The Hermitage Museum Blog
Blues Night, a fund-raisier for The Hermitage Museum was held on Saturday, March 28, 2015 to help fund the restoration of the 1888 summer kitchen (pictured at right), located just behind The Hermitage.
Thank you to the 85-plus attendees who helped make this fund-raiser a great success! Thanks also to the band, Black Lace Blues who performed throughout the evening and got everyone in a dancing, happy mood! A welcome relief from the winter blues!
Thank you also to Chuck Russo from Wine & Spirit World of Ho-Ho-Kus for the fine beverages and Chuck Adams from Sterling Affair for the great food!
Because of all the support, we are preparing to begin Phase II of the restoration project.
Stay tuned for updates!
A detached two-story stone structure, the summer kitchen's interior first floor was modernized in the 1980s with a bathroom and track lighting. A wall-to-wall carpet was installed, covering the wide wood-planked floor. During the last 30 years, both storeys were used as storage rooms. In July 2014, Phase I of the restoration began. The first floor contents were relocated by summer's end, and the heat was restored in March 2015. Phase II plans are underway to repair plumbing, replace the lighting fixtures and electrical outlets. Phase III goals include exposing the wood floors and brick hearth.
The Legacy of Dr. Henry Bischoff (1928 - 2014)
The following tributes were presented at the FOH Annual Meeting on April 27, 2014.
Henry was raised in Queens, New York and graduated from Chaminade High School, Georgetown University and the University of Chicago, where he received his Ph. D. in American History.
Before completing his doctorate, Henry entered the society of Jesus (the Jesuits) and was ordained a priest in 1964. He served at Saint Peter’s College (now University) in Jersey city where he played a major role in establishing it’s Urban Studies program.
After leaving the Jesuits, Henry joined Ramapo College faculty in 1971 as one of the College’s founding members. He was the inaugural Director of the School of Human Environment. During his career, he taught courses concerning immigration, business and society, New Jersey history, critical issues in American society and public policy analysis, among others. With Mitch Kahn, he was the co-author of From Pioneer Settlement to Suburb: A History of Mahwah, New Jersey 1700-1976. In 1998, he authored Innovations and Realities: A History of Ramapo College Of New Jersey, The First Quarter Century 1971-1996. Throughout his career, Henry was active in the community making presentations and was engaged in active scholarship.
Following his retirement from Ramapo in 1996, Henry volunteered a significant amount of his time at the Hermitage in Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J., a National Historic Landmark and house museum. He served as the Director of Historical Studies and on the organization’s Board. He helped to document the site’s importance through his writings, including Victorian Gothic: The Rosencrantz Family at the Hermitage 1807-1970 and A Revolutionary Relationship; Theodosia Prevost and Aaron Burr.
In recent years , Henry was an active participant in the History Consortium at the Hermitage, a U.S. Department of Education grant program providing professional development for area high school instructors who teach American history. Henry also worked with colleagues as part of another project studying the role New Jersey played in the American Revolution. He served on the Executive Board of the Association of Ramapo College Retired Faculty and Staff. At the Nyack Library, he met regularly with a group of fellow local residents who read Shakespeare aloud and plumbed its meanings.
Henry’s family life was a source of great joy. Our marriage that began in 1973 flourished. He was enormously proud that his two daughters had chosen careers in education and had earlier offered service to those less privileged. Renee served in the Peace Corp in Niger, West Africa. She earned MPH and MSW degrees at Columbia University and is currently the assistant Director of the Global Health Training Program at Icahn School of Medicine Mount Sinai. Kendra served in AmeriCorps in Las Cruces, N.M. earned a Ph. D. at Stanford University. She is presently an Assistant Professor of Sociology in The College of Arts and Sciences, Cornell University.
Traveling widely was Henry’s passion. It was something he did often with our immediate family and, on many occasions, with his much loved sister, Kathe Gorman. He also loyally followed the fortunes of the NY Jets although, mostly at my behest, if truth be told. A wonderful blessing in very recent years was his loving relationship with his two granddaughters, Iliana and Melina Deftereos. They never failed to spark a broad smile.
~ Pam Bischoff
Henry became directly involved with The Hermitage at the time he retired from Ramapo College in 1966. In 1999 he was designated Director of Historical Studies. While continuing to foster the college-level connections with Ramapo, he initiated a public lecture series at The Hermitage that brought professional historians to speak on topics relating to the site’s broader historical relevance. In 2003, Henry was an integral and active member of the Teaching American History (TAH) program where he collaborated in organizing and teaching American History curricula for dozens of area social studies teachers. The programs continue today. True to his Jesuit education, he committed his intellect to service and rigor, a commitment that has immeasurably enriched The Hermitage.
~ Delight Dodyk, Past FOH Board President
At The Hermitage, we all knew Henry as the retired college professor and Hermitage historian who developed many programs and events for students, scholars, and the general public. In 2004, he wrote, “Theodosia and Aaron Burr: A Revolutionary
Relationship” and in 2011, “Victorian Gothic: The Rosencrantz Family at the Hermitage, 1807-1970”. Henry was a loyal, caring friend and mentor with a wonderful sense of humor, a lively personality, and had a great joy of life. He was modest and seldom talked about his far-ranging achievements.
~ Carol W. Greene, Past FOH Board President
When I was president of the FOH, Dr. Bob Scott, then president of Ramapo College, and a staunch supporter of the Hermitage arranged for Henry and me to have lunch together. During a wide-ranging conversation and a lot of laughs, I asked Henry to join our board. He declined, saying he felt he could contribute more as a consultant. We parted, joking that he would be my ‘dollar a year man’. Delight Dodyk gave me a supply of silver dollars and from then on I would ‘pay’ him his salary at the annual meetings.
~ Roberta Svarre, Past FOH Board President
In 2011, ‘Victorian Gothic’ was a Hermitage exhibition based on Henry’s wonderful comprehensive book about the Rosencrantzes. Henry also shared his insights and knowledge in a special Roundtable event which included visiting the exhibit. Henry [provided] digital tablets as a useful addition for visitors in our Orientation Room. He even donated the funds needed to install the tablets and helped The Hermitage take a step forward technologically. With Henry’s text and photos he specifically chose to accompany it, visitors can now connect in a new way with the plentiful history of The Hermitage that Henry loved so much.
~ Pamela Deitrich, Past Curatorial Consultant