About Anita Josephson

Hostility Sends Most Mormons West

By Anita Josephson | November 30, 2022

Following the murder of the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith by a Nauvoo, Ill. mob in 1844, the church leadership was thrown into turmoil. Anti-Mormon resentment was growing because of three major issues. First, the church members tended to vote politically as a block in local elections. Second, 10% of a member’s income was dedicated to the church. Finally, Smith had […]

Mormons Find Converts in the Pines

By Anita Josephson | November 23, 2022

In the 1820s, Joseph Smith at Palmyra, N.Y. related several revelations that led to the writing of the Book of Mormon and the founding of a new religion, the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints. In just over 10 years, the movement had spread into Monmouth County as far as Toms River (Ocean County wasn’t founded until 1850). […]

Mormons Came Early to Ocean County

By Anita Josephson | November 16, 2022

One of the advantages of writing a weekly column on history is that it affords you the luxury of taking a subject that might have been only a footnote in some narrative and delve into it in depth. The formula also gives you time to follow leads in the search for new information on the topic. This was the case […]

‘Butterfly’: From Spray Beach to La Scala

By Anita Josephson | November 09, 2022

The story of the famous opera “Madame Butterfly” started in Spray Beach on Long Beach Island, where long-time summer resident John Luther Long, a Philadelphia lawyer, took a story told to him by his missionary sister and turned it into a heartbreaking short story that appeared in the January 1898 issue of The Century Magazine. The reaction to the story […]

‘Butterfly’ Gains National Notice

By Anita Josephson | November 02, 2022

If you ask the average person to name five great operas, chances are “Madame Butterfly” would be on the list. If you then told them there was a direct link between the famous opera and a house located in the Spray Beach section of Long Beach Township on Long Beach Island, they might doubt you. John Luther Long was a […]

Spray Beach Births Tale of Japan

By Anita Josephson | October 26, 2022

I recently received an email that Surflight Theatre in Beach Haven is going to perform Puccini’s opera “Madame Butterfly.” My interest was piqued by the information that the opera was based on a short story written by John Luther Long as he sat on the porch of a house in Spray Beach on Long Beach Island. The house is still […]

Old Barney Loses Its Champions

By Anita Josephson | October 19, 2022

In November 1922, Barnegat Lighthouse faced a new threat to its existence. It wasn’t from a storm with battering waves, but from the loss of support in Washington, D.C. The two biggest champions of “Old Barney” in the nation’s capital, Sen. Joseph Frelinghuysen and Congressman Frank Appleby of New Jersey, had unexpectedly been voted out of office. Appleby’s loss had […]

Fight Against Oil Pollution 100 Years Old

By Anita Josephson | October 12, 2022

When Frank Appleby was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1920, he and New Jersey U.S. Sen. Joseph Frelinghuysen became the champions in Washington, D.C. who were leading a fight to save Barnegat Lighthouse. Along the way, the two were among the first to recognize another threat to the Jersey Shore and the emerging tourist industry. In February […]

100 Years Later, Barney Still Shines

By Anita Josephson | October 05, 2022

As you stand at the base of Barnegat Lighthouse and watch workers remove the scaffolding to expose the refurbished historic icon, you cannot help but wonder what might have been. Everyone is aware of the ongoing battle the light has faced as erosion and storms have brought the ocean from thousands of feet away to its very foundation. But 1922 […]

Vying for Air Supremacy

By Anita Josephson | September 28, 2022

In the summer of 1922, America was in the midst of a historic transformation. The nation was still recovering from the horrors of World War I and the Spanish flu pandemic that followed. In the postwar period the nation was wracked by strikes, high unemployment, race riots and a World Series scandal. In 1920, Warren G. Harding had been swept […]