The Jersey Devil is a monster legend that originated in New Jersey’s early American past.
How and why did this legend emerge? And, what can it tell us about New Jersey’s past?
Brian Regal, an Associate Professor of History at Kean University and the co-author of The Secret History of the Jersey Devil: How Quakers, Hucksters, and Benjamin Franklin Created A Monster, takes us into New Jersey’s past by taking us through the origins of the New Jersey Devil story.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
Ben Franklin’s World is a production of the Omohundro Institute.
Brian Regal, an Associate Professor of History at Kean University and the co-author of The Secret History of the Jersey Devil: How Quakers, Hucksters, and Benjamin Franklin Created A Monster, takes us on our first official foray into New Jersey’s past by taking us through the origins of the New Jersey Devil story.
As we explore New Jersey’s most famous myth, Brian reveals details about colonial New Jersey and its population; Information about the political and religious culture of early New Jersey; And how a dispute between Quakers led to the creation of New Jersey’s most famous legend.
What You’ll Discover
- Why we should study monsters
- How historians study myths, legends, and monsters
- Source verification
- The original myth of the Jersey Devil
- Daniel Leeds and the story of the Leeds Devil
- The establishment of the colony of New Jersey
- How New Jersey received its name
- The colonies of East and West Jersey
- The culture of colonial New Jersey
- Quakers and their influence in New Jersey
- Relationship between Pennsylvania and New Jersey
- The dispute that gave rise to the Leeds Devil
- The Leeds Almanac and almanacs in colonial America
- Titan Leeds and his engagement with Benjamin Franklin
- Ben Franklin’s connection to the Leeds Devil
- How the story of the Leeds Devil morphed into the story of the Jersey Devil
- What the story of the Jersey Devil can illuminate about early American history
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Brian Regal
- The Secret History of the Jersey Devil: How Quakers, Hucksters, and Benjamin Franklin Created A Monster
- Searching for Sasquatch: Crackpots, Eggheads, and Cryptozoology
- Boston History Camp, July 7
- Boston Meet Up: July 8, 10am Meet at the corner of Park Street and Tremont Street on Boston Common
- Cleveland Meet up at Shooters on the Water July 21, 4pm
- Sign up for the Ben Franklin’s World Email List
- Omohundro Institute
- Molly Warsh, American Baroque: Pearls and the Nature of Empire 1492-1700
- Join the BFWorld listener community on Facebook
- Episode 053: Emerson W. Baker: A Storm of Witchcraft
- Episode 135: Julie Holcomb, Moral Commerce: The Transatlantic Boycott of the Slave Labor Economy
- Episode 138: Patrick Spero, Frontier Politics in Early America
- Episode 156: The Power of the Press in the American Revolution
- Episode 169: Thomas Kidd, The Religious Life of Benjamin Franklin
- Episode 185: Joyce Goodfriend, Early New York City and its Culture
In your opinion, what might have happened if Daniel Leeds had not become entangled in a dispute with this fellow Quakers? Would the story of the Jersey Devil have developed? Would Ben Franklin have picked it up in his Almanac dispute with Titan? Would the history of New Jersey be different without the development of this legend?
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