KENILWORTH, N.J., Feb. 12, 2018 – Nationally acclaimed author and historian Joanne Hamilton Rajoppi will highlight stories from her most recent book, Northern Women in the Aftermath of the Civil War – The Wives and Daughters of the Brunswick Boys, during the Kenilworth Historical Society’s Women’s History Month Celebration on Tuesday, March 6, 2018, at 7 p.m.

All are invited to attend the event, which will be held at the Oswald J. Nitschke House “living history” museum and cultural arts center (49 South 21 Street, Kenilworth).  Admission is free, but advance registration is requested due to limited seating.  Light refreshments will be served.  Copies of Northern Women in the Aftermath of the Civil War will be available for purchase and signing by the author.  For information/reservations, please call 908-709-0434.

Rajoppi’s presentation, based on her book, will show the challenges and struggles that defined the roles of women in the aftermath of America’s Civil War, as exemplified by the experiences of the author’s ancestors, the Hamilton family.  It will underscore the perseverance, stamina and quiet heroism of such women as they confronted widowhood and/or the strain of caring for returning soldiers with alcoholism, drug addiction and post-traumatic stress. The story of the Hamilton family further portrays the legacy as well as the dreams and hopes that late 19th-/early 20th-century women left their children in the context of a rapidly evolving America marked by a new Federal pension system, the westward migration, industrialization and the start of modern business culture.

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Rajoppi is the author of two other books – The Civil War in New Brunswick: The Brunswick Boys and the Great Rebellion and the nationally acclaimed Women in Office: Getting There and Staying There.  Rajoppi’s publications have received National Women’s Press Association, New Jersey Women’s Press Association and North Jersey Civil War Roundtable Book honors. 

In addition to her literary achievements, Rajoppi has many notable accomplishments in business and government.  She is the first woman in Union County’s history to be elected Union County Clerk, a role that she has fulfilled since 1995.  She also was the first woman to serve as Union County Register of Deeds and Mortgages, a position that she held for 12 years prior to her election as Union County Clerk. A native of Springfield, Rajoppi was the first female mayor of the municipality, a post to which she was elected in 1977.  She also served on the Springfield board of education and township committee.  Rajoppi was elected to the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 1978 and in 1980 became the first woman to chair the board.  In 1981, she was appointed New Jersey’s Assistant Secretary of State by the late former Gov. Brendan Byrne.

Rajoppi earned her B.A. degree, cum laude, from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and her master’s degree in public administration from the Center for Public Service at Seton Hall University.  She has received multiple National Association of Counties Achievement Awards for innovative and creative management.

Rajoppi is a member of the Union Township Historical Society and a trustee of the Union County Historical Society.  She chaired the 150th Union County Courthouse Anniversary Committee.

    The Kenilworth Historical Society (www.kenilworthhistoricalsociety.org) is an independent, volunteer-based, non-profit, tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the research, preservation and interpretation of the Oswald J. Nitschke House, local history and culture.