Ed Rutsch Memorial Fund

A fund has been established at Michigan Tech in Ed's memory. This fund will support ongoing research at the West Point Foundry in Cold Spring, New York, a site that was dear to Ed's heart. Funds will go to support students working on the project and studying to be the next generation of Industrial Archaeology professionals.

  • Send a check to: Ed Rutsch Memorial Fund, Michigan Tech Fund, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931
  • or contribute by credit card:
  • Be sure to indicate on the on-line form that your donation should go to the Ed Rutsch Memorial Fund (Select the Special Designation selection for the "Where should your gift Go ?" question and enter "Ed Rutsch Memorial Fund" in the Specific Designation box on the on-line form)


Edward S. Rutsch, the renowned archeologist, died Sunday, July 6, 2003, at the age of 66. His many achievements included the identification of the Great Falls National Landmark Historic Industrial District in Paterson, NJ, numerous studies of the Morristown National Historic Site, and the excavation of the Negro Burial Ground in New York City.

He was born in Teaneck, NJ on October 6, 1936 to Emil and Helen (Rudin) Rutsch. He was predeceased by his wife, Mary Jane who was also known to many in the Society for Industrial Archeology (SlA), in 1989. Survivors include his companion, Patricia Condell, and two brothers, Donald and William.

Ed was raised in Teaneck where he was an All-State wrestler and football player. He went on to George Washington University where he was an All-American in his senior year. He obtained his Masters degree in Anthropology at New York University and continued his studies in American Civilization at the University of Pennsylvania. His early training in education and museology influenced his subsequent role as a professional archeologist and cultural resource manager and interpreter. He was proficient in both aboriginal and historic cultural periods, as evidenced in the wide range of subjects covered in his books, articles and professional reports. He used his expertise in industrial archeology to emphasize public education and the preservation of our nation's industrial heritage.

Ed started as a secondary school teacher. While pursuing his graduate degree he worked as a research curator for the Museum of the American Indian in New York. He was a Professor of Anthropology at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, NJ. He founded Historic Conservation & Interpretation where he served as president and primary investigator for three decades. He was a founding member of the SIA, serving on the board for many years, as well as its President. He contributed articles and book reviews for the SIA journal and received the prestigious General Tools Award.

He leaves behind a legacy of many works involving industrial sites in New Jersey. His seminal work in Paterson identifying the Great Falls Industrial District eventually led to its designation as a a National Historic Landmark. His interest in the iron industry generated a greater understanding of the Mount Hope and Long Pond sites. He contributed to the development of many of New Jersey's parks such as Liberty State Park, where he identified numerous cultural resources, recorded them and even led to the production of a film, Pier 19, that documented one of the final days of the railroad navy yard. His studies went beyond New Jersey's borders. He conducted historical and archeological sur-veys at the Central Georgia Railroad Repair Yard in Savannah. He was a consulting industrial archeologist to the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico for the La Esperanza Sugar Hacienda. He performed salvage archeology operations at Cinnamon Bay, St. John, US Virgin Islands.

Ed was a superb archeologist, a scholarly industrial historian, devoted environmentalist, gifted teacher and a proud New Jerseyman. A memorial service was held for Ed on July 26, 2003 at the Liberty State Park. Many SIA members were in attendance.

This memorial was written by Patricia Condell for the SIA Newsletter, Vol. 32/3, Summer 2003

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