Ronson Corporation. The Art Metal Works, a manufacturer of lighters and metal goods, was founded by Louis V. Aronson. When Aronson moved from New York City to Newark in 1899, he was listed in the city directory as a metallurgist and president of the Art Metal Works. Aronson’s patents ran into the hundreds; the most famous was the "one motion” lighter, which lit instantly when pressed and went out when the thumb piece was released. Although the Ronson trade name existed by 1910, it was not until the late 1920s it became associated with "the Famous Ronson Lighter.” Today the firm, located in Somerset, continues to sell lighters internationally.
"De Light” cigarette lighter, c. 1927-1928. Gold, platinum, and diamond Ronson lighter bearing the initials of Louis V. Aronson.
Roosevelt, Nicholas J. (b. Dec. 27,1767;d. July 30,1854). Steamboat pioneer. New York City-born Nicholas J. Roosevelt became the operator of a copper mine in North Arlington in 1793. In 1797 he designed a side paddlewheel for a steamboat project that failed. Robert Fulton used the design successfully, however, six years later. In collaboration with Fulton,Roosevelt built the first steamboat to navigate the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. He sailed the craft from Pittsburgh on October 20, 1811, arriving in New Orleans eighty-one days later. Although Roosevelt later founded his own steamboat company in Shrewsbury, he could not protect his patents and went out of business.
Roosevelt. 1.94-square-mile borough in Monmouth County. Originally called Jersey Homesteads, Roosevelt was established in 1936 by the U.S. government as an agricultural-industrial cooperative community for Jewish garment workers and farmers. It was one of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s experiments for dealing with the social and economic distress caused by the Great Depression. In 1937, Jersey Homesteads separated from Millstone Township and incorporated as an independent borough. Its name was changed to Roosevelt in 1945 to honor the deceased president. The community is on the State and National Registers of Historic Places as the Jersey Homesteads Historic District.
The founder of Jersey Homesteads, Benjamin Brown, was an immigrant from Russia, who previously established Jewish cooperatives in the West and hoped the town would serve as a model for similar settlements in which Jewish culture and the Yiddish language could be preserved. Albert Einstein was among the many prominent members of the Jewish community supporting the project. Architecturally, the town was built under an innovative plan that clustered the houses, leaving common open space in the middle of each block and a green belt behind each home. The buildings were designed in the functional Bauhaus style; its original houses are one-story with flat roofs. After the Second World War, the government sold the homes and factory.
Ben Shahn created this fresco mural to commemorate the New Deal resettlement community of Jersey Homesteads, now called Roosevelt.
Since 1936, when Ben Shahn came to town to create the mural that adorns the public school, the community has attracted artists and other notable individuals, including the Rev. John Grauel, the only non-Jew aboard the ship Exodus, who later was one of the foremost Christian clergymen to testify before the United Nations on behalf of the establishment of Israel.
Roosevelt today is a safe, quiet community with no police or home mail delivery. It is surrounded by farms, open spaces, and a wildlife preserve. The 2000 population of 933 was 89 percent white. The median household income in 2000 was $61,979.
Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, c. 1935.
Roosevelt Stadium. This minor league baseball stadium opened April 22, 1937, at Droyer’s Point in Jersey City. The stadium was the home of the International League Jersey City Giants from 1937-1950 and 1960-1961 and the Eastern League Jersey City Indians in 19771978. The Brooklyn Dodgers played fifteen home games in Roosevelt Stadium in 19561957. The stadium hosted many local sporting events, and football franchises played there in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1970s. It was demolished in 1985.
Roosevelt Stadium’s most historic event was the minor league debut of Jackie Robinson on April 18, 1946. Robinson collected four hits, including one home run, as the Montreal Royals beat the Giants 14-1.
Roseland. 3.52-square-mile borough in Essex County. Evidence was found in 1968 showing that dinosaurs had roamed through the area that later became Roseland. Originally part of the Horseneck Tract, which was purchased from the Lenape, it was first called South Caldwell and then Centreville, which formed a part of Livingston Township in 1813.
The early 1800s saw shoemaking as an important industry. The Harrison House dates from the 1820s and is the headquarters of the Roseland Historical Society. After the Civil War farming became predominant and the Henry Becker Dairy Farm at one time consisted of 1,200 acres—one-third of the borough. Desiring a post office of their own and because a Centreville Post Office already existed in Hunterdon County, in 1874 the citizens decided to select a new name. At the suggestion of Sarah Condit Harrison the name Roselyn was chosen. Due to perhaps a misspelling or by design, the name became Roseland. In a quest for local school control, Roseland split off from Livingston and on April 10, 1908, was incorporated. In 2000, the population of 5,298 was 93 percent white. The median household income in 2000 was $82,499. For complete census figures, see chart, 136.
Roselle. 2.5-square-mile borough in Union County. Originally home to the Lenape Indians, Roselle was settled in the seventeenth century by the Dutch and English. The area was known as Mulford in the eighteenth century; with the arrival of the Elizabethtown and Somerville Railroad in the 1830s it became known as Mulford Station. It was formally named Roselle in midcentury, possibly in honor of Col. John Rose, a local land developer. Roselle separated from Linden in 1882 over a sewer dispute, and was incorporated as a borough in 1894.
The town has historical significance because it was the home of Abraham Clark, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, as well as the site of Thomas Edison’s first electrical plant. Roselle was also the first community to be wired for electricity and to use incandescent bulbs in streetlights. The First Presbyterian Church, built in 1869, was the first church to be lit by electric lights, and the original lightolier is still in use. The town is primarily residential. In 2000 the population was 21,274, of which 51 percent was black, 36 percent was white, and 17 percent was Hispanic (Hispanics may be of any race). The median household income was $51,254. For complete census figures, see chart, 136.
Roselle Park. 1.3-square-mile borough in Union County. Originally part of Elizabeth-town, Roselle Park was first settled by the Williams family—Samuel Williams, his wife, and their five sons and three daughters—in the early 1700s. Revolutionary War troops traveled up Galloping Hill Road, one of three roads intersecting the community, on their way to the Battle of Springfield. The community became part of Union Township in 1808. Reacting to insufficient sewer and police services, Roselle Park broke away to become an independent borough on March 22, 1901. It was incorporated that same year with a population of approximately 1,000 and 225 homes spread over 790 acres.
The arrival of the railroad in 1839 connected the borough to Elizabeth to the east and Somerville to the southwest. An important industry in the town was the American Marconi Company, founded in 1912. The firm manufactured wireless equipment used by the U.S. Navy, and the borough was the site of the first successful transatlantic broadcast. One of the first licensed radio stations in the country, WDY, was also located in the borough.
Roselle Park is governed by a mayor and council and remains primarily residential. In 2000, the population of 13,281 was 81 percent white, 16 percent Hispanic (Hispanics may be of any race), and 9 percent Asian. The median household income in 2000 was $53,717.
Rosenthal, Ida Cohen (b. Jan. 9,1886;d. Mar. 28, 1973). Businesswoman and philanthropist. After immigrating to Hoboken from her native Russia around 1905, Ida Rosenthal managed sales and finance at the dressmaking business she started with her husband. At a New York City dress shop, she developed the design of the contemporary brassiere with her partner Enid Bissett in 1922. In 1925, their firm established a manufacturing facility in Bayonne, which became the Maiden Form Brassiere Company and then, Maidenform, Inc. At Maidenform, Rosenthal served as treasurer until 1958, then president and chairman. Ida Rosenthal helped to establish Camp Lewis in Sussex, and was active in Jewish philanthropy. She was the wife of William Rosenthal and the mother of Lewis Rosenthal and Beatrice Rosenthal Coleman.
Ross, H. Browning (b. Apr. 26, 1924;d. Apr. 27, 1998). Athlete. H. Browning Ross was a two-time Olympian in the steeplechase, finishing seventh overall, highest American, at the 1948 Games in London. In 1956, as a high school teacher and track coach in Woodbury, Ross started Long Distance Log, the first newsletter for road runners. In February 1958, Ross organized the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) as away to give long-distance runners a voice and to bring more people, especially women, into the sport. The RRCA now has 700 chapters with a total of 200,000 members nationwide.
Roth, Frederick George Richard Von (b. Apr. 28, 1872; d. May 21, 1944). Sculptor. Son of Johannes and Jane Bean von Roth, Frederick G. R. von Roth was born in Brooklyn and raised in Europe, where he studied at the fine arts academies in Vienna and Berlin. Roth used various materials, first specializing in small bronze animals. He married Madeleine Forster in 1905 and settled in Englewood, where they raised two sons. His work includes an equestrian statue of George Washington located in Morristown and pieces in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian. He was sculptor-in-chief of New York’s Central Park, where his work can be viewed today. His most beloved statue (created in his Englewood studio) honored Balto, a husky who went through a blizzard in Alaska to deliver vaccine, a feat that inspired the annual Iditerod dogsled race.
Roth, Philip (b. Mar. 19, 1933). Writer. Born in Newark, Philip Roth was educated at Rutgers University, Newark (1950-1951), Bucknell University (B.A., 1954), and the University of Chicago (M.A., 1955). After a short stint in the army, he was working toward a Ph.D. in literature when he decided to be a novelist. Between 1956 and 1992, Philip Roth was a teacher, lecturer, and writer in residence at various universities, notably Princeton University (1962-1964).
In 1959, he published Goodbye, Columbus, which won the National Book Award for fiction (i960), the first of his numerous literary prizes. For Neil Klugman, the hero of Goodbye, Columbus, Newark is the place from which he thinks he wants to escape but to which he feels emotionally drawn—much like Roth who, despite leaving New Jersey as a young man, is constantly returning in his books. Short Hills, South Orange, and the Jersey Shore are among the locations that figure in many of Roth’s books, but Newark, its downtown section and the Weequahic neighborhood of his childhood, appear most often. Newark becomes the paradigm for the history of the immigrant experience, the growth and decay of American cities with changing industrial bases, and middle-class flight to the suburbs. Through the lens of Newark, Roth examines the promises and lies of the American Dream, the difficulties of assimilation, racial tensions, and family conflicts. Into the chronicle of Newark he also weaves larger historical themes like World War II, McCarthyism, and the Vietnam War.
In 1969 Roth’s novel Portnoy’s Complaint earned him not only literary fame but also the wrath of some Jews who read his comedy as autobiographical confession and a shameful indictment of Jewish family life. Although he insists that he is not Portnoy, he does admit to using his own life as a springboard for his fiction. In My Life as a Man (1974) he detailed how the consequences of his disastrous marriage to Margaret Martinson Williams almost sabotaged his career as a novelist. Critics also suspect that his short-lived marriage to the actress Claire Bloom is thinly disguised in I Married a Communist (1998). In Patrimony (i99i), he set aside fiction in order to write a memoir of his father, Herman, whom he has affectionately referred to as the bard of Newark, a title more aptly belonging to himself as evidenced in his trilogy: American Pastoral (1997), I Married a Communist, and The Human Stain (2000). On awarding the 1998 National Medal of Arts to Philip Roth, President Bill Clinton said: "What Dublin was to Joyce, what Yoknapatawpha County was to Faulkner, Newark is to Philip Roth.”
Route 1. U.S. Route 1 is among the federal highways (like Route 66) created in i926. One of this country’s great undiscovered pleasures, it runs through Boston, New York City, Washington, D.C., Richmond, and Miami. New Jersey’s sixty-five-mile stretch of U.S. i—from the George Washington Bridge to the Trenton-Morrisville bridge—is probably the least interesting in the fourteen states the highway traverses. (The fifty-cent toll between Trenton and Morrisville is the only southbound toll on the entire highway, although there is a toll for northbound motorists on the George Washington Bridge.) Route i may be much more interesting in other states, but there are many wonders in New Jersey. The Pulaski Skyway, one of the most viscerally exciting highways anywhere, carries U.S. I from Jersey City to Newark. Newark International Airport is on U.S. i; the Budweiser brewery, which makes more regular Bud than anywhere else in the world, is across the highway. The country’s first cloverleaf was built at the intersection of Routes I and 9 and Route 35 in Woodbridge. In the 1920s, U.S. I was called the Straight Highway; in the 1930s, the section of U.S. I through Newark and Elizabeth was the busiest highway in the world.
The "farms, woodlands and nurseries” that the WPA Guide observed from Linden south to Trenton in the I930s are gone, replaced by shopping malls, hotels, and office parks. The highway’s undeniable kitschy charm remains. U.S. I ends far from New Jersey, with little fanfare, in front of the Monroe County Courthouse in Key West, Florida.