Sartori to Sacred Heart: Early Catholic Trenton
(Exhibit and Booklet)
Trenton City Museum, City of Trenton, Mercer County, New Jersey
In 2014 Sacred Heart Church of Trenton celebrated the bicentennial of the founding of the Catholic Church in New Jersey. Some 15 years before this, our firm, while undertaking archaeological data recovery excavations in advance of the reconstruction of Route 29 along Trenton’s Delaware River waterfront, happened upon the remains of “Rosey Hill,” the home of John Baptiste Sartori, a principal founding member of Trenton’s Catholic church and community. A fascinating figure in American history, Sartori was both the first U.S. consul to the Vatican and papal legate to the United States. Married to a member of the French aristocracy displaced by the Haitian slave revolution in the early 1790s, Sartori pursued a somewhat checkered career as an import-export merchant trading with Italy and the Caribbean and has the distinction of being the founder of America’s first successful pasta factory. He supplied vermicelli and macaroni to amongst other, Thomas Jefferson at Monticello.
Sacred Heart Church retained Hunter Research to design and curate an exhibit at the Trenton City Museum on Sartori and early Catholic Trenton. Archaeological objects, many of them retrieved from a privy pit abandoned by the Sartori family in the late 1820s, were a prominent feature of the exhibit along with historical details about Sartori’s remarkable life. Other rooms of the exhibit were devoted to Sacred Heart memorabilia, including vestments, church silver and a delightful matchstick model of the church building. As an accompaniment to the exhibit, we produced a 50-page, heavily illustrated color booklet celebrating all things Sartori and Sacred Heart.