All area residents are invited to attend a lecture and book signing by New Jersey author Feather Schwartz Foster, at the Long Branch Main Library at 7 PM, Wednesday, February 15, 2006. The Library is located at 328 Broadway, Long Branch.
Feather Schwartz Foster’s latest book, “Garfield’s Train,” offers a glimpse of the Gilded Age of the 1880s in Long Branch, New Jersey, when that beautiful shore area was considered the “gilded strand.” The rich and famous of that time summered in Long Branch in sprawling 30-room “cottages”, mixing politicians with theatre luminaries, and business tycoons with military heroes. “The fictional Dunbar family interacts with such characters as General Grant, Roscoe Conkling, James G. Blaine, and, of course, the Garfield family in the early 1880s,” says Foster, “in order to make the characters, the times, and the episodes leading to the death of President Garfield come to life.”
James A. Garfield was only president for six months – three of which were spent dying. To finally escape the fetid and miserable heat of the Washington summer and offer the dying man some respite, he was brought to Long Branch for his last days. In a burst of patriotism, caring and community spirit, a ¾ mile railroad spur was built overnight for the President to be brought from the train station right to the door of a cottage-by-the-sea without painful jostling in a wagon over a rutted road.
According to the author, “This was arguably Long Branch’s proudest hours, and for some reason, it has become a mere footnote to history. The actual historical records only indicate that it happened – not how it happened. In ‘Garfield’s Train’, I tried to draw the picture in my mind of the entire posh resort and the way the 3,000 residents turned out to support the railroad workers in their labor of love and patriotism.”
Feather Schwartz Foster has also written “LADIES: A Conjecture of Personalities” about the First Ladies between Martha Washington and Mamie Eisenhower, and an e-book, entitled “On The Road With The Old Gals,” about her lecturing experiences. She has made more than 100 appearances in the New Jersey area talking about the “old” First Ladies, and has already been engaged for several more about the Garfield era.
Author Feather Schwartz Foster has been an “amateur” presidential historian for three decades. Following a long career in advertising and having written a score of children’s musical shows, she has decided to draw on her thousand-volume personal presidential library and her love of history by penning “LADIES: A Conjecture of Personalities” and “Garfield’s Train”.
“Garfield’s Train” (ISBN: 1-4137-6915-2) is 226-pages, published by PublishAmerica of Frederick, MD, and sells for $19.95. It is available through the author’s webpage at www.featherfoster.com.