunity to win the 50/50 cash prize. Proceeds are directed toward the restoration of Florham. View the invitation and then register for the event.

Previous Event: Authors of Florham: An American Treasure speak at Morristown Library

The Morris County Historical Society announces a special presentation on Sunday, March 12 at 2 p.m. at the Morristown Library, 1 Miller Road, Morristown featuring the book "Florham: An American Treasure". A pictorial history of the iconic Vanderbilt-Twombly estate, the book follows the property from ‘home’ to Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Florham Campus. Meet authors Carol Bere, Walter Cummins, and Arthur T. Vanderbilt II as they share their insight into Florham’s history, recreate the family’s amazing lifestyle there during the Gilded Age, and explain how Florham survived, when countless other local mansions and estates did not. Enjoy viewing vintage photographs as well as new color images that were taken for the book by photographer Mark Hillringhouse.

Previous Event: 25th Anniversary Celebration of The Friends of Florham

Please join the Friends as they celebrate their 25th Anniversary on Friday, September 23, 2016 from 5:00p.m. to 8:00p.m. in Hennessy Hall at the Florham Campus. The evening's entertainment will include:

  • Guest lecture by Laura Overbey, Collections Manager, Biltmore Estate
  • Unveiling of Phase I of the Portrait Project
  • Premiere of the 1930's home movie by Chef Donon featuring a tour of Florham
  • Cooking Demonstration by Chef Jeff of a Chef Donon recipe
  • Photo Gallery of Past Projects

Arthur Vanderbilt will be there to sign your purchase of his book Fortune's Children:  The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt.

Carol Bere, Sam Convissor, and Walter Cummins, Ph.D. will also be on hand to personalize your purchase of Florham, The Lives of an American Estate.

All proceeds from book sales, including the author's royalty, will be donated to the Friends of Florham.

For further information and/or to RSVP, please contact Michele Bottcher at 201-692-7011 or

Previous Event:  Return to the Tiffany Table: A Luncheon at Florham

In an afternoon celebrating history, great design, and classic good taste, a return to the Tiffany Table was held on May 20, 2016. The event included a collection of silent auction items, a live auction and an opportunity to win a diamond bracelet from Tiffany & Co. Proceeds were directed toward the restoration of Florham.

Previous Event: Tiffany Blue and FDU:  Perfect Together

On Thursday, May 21, 2015 Hennessy Hall at Fairleigh Dickinson University was showered in Tiffany blue. The first fundraising luncheon hosted by the Friends of Florham in partnership with Tiffany & Co. attracted an enthusiastic group of men and women who were greeted with sparkling drinks, complimentary gifts courtesy of Tiffany & Co., many silent auction items and a chance to win a diamond metro bracelet valued at $6,200 generously donated by the Short Hills (N.J.) Tiffany store especially for the event.

Previous Event: The Beaux Arts Treasures

Ulysses Grant Dietz, Chief Curator and Curator of decorative arts at the Newark Museum, spoke about the “Great Treasures of the Newark Museum,” on Sunday, March 15, 2015 3 p.m. in the Orangerie of the Monninger Center.

Copies of Dietz’s book, Dream House: The White House as an American Home, were available for sale and signed by the author.

Previous Event: Ulysses Grant Dietz

On Sunday, November 8, 2014, Ulysses Grant Dietz, Chief Curator and Curator of Decorative Arts at the Newark Museum, gave a fascinating talk (with accompanying slides)  about his book, Dream House: The White House as an American Home. Mr. Dietz discussed the homes of various presidents--from Thomas Jefferson's relatively modest country estate to Andrew Jackson's villa, to the middle-class home of Dwight Eisenhower. The audience was particularly interested in the White House furnishings of various presidents, including furnishings and other objects selected by designers such as including Louis Tiffany and McKim, Mead, and White.

Previous Event: Janet Wallach

On Sunday, March 16, 2014, noted author, lecturer and commentator Janet Wallach spoke on her recent book The Richest Woman in America, a biography of Hetty Green -- Feisty, Frugal, Financial Genius of the Gilded Age.

Previous Event: "Stanford White, Architect"

Sam White spoke on Stanford White, Sunday, November 10. Copies of Samuel White's book "Stanford White, Architect," were available for purchase and signing.

Previous Event: Newark Museum Curator

Ulysses Grant Dietz, chief curator at the Newark Museum, gave a spirited, informative talk entitled Beauty Money and Power: The Transformation of Taste in America's Gilded Age to an enthusiastic overflow audience of more than 90 attendees on March 17 in Hartman Lounge (Hennessy Hall). Dietz concentrated on the explosion of wealth in the U.S. in the post-Civil War era, the resulting rise of the mansion, and, most important, the major changes in style and taste during these years. In the early post-Civil War period, for example, the "new money" embraced all-things luxurious, costly, and modern with emphasis on "Americanness." By the late 1880s-early 1990s, however, the social arbiters of the time such as the Vanderbilts and the Twomblys looked to "foreign things with aristocratic histories" to reinforce their positions. Ultimately, as Dietz explained, the evolution of taste had changed for the next century.

Following the reception, Dietz signed copies of his book, Dream House: The White House as an American Home, which was available for purchase.

Previous Event: Author Carol Wallace

Carol Wallace, co-author of To Marry an English Lord:  Tales of Wealth and Marriage, Sex and Snobbery, spoke on Sunday, October 21, 2012 in Lenfell Hall.   The book was one of the inspirations for PBS series “Downton Abbey.”

Previous Event: 2012 Gala

Friends of Florham hosted their annual Gala on Saturday, September 29, 2012. The black-tie evening featured fine dining, dancing and entertainment by the “Bucky” Pizzarelli Trio.

Previous Event: Reception and Tours

Friends of Florham hosted a reception, and tours of the estate on Sunday, April 29, 2012, in celebration of its first publication, Florham: The Lives of an American Estate. The authors, Carol Bere and Sam Convissor, members of the Board of Trustees of the Friends of Florham, and Walter Cummins, professor emeritus at FDU, signed copies of the book.

Previous Event: “Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted”

See the complete press release for the event.

Justin Martin, author ofa new biography of Frederick Law Olmstead, spoke on Sunday, March 18, 2012 in Lenfell Hall. Martin's book adds much to the narrative of Olmsted, whose work included the Florham estate landscape. A compelling story, it tells how America’s first landscape architect helped to sculpt this country’s urban landscapes and private gardens.

Previous Event: “Art, Architecture, Scandal, and Class in America’s Gilded Age”

See the complete press release for the event.

Architectural and social historian, Mosette Broderick, discussed the period in which McKim, Mead & White flourished, their personalities, and their major works. McKim, Mead & White, was the leading architectural firm in the United States from about 1879 to 1914. Among their approximately 1,000 commissions during this period was Florham, the country estate of Hamilton and Florence Vanderbilt Twombly, and the current site of the Madison campus of FDU.

Mosette Broderick is a professor in the Fine Arts Department at New York University, Director of Urban Design and Architecture Studies, and of the M.A. program in Historical and Sustainable Architecture. Her talk is sponsored by the Friends of Florham. Professor Broderick signed copies of her book, “Triumvirate” McKim, Mead & White.”

Hurstmont HALFPrevious Event: The Story and Scandal of Hurstmont, A House of the Gilded Age


Presentation by Janet Foster, Historic Preservationist

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Music by Dan Williams

See more photography and event information at the Friends of Florham Facebook page: