About The Society


Board of Directors



Our Mission

The Historical Society of Elizabeth seeks to preserve and research Elizabeth, New Jersey’s rich history. We document the people, places and events that shape our past, exploring the social, political and economic life of Elizabeth through the 20th century and beyond. We work and share knowledge with city residents.

Our mission is two-fold:

1) Contribute new knowledge and ideas to Elizabeth’s government and leadership.
2) Share that knowledge with City residents and our region

Our Goals

The Society’s long-term goals are to:

  • Present the vital history of Elizabeth
  • Illuminate present issues facing our community
  • Foster a factual context for current and future policy decisions
  • Design a historical narrative that strengthens the common ground of the City’s diverse communities, including the African American and immigrant populations.

The Society also plans extensive outreach to and establishes working relationships with other organizations dedicated to a strong and diverse Elizabeth, NJ community.

Our Board & Structure

The Society is a 501 C-3 nonprofit organization, incorporated in 1999 to provide an institutional presence for public history. Our first priority is to bring the African American, immigrant and historical voices of “common” men and women into the history of Elizabeth and the region. Our Board membership is reflective of the City’s Latin/ Hispanic immigrant and African American populations.

Historical Society Co-Presidents Nida Thomas and Orlando Edreira inspect the deed for the Bonnell House on its porch, September 12, 2003.

Emeritus Anastasia C Mantia

Anastasia C Mantia, a lifelong resident of Elizabeth, a native of the Peterstown section. Ms. Mantia is a graduate of Douglas College and she earned her Master of Social Work (MSW) from Fordham University. She served as a professional social worker in the Elizabeth Public School system for many years as well as being a constructive voice in the city’s teacher’s union. Ms. Mantia is a member of the Elizabeth Rotary Club Board. 

Trustees Karla Sanchez

Karla Sanchez, an Elizabeth resident holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the City University of New York. Mrs. Sanchez has worked in the financial services industry since 2005, first for Ernest and Young, LLC, New York and currently for Conifer Financial Services of New York. Mrs. Sanchez brings her love of history and her specialized financial skills to the Board.

Trustee Michelle Doran-McBean

Michelle Doran-McBean, a longtime resident of Elizabeth and a lifelong lover of History. Mrs. Doran-McBean has pioneered and invested in several civic organizations/groups, including but not limited to, Future City Inc. (Founder and CEO), Elizabeth Rotary Club (Member), and Plainfield Friends Meeting. Mrs. Doran-McBean received her M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary.

President/Treasurer Michael LoBrace

Michael LoBrace, born, raised, and educated in Elizabeth NJ. Received a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University with majors in Economics and Italian Literature and a Master of Business Administration from St. John’s University. Founded Michelino’s Pizzeria in 1993 and is most proud of leading the restoration of the Historic Central Jersey Railroad Station in Elizabeth and converting it into a functioning restaurant, while being mindful of its historic significance and stature. Currently, the School Business Administrator and Board Secretary for Perth Amboy Public Schools.

Trustee Michael T. Simon Esq. 

Michael T. Simon Esq., an Elizabeth native, is a graduate of Fordham University (History) and a practicing attorney at Donald A. DiGioia Law Group. Mr. Simon’s supportive work on the 2010 Bayway project has prompted him to volunteer for a bolder initiative with the HSENJ’s 2013 research on “Jackson Park and Urban Spaces” and participation in the 2014 project, “Broad Street Commerce”.

Trustee Diana Vivanco

Diana Vivanco, a graduate of NJIT (2015) majoring in Industrial Design, has worked on past HSENJ projects as Research Project Coordinator. Ms. Vivanco is a resident of Elizabeth and native of Ecuador, with notable computer skills. Ms. Vivanco is a 2014 NJ Governor’s Hispanic Fellow.

Secretary Henry Acosta

Henry Acosta, holds a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University where he majored in Finance & Accounting. Founded Precise Ledgers LLC. where he serves the community with bookkeeping services and financial literacy. He is currently a Staff Accountant with the Housing Authority of Bergen County.

Trustee James Gerra

James Guerra, a noted Elizabeth architect, leads the firm of James Guerra Associates in Elizabeth. Mr. Guerra is the architect of many distinguished projects, including the award-winning Perth Amboy Waterfront, the Elizabeth Initiative (including marina and waterfront parks) and the Newport Marina in Jersey City. In Elizabeth, Mr. Guerra designed the James Kirk Center in Peterstown and re-designed Woodruff Park among other projects.

Trustee Dr. Silvia Elias

Dr. Silvia Elias, a native of Cuba, holds a PsyD (Psychology) from Rutgers University. Dr. Elias served in various administrative positions in the school systems of Elizabeth, Jersey City and West Orange, NJ.

Trustee Dr. Linda C. Epps

Dr. Linda Epps, an Elizabeth native, holds a PhD (History) from Drew University and served as CEO for the NJ Historical Society. Dr. Epps continues to provide HSENJ with a wealth of historical expertise, as well as considerable fund-raising skills.

Secretary Dr. Paul H. Mattingly

Dr. Paul H. Mattingly holds a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin and taught American history at the NY University for nearly forty years. Until 2006, Dr. Mattingly directed the NYU Program in Public History, which seeks to advance historical knowledge via engagement with institutions and groups often left out of textbook history.

Contact Us

If you want to leave a message for our Board, we’d be happy to relay a message.

Fill out the form here, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Belcher Ogden Mansion

On November 15, 2005 the Historical Society; Elizabeth NJ Inc formally accepted the deed to this historical property.

The Belcher-Ogden Mansion was once a station on the Underground Railroad. Click Here to learn more. 

The Historical Society; Elizabeth NJ Inc has received Operating Grant support from the New Jersey Historical Commission (2003-2004 and 2004-2005), In part, this support helped produce our organizational brochure and many features of this website.


For request regarding usage of our parking lot and ground floor, contact us at hsenj1046@gmail.com for request.

Address: 1045 East Jersey Street. Suite 201  |  Elizabeth, NJ, 07201