Friends of Florham Hosts Book Signing and Celebration of Publication of “Florham: The Lives of an American Estate”

Madison, N.J. (April 9, 2012)—Friends of Florham will be hosting a free event featuring a book signing, reception, and tours of the famous Vanderbilt-Twombly estate on Sunday, April 29, 2012, 3pm, 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, will be in Lenfell Hall in Hennessy Hall at the College at Florham to meet visitors, answer questions about the 130-page book, and give a presentation on the history and preparation of the book. Of particular interest, the presentation will include both photographs included in the book, as well as several that have not been published previously.

Through photographs and accompanying text, the book covers more than 120 years of history, including the lives of the Vanderbilt and Twombly families, the building of their estate at Florham, the successful transition to Fairleigh Dickinson’s current College at Florham, as well as the work of the Friends of Florham, a volunteer organization that assists the University in preserving the historic elements of the 200-acre campus.

Hamilton Twombly married Florence Vanderbilt in 1877, and they began to build their country estate of 1,200 acres in 1891. The mansion (now Hennessy Hall), along with several other buildings on the property, was designed by the major architectural firm of the period, McKim, Mead & White, while leading landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, designed the landscape of the estate.  The tours of Florham, which will be led by members of the Friends of Florham, will allow guests to experience the history of the estate, to “walk” the landscape designed by Olmsted, and to view the preservation accomplishments of the Friends, both within Hennessy Hall and in the surrounding landscape and gardens.

According to the authors, the book was prepared in response to visitor requests for information on the history of the mansion, and the estate’s gardens and plantings. “As this book so lovingly documents,” writes Dr. J. Michael Adams, president of Fairleigh Dickinson University, in an introduction, “Florham is a wonderful place, beautifully designed and built, carefully restored and maintained, and respectfully appreciated as an integral part of our history and heritage.”

Signed copies of Florham: The Lives of an American Estate, will be available for purchase at the free event on April 29 ($25), or can be ordered from Friends of Florham @, or purchased at the FDU Florham Bookstore.

For questions or additional information, contact Susan McConville (201) 692-7008, or

For Immediate Release

FDU Office of Public Relations

   (Metropolitan Campus Office)
Dickinson Hall, Room 3365, H-DH3-1, Teaneck, NJ 07666

Dina Schipper,
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Kenna Caprio,
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Helen Grill,
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FDU Office of Public Relations

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Daniel Landau,
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