Info from: Elisa Rolle
Geraldine Livingston Morgan Thompson (1872–1967) was an American social reform pioneer who was became known as the "First Lady of New Jersey" due to her philanthropic and social service activities in New Jersey. Thompson owned Brookdale Farm, an 800-acre (320 ha) estate in Red Bank. In her will, Thompson left 206 acres (83 ha) of the estate to Monmouth County for a public park named for the Thompsons. Thompson Park includes the administrative headquarters of the Monmouth County Park System.
Thompson was born in 1872 in New York City, the daughter of William Dare Morgan and Angelica Livingston Hoyt. In 1896, she married Lewis Steenrod Thompson, heir to a fortune amassed by his father, William Payne Thompson, a founder of the National Lead Company and later a treasurer of Standard Oil. Devoted to fishing, hunting, and horse racing, Lewis Thompson lived for much of each year at Sunny Hill, a plantation he owned in southern Georgia, while Geraldine Thompson generally remained with the children at Brookdale Farm. The couple had four children of their own, and the Brookdale household included five orphaned relatives and many servants. Lewis Thompson died in 1936.
Thompson was a feminist social worker, and her activism was aimed at female prison reform, public health and juvenile justice. She donated money to psychiatric services and college scholarships. In 1923, she was the first female New Jersey delegate to a Republican National Convention. She was a lifelong friend of Eleanor Roosevelt. She helped preserve Island Beach as a state park and worked to save wildlife habitat.
Her awards included an honorary Master of Philanthropy degree, conferred in 1931 by Rutgers University. She was the first New Jersey woman to receive this honor.
Thompson maintained a 40-year romantic and professional relationship with Miriam Van Waters, a prison reformer who served as superintendent of the Massachusetts Reformatory for Women at Framingham. Van Waters was a closeted lesbian who eventually destroyed most of the letters she received from Thompson.
Thompson died on September 9, 1967, at Brookdale Farm, Lincroft, New Jersey. She is buried at Saint James Episcopal Churchyard in Hyde Park, New York.
Freedman 1996, p. 161.
Freedman 1996, p. 162.
"Freeholders to Plan Thompson Park". Asbury Park Press. October 1, 1967. p. 6. Retrieved October 30, 2017 – via newspapers.com. (Subscription required (help)).
"Thompson Park, Brookdale Farm". New Jersey Women's History. Alice Paul Institute. 2014. Retrieved October 27, 2017.
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"Geraldine Livingston Thompson". Find a Grave Index. Ancestry. 2017. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
Freedman, Estelle B. (1996). Maternal Justice: Miriam Van Waters and the Female Reform Tradition. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-26149-2.
Ghee, Joyce C.; Spence, Joan (2005). Eleanor Roosevelt: A Hudson Valley Remembrance. Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia. ISBN 978-0-7385-3832-7.
Ware, Susan (1998). Forgotten Heroes: Inspiring American Portraits from Our Leading Historians. New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-0-684-84375-9.
Contributor: Elisa Rolle (48982101)
daughter of William Dare Morgan and Angelica Livingston Morgan and wife of the late Lewis Steenrod Thompson. Born in New York city, died at Brookdale Farm Lincroft New Jersey
Lewis Steenrod Thompson
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