In 1950, Dr. Joshua Hilliard and other dedicated Ocean County residents who shared a robust commitment to collecting and preserving the history of Ocean County joined together during the County’s centennial celebration to found The Ocean County Historical Society. For many years the group held meetings at various members’ homes until they acquired an historic vernacular Gothic Revival style Victorian house in downtown Toms River.
Since its acquisition in 1971, the house has undergone being moved and relocated to a nearby vacant lot, renovations, and the additions of a finished basement and a large two-story attached building for a Research Center consisting of a library, exhibit room, and much needed storage space for artifacts and archival materials. In 2019, the house, named for Elizabeth Sculthorp Force, was listed on both the National and New Jersey Registers of Historic Places. It is also listed on the New Jersey Women’s Heritage Trail. It features 19th century furnished rooms and an historical timeline exhibit in the Birdsall Room that offers visual and audio displays of Ocean County from its first inhabitants, the Lenapes, through the present-day. The library and research center provide resources and skilled assistance to all visitors, including those online, with historical and genealogy inquiries.
The Ocean County Historical Society is dedicated to Telling the Stories of Ocean County and supporting the mission of its founders: The preservation of all aspects of the history of Ocean County and the education of its citizens about their history through such methods as publications, programs, classes and trips. To achieve this purpose, the Society shall maintain a museum in which to exhibit and store documents and artifacts and a library for historical and genealogical research.
We welcome your visit to the Elizabeth Sculthorp Force House and encourage you to join us in “telling the stories of Ocean County.”
Elizabeth Sculthorp Force
Elizabeth Sculthorp Force was an innovative teacher and social reformer from Toms River, New Jersey. In 1941 she developed one of the country’s first curriculum that addressed progressive social behavior and family relationships.
She lived here with her family from 1907-1924 and from 1933-1957. In recognition of her accomplishments in the field of family planning, the house is listed on both the New Jersey and the National Registers of Historic Places as well as the New Jersey Women’s Heritage Trail. Ms. Sculthorp Force subsequently devoted her life to national, international, and United Nations’ efforts to promote and strengthen the quality of family life through family-life education programs.