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'N.J.'s Historian' Wrote Over 50 Books About State

John T. Cunningham died last week at age 96; visiting hours scheduled for Monday in Madison.

John T. Cunningham, a popular New Jersey historian who wrote more than 50 books about the state's past, some of which were used in grade-school classrooms and turned into award-winning documentaries, died Thursday. He was 96.

Visiting hours are scheduled for Monday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at , 106 Main Street, Madison.

A memorial service for Cunningham is scheduled for Saturday at 11 a.m. at , 50 S. Park Place, Morristown.

Cunningham was raised in Mendham and graduated from in 1932.

A 1938 graduate of and a resident of Florham Park for 60 years, Cunningham was remembered by Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen as a man whose "body of work stands as a monument to the greatness of New Jersey."

“Deservedly described as ‘New Jersey’s historian,’ John T. Cunningham for many decades eloquently wrote and spoke of our state’s unique place in American history," Frelinghuysen said. "He always said that New Jersey was like a ‘mirror’ of the United States with more diversity and more waves of immigrants than any other state.

"Years ago, I had the honor of serving with John on the Board of the New Jersey Historical Society. He supported my efforts to require the teaching of New Jersey history in our high schools. That bill was signed by Governor Kean in the 1980s. ... His family and his many friends are in our thoughts."

Drew University President Robert Weisbuch said the university joins the entire state "in mourning the loss of a cultural icon."

“In writing ‘University in the Forest,’ John opened a window to Drew’s past that will help current and future generations of students, faculty and staff understand their shared Drew roots,” Weisbuch said.

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