John T. Cunningham
|Died||7 June 2012 (aged 96)|
|Residence||Florham Park, New Jersey|
|Other names||John Cunningham|
Historian of New Jersey,
Johnny T. Cunningham
|Education||Morristown High School|
|Alma mater||Drew University|
|Occupation||Journalist, writer, historian|
|Known for||Knowing the history of New Jersey|
|Home town||Brookside, New Jersey|
|Dorothy Behre (1916-1995)|
John T. Cunningham (June 26, 1915 – June 7, 2012) was an American journalist, writer, and historian who published numerous works related to the history of his native state, New Jersey. Long known as "New Jersey's popular historian", his This is New Jersey, originally published in 1953, has never gone out of print. Cunningham work has also included collaboration on several documentaries and frequent speaking engagements.
Cunningham was born in Newark, New Jersey on June 26, 1915, one of eight children of Guy Cunningham, an expert radio repairman, and the former Margaret Morrissey. He was raised in the Brookside section of Mendham Township, New Jersey near Morristown, where he graduated from Morristown High School in 1932, and later able to pay tuition, he graduated from Drew University in 1938. He worked briefly for the Morristown Record, to which he had been contributing local interest articles since high school, and in 1939 was hired by the Newark News. During World War II, became a captain in the Army Air Corps and in 1946 returned to The News, remaining until 1963, when he began writing and publishing full-time.
Cunningham began his writing about history while working at the Newark News, where, around 1947, he was assigned a column called "Let's Explore." He said,"My goals did not include either the writing of books or becoming a historian," but he became well respected as a historian and writer.
"I doubt if there is a community in this state that I couldn't tell you about," he declared."I consider myself a journalist rather than a historian. A journalist lets it fall where it should. We approach things with an open mind, while historians tend to take a subject and find the material to prove their point."
The New York Times said that while Cunningham's books are not considered academic works since illustrations are common and footnotes are rare, they are concise, energetic and well regarded among their genre.
In the 1970s, he and his wife founded Afton Publishing, and he helped establish the New Jersey Historical Commission. He lived in Florham Park, New Jersey, where he continued his work. Cunningham died on June 7, 2012 from natural causes at a Morristown Medical Center.
These works were created in collaboration with Walter Choroszewski: