Matawan Town Historian, John A. Savolaine, wins award

MANALAPAN, NJ – Monmouth County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon is pleased to announce that John “Al” Savolaine is the winner of the 2019 Jane G. Clayton Award. The award will be announced at the County Clerk’s 24th Annual Archives and History Day on Saturday, Oct. 12 at the Monmouth County Library Headquarters in Manalapan, and presented at the Library on Oct. 16 at 10:30 a.m. between two New Jersey History seminars featuring Walter Greason at 9:30 a.m. and Melissa Ziobro at 10:45 a.m. Refreshments will be available beginning at 9 a.m.

“Al Savolaine is an outstanding town historian who embodies the Jane G. Clayton Award through his dedication to the promotion and preservation of Matawan’s history,” said Clerk Hanlon.

Since 2004, Savolaine has been on the Matawan Historic Sites Commission, which manages the historic Burrowes mansion and three historic cemeteries. Among his projects was an inventory of all Matawan structures more than 100 years old. Savolaine designed a new monmument for the St. James AME Cemetery to honor veterans and others buried there.

A past docent at the Burrowes mansion and current cemetery tour guide, Savolaine is highly praised for his entertaining stories that bring history alive. He also wrote the script for the walk that includes 20 historic sites. The author of a book, “Stanley Fisher: Shark Attack Hero of a Bygone Age,” and a play, “Mayhem in Matawan,” about the Prohibition era, Savolaine is both the official Rose Hill Cemetery Historian and the Matawan Town Historian.

“Al Savolaine has made a lasting mark in Matawan and I am delighted that he will be receiving the Clayton Award as recognition for his many years of service to our community,” said Clerk Hanlon.

Named for the former County Clerk who established the Monmouth County Archives, the Jane G. Clayton Award has been given annually since 1997 to an individual who has made a major contribution to the preservation and knowledge of Monmouth County history.

This year’s Archives Week events from Oct. 12 to 16 will focus on the history of Monmouth County women, the subject of a month-long exhibit, opening Oct. 1, organized by the Monmouth County Archives at the Monmouth County Library Headquarters in Manalapan.

At 11 a.m. on Oct. 12, the Jane G. Clayton Award will be formally announced during the plenary session of the County Clerk’s 24th Annual Archives and History Day. That day, more than 60 local and state history organizations will set-up displays on topics relating to New Jersey history and their organizations. With 300 expected attendees, Clerk Hanlon encourages all local historical organizations to participate in the event and to sign up for an exhibitor table.

“Archives and History Day is designed for the public to connect with archivists, historians, and other preservationists,” said Monmouth County Archivist Gary D. Saretzky. “This event provides the opportunity to learn about the history of Monmouth County and to hear fascinating stories from the people who have studied it.”

For more information about Archives and History Day, including the preliminary program for the event, please visit the Monmouth County Clerk’s Archives Division website at or contact the Monmouth County Archives at 732-308-3771, ext. 3776, or email

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