NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Almost 60 members and friends of the New Providence Historical Society gathered at the Murray Hill Inn & Suites for the group's annual dinner and a talk on WASPs last week.

No, not those stinging insects, the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) who served during World War II. Carol Simon Levin was the featured speaker. She has researched and written about the real life experiences of New Jersey's own Ann Baumgartner Carl, who trained as a WASP and later went on to break many aviation barriers for women, including being the first woman to fly experimental airplanes.

Among those were attended the program were four students from The Peck School, including Savannah Leach of New Providence, Anna Riley of Morristown, Chase Melchionni of Bernardsville and Kate Lowry of Madison.  The four qualified first for states, then regionals, before qualifying for the Nationals the Junior Division, in the History Day Competition.  

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They wrote a script, then performed a program on the World War II Fly Girls, which they said illustrated how the WASPs took a stand for women's equality, which fit the theme of "Taking a Stand in History." The finals are held in Maryland later in the year.

Historical Society President Linda Kale, Mayor Al Morgan, Trustee J.R. Bale spoke before Vice President Rick Anderson introduced Levin, who wore a leather jacket and khaki slacks typical of those worn by the Fly Girls.  A well-known storyteller, who travels around the state presenting programs about historical figures, she stepped back in time and recreated the experiences of one of New Jersey's own WASPs, leaving one to wonder if they are listening to the actual person.

The next program presented by the the New Providence Historical Society will be a Genealogy Workshop. Those who are interested in participating must bring their own iPads or laptops and sign up for a specific 40-minute session with Karen Thornton who will instruct them on how to easily research their family history.  The program will run from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 29, in the Mason Room of the New Providence Historical Society, at the Library, 277 Elkwood Ave., New Providence.  

Visit the website at for more details and to register.

Anyone interested in joining the Historical Society should 908-665-1034 or visit the website.  Volunteers are always wanted and needed.