Victory Parade


Schools and Libraries


I. Early Schools

THE first settlers in this vicinity were Quakers and it may be presumed from Quaker practice elsewhere that some elementary schooling was soon provided. That there was a schoolhouse seems to be indicated by the following entry in the minutes of the Chesterfield Monthly Meeting of Friends, December 1, 1693 : "It is Aggree’d by this meeteing that A weeke day meeteing be kept every fourth Day of ye weeke at ye falles in the Schoole hous." Beyond this vague reference to a schoolhouse at the Falls nothing is known of educational activity among the Quakers for the next hundred years.


Trenton's first venture in public education, public in the sense that it was a semi-community effort, occurred under curious circumstances in 1753, when a lottery was advertised in The Pennsylvania Gazette, April 26, 1753, as follows:

We whose names are hereunto subscribed, sons of some of the principal families in and about Trenton, being in some measure sensible of the advantages of Learning, and desirous that those who are deprived of it thro' the poverty of their parents, might taste the sweetness of it with ourselves, can think of no better or other method for that purpose, than the following


Of a Delaware‑Island Lottery,

For raising 225 Pieces of Eight towards building a house to accommodate an English and Grammar-school, and paying a master to teach such children whose parents are unable to pay for schooling. It is proposed that the house be 30 feet long, 20 feet wide, and one story high, and built on the South east corner, of the Meeting-house yard, in Trenton, under the direction of Messieurs Joseph Reed, Benjamin Yard, Alexander Chambers, and John Chambers, all of Trenton aforesaid. [Here follows a list of the prizes.]

The managers of the lottery are Reynald Hooper, son of R. Lettice Hooper, Esq; Joseph Warrell, junior, son of Joseph Warrell, Esq; Joseph Reed, junior, son of Andrew Reed, Esq; Theophilus Severns, junior, son of Theophilus Severns, Esq; John Allen, junior, son of John Allen, Esq; William Paxton, son of Joseph Paxton, Esq; deceased; and John Cleayton, son of William Cleayton, Esq ; who hereby assure the adventurers in this lottery, that the prize money shall be paid by the persons hereafter appointed to sell tickets, immediately after the lottery is drawn, without any deduction; and such prizes as are not demanded in three months after the lottery is drawn, shall be taken as generously given to the school. The drawing will be on the 11th day of June next, on the Fish-Island, in the river Delaware, opposite to the town of Trenton: and the money raised by this lottery shall be paid into the hands of Moore Furman, of Trenton, merchant, who is under bond for the faithful laying out the money for the uses above.

And we the managers assure the adventurers upon our honour, that this scheme, in all its parts, shall be as punctually observed, as if we were under the formalities usual in lotteries; and we flatter ourselves, the publick, considering our laudable design, our age, and our innocence, will give credit to this our publick declaration.

Tickets are to be sold at Seven Shillings and Sixpence each, at Philadelphia, by Andrew Reed, Esq ; and at Trenton, by Moore Furman merchant, Reynald Hooper, Joseph Warrell, junior, Joseph Reed, junior, Theophilus Severns, junior, John Allen, junior, William Paxton, John Cleayton.

A later notice in the same newspaper indicates that the lottery was actually drawn July 2, 1753. As the laws of New Jersey prohibited lotteries, it was perhaps a polite evasion to hold the lottery on an island, Fish Island being little more than a gravelly bar, partly now included in Mahlon Stacy Park. Probably for the same reason, the lottery was advertised in the name of minors, who in their "innocence," and considering their "laudable design," will readily be forgiven for this circumvention of the law. The proceeds of this lottery permitted the erection of a brick schoolhouse in 1753 on what is now the site of the First Presbyterian Church, a little to the east of the church of that time.

Little is known about the management of this school. Built on Presbyterian grounds it was principally under the control of that congregation. The pastor, the Rev. David Cowell, seems to have had correspondence with President Burr of the College of New Jersey in 1753 regarding a schoolmaster. The minutes of the trustees in 1765 record that Alexander Chambers and Benjamin Yard were elected by the congregation "Directors of the School-House." 1  The Episcopalians also shared in the management as is shown by an entry in the minutes of the vestry of St. Michael's Church, August 12, 1771, which reads, "The Rev. William Thompson and Danl. Cox Esqs are chosen Trustees for this Congregation to Visit the Free-school and do all such things as to them shall appear serviceable for sd. school in this town." 2

An advertisement in the New Jersey Gazette, February 23,  1780, tells what was expected of the schoolmaster:


In the SCHOOL of Trenton, for a Master qualified to teach Reading, Writing, Arithmetick, and some of the branches of the Mathematicks. A person so qualified, and bringing a good recommendation with him, will meet with great encouragement (as the school is large) by applying to the Printer.

N.B. A single man, or one with a small family, will answer best, and the sooner the application the better.

1 Hall, History of the Presbyterian Church, p. 72

2 Schuyler, A History of St. Michael's Church, p. 58.

A joint meeting of the Legislature was held in this school building March 17, 1780.

The progressiveness of this early school is shown in the fol­lowing notice:

Notice is hereby given, That an English Night School will be opened on Monday evening the 10th day of December inst. at the brick schoolhouse near the Presbyterian Church. Those who may please to encourage the same, are desired for terms to apply to the master, at said place.

Trenton, November 28, 1781. 3

3 New Jersey Gazette, Vol. IV, December 12, 1781.

In 1800 this building was leased to the Trenton Academy for its girls' school and, in the lease, the premises are described as "a certain brick building which was erected on the lot belong­ing to the trustees of the said church for the purposes of a schoolhouse." Dr. Hall says: "The lessees added a story to the building, and it continued to be used for school and church pur­poses until it was taken out of the way [circa 1838] at the erec­tion of the present church." The first Presbyterian Sunday School was held in this building in 1816.


Trenton's most important early institution of learning was the Trenton Academy which first opened in 1782 and continued until 1884. Among its trustees, teachers and students are to be found the names of many citizens distinguished not only at home but throughout the State and nation. The story of the Academy is told at some length by Dr. John Hall in a series of newspaper articles in the State Gazette in April and May 1847 and also by William L. Dayton in a pamphlet entitled "Histo­rical Sketch of the Trenton Academy, read at the centennial anniversary of its foundation, February 10, 1881." A brief summary must suffice for these pages.

On February 10, 1781, twenty citizens of Trenton and its vicinity formed an association "for the purpose of erecting a School. House in the said Town, and keeping up a Regular School for the Education of Youth, to be conducted under the Firm of the Trenton School Company." The twenty original proprietors were Joseph Higbee, David Brearley, James Milnor, Jr., Rensselaer Williams, Joseph Paxton, Stacy Potts, Isaac Smith, Isaac Collins, William Tucker, James Ewing, Conrad Kotts, Stephen Lowrey, Abraham Hunt, Moore Furman, Rob­ert Neil, Micajah How, Jacob Benjamin, William Churchill Houston, John Neilson and Francis Witt. Messrs. Potts, Fur­man, Ewing, Collins and Houston were elected the first trustees.

The capital stock consisted of £270, divided into thirty‑six shares of £7 10s. each, which were subject to additional assess­ment to finish the school building. Each shareholder had the right to send a child to the school without any charge for the use of the building. Other students were charged, besides tuition, a half dollar for rent. All students were subject to extra charges for incidentals.

On May 20, 1781, the trustees bought for £15 the lot on Fourth (afterward Academy) Street where the school was built. Additional adjacent lots were bought in 1783, 1788 and 1854. The building, two stories high, twenty by twenty‑six feet, costing £444, was far enough along on February 11, 1782, to permit the opening of the school. James Burnside was the first teacher, and the students during the first quarter numbered forty.

The studies were at first elementary but soon grammar‑school courses were added under the charge of George Merchant. On January 1, 1783, the trustees advertised in the New Jersey Gazette for "a writing master and accountant" who must be "well qualified to teach writing, arithmetic and bookkeeping," and "be well recommended for sobriety, industry and capacity."

The school was soon further strengthened by subscriptions and by increasing the number of stockholders, and two addi­tional rooms were added in 1783. The quarterly examinations including public speaking were held publicly in the Presbyterian Church and attended by distinguished citizens and visitors.

On November 10, 1785, the school was incorporated by an act of the Legislature under the name "The Proprietors of the Trenton Academy."

A girls' school was added in 1787 under the care of Mrs. John Mease, and in the same year the Rev. James F. Armstrong, pastor of the Presbyterian Church, was engaged to act as super­intendent of the Academy, which position he held until 1791. One of the pupils at this time was Charles Ewing, afterward chief justice, who was prepared for Princeton College, where he graduated with first honors in 1798.

The Academy in 1794 obtained permission from the Legisla­ture to hold a lottery which added considerably to the funds.

In 1800 the girls' school was moved to the brick schoolhouse in the Presbyterian churchyard, this building being leased at $1.00 per year for the purpose and a second story added.

The first Sunday school of the Methodists was conducted in the Academy building in 1816.

The Academy seems to have enjoyed its most flourishing period in the '50's. David Cole 4 was the very successful principal from 1851 to 1857. Samuel Backus was a much respected teacher during this period. He acted as vice-principal from 1847 until he succeeded to the principalship in 1857, but he died shortly afterward. A catalog of 1851-52 shows among the students Charles C. Abbott, S. Meredith Dickinson, Ion H. Perdicaris, Washington and Ferdinand Roebling, William S. Stryker, Clark Fisher and Alexander C. Yard. George S. Gros­venor was principal from 1859 to 1875. Mr. Grosvenor, now (1929) in his ninety‑eighth year, lives at Nice, France.

4 David Cole was an important educational leader in the State at this time. An interesting chapter written by him on school matters 1853-58, entitled "Educational Reminiscences," appears in Murray's History of Education in New Jersey. He was appointed a member of the first board of trustees of the State Normal School at Trenton and was professor of ancient literature at the same institution from 1857-58. In 1858 he entered the ministry of the Dutch Reformed Church.

The development of the State Model School and‑ the public schools gradually caused a decline in the number of pupils at­tending the old Academy. In 1884 its doors were finally closed and its affairs settled under the receivership of Barker Gummere. Clark Fisher purchased three of the lots and the building in order to obtain the old bell. The property continued in his possession until sold to the trustees of the Free Public Library in 1900. During the Fisher ownership the building was used as a public school annex and as a temporary abode for the School of Indus­trial Arts.

II. Public Schools

THE free public school, supported by taxation and con­trolled by the State, while now commonly accepted as an indispensable public institution, has developed, as far as New Jersey is concerned, only within the last century. Its remarkable growth and expansion during this period have been due to the unselfish and devoted efforts of a long succession of forward­-looking and liberal-minded citizens who battled step by step against shortsightedness, conservatism and penuriousness in order that the advantages of a liberal and effective education might be freely available to all. In its early years the free public school had to make its way against several antagonisms. Many taxpayers, especially those able to educate their children in pri­vate schools, objected to contributing to the education of all. Sectarian feeling also entered in. Various religious bodies had for years supported and administered whatever schooling there was in many communities and some of them were apprehensive of giving way to the public school. Furthermore, the public school at first had to labor under the reproach of pauperism, be­cause the first state legislative action on the subject of public school support, in 1820, authorized townships to raise money by taxation "for the education of such poor children as are paupers . . . and the children of such poor parents as are, or shall be . . . unable to pay for schooling the same."

It must be remembered that all municipal support of schools by taxation had to be authorized by legislative action. We cannot here trace the growth of the public school through the succession of Acts, Amendments, special Acts, and Charter Provisions of subsequent years, except in a few instances. The "Act to estab­lish common schools" passed in 1829 and amended in 1830 seems to have induced Trenton's first step in public education. The "Act to establish public schools" passed in 1838 is impor­tant in that it removed the pauper stigma from public schools. New Jersey settled the question of public education in 1875 by the following amendment to the Constitution: "The Legislature shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of free public schools for the instruction of all the children in this State between the ages of five and eighteen years."


Our sources of information on the beginning of Trenton's public schools are scattered notices in the advertising columns of the newspapers, an occasional item in the editorial or news columns, and two documents: a manuscript history written by Edward S. Ellis in 1876 and an address on the "Early History of the Public Schools in the City of Trenton" by Dr. Charles Skelton, printed in 1876. No records of the transactions of school committeemen or trustees previous to 1850 are known.5

5 Annual reports of the board of education of later years refer to the Free School Act passed in 1835, doubtless an error for 1829 or  1830, and name the earliest school trustees as Thomas J. Macpherson 1835-36, James Skirm 1835-39 and Benjamin F: Vancleve 1835-36.

The earliest newspaper notice about a public appropriation for the education of poor children, as permitted by the Act of 1820, appeared in the Trenton Federalist, April 16, 1827, when it was stated that:

The township of Trenton, at the late annual town meeting, voted 300 dollars for the schooling of poor children.

In the same newspaper a week later there appeared the following statement:

Those indigent inhabitants of Trenton, who wish to avail themselves of the benefit of the late appropriation for schooling poor children, are requested to report their names, residence and number of children, to either of the School Committee‑Gen. G. D. Wall, Charles Parker, Charles Burroughs, William Potts and James Hamilton.

As the Act of 1820 did not provide for the building and or­ganization of schools, the money appropriated was doubtless used to pay the fees of indigent children while in attendance at some of the small private schools. Dr. Hall 6 says that for a time "the public schools" were under the direction of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Lancaster whose "contract was to teach eighty children for one year, and supply books and stationery, for two hundred and seventy‑five dollars."

6 History of the Presbyterian Church, p. 247.

The Act of 1829 went farther and permitted the building and organization of public schools. The following notice in the Tren­ton Federalist on May 4, 1829, probably announced Trenton's first public school. Although tax‑supported it was doubtless for the poor only.

The Trenton Free School is now open for the reception of Scholars. Persons who wish to send children, are requested to make application to Mrs. Kitchen, at the building lately occupied by Joseph Lancaster, as a School‑house.

A notice in the State Gazette on April 17, 1830, calling a meet­ing of the school committee of the township of Trenton, when studied with other later notices, indicates that the city of Tren­ton for school purposes was considered a part of the larger township of Trenton, which was divided into five districts, and that each district elected a school committeeman. Each district had also three trustees, and the city of Trenton as then bounded was district no. 1, of the township of Trenton. A news item a few weeks later, May 1, 1830, in the State Gazette, states that

Trenton township, at the late town meeting, voted 400 dollars for the support of Common Schools. The amount receivable by the township, this year, from the State fund, 7 is 400 dollars. This, we understand, includes this and last year's dividend. The annual amount which Trenton township is entitled to draw [from the State fund] is 200 dollars.

7 The School Fund, established by the Legislature in 1817, was New Jersey's first action toward a system of public education. This fund has increased from $100,000 in 1818 to $11,126,416 in 1928. From the income annual appropriations are made and apportioned to the Counties for public schools. This annual appropriation has been increased from $20,000 in 1829 to $500,000 in 1928. Apportionment is now made on the basis of days' at­tendance. Trenton's apportionment from the State Fund in 1928 was $12,299.

The next notice continues the story


The Trustees for the district comprising the city of Trenton, appointed under the act to establish Common Schools, hereby give notice that they expect to have one or more Schools open for the reception of scholars to be taught at the public expense, on or about the first of June ensuing - and request all those who may wish to send any children to said Schools to make application with as little delay as possible to the trustees -that they may know how many scholars to provide for.



          Trustees 8

8 State Gazette, May 22, 1830.

The same trustees, in the State Gazette of September 11, 1830, gave notice that

The Schools supported by the Public Funds, have commenced another quarter, and are not yet full - those of the Trenton district wishing to send Children will please to apply to Charles Burroughs for Tickets of admission.

In 1831 David Johnston was elected school committeeman for the first district and the trustees were John McCully, Joel Gordon and Charles C. Yard. A notice in the State Gazette May 7, 1831, shows that there was to be opened on May 9 in the first district "the male school . . . under the tuition of Mr. Charles Rice and the Female school . . . under the tuition of Mrs. Kitchen."

In May 1832 the trustees, Thomas J. Stryker, Charles C. Yard and William P. Sherman, gave notice of the opening of "the School for girls, and for colored Children" on May 8 and at the same time they advertised for a teacher for "the School for boys" which was to be opened on the twenty-third.

The first published financial report of Trenton's public schools submitted by Treasurer William P. Sherman appeared

in the State Gazette on March 30, 1833:

    The total receipts were         $522.89

    The expenditures were

To Charles Rice, balance due him for teaching male school in 1831    $92.40

To Elizabeth Kitchen, balance due her for teaching female school

    in 1831     16.60

To James B. Stafford, balance due him for teaching colored school

    in 1831     20.75

To Mrs. Gordon, for one quarter's rent of room for white male

    school in 1831    6.oo

To George Cole, for two quarters' rent of room for colored school

    in 1831       6.oo

To Charles C. Yard, Wm. Merseilles and James Faussett, for re­-

    pairs to room of white male school    5.35

To Charles Rice for benches and desks for white male school      6.25

To George Sherman for printing admission tickets for the year 1832    2.00

To Robert Parry for teaching white male school one quarter, in

    the year 1832    70.00

To Daniel Coleman for teaching do. part of succeeding quarter     8.00

To Mrs. Gordon for two quarters' rent of white male school room

    in the year 1832, at 6 dols. per quarter     12.00

To Mrs. Fenton for teaching white female school in 1832, two

    Quarters 150.00

To Miss Stafford for teaching four children one quarter    6.00

To James B. Stafford for teaching colored school two quarters, in

    1832       116.75

To George Cole for two quarters' rent of room for colored school,

    at 3 dolls. per quarter     6.00

                 Total amount paid    $524.10

                 Deduct amount received    $522.89

                 Balance due treasurer $ 1.21

The trustees for the years beginning May 1833 and 1834 were James Skirm, Benjamin S. Disbrow and Joseph G. Brearley.  It was necessary again to advertise for teachers.

Such were the beginnings of Trenton's free public schools.  So far they were conducted in rented rooms, and for the poor only. Doubtless they were not largely attended because of the reproach of pauperism.

Ellis claims for Trenton "the honor of having established the first free school in New Jersey," naming a school organized in the old Masonic Hall in 1833 "where all the pupils received free tuition." He attributed his information to Thomas J. Macpherson who had been a teacher in that school. In view of the above notices of 1829 and 1830 it is doubtful in what respect the Masonic Hall school may claim to be the first.

As mentioned above, the Act of 1838 removed the pauper feature from public schools, and it seems that thereafter for several years a small quarterly fee was charged, because as Dr. Skelton complains, "the sums appropriated, and allowed to be raised by tax, were so small that [free] provision could only be made for those in extreme destitution." The following notice, appearing in 1842, gives a rather full picture of our school sys­tem at that time:

The schools will be opened on the first Monday in April.

In the school under the care of Mr. F. Kingman, at the State Bank build­ing [corner of Warren and Bank Streets], the [quarterly] rates of tuition will be as follows

For spelling, reading, writing, defining, Arithmetic, Geography                                  $1.50

For these, with Grammar, History, Rhetoric, Botany, Mathe‑

matics, Natural Philosophy or Chemistry                                                       $2.00

Music will be taught as a regular branch of information, without extra

charge; but not to such a degree as to interfere, with the other studies of the


Exercises on the black board and slates, in Geography, Drawing, Orthog­raphy, Etymology, Elements of Geometry, and Natural Philosophy, will form part of the duties of each week; thus affording to every pupil an opportunity of acquiring a practical knowledge of those branches without the expense of text books.

In the female school under the care of Miss Mary Johnston, at the school house in Perry St., the terms will be as follows

For spelling, reading, writing, defining, Arithmetic, Geography                                                                  $1.25

For these, with Grammar, Natural Philosophy, History, Rhetoric

and Botany                                                      $1.75

A school will be opened at the School House in Perry Street, under the

are of Mrs. Mary Hunt, in which the youngest white children, of both

sexes, will be taught spelling and reading. The terms in this school will be


In the school for colored children, in Hanover Street, under the care of

Mr. Elymus Rogers, the terms will be:

    For spelling and reading                                                        $1.00

      For these, with writing, arithmetic and geography                $1.25

      For these, with other higher branches                                                      $1.75

    The number of scholars in each school is limited to fifty.

    By order of the Trustees,



9 State Gazette, March 22, 1842.

In the same year we note the advent of the first "high" school in the following:

The schools will be opened, for the next quarter, on Tuesday, the 5th of July.

At that time will be commenced in the upper room of the State Bank a


under the superintendence of William M. Hough, late Principal of the Norristown Academy. The terms of tuition in this school will be as follows

For reading, writing, arithmetic, and geography, $1.50 a quarter.

For English grammar, composition, rhetoric, mathematics, natural phi­losophy and chemistry, $2.00.

In natural philosophy and chemistry, frequent lectures will be given, illustrated with experiments, for which an apparatus is provided.

Mr. H. will also teach the Latin, Greek and French languages; but the Trustees do not feel authorised to apply the public moneys to the support of a classical school; and, therefore, the terms of tuition in these studies will be $7.00 a quarter. . . .

The school room is large and airy, and has been painted and furnished so as to be comfortable and attractive to the scholars; and the Trustees confi­dently expect that this school will acquire general respect and approba­tion. . . 10

10 State Gazette, June 30, 1842.

In 1844 the high school under Mr. Hough and, shortly after­ward, the primary departments were moved to the old town hall 11 building on Academy Street.

11 This building served as the town hall and jail from 1809 to 1838. The site had been purchased by the city in 1808 from Peter Hunt, with the proviso that it was to revert to his estate when no longer used for its original pur­pose. The city acquired a clear title to the property in 1843 from William E. Hunt for $100. It was in front of this building that the whipping post stood until it surreptitiously disappeared one night in 1839.

In 1848, according to Dr. Skelton, the Trenton public schools were made free to all without fee.


We turn back now to that portion of Nottingham Township which as South Trenton was annexed to Trenton in 1851, to quote from Dr. Skelton who had been since 1842 a member of the school committee of that township, and school superinten­dent 12 in 1847.

12 The early meaning of this term is explained on p. 737.

The school built on Centre Street was, in Dr. Skelton's opinion, excepting the "pauper" schools, "the first free public school established in our city, and I believe, the first really free public school in our State." He tells its story as follows:

In the spring of 1843, the school committee of the township [of Notting­ham] recommended to the voters to raise, by tax, eleven hundred dollars; six hundred to build a house, and five hundred to support the school, which sums were voted almost unanimously. The people said they were willing to raise any amount necessary to support public schools, but not a dollar for pauper schools. The opponents of public schools here raised legal questions and set aside the proceedings of the town meeting as illegal.

The school committee and the citizens, then applied to the Legislature, to be allowed to raise, by tax, one thousand dollars for the support of public schools, and after much contention, succeeded in getting the privilege to raise six hundred dollars for that purpose, and five hundred to build a house. At the annual town meeting of 1844, the school committee recommended to raise, by tax, the full sum allowed by the special township act, and to appro­priate the interest on the surplus fund of the general government, and the tax on dogs, to the support of public schools, which recommendations were carried by a large vote; the committee had saved the two years' appropria­tion from the State fund, amounting to about three hundred dollars. Thus the committee found themselves in possession of less than two thousand dollars for the purpose of building a house and supporting a public free school; and resolved to proceed, immediately, to erect a suitable house. Here was the first triumph of the friends of public education, and this too, after a desperate struggle of two years; and although the sum raised was exceedingly small for the purpose of building a house and supporting a school for over six hundred children, yet it was a victory . . . .

The committee then purchased a lot, one hundred feet square, on Centre Street, near the First Baptist Church, for the sum of one hundred and sixty dollars. They made a contract with Mr. William Johnson to build a brick house, thirty by fifty feet, two stories high, to contain four rooms, with seats in each room for seventy‑five children. The cost of the building fur­nished, and lot, was about twenty‑four hundred dollars. When the building was finished, the committee found themselves in debt about fifteen hundred dollars. Thus far they had proceeded without taking legal advice, and now, they were informed, by a celebrated lawyer, that their proceedings were illegal, and that they had no right to borrow money and mortgage the house for the payment of the money. A town meeting was called, and the people, by a vote directed the town committee to mortgage the house and pledge the faith of the township for its redemption; accordingly the money was raised, and the difficulty settled. About the first of September, 1844, 13 four teachers were employed, to take charge of the schools - Mr. Joseph Roney, as principal, and the following named ladies as assistants: Miss Susan S. Albertson, Miss Hannah Carlin and Miss Sarah Joycelin. The first at an annual salary of four hundred dollars, and the others at one hundred and fifty dollars each. The first day the schools were opened, over four hundred children presented themselves for admission, about half of whom had never attended school of any kind. Here was serious practical difficulty‑how shall this surplus of applicants be disposed of; shall they be crowded into the rooms, one hundred in each room, or shall they be sent home, and thus de­prived of the blessings of education? The committee concluded to meet this difficulty by a general rule. The State law admitted all over five years of age; the committee made a rule to exclude all under seven years of age, and thus give the oldest the first privilege, and let the younger come in as they advanced in years. This rule worked well, and left in attendance about three hundred children. After three days of incessant labor, order was brought out of confusion, and the gratifying spectacle was presented of three hundred children seated at their desks pursuing their studies with cheerfulness and good order. This result was highly gratifying to the friends of education; and now, after the lapse of thirty‑one years, the recollection returns with vivid pleasure. Nottingham township at that time contained over six hundred children, capable of attending school; not over one hun­dred of whom had been attending any school. Hundreds of children were educated in this institution who would otherwise have grown up in ignor­ance, and many in vicious habits; many of these, then children, are now heads of families, prosperous and happy. Much clamor was raised against building a house so large and fine; a brick building two stories high, con­taining four rooms, was evidence of a spirit of extravagance that was sure to ruin the country. On looking back, we, at this time [1876], think it very strange, that such objections should have been urged against such a build­ing. Mr. Joseph Roney, the principal, introduced music at the organization of this school; he led on the violin and sang appropriate school songs. Music had great influence here, in harmonizing discordant and unruly feelings, at the same time it enlivened the feelings of the children and enabled them to make more rapid progress in their studies.

13 This date should read 1845. An article in the State Gazette April 25, 1845, tells of this building as about to be built. This is confirmed also by Dr. Skelton's reference below "and now, [1876] after the lapse of thirty‑one years."

This school was first known as the Centre Street School. Two additional rooms were built in 1856. When in the early '7o's further addition was contemplated, it was decided to erect an entirely new building which was completed in 1876. This build­ing is still in service. In r89i it was fittingly renamed the Charles Skelton School.


We must return again to Dr. Skelton to whose persistent efforts so much of the early public school progress was due. In 1847 he moved into Trenton proper and for the next three years was elected superintendent of schools in Trenton. His story of the first school building in Trenton, erected on the site of the old town hall and jail building, follows:

This school in the old jail [on Academy Street] had for some years been under the control of the Common Council, and was not free, except to the destitute; but each pupil was required to pay a tuition fee. The fee policy was changed in 1848, and all the children were admitted without charge. The free system, and a change in the organization of the schools, largely increased the number of applicants for admission, and created a necessity for more rooms and more teachers. In the spring of 1849, the trustees and superin­tendent recommended to the citizens to vote for making a loan of six thousand dollars, to pay for the erection of a new school house. The vote was accordingly taken, and carried by a large majority. Legal difficulties were raised by the opponents of public schools, and the Common Council refused to raise the money. The trustees and superintendent, at the next session of the Legislature, applied for make a loan of six thousand dollars to build a school house, and to raise, by tax, any sum not to exceed two thousand dollars, to support the schools. In the spring of 1850, the citizens voted to make the proposed loan, and to raise, by tax, the full amount allowed by law for the support of the schools.

The trustees and superintendent immediately resolved to pull down the old jail, and to build on the lot where it stood, a house suited to the wants of the city. The lot adjoining on the east, was purchased at a cost of $737.50. A plan was drawn by the superintendent and adopted by the trustees, to put up a building three stories high, with a basement for a lecture room, and four rooms above, on each floor. This plan the trustees were obliged to reduce by taking off the basement and third story, in consequence of the sum of money in their possession being too small to pay for the building on the original plan. This change was much to be regretted, as it marred very much the beauty of the building, and deprived the city of four good school rooms and a large lecture room. A contract was made with James Hammell, and the building erected at a cost of $4,723. The building was opened for the reception of pupils on the first day of October, 1850, and immediately filled. Six hundred children were seated under the tuition of the following named teachers: G[eorge] G. Roney, as principal, and Miss P. S. Vancleef, Miss L. H. Tucker, Miss S[usan] S. Albertson, Miss Sarah] P. Yard, Miss Mary Johnson, Miss M. J. Mitchell and Miss M[aria] W. Thomson, as assistants.

The Academy Street School has continued to serve the pur­poses of public education from that day until this. The third story was added in 1876. For a short period it was called the Charles Skelton School, but in t89i was renamed in honor of Joseph Wood who was the mayor of Trenton from 1856‑59. The principal of this school from 1874 until his retirement in 1913 was Lewis C. Wooley.

A special Act of the Legislature in 1850 made the city of Trenton one school district and enabled the trustees to take title to land, erect buildings and accept trusts, and another special Act in 1856 enlarged the powers of the trustees; making them more independent of Common Council.

A brief chronicle must suffice for the years from 1850 to 1888. During these years the public schools grew steadily in strength and numbers but the growth was slow and painful. There were always pupils on the waiting list for admission and many makeshifts were adopted. Nearly every year rooms and annexes were rented for school purposes here and there about the city. The school system was crudely organized and weak both in business methods and in pedagogy. The superintendents and trustees, without remuneration, gave what time they could take from their business and private affairs.

The outstanding superintendents were Abram R. Harris 1851‑57 and 1859‑63, who succeeded Dr. Skelton; William S. Yard 1857‑59; Thomas J. Corson 1863‑68; Dr. Cornelius Shep­herd 1868‑76 and 1881‑84; and Edward S. Ellis 1884‑85.

Among active supporters of public schools during this period was David Naar, 14 editor and proprietor of the True American. He was a member of the board of trustees 1854‑55 and 1860‑68. Through the columns of his paper and in public addresses he ably championed the cause of public education both at home and elsewhere in the State. His printed address of 1862 to the trus­tees and teachers shows that public schools were still much on the defensive, particularly on the subject of tax support.

14 For further reference in this chapter to David Naar, see p. 746. He was the father of Joseph L. Naar.


The next new school building was erected in 1857 on Bellevue Avenue, then Higbee Street, for the accommodation of colored children. 15 The colored children were later transferred to a rented building on Belvidere Street and in 1872 to a new school building on Ringold Street, which was sold in 1883, on the completion of the Lincoln School on Bellevue Avenue. The Higbee Street School was in 1896 named the Nixon School in honor of Judge John T. Nixon. The building is now used as a carpenter shop, it having been discarded for school use a few years ago.

15 Mention of a public school for colored children on Hanover Street has been made previously. As far as is known this was the first school for col­ored children. The building had been a meeting house for colored people for many years before. Because of complaints about its dilapidated condition, this building, then popularly called "Nightmare Hall," was sold by the city in 1855 for $21 and removed. The Young Women's Christian Association now occupies the site.

The next new building was the Market Street School on the corner of Market and Cooper Streets. It was opened in 1859 with Charles Britton as principal. In 1896 it was renamed the Cooper School in honor of Peter Cooper.

The Union Street School was dedicated in 1869, and in 1896 named the Parker .School in honor of Clara Parker, an early school teacher in that vicinity.

The Rose Street School was opened in 1870. Marcia M. Wright served as principal from 1870 to her retirement in 1902   In 1896 this school was named the Livingston School in honor of New Jersey's first governor after inde­pendence was declared.

In 1872 a new school was opened on Grant Avenue. It was later named the U. S. Grant School. Kate Weeks was principal from the opening until her retirement in 1895.


A glance at the early salaries of teachers is of interest. In 1860 the list was as follows

Joseph Roney, principal Academy .Street School $800

Charles Britton, principal Market Street School             700

Charles Sutterley, principal Centre Street School  660

William H. Brace, teacher  475

19 "lady" teachers, each      250

In 1871 the following schedule was adopted:

First, Second and Third grades           $450

Fourth grade $1,100 male, $500 female

Fifth grade (presumably male) $1,200

In 1861 two supervising principals were appointed, and a northern and southern division designated with the Assunpink Creek as the boundary. Joseph Roney was appointed for the northern and Charles Britton for the southern district. Each, of course, continued his previous duties as a school principal and teacher. In 1864 Joseph Roney was elected supervising principal of all schools at a salary of $1,000 but after a year he resigned to take a similar position in Scranton.

Night schools were first opened in 1864 in the Academy Street and Market Street Schools, with a total average attend­ance of 150. The Young Men's Christian Association pledged $50 to furnish books and stationery. Night or evening schools have been conducted at intervals ever since, but their early years were marred by the invasion of hoodlums and rowdies and there was no definite program of instruction.


The year 1874 was memorable in Trenton's annals in that it saw the completion of the first high school, an event which superintendents, trustees and intelligent citizens had been advo­cating ever since it was first urged in 1858 by William S. Yard, then superintendent. After several refusals, Common Council in 1873 granted an appropriation of $7,000 for the purchase of a lot of one hundred feet frontage on Mercer Street. The new school, costing in all about $30,000, was opened in October. It had seats for 304 pupils and there were 296 pupils the first year. William H. Brace, then principal of the Academy Street School, was appointed the first principal, in which office he continued to serve until the next high school was opened in 1902. A list of the first teachers and their subjects follows:

William H. Brace, Principal, and Teacher of Classical Literature.


Joseph R. Encke, Mathematics and Natural Sciences.
Lizzie Johnston, Elocution, English and American Literature.
Emma Bodine, Grammar and Rhetoric.
Sarah L. Roberts, Political and Physical Geography and Drawing.
Mary J. Curns, Orthography and Penmanship.


Harriet Dickinson, Mathematics and History.
Ella A. Macpherson, Grammar and Elocution.
Ella Bodine, Geography and Drawing.
Lizzie Blair, Orthography and Penmanship.

The principal and Mr. Encke received annual salaries of $1,200 each and the other teachers $500 each.

The board of education in 1887 first began to provide free text‑books, a policy which was rapidly extended to include all schools and all grades. In 1894 an Act of Legislature made this compulsory throughout the State.


Between the opening of the new high school and the year 1888 a number of school buildings were erected or otherwise acquired.

The Mott School on Centre Street was built in 1881. At first called the Sixth Ward School, it was in 1896 renamed in honor of General Gershom Mott who once lived about where the school stands. It was considerably remodelled and enlarged in 1912. Previous to 1881 there was another school nearby on Second Street which had been built for Nottingham township in 1854.

The first Lincoln School was built on Bellevue Avenue in 1883 for colored children. The principal from that time until his retirement in 1913 was Spencer P. Irwin.

The Peabody School, built in 1882, was first called, from its location, the West Hanover Street School. In 1896 it was named in honor of George L. Peabody.

The present Administration Building was first a private school known as the Institute. It was bought by the city in 1884 and called the Stockton Street School. In 1896 it was named in honor of Commodore Richard Stock­ton. In 1912 this building was enlarged and devoted entirely to administra­tion purposes.

By the annexation of Millham in 1888 the school on Girard Avenue was acquired. It was named in 1896 in honor of Stephen Girard. It was built in 1884 by district no. 20, and first called the Millham Public School.

With the annexation of Chambersburg, Trenton acquired in 1888 the Cen­tennial, Washington and old Franklin Schools.

The old Franklin School is on the corner of Liberty and William Streets. The first school on this site was built in 1857 but replaced in 1880. Known then as the Hamilton School and also as the Academy, it was upon annexa­tion named the Franklin School. It has now outlived its usefulness. Adja­cent to it is the new Franklin School built in 1913.

The Washington School was built in 1867 by the trustees of district no. 34. Numerous additions and alterations have been made. Before annexa­tion it was known as the Chambersburg School and also as the "White" School from its coating of white rough casting.

The Centennial School on Whittaker Avenue was built in 1876 by the trustees of district no. 34. Additions were made in 1878 and 1887.

The Monument School on Pennington Avenue was opened in 1889 and enlarged in 1895.


A new epoch in Trenton school history began in 1888 when the board appointed Benjamin C. Gregory to the position of supervising principal of the Trenton schools, a fortuitous choice which we owe to a committee of the school trustees consisting of Frank O. Briggs, John A. Campbell and George W. Macpherson. These gentlemen reported that "the necessity for this officer was very pressing. The members of the Board are all men engaged in active business and not versed in the science of teaching. They have neither the time nor the training to decide all the technical questions arising in the management of our schools. We believe that the citizens of Trenton wish the schools of this city run on business principles: that a school system without a practical school man at its head is in the same condition as any other busi­ness without a proper head." After the first year of the Gregory administration the committee felt that "as a result, a strong homogeneous, efficient system is being evolved from the old ones [the High School, the Northern District, the Southern Districts and the recently annexed Chambersburg and Millham Schools]‑a system that will be a power in the development of the city and a source of pride to its inhabitants."

Gregory set about at once to reorganize the school system and to lift it out of its provincialism. He was gifted with a genius for inspiring leadership and he brought to his work cul­ture, urbanity and wide experience. He kept not only abreast but ahead of the times and he was always alert to bring to Trenton the best methods and practices that experience elsewhere had developed. He was intensely though sensibly modern and he would have been considered so even today without much altera­tion in the point of view he held over a quarter of a century ago.

Gregory rightly felt that his most important task was to de­velop better teaching. He found standards low and that little regard had been given to teaching ability when teachers were employed. Only a high school education was required of a be­ginning teacher and she learned her art generally by unsuper­vised practice on her unfortunate pupils. In a short time the requirements were raised to include a normal or training school education. The Hewitt Training School was soon instituted where a class of pupil teachers could both observe the best teach­ing in actual practice and take courses in teaching methods, psychology and kindred pedagogic subjects. Meetings and con­ferences of both teachers and principals were introduced and the supervising principal gave a great deal of his time to helpful visiting of the school rooms. A monthly round table, a voluntary reading circle and a consulting library of professional books were established. Teachers were urged to take summer courses. Every effort was made to encourage continued study and self ­improvement on the part of all teachers. Gregory had the courage to "import" occasionally a teacher from elsewhere, for he found the teaching force anemic from the lack of new blood. Attention was given to the salary schedule. Gregory found teachers' sal­aries very low and without relation to improvement or length of service. The average teacher received $45 per month, whether good, bad or indifferent, whether just appointed or of long ex­perience. In time new schedules improved salaries and related them to ability and length of service.

Limited space permits mention of only a few of the progres­sive undertakings of the Gregory administration. The high school was strengthened by moving the junior section, the seventh and eighth grades, from the high school to the gram­mar schools. A commercial course was introduced which became at once popular and successful. Agitation for a new high school was begun which in 1901 culminated in the new high school on the corner of Hamilton and Chestnut Avenues. The project was approved by popular vote in 1896, 3989 "for" and 2243 "against," but legal and financial difficulties stayed progress for several years.

Gregory gave immediate attention to improving the evening schools. He found that "what should be taught was left to the caprice of the teacher. No plan of work, no one was responsible for the work, few if any books, no organization and poor dis­cipline." Systematic courses were provided, successful and ex­perienced teachers chosen, and order and discipline were required and maintained. The employment of a special officer helped con­siderably. The following report of efficient Officer B. Sholes in 1893 gives an interesting picture of conditions:

I reach the schools about 6:45 p.m., and generally find many boys around making considerable noise. As soon as I arrive there is less noise. I remain there until school opens and see that there is as little confusion as possible; stay awhile after school commences, and if any are there that do not belong to the school I drive them away. These are the persons who want to stay around and call and whistle to their friends inside. When all is quiet I go to another school, and generally find outside boys around. I drive them away and remain until school is out, and see that all are away before I leave . . . . I reach all the different schools every other night; the oftener they see me, the better the order is.

An evening high school was established for the first time in 1890, in rented rooms on the third floor of 120 North Broad Street. The supervisor of evening schools from 1896‑1916 was Eva Ellis.

Gregory gave constant attention to improving the comfort, attractiveness and sanitation of the school buildings. There was general rejoicing in 1912 when the board contracted for one clean towel for every class room each day. Slates and slate‑pencils about this time gave way to paper, lead pencils, pen and ink.

Many innovations such as art, music, physical education, manual training and kindergartens, which we may be sure conservative citizens decried as fads but which no self‑respecting public school would be without today, were urged by Gregory. For some of these he merely prepared the way for their estab­lishment under his successor. An accomplished musician him­self, Gregory particularly urged and developed the study of this art. Some attention had been given to music previously. Joseph Roney from September 1855 to April 1856 had been engaged to teach music, and in 1875 Gertrude Deckrow was appointed for the same purpose. The first supervisor was Lottie G. Johnston who acted in this capacity from 1891 to 1894. This luxury was forgone then until 1897 when Lella Parr acted as supervisor for a year. In 1898, Catherine M. Zisgen, then a teacher in the Washington School, was appointed supervisor of music, a posi­tion which she has creditably held ever since.

The first mothers' meeting in Trenton at the Cadwalader School in 1900 and the organization of a Parents' Society in the same school in 1901‑02, marked the beginning of these en­deavors which have had much to do with bringing schools and parents into closer cooperation and understanding. Another step in this direction had been previously adopted by Gregory in the institution of monthly reports on each pupil to his parents.

In 1902 Dr. Gregory resigned to become school superinten­dent of Chelsea, Mass. During his administration the enrolment had increased from 5,631 to 9,119, the number of school rooms from 124 to 211, the seating capacity from 6,000 to 10,067, the number of teachers from 124 to 220, and the high school pupils from 285 to 589.


The John A. Roebling School, on a plot bounded by Home Avenue, Beatty and Orange Streets, was opened in 1889. It was destroyed by fire in 1902 and immediately rebuilt.

The Columbus School, on the corner of Brunswick Avenue and Mulberry Street, was opened in 1892. A considerable addition was built in 1913.

The Hewitt School, bounded by Washington, Roebling and Emory Avenues, was opened in 1891. It was originally called the Hewitt Training School, and was named for Charles S. Hewitt.

The Cadwalader .School, on the corner of Murray and Boudinot Streets, was opened in 1893. It had its origin in a rented room on the corner of Montgomery Place and West End Avenue (then Philemon Street). Addi­tions were made in 1897 and 1907.

The Hamilton School on the corner of Hamilton Avenue and Anderson Street, was opened in 1897.

Through the annexation of Wilbur in 1898, Trenton acquired the William G. Cook and the James Moses Schools. The Cook School is on Cuyler Avenue and was first opened in 1891 and the Moses School on Park Avenue was first used in 1897.

The annexation of a part of Ewing township in 1900 brought in the Hillcrest School and Brookville School. The latter; named the Dorothy Dix School, was afterward abandoned.


An outstanding event of the Gregory administration was the achievement of a new high school building on the corner of Hamilton and Chestnut Avenues. It was dedicated April 8, 1901, and its total cost was about $138,500, representing efforts of the trustees and commissioners for a period of ten years.16 The first principal was Dr. William A. Wetzel, who today in the same position is busy with plans for Trenton's next new high school shortly to be begun. The growth and improvement of the high school, its courses and instruction under Dr. Wetzel, are matters well known to thousands of Trentonians who have profited thereby. The city of Trenton has had no more faithful, untiring and efficient public servant than Dr. Wetzel. In 1906 an athletic field was acquired by funds solicited by the pupils, large con­tributors to which were Ferdinand W. and Washington A. Roebling. In 1911 a pipe organ, the first of its kind in any public high school, was installed at a cost of $5,000, which amount was raised by the school. Unfortunately as early as 1905 the number of pupils began to exceed the seating accommoda­tions and the operation of the high school ever since has been increasingly handicapped by lack of space. Today the old build­ing and a part of the adjacent Carroll Robbins School accom­modate together only the eleventh and twelfth grades. The whole tenth grade is crowded temporarily into junior High School No. 3.

16. A full report of the dedicatory exercises and a description of the building is given in the biennial report of the board, 1902.

To mention some members of the board is perhaps unfair to others and yet at the time of the struggle for the new high school and for some years afterward Trenton had two especially capable and diligent servants on its school board. Deserving of special mention in a record of this kind are the intelligent ser­vices of Carroll Robbins, a member from 1895 until his death in 1907, and the long and faithful work of Samuel H. Bullock, a member from 1898 to 1919, during which period he almost never missed a meeting of the board.


Ebenezer Mackey was called from Reading, Pa., to succeed Dr. Gregory as supervising principal on September 1, 1902. Dr. Mackey held this office until his death in 1919. In 1910 the title "supervising principal" was changed to "superintendent of schools." Dr. Mackey was a capable, kindly and faithful public servant, of the finest spiritual qualities, who devoted himself without stint to his duties. The rapid growth of school needs seems always to have kept ahead of the foresight of school au­thorities and yet the Mackey administration was marked by many important developments and improvements.


Action by the school board on June 4, 1903, authorizing the equipping of five school rooms for kindergartens, may be con­sidered the actual beginning of this important addition to the public school program. One kindergarten had been opened in the Charles Skelton School in 1888 through the efforts of Nellie Bodine, a teacher in that school, and the principal, Thomas M. White. This kindergarten was transferred to the Hewitt Training School in 1891. Dr. Gregory made repeated recommenda­tions for the establishment of more kindergartens but nothing further was done until the action mentioned above in 1903. Mary E. Windsor was the first supervisor of kindergartens and her successors have been Stella McCarthy and Bertha M. Barwis.


In 1888, Frank O. Briggs, then a member of the board, first suggested the appointment of a committee to investigate and report on the subject of manual training. The subject continued to be considered at intervals for the next eighteen years and Dr. Gregory frequently recommended action. Finally, in 1906, manual training was introduced in the high school. It has since been extended down to include the fifth grade. Its importance in correlating the training of the hand with that of the mind is clearly recognized, especially since the training afforded by the old‑fashioned household chore has been lost. Alvin E. Dodd was the first supervisor of manual training. Sewing was added in 1907 and cooking in 1908, at which time Louise Kingsbury was appointed the first supervisor of domestic science.


Drawing had been taught in the schools for some time, de­pending on the ability of the classroom teachers to handle the subject. In 1901 Eva E. Struble was appointed the first super­visor of drawing. Later a supervisor of industrial arts in the primary grades and a supervisor of fine arts for the upper grades and the high school were appointed.


A system of "physical culture" was urged by Dr. Gregory in 1890 and some attempt was made in 1893 to introduce it. Ella A. Macpherson, vice‑principal of the high school, was supervisor of physical training from September 1895 until December 1904, performing the duties of this office after the close of the daily session of the high school. In 1906 Helen R. Levy was ap­pointed the first supervisor to give full time to the subject.


The first special classes for mentally retarded and incorrigible pupils were begun in 1905 by Principal Thomas M. White at the Skelton School. As these classes have developed they now pro­vide only for pupils who are mentally retarded. At the present time there are 22 such classes in the city giving this type of indi­vidual attention to 312 pupils. During the present school year (1928‑1929) a survey is being conducted by several experts from outside the school system to determine what further plans should be made for pupils thus handicapped.


Medical inspection was introduced in 1909, when six physi­cians and a school nurse were appointed. This service has been gradually increased. At the present time the department con­sists of five physicians who give part of their time; fourteen school nurses, and two full‑time dentists.


The first summer vacation schools were opened in 1910. Classes were in two buildings and there were 228 pupils and 7 teachers. The next year there were classes in ten buildings with 1374 pupils and 43 teachers. Summer schools have been main­tained ever since. Pupils who have fallen behind in their work are enabled to make up by summer school attendance, while a few attend to gain advanced standing.


Until 1914 the public school system consisted of elementary schools of eight grades and a high school of four grades. About this time educational leaders began to urge a change of organi­zation to eliminate the sharp break between elementary and high schools and also to provide a more varied and effective educa­tion for pupils of the adolescent age. The proposed new plan provided for an elementary school of six grades, a junior high school of three grades (7, 8 and 9) and a senior high school of three grades (10, 11 and 12). It meant that the junior high school grades would ultimately be placed in new buildings planned with facilities for the new kind of education proposed.

Dr. Wetzel ardently advocated the plan, while Herman C. Mueller, then president of the board of education, immediately saw the educational value of the proposed shop work and in­sisted that the first step in the achievement of the new plan was to erect junior high school buildings. The plan was officially adopted in 1914 and shortly afterward the old Almshouse plot of seven acres on Princeton Avenue was acquired and Trenton's first junior high school was opened in October 1916. A year later the Carroll Robbins School, previously the Training School, was opened as junior High School No. 2.


The old high school on Mercer Street was converted to elementary school purposes in 1901 and named the William McKinley School. Additions were made in 1911. The Harrison School on Genesee Street was built in 1903, the McClellan School on Fillmore Street in 1904 and the Jefferson School on Brunswick Avenue in 1905. The latter was considerably enlarged in 1923.

The Carroll Robbins School on Tyler Street was built in i9og and to it was transferred from the Hewitt School the training school for teachers. The training school was abolished in 1917 and this building designated as junior High School No. 2, for which purpose it was used until 1926. At the time of this writing the building is used .by elementary grades and for "overflow" classes from the senior high school. This was the first public school building in Trenton to contain a gymnasium.

The B. C. Gregory School on Rutherford Avenue was built in 1912 and the new Franklin School in 1913 on a tract bounded by Liberty, William, Dayton and Woodland Streets.

Junior High School No. 1, opened in 1916, has been mentioned above.


Dr. Mackey died in 19I9 and he was succeeded by Zenos E. Scott, who at the time of his appointment was an assistant com­missioner in the state department of education. Dr. Scott re­signed after a year to accept the superintendency of Louisville, Ky. He was succeeded by William J. Bickett, who came to Trenton from Bernardsville, N.J.


Shortly after Dr. Bickett became superintendent several fortunate new appointments to the board of education and firm progressive action on the art of the new superintendent indi­cated an aggressive handling of many pressing problems that had been held in abeyance during the war years. Dr. Bickett im­mediately surveyed the building situation and formulated plans for future development. A further survey under the direction of the United States Commissioner of Education approved Dr. Bickett's recommendations and suggested a considerable strengthening of the supervisory and business staff. The board of education adopted many of the recommendations, made the superintendent the responsible executive officer of the board, abolished the cumbersome system of standing committees, en­larged the supervisory and business staff and began to take active steps for the acquisition of sites and the erection of new buildings.

17 Further comment on recent public school matters will be found in Chap. XIX, below, by James Kerney.

Within a few years three new schools, adequate, generous, handsome and modern were opened. They have, in addition to the usual classrooms, cafeterias, gymnasiums, libraries, swim­ming pools, shop space and auditoriums, and each is placed on spacious grounds. The first was the new Lincoln School for colored children of both elementary and junior school grades, opened in 1923 on North Montgomery Street on a site of four and a half acres. Then in 1924 followed junior High School No. 3 on a seven‑acre plot owned by the city on West State Street and Parkside Avenue, and in 1926 Junior High School No. 4 on a site of eight acres on Dayton and Grand Streets. Today Trenton is one of a few large cities that accommodates all of its seventh, eighth and ninth grade pupils in modern build­ings specifically designed for junior school purposes.

A site of thirty‑six acres, on Chambers Street, between Ham­ilton and Greenwood Avenues, was purchased in 1922 for the location of a new Senior High School. There is room also on this site for a future junior school. Plans for the first units of the new Senior High School are now completed. Other sites have been purchased for future elementary schools. Never be­fore in the history of Trenton public schools has so much gen­erous foresight been exercised and future generations will bless the wisdom of the present city commission, board of education and superintendent of schools.

A new salary schedule for the teaching force, adopted by the board in 1925, provides, for the first time in many years, reason­ably adequate remuneration and protects the Trenton school system from having its best teachers attracted elsewhere.

During the past few years much attention has been given to a thorough revision of the courses of study for all grades from kindergarten through the high school. Classroom teachers have been called upon to contribute their ideas and to assist the super­intendent in this task. The intensive study consequently given by the teachers to their problems has contributed to better teach­ing. Trenton's new courses of study have been widely recognized throughout the country as an outstanding accomplishment.

Important progress in the evening schools was made in 1926 when an evening high school was organized to enable pupils to obtain a diploma equivalent to that granted by the day high school, on the basis of completing the same number of courses. Evening high school students now attend five evenings per week for the entire school year and follow a program leading to a definite end. Trenton is one of four cities in the State offering this kind of an opportunity in its evening schools.

SUMMARY, 1850‑1928

From 1850 to 1856 the official body in charge of public schools was known as "the trustees of the public schools of the city of Trenton." In 1856 this title was changed to "the Superin­tendent and Trustees of the Public Schools of the City of Tren­ton." From 1850 to 1892 the superintendent and trustees were elected by popular vote, the trustees, two from each ward, and the superintendent by the city as a whole. In 1892 the organiza­tion was changed from twenty‑two elected trustees to eight members appointed by the mayor who was an ex‑officio member and the board was entitled "the Commissioners of Public In­struction of the City of Trenton." In 1902 "the Board of Edu­cation of the City of Trenton" became the official title and in 1911 it appears that the membership of the board was increased to nine, and the ex‑officio membership of the mayor discon­tinued. The superintendent, who in the early days was the chief business and fiscal officer of the schools, was elected by the board from 1892 to 1902. The office in that sense was abolished in 1903. When in 1910 Dr. Mackey's title was changed from supervising principal to superintendent of schools, the latter title meant, as it does today, the professionally trained executive offi­cer of the board. From 1892 the board has elected a salaried secretary from without its number. Robert C. Belville has served continuously in this office since 1897.

A complete list of the public school trustees or board mem­bers, superintendents and officers 1835‑1912, may be found in the Report of the Board of Education for 1912.

The first woman member of a Trenton board of education was Hannah L. Longmore, who served 1919 to 1923.

The presidents of the board from 1850 to 1928 have been as follows

Stacy G. Potts             1850‑1851

Benjamin S. Disbrow             1851‑1854

David Naar             1854‑1855, 1861‑1862, 18666‑1868

Roswell Howe             1855‑1856

Charles J. Ihrie             1856‑1859

Andrew Dutcher             1859‑1861

John Woolverton             1862‑1866

Edward H. Stokes             1868‑1870, 1871‑1874

William M. Lenox             1870‑1871

Lewis Parker             1874‑1878

Robert S. Woodruff             1878‑1879, 1895‑1896

Cornelius Shepherd             1879‑1880

Charles Megill               I880‑I88I, 1883‑1884

Morris C. Werkheiser             1881‑1882

William H. Mickel             1882‑1883

J. Fletcher Dickson             1884‑1885

Frank H. Lalor             1885‑1886

George W. Macpherson             1886‑1887

Frank O. Briggs             1887‑1888

John A. Campbell             1888‑1890

Charles M. Hattersley             1890‑1891

Leslie C. Pierson             1891‑1893

J. Howard Ronan             1893‑1894

Joseph K. Beans             1894‑1895

Carroll Robbins             1896‑1899

Samuel H. Bullock             1899‑1901, 1918‑1919

Charles W. Howell             1901‑1905

Willard H. Young             1905‑1908

Joseph Stevenson             1908‑1909

John A. Hartpence             1909‑1910

Charles H. English             1910‑1912

Joseph L. Bodine             1912‑1914

Herman C. Mueller             1914‑1918

James S. Messler   1919‑1921, 1928-         ­

Hannah L. Longmore              I921‑1922

James Hammond             1922‑1923

William G. Wherry             1923‑1926

John P. Dullard             1926‑1928

The following figures from reports of the Board of Educa­tion give a statistical picture of the growth of the Trenton public school system since 1850:

             BUILDINGS                                                                    EXPENDITURES            VALUE OF

            OWNED BY                                                                                                                 FOR      SCHOOL

YEAR         BOARD             TEACHERS                   PUPILS MAINTENANCE         PROPERTY

1850                   1                                    6                           355          $ 7,199

1855                   2                               10                                  912                                      6,213

1860                  5     26               1,506     10,627

1865                  5     28               1,571     16,894

1870                  7     35               2,010     29,266   $ 75,000

1875                10     62               2,286     46,840    150,000

1880                11     66               2,436     41,565    130,000

1885                16     78               3,024     63,219    154,000

1890                18                      135     5,454      106,022               337,338

1895                21                      160     6,351      135,699               478,906

1900                25                      204     7,986      207,555     570,589

1905                29                      294                 11,495                262,699         890,815

1910                 31                         377 13,380                         417,431                         1,067,107

1915                31   494                    16,667                         602,254             1,491,891

1920                32   555                    17,764             951,698             2,110,909

1925                33   673                    19,943                        1,843,084                 4,088,535

1928                34   711                    20,288                        2,209,791                 6,092,842

The year 1929 finds Trenton close to the achievement of a thoroughly adequate and modern public school system. One who looks back over the century it has taken to accomplish this is impressed by the devoted efforts of hundreds of faithful teach­ers and executives and of scores of public‑spirited members of official boards. A retrospective glance at the sarne time reveals the more important background of the picture, an ever‑increas­ing stream of young people passing through our schools and out into citizenship with lives made richer, fuller and more fruitful because of the privileges of our free public schools.

III. Private and Sectarian Schools


UNTIL the middle of the last century small private schools of varying degrees of proficiency were the principal source of whatever schooling, usually elementary only, that most children received. As the public schools developed the small private school began to disappear, although several excellent ones remain. Over one hundred of these private schools are known, but space will permit the mention of only a few.



The earliest newspaper advertisement of a school in Trenton was the following:

The Subscriber, hath lately opened a School in Trenton, and teaches the English Grammar, Reading, grammatically, Writing, Arithmetick, Vulgar and Decimal &c, agreeable to the newest Rules, and truest Method, practised by the best Teachers, and ap­proved of by all good judges; and being indefatigably diligent, he expects Encouragement from all who love the Improvement of Youth in Virtue and Learning.

N.B. He would teach the practical Branches of the Mathematicks, if required. His School opens at 6 o'Clock, A.M. with Morning and Evening Prayers. He has Accommodation for Half a Dozen Boarders.


18 The Pennsylvania Gazette, September 13, 1764,


Joseph Toy, who founded the Methodist society in Trenton in 1771, was here from that year until 1776. He advertised as follows:


The Subscriber begs Leave to inform his Friends and the Public, that he has opened a Boarding School in Trenton; it being a healthy pleasant situation, on a public post Road; where he teaches the English Language grammattically, Writing, Arithmetic, Book­keeping, after the Italian Method, Geometry, Trigonometry, Men­suration, Surveying, Gauging and Navigation.

The Advantages of such an Education are too obvious to need repeating here; and having himself been educated in that well known School at Burlington, and taught therein for several Years, hopes himself the better qualified for that arduous Task.

Those who please to favour him with the Care of their Children, may depend on his exerting his utmost Abilities to facilitate their Learning, instruct their Morals, preserve their Health, and, in every Respect, to approve his Conduct to God and Man.


N.B. Proper Care will be taken of their Clothes, &c.19


19 The Pennsylvania Gazette, January 9, 1772.


It is possible that both the Reid and Toy Schools were conducted in the brick building on the Presbyterian lot.

A gravestone in the pavement of the First Presbyterian Church reads

"To perpetuate the memory and the modest worth of Mrs. Mary Dunbar, this marble is placed over her grave, a tribute of the grateful and affec­tionate remembrance of her pupils, whom for three successive generations as schoolmistress she had taught in this city." She died December 9, 1808, aged 76 years.

Miss Mary Dagworthy, a sister of General John Dagworthy, at the time of the Revolution lived and taught school in the building on South Broad Street later known as the Eagle Hotel. She afterward became the (second) wife of Abraham Hunt.

The Rev. William Frazer, rector of St. Michael's Church from 1788‑95, conducted a boarding school for boys about this time, probably on Penning­ton Avenue. Among his pupils was Philip, the son of Alexander Hamilton.



About 1800 a Mr. Coles kept a school on the north side of East State Street. His successor, Joshua Slack, taught in the same building.

There was a Mrs. Hopkins' Boarding School in Bloomsbury in 1805.

Jared D. Fyler kept a "select school" in a building west of the State House. It was one of the principal schools of the time and attended by the children of many distinguished families. Fyler came from the South and was here about twenty years. He was succeeded by a Mrs. Nottingham in whose school Dr. F. A. Ewing was a teacher for several years. Dr. Ewing later conducted a school of his own on Chancery Court.

"In October, 1827, the celebrated Joseph Lancaster established his resi­dence here and opened a school. In the next year a girls' school was taught by Mrs. Lancaster," according to Dr. John Hall.

A Mrs. Carr "opened an Infant School, on the Pestalozzian Method . . . at the corner of Greene and Market Streets."

There was an old building used as a school for many years on the rear of a lot on Broad Street opposite Livingston Street. William S. Yard said that it was built before 1776 and that the Mullins, Wellings, Boyers, Collins's and Redmans taught there. The building was also used for public school pur­poses in early days.

Mr. and Mrs. Ely's School, later Mrs. Ely's boarding and day school for young ladies, was conducted at 95 State .Street in the late 1840's.

Hannah and Ann Newbold, daughters of Joshua Newbold, had a young ladies' boarding and day school in a one‑story building on what is now the site of the First Methodist Church.

The Mill Hill Academy was a primary school in the second story of the market building on Market Street fronting on Broad, before 1841.

John Hazard's "select school" is advertised at several locations over a period of twenty years.

In the 1830's there was a school in the old Masonic Hall on Front Street. Among the teachers were Robert Pittman, Daniel Z. Wright, Xenophon J. Maynard and Thomas J. Macpherson.

The Misses Mary F. and Emmeline R. Johnston had a boarding and day school at their home in the northern end of the Old Barracks, then a private house, from 1844‑68.

One of the most noted schools of this period was Roswell Howe's School for Boys. It was in a building at the rear of a lot opposite the State House, the school itself being near Quarry Alley. Mr. Howe was a prominent and highly respected citizen, and a trustee of the public schools 1852‑54.

Richard Lilley had a school on Pennington Avenue in the 1830's and early 1840's.

The Trenton Institute for Young Ladies was on South Stockton Street from approximately 1864 to 1883. Some of the teachers were Matilda Lewis, Eliza C. Morgan, Clara Bloodgood, Adriana Bullman and Sallie M. Riley. The building was bought by the board of education in 1884 and became the Stockton Street School and later the Administration Building.

Other schoolmasters at this period were William C. Ivins, who had a school on his farm near the present site of the McKinley Hospital on Brunswick Avenue, and George Miller, who had a school in several loca­tions and especially on Brunswick Avenue opposite McKinley Hospital.



The Bowen School was started by Ida R., Verde M. and Maude V. Bowen at their home in Trenton Junction in ioo4 with ten pupils. It was moved to 214 West State Street in 1913. At present there are 38 pupils. The courses include primary, intermediate and college preparatory work.

The Ireland Private School, conducted by Anna M. Ireland, began in igo8 with four children. This school has grown to number about one hundred pupils in 1928. Its classes include a kindergarten and the first nine grades and the school is located at 447 Chestnut Avenue.

The Prospect Hill Private School at 440 Bellevue Avenue was incorporated in 1917, not for profit. It is a modern cooperative school for children from the ages of four to sixteen, from kindergarten through the ninth grade.

The present principal is Edna V. Hughes, and the enrolment about 125 pupils.



As mentioned above, it is probable that the Society of Friends made some provision for elementary schooling in Trenton from the earliest times, but there are no records to prove it until 1807 when it is stated in the minutes of the Chesterfield Monthly Meeting that:


There is a school at . . . Trenton, superintended by a committee of the Preparative Meeting and taught by members of'the Society.


In 1817 the minutes of the Trenton Preparative Meeting record that:

The following named Friends are appointed Trustees to Friends' School in this place: Joshua Newbold, Samuel Coleman, Joseph Decou, Joseph Shirm and Lewis Evans, who are desired to pay the necessary attention thereto.


Later in the same year this committee reported that:

. . . as there are but very few children that are members of our society at the school [we] think it is a disadvantage and improper to keep a school in the Meeting house as this house is much dirted and the yard and fence much injured.


Occasional references to a school continue down to about 1842. Doubtless a number of Quaker children were sent to the Trenton Academy which included among its founders in 1781 such prominent Friends as Isaac Collins and Stacy Potts. Among teachers known to have conducted school at the Trenton meet­ing house were Robert Pittman, Abel North and Hannah Furman, Jr.



The extensive system of Roman Catholic parochial schools now in Trenton had its beginning in 1854. In that year the Rev. John P. Mackin established a school in the basement of St. John's Church which stood on the site of the present Sacred Heart Church. The first teachers were Anna McCaffrey and a Miss Scanlan. The first male teacher who was later employed was Peter P. Cantwell.

In 1861‑62 a small frame building for older boys was erected on Cooper Street in the rear of the church. Teachers in this building, which was used until 1876, were Peter P. Cantwell, Thomas Kehoe, John Dunphy, John Madden, Mr. McKeon, John McMahon, Patrick A. Hogan and William Roche. Mr. Hogan also conducted a night school at his home.

The cornerstone of St. John's School, a large brick building with sixteen rooms and an assembly hall, on Lamberton Street, was laid in 1874. There was a convent for the sisters at one end of the building and at the other a home for the Brothers of the Holy Cross. Classes began in 1876‑77. After a short period the brothers were succeeded by lay teachers for grown boys and the following were successively principals: D. J. Wallace, Reni Roc­fort and William J. Connor. The whole work of teaching was afterwards assumed by the Sisters of Charity. The Lamberton Street building was abandoned in 1923 when a new St. John's School was built adjacent to the Sacred Heart Church.

The first teaching nuns, who were of the order of the Sisters of Charity, came to Trenton in 1861, at the invitation of the Rev. Anthony Smith, to take charge of an orphan asylum on Broad Street, and to conduct classes for girls in the basement of St. John's Church. Outstanding among the sisters of this order, and still affectionately remembered by their pupils, were Sisters Monica, Veronica and Emiliana.

St. Francis' School began in a frame building on Market Street, built in 1856 by Father Gmeiner in the rear of the first Catholic Church. The school was at first in charge of the Sisters of Notre Dame. In 1869 the Sisters of St. Francis took charge. Meanwhile the church organization was moved to Front Street to the present St. Francis' Church, which building previously had belonged to the Methodists. The present St. Francis' School building on Front Street was erected about 1875.

In 1868 the Rev. Anthony Smith purchased lots on the corner of Bank and Chancery Streets and sometime later commenced the building of a school. St. Mary's School was first opened in October 1871 with about 170 pupils under the care of three Sisters of Charity. At the same time a high school was estab­lished with 40 pupils in connection with St. Mary's School. At first it included only grades through the ninth. In 1911 a com­plete four‑year high school course was adopted and officially approved as meeting the requirements of the State board of education. In 1921 Bishop Thomas J. Walsh designated the Cathedral High School as the central Catholic high school for the diocese. The enrolment in 1928‑29 was 725 pupils, represent­ing twenty‑five parochial schools. General, classical and com­mercial courses are offered.

St. Joseph's School was built on Sherman and St. Joe's Ave­nues in 1882. In 1891 a new school was erected and the old one became the dwelling of the Sisters of Charity. The school is now under the care of the Sisters of Mercy.

The first school in the Immaculate Conception Parish was a college for young men preparing to join the Franciscan Order, which was built in 1875 on Chestnut Avenue. In the same year a parish school was opened in the basement of the convent and was continued there until i88o when a new school was built. Additions were built in 1897 and new buildings in i9o6 and 1921. The Sisters of St. Francis are in charge. The old college building was replaced by a modern brick building in 1898. A high school was established in this parish in 1921 and its courses were extended to meet the requirements of the State board of education in 1925. The enrolment in 1928‑29 was 243 pupils.

The following parishes, treated more fully in a section of Chapter VIII on the Roman Catholic churches by John J. Cleary, also maintain parochial schools: St. Mary's Greek Cath­olic, St. Stanislaus', Holy Cross, SS. Peter and Paul, St. Joachim's, St. Hedwig's, St. Stephen's, Blessed Sacrament and St. James'.

Altogether the Roman Catholic parochial schools of Trenton have about 9,000 pupils.



The German Evangelical Trinity Lutheran Church has at various times conducted a school mostly in elementary subjects including both German and English. The first school was opened in the old church building in May 1849 and taught by the pastor, the Rev. Christian K. A. Brandt. In 1863 additional land, front­ing on Cooper Street and in the rear of the church, was acquired and two years later a small school building was erected. From 1868 to 1884 and from 1889 to 1893 Carl F. Lebtien was the teacher in charge.

In 1896 the pastor, the Rev. Hugo R. Wendel, aroused new interest in the school and in the following year the old building was torn down and replaced by a new one accommodating 200 pupils. The congregation, however, found the school a heavy financial burden and many parents preferred to send their chil­dren to the public schools. In 1899 the building was rented to the city board of education and used as an annex' to the public school system until 1926.



In the late 1890's or early 1900's a school called the Talmud­-Torah was organized, and sessions were held on the second floor of the Lavine Department Store on Union Street. The attend­ance reached 180 and at times there were three instructors.

When larger quarters were sought the Congregation of the Brothers of Israel became interested and decided to sponsor a movement for the erection of a school building. In 1904 a lot was purchased opposite the synagogue on Union Street, and a school building erected. This school flourished for a time and then waned. The building was sold to the board of education and used as an annex to the Parker School.

A frame dwelling, near the center of the Jewish community, was then acquired at 49 Union Street and the Hebrew school moved there. It was found that the school regained some of its attendance in the new location but that larger accommodations and wider backing were necessary.

Funds were raised, a new group took over the property from the Brothers of Israel and the building was considerably en­larged. This new school was opened formally in October 1926. The school is in session from 4 to 8 p.m. on week‑days and from 10 to 12 a.m. on Sundays. The Hebrew language, traditions and precepts are taught. The outstanding figure in the movement for this school was Rabbi Isaac Bunin, and the institution is named the Dr. Theodor Herzl's Zion Hebrew School.


IV. Other Schools

NEW JERSEY'S first Normal School, authorized by an Act of the Legislature in 1855, was opened in Trenton in the same year.20


20 This was a period of educational renaissance throughout the State, and among Trenton leaders were David Cole, principal of the Trenton Academy, and David Naar, editor of the True American. For further reference to David Cole, see p. 712. Of David Naar, John Bodine Thompson writes as follows in Murray's History of Education in New Jersey: "The acknowl­edged leader of the most powerful political party of the State, he used all the weight of both his political and personal influence to forward the edu­cational movements of the day. Naturally a ready and popular speaker, he possessed a remarkable talent for foreseeing the ultimate as well as the immediate effect of public measures. Hence he threw himself with all his energy into the effort to provide for the future of the Republic by the education of the people. He was for many years an active member of the school board of the city of Trenton, where his counsels were as wise as they were in the conclaves of his political party. Rising high above all selfish considerations, it was owing more to his influence than to that of any other one man that educational affairs in New Jersey were kept entirely aloof from the corrupting influences of party politics, and that the board of trus­tees of the Normal School and the State Board of Education were thor­oughly nonpartisan so long as he lived." See also p. 786, below.


There were then less than a dozen normal schools in the United States. The Act provided for a board of trustees, one of whom was David Cole of Trenton, who were authorized to seek proposals for grounds and buildings throughout the State. The trustees decided upon Trenton as the place for the new school, both because of its convenient location and because a group of public‑spirited citizens of Trenton raised funds for the first building. This building on North Clinton Avenue, still in use, cost $17,000 and was erected on land leased from William P. Sherman.



The first term of the State Normal School at Trenton began October 1, 1855, in the Trenton City Hall. The next week the school moved to temporary accommodations in a building owned by Dr. John McKelway on the corner of Hanover and Stockton Streets. The second term began March 17, 1856, in the new school building. At the same time in the new building a "model" or "pattern" school was opened so that Normal School students might have the opportunity of observing the "model" practices in teaching and school management. At the end of the first year there were 43 students in the Normal School and 125 pupils in the Model School. In 1857 a group of citizens purchased an adjacent lot and erected a separate building for the Model School. The total cost of land and building was $30,000. In 1865 the Legislature appropriated $38,000 for the purchase of both properties which had cost an association of Trenton citizens over $50,000.

The Boarding Hall, opened in 1865, was due also. to the enter­prise of private citizens, and in 1867 it was purchased by the State for $32,080. The Boys' Hall was erected in 1873, and in 1890 an additional building, containing the auditorium and connecting the Normal and Model school buildings. The gymnasium was built in 1893 and other additions in 1904 and 1914.

The principals have been: William F. Phelps, 1855‑65 ; John S. Hart, 1865‑71; Lewis M. Johnson, 1871‑76; Washington Hasbrouck, 1876‑89; James M. Green, 1889‑I9I7; Jerohn J. Savitz, 1917‑23 ; Don C. Bliss, 1923 to date. The Trenton Nor­mal School has made a profoundly important contribution to the cause of public education in New Jersey, and the long succession of capable educators comprising its faculty has added much to the enrichment of Trenton's intellectual life.

The Model School was for many years an important elemen­tary, secondary and preparatory school. Hundreds of Tren­tonians have profited by its excellent teaching. Its students were always charged fees, sufficient in total to pay the running ex­penses of the school, making it to that extent a private school. It was discontinued in 1917 and a public practice school, includ­ing kindergarten and the first six grades, established in its place.

There were 709 students in the Normal School and 232 pupils in the training school in 1928. During its history the Normal School has graduated over 9,100 students.

In 1891 the management of the Normal School was trans­ferred from a board of trustees to the State board of education, while in 1926 the control was given to the commissioner of edu­cation, subject to the State board's approval of general plans and policies.

There is no charge for tuition to those students who agree to teach at least two years in New Jersey. The general program of study has been a two‑year course. Besides training teachers for general elementary schools, courses have been offered in recent years to prepare teachers in the special fields of commercial work, manual training, health and physical education and music.

In 1925 the Normal School was empowered to grant the de­gree of B.S. in Education on the successful completion of the four‑year course then offered. After September 1929 all Stu­dents preparing to teach in elementary schools will be required to take a three‑year course, those preparing for junior or senior high school work, a four‑year course.

In 1929 the title of the school was changed to the "State Teachers' College and State Normal School at Trenton."

A new site of about one hundred acres on the Pennington Road at Hillwood Lakes was purchased for this school by the State in 1928. The erection of new buildings will shortly be begun, and the old site and buildings ultimately abandoned.



New Jersey's school for the deaf was the result of an Act of the Legislature in 1882. The school was opened October 16, 1883, in the buildings on Hamilton Avenue, between Chestnut Avenue and Division Street, which had been built by the State at the close of the Civil War and occupied by the Soldiers' Chil­dren's Home. From 1821 until 1883 the State had made provi­sion for the education of the deaf children by appropriations enabling them to be sent to institutions in other States. The school was first called "The New Jersey Institution for the Deaf and Dumb of New Jersey." In 1884 this title was changed to "The New Jersey School for Deaf Mutes" and in 1903 to "The New Jersey School for the Deaf."

From its establishment until 1891 the school was administered by a board of trustees of eleven members, including the gov­ernor, the comptroller and the superintendent .of public instruc­tion. This board was abolished in 1891 and the school was placed under the control of the State board of education, making it a part of the public school system of the State‑a boarding school for deaf residents between the ages of six and twenty‑one.

From time to time the State made improvements and addi­tions to the buildings, but as they became increasingly inadequate it was decided to build anew. By an appropriation in 1917 the board was enabled to buy a tract of one hundred acres on Sulli­van Way, near Trenton Junction. Subsequent appropriations permitted the erection of the handsome group of buildings now occupied. Those for the primary department were completed in 1923 and those for older pupils in 1926. The Hamilton Avenue property was then abandoned.

The new school plant is the most modern and best‑equipped school for the deaf in the United States. The pupils are at once taught speech and lip reading and all communication in the class­room is oral. In the industrial department the pupils have the opportunity of learning the fundamentals of a trade. Every effort is made to train the deaf children of the State to become intelligent self‑supporting citizens. The pupils have increased from 90 in 1882 to 315 in 1928.

The superintendents of the school have been Weston Jenkins, 1883‑99; John P. Walker, 1899‑1916; Walter Kilpatrick, 1916­-17; Alvin E. Pope, 1917 to date.

The old stone house now used as the superintendent's resi­dence was once the home of the Rev. Eli F. Cooley, pastor of the Ewing Presbyterian Church, through whose efforts the State in 1821 made its first appropriation for the education of the deaf.



The School of Industrial Arts grew out of the Evening Draw­ing School conducted on North Broad Street (Bergen Build­ing) by the commissioners of public instruction, as the school board of that time was called. The Evening Drawing School was established November 3, 1890, under the direction of Joseph Crampton, an earnest and skilful teacher whose "interest was unremitting and not confined to stated hours of service."

Over a period of ten years Charles E. Roberts, counsellor‑at-­law, who had been a teacher in the evening schools, kept before the public the need for establishing an art school in Trenton and finally, as a result of his efforts, Mayor Welling G. Sickel in 1897 appointed a public committee to consider the matter. This committee in reporting on January 3, 1898, called attention to the Evening Drawing School under Mr. Crampton and also to a State law on industrial education passed in 1881. This law provided that when a school board appropriated, or private citi­zens donated, money for industrial education, the State would supplement the fund by an equal amount up to $5,000 in one year. The school having expended $883.60 on the Evening Drawing School, it was believed that an equal amount could be obtained from the State. The law provided also that the school board could associate with itself in the administration of such a fund and such a school a number of persons not ex­ceeding ten representing the donors. The committee recom­mended that the school commissioners, having in fact a school of industrial arts already, should take action based on this law. This recommendation, after further conferences, was followed. The Evening Drawing School became "The Trenton School of Technical Science and Art" and was formally opened as such April 4, 1898. Charles F. Binns, a ceramist of long training and experience, was the first principal. The school commissioners created an advisory board consisting of Walter S. Lenox, G. D. W. Vroom, John A. Campbell and Frank O. Briggs. The school was continued for the rest of the school year in the same quarters. On September 12 it was reopened in the old Trenton Academy building, which the board rented for the purpose. There were classes both afternoon and evening. Later in the same year Archibald Maddock, Charles E. Roberts, Edward C. Stover, Welling G. Sickel and Dr. Thomas H. Mackenzie were added to the advisory board of which Mr. Campbell was elected chairman.

Mr. Binns resigned in 1900 and was succeeded as principal by John Ward Stimson who in turn was succeeded in 1901 by Henry McBride. Mr. McBride was designated "director" and he served in that capacity until 1906.

During the year 1901‑02 the school was conducted in the Union Library Building and then it was moved to 219 East State Street.

On December 12, 1901, the name was changed to "The School of Industrial Arts."

In 1903 the control of the school was transferred from the board of education to a board of trustees appointed by the gov­ernor. Frank Forrest Frederick, the present director of the school, was appointed in 1906, and during his administration the enrolment and scope of the school have been considerably increased.

Henry C. Kelsey, who for many years was secretary of state in New Jersey, had for some time observed the work of the school and in agog he offered to erect a suitable building for the art school in memory of his wife, Prudence Townsend Kelsey. Needless to say, his offer was accepted by the trustees with the enthusiastic approval of the city. A site was acquired on the southwest corner of West State and Willow Streets and the present building was erected in 1910 at a total cost of $142,000, all of which was borne by Mr. Kelsey. Cass Gilbert was the architect. In March 1911 the school moved into its new quarters which have ever since been a matter of pride to the city.

In 1919 by appropriation from the city commission the trus­tees acquired a lot on Quarry Street and built a shop building, permitting a further extension of this kind of work. Consider­able addition was made to the shop building in 1924.

In 1912 a "day technical course" was added to the curriculum.

The school continues to operate under the Act of 1881 and subsequent amendments. The official title of the governing body is the "Board of Trustees of Schools for Industrial Education of the City of Trenton," which on January 1, 1929, consisted of Frank S. Katzenbach, Jr. (president), John A. Campbell, Thomas F. Riley, John S. Broughton, J. Osborne Hunt, Her­man C. Mueller and Albert E. Schoeller. Robert C. Belville is secretary. The faculty at present consists of the director, 10 full­time and 44 part‑time instructors. The appropriation for 1928 was $44,100 from the city and $30,000 from the State. There were 1,442 students on January 1, 1929, about four‑fifths of whom are enrolled in evening classes. Altogether over 15,000 persons have availed themselves of the privileges of this school during its existence.

As the current catalog states,


The School offers day and evening courses in fine art, industrial art or fine art applied to industries, in several of the art‑crafts, in dressmaking and millinery, and for the training of artisans in clay, wood and metal. It offers, in evening classes, to men and boys employed during the day, voca­tional courses for the machine, building, automobile, electrical and ceramic trades; and, in day classes, courses for boys who wish to fit themselves for careers in the industries. In addition, it conducts classes for teachers and for children on Saturday mornings.



For over a half century Trenton has had the good fortune to have one or more excellent schools giving training for com­mercial work, formerly known as "business colleges."

The first of such schools was established 1865, in Temperance Hall, by Bryant and Stratton, a firm that had similar schools in several other cities. The next year Andrew J. Rider, then of Newark, was placed in charge, and the location changed to 20‑22 East State Street. Shortly afterward Mr. Rider and Joseph A. Beecher acquired ownership, Mr. Rider continuing as principal until 1873. Mr. Beecher then sold his interest to William B. Allen. At this period the school was called the Capi­tal City Commercial College. In 1878 Mr. Rider acquired full control and returned to the active management of the school. It was incorporated in July 1893 and was then generally known as the Rider Business College. For a time it was located in the for­mer Masonic Temple on the corner of State and Warren Streets, and later in the Ribsam Building on the corner of Broad and Front Streets. In 1898 Mr. Rider sold his interests to Franklin B. Moore and the school took the name of Rider‑Moore Busi­ness College.

The Stewart and Hammond Business College was organized in 1883 by Thomas J. Stewart and William P. Hammond. Two years later Mr. Stewart became the sole owner and principal, and the name of the school was afterward changed to the Stew­art Business College and School of Shorthand and Typewriting. Its location for many years was 10 South Broad Street. In 1901 Mr. Stewart sold his interests to John E. Gill.

In the same year, 1901, Messrs. Moore and Gill decided to consolidate the two schools under the name Rider‑Moore and Stewart Schools of Business. In 1920 the owners built a large and well‑equipped school building on the corner of East State and Carroll Streets, and the school took the name Rider College. At the same time the curriculum was considerably improved and extended. In 1922 the State board of education granted Rider College permission to confer the degrees of Bachelor of Ac­counts and Bachelor of Commercial Science, and in 1927 the State board permitted the conferring of Masters' degrees in the same subjects for postgraduate work. In addition to general business training Rider College gives courses leading to the Bachelor degree in accountancy, business administration, secre­tarial science and commercial teacher training. The enrolment for 1928 was 1,938 students, representing 34 States and 11 countries. Franklin B. Moore is president and John E. Gill vice-president and dean.


V. Public Libraries


THE modern free public library, owned by the municipal­ity and supported out of taxation, is largely a develop­ment of the last fifty years. The beginning of the public library, however, may be traced back to Benjamin Franklin, who relates in his
Autobiography how he "set on foot" his "first project of a public nature, that of a subscription library."  The         idea grew out

of the famous Junto Club, the members of which for a time clubbed their books in a common library. In 1731 Franklin drew

up proposals for a subscription library and procured fifty subscribers at an initial subscription of forty shillings each and ten shillings per year thereafter. Thus was founded the Library Company of Philadelphia, which, Franklin goes on to say, "was the mother of all the North American subscription libraries, now so numerous." It was a "public" library in a sense. Any one of proven respectability was eligible to acquire a share of stock and become a subscriber. Further­ more, the librarian was, by the rules, allowed to permit "any civil gentleman to peruse the books of the library in the library room, but not to lend to or suffer to be taken out of the library by any person who is not a subscribing member, any of said books." Thus in a limited way the Philadelphia Library became a public reading‑room.



One of the earliest known children of this mother library was the Trenton Library Company founded in 1750 by Dr. Thomas Cadwalader, who gave f500 for that purpose. Dr. Cadwalader had been one of the original incorporators of the Philadelphia Library and one of its directors at intervals from 1731 to 1774. From 1743 to 1750 he lived in Trenton, serving as chief burgess under the royal charter of that period. His gift appears to have been made shortly before he returned to reside again in his native city of Philadelphia. Through this benevolence Trenton has the honor of the first "public" library in New Jersey.

We have little record of the Trenton Library Company, its rules and form of organization, until its reorganization in 1797, although we may presume it was a stock company following rather closely the scheme of the Philadelphia Library Company. It is likely that each subscribing member bought one or more shares of stock and paid a stated annual amount toward upkeep. The books were probably housed in a rented room which was opened at certain hours once or twice a week. Notices published in the Pennsylvania Journal and the Pennsylvania Gazette indi­cate that an annual meeting of the members was held the second Monday of April for the election of directors and a treasurer and the transaction of business. A few of these newspaper notices follow.


Trenton, March 27, 1759.
The Library Company of Trenton, meets at the house of William Yard in Trenton, on Monday the ninth day of April next at twelve o'clock, to choose their Directors and Treasurer, and to make their ninth annual payment.

MOORE FURMAN, Secretary 21


21 Pennsylvania Journal, March 29, 1759.

The Members of the Trenton Library Company are desired to meet at the House of Isaac Yard, in Trenton, on the second Monday in April next, at

Ten of the Clock in the Forenoon, in order to make their Eleventh Annual  Payment, chuse Directors and Treasurer, and settle the Company's Ac­counts. By Order of the Directors.

SAMUEL TUCKER, junior, Secretary.22


22 Pennsylvania Gazette, March 12, 1761.


Trenton, May 13, 1765.


Whereas several of the Members of the Trenton Library Company have been deficient in making their annual Payments, which is very prejudicial to the Growth of so valuable an Institution; the said Delinquents are hereby earnestly requested to discharge their Arrearages by the first Day of July next, otherwise the Directors will proceed to make Sale of their respective Shares to discharge the same, agreeable to the Articles. And any of the Members, or others, who have either of the following Books belonging to the said Library, viz., Oldmixon's History of England; first Volume of Granville's Works; Pomfret's Poems; Trail of the Witnesses; first Volume Independent Whig; several Volumes Plutarch's Lives; Presbyterian Loy­alty; third Volume Pope's Works; Life of the Dutchess of Marlborough; second Volume Rambler; Harvey's Meditations, both Volumes; Mundrell's Travels; or any other of said Books, which have been out longer than their respective limited times, are desired to return them to the Librarian as soon as possible, or they may expect to be proceeded against. Signed, by Order of the Directors, by Stacy Potts, Secretary and Librarian. 23


23 ibid., May 23, 1765.

Trenton, April 7, 1766.


The Members of the Trenton Library Company are desired to meet at the House of Isaac Yard, in Trenton, on the 14th Day of this instant April, at Two o'clock in the Afternoon, to choose a Treasurer and Directors, and make their Sixteenth Annual Payment, agreeable to their Articles. And as it is expected the Company will order the Shares of the Delinquents to be disposed of, the Members are requested generally to attend.

Per Order, STAGY POTTS, Secretary 24


24 ibid., April l0, 1766.


Samuel Smith's History of New Jersey, in enumerating some of the merits of Trenton in 1765, says that "the inhabitants have a public library."

The Revolution then came and with it disaster. The library seems to have been almost wholly destroyed by the British in December 1776. Force's American Archives states, under date of December 31, 1776, that the enemy "have degraded them­selves beyond the power of language to express by wantonly destroying," among other things, "an elegant public library at Trenton." Some of the books survived, probably those that hap­pened to be out of the library at the time of the ravages. There are no records of any activity in the Trenton Library Company during the next few years, but as the successful culmination of the Revolution loomed ahead, efforts were apparently made, as the following notices indicate, to revive this worthy institution.


The Members of the Trenton Library Company are desired to meet at the House of Renssalaer Williams, Esquire, in Trenton, on Monday the fifteenth Day of this Instant, at two o'clock in the afternoon.

January 3, 1781.25


25 New Jersey State Gazette, Vol. IV, January 3, 1781.


Trenton, State of New‑Jersey, Jan. 31, 1781.
The Trenton Library Company being desirous to renew the same, request all such Members, and every other person in this state who may have any  of the Books belonging thereto, to deliver or send them immediately.


N.B. Any person living at a distance, and having books, the expense of transportation will be paid by the Librarian. 26


26 ibid., Vol. IV, January 31, 1781.


We have no further record until 1797, except that, at the an­nual meeting of the company in 1796, a committee was appointed to collect the amendments that had previously been made to the constitution. In 1797, at a meeting of the members held at Drake's Tavern, an effective reorganization is indicated by the survival of a quaint old pamphlet entitled "Laws and Regula­tions of the Trenton Library Company agreed to by the Said Company on the First Monday in May, 1797." The pamphlet was printed in Trenton in 1798 by Matthias Day. One copy is preserved in the Trenton Free Public Library and another in the library of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. In addition to the "laws and regulations" the pamphlet contains the "rules made by the Directors . . . on the second Monday in May, 1797, respecting the Attendance on the Library and the lending and hire of Books," a list of the proprietors at the time and a catalogue of the books in the Library.

According to the "Laws and Regulations" any person ap­proved by the directors might become a member or proprietor by paying the value of a share. A member might have "as many shares as he may think proper" but he was entitled to only one vote. Every member was required to pay one dollar per year for each share that he held and penalties were provided for being in arrears. A member two years in default forfeited his stock and "shall be considered no longer a member." An annual elec­tion was to be held on the second Monday in May, and the offi­cers to be chosen were a "Treasurer and five other members to be Directors for the year ensuing." The directors were required to "meet at least once in two months" to attend to the routine business of the company, including the choosing of books for the library. "The said Directors shall also, from time to time, when necessary, appoint a Secretary and Librarian, and such other officers and servants as they may find necessary, with such wages and allowances as they may think adequate to their services."

The "rules" numbered ten and a quotation of some of them will show the library practice of that time.


RULE 1 27

The Librarian to give attendance at the Library Room Wednesdays and Saturdays, every week, from eleven till one o'clock, on said days; to keep a book, ruled column‑wise, in which is to be entered the name of the person borrowing, the title of the book, the number, the time for which the book is lent, the day when to be returned, the sums received for the hire of books, and the forfeitures arising from defaults.


27 The actual record of books issued as required by the above rule, cover­ing the period November 12, 1831, to April 25, 1855, is now in the possession of the Free Public Library.



No borrower to be entitled to more than one book at one time, to be returned, if a folio, in four weeks, a quarto, in three weeks, octavo, and others of a smaller size, in two weeks, unless the borrower be a member living upwards of one mile from the Library, in which case he may retain any of the books four weeks, without being subject to a penalty; and no borrower shall be at liberty to take out the same book a second time, if application has been made to the Librarian by any other person before the return thereof.



Every borrower, not being a member of the company, shall deposit with the Librarian double the sum marked in the catalogue, against the book he borrows, as a security for returning the book without damage, within the limited time for books of that size, and paying the hire thereof, and shall pay one shilling per week for folios, and six‑pence per week for books of a smaller size, for the benefit of the Library.


The list of the proprietors or stockholders includes so many of the prominent Trentonians of that period that it is reprinted herewith:


Abraham Hunt                                Isaac Collins                                Philemon Dickinson

Lambert Cadwalader                                Ephraim Olden                                Aaron Howell

Aaron D. Woodruff                                Richard Howell                                Aaron Dunham

George Anderson                                Pontius D. Stelle                                Willis Pearson

Archibald W. Yard                                James Mott                                Nathan Combes

Rebecca Frazer                                Joseph Milnor                                Benjamin Smith

Peter Gordon                                Benoni Waterman                                Matthias Day

Alexander Chambers, jun.                                Nicholas Belleville                                Joseph Brearly

Nathan Beakes                                William Green                                Israel Carle

John Beatty                                William Tindall                                Samuel Moore, jun.

James F. Armstrong                                Isaac Smith                                John Chambers

Moore Furman                                John Potts                                John Rickey

James Ewing                                William Smith                                Philemon Hunt

John Allison                                William S. Moore                                Samuel Leake

Robert Pearson                                Maskell Ewing                                Abraham G. Claypoole

Jacob Benjamin                                Jonathan Doan                                James B. Machett

Richard Throckmorton                                Bernard Hanlon                                Thomas M. Potter

John Vandegrift                                John C. Hummel                                Lucius H. Stockton

Randle Rickey                                Mary and Sarah Barnes                                John E. Spencer

Joseph Brumley                                Lewis Evans                                 John Rutherford


The "Catalogue of Books" is naturally of interest as indica­tive of the tastes and available literature of the day. The titles are listed according to size. There were 2 folios, 6 quartos, 94 octavos and 140 duodecimos. One of the folios, History of Edward III, presented by Maskell Ewing, may still be exam­ined, though in a much crumbled condition, in the present Free Public Library, as well as about thirty others of the actual volumes listed in this catalogue. The quaint bookplates identify the respective volumes in accordance with the numbers assigned by the catalogue.

The selection of books was of a high order of excellence and of wide variety, and some comment thereon may be worthy of inclusion. The fare for the novel‑reader was scant but hearty. It must be remembered that in 1797 the English novel was in its infancy. Most of the fathers of the art now so prolific were then still living or but lately passed away. Samuel Richardson, the first of English novelists, is represented by Pamela in four vol­umes, Clarissa Harlowe in eight volumes, and Sir Charles Grandison in seven volumes. Henry Fielding's offering was Tom Jones. Tobias Smollett was represented by Roderick Ran­dom, Peregrine Pickle and Humphrey Clinker; and Laurence Sterne by his Works in seven volumes. Sterne's imitator, now long forgotten, Henry Mackenzie, was credited with The Man of Feeling, The Man of the World and Julia de Roubigne. The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith is listed. It had then proved itself a classic by thirty years of existence and it has continued to be read by each successive generation. Other novels are Evelina, Cecilia and Camilla by Fanny Burney (Madame D'Arblay) ; The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis; Romance of the Forest and The Italian, thrillers by Mrs. Anne Radcliffe. Translated from other languages are Don Quixote by Cervantes, Gil Blas by Le Sage and Telemachus by Fenelon. Among the poets are found Ossian, Milton, Prior, Young, Pope, Cowper and Burns, the latter two then contemporary. The liberal mind­edness of the directors is shown by the inclusion of William Godwin's Political Justice and Tom Paine's Works. There was apparently no censoring of radicals. Dr. Samuel Johnson, who died in 1784, is represented by The Adventurer, The Rambler, Journey to Scotland, Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides and Lives of the English Poets, while Boswell's Life of the great doctor, then a comparatively new book, was available. Periodicals include four volumes of The Tatler, eight volumes of The Spectator, three volumes of Gentleman's Magazine, thirteen volumes of The Monthly Review and three volumes of The Mirror. Travel is numerously represented, likewise his­tory, including Hume and Gibbon. Among practical books are found Clarks's Farriery, Peters's Agriculture, Logan's Agri­culture and Gallatin on Finance. There are plays, essays, biog­raphy, a few sermons and other religious works. Among peren­nial masterpieces are Lady Montagu's Letters; Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, a new book in 1776; and The Federalist, first published in book form in 1788.

Each entry in the catalogue includes the value of the book. Smith's History of New Jersey, of course in the first edition, is given a value of $1.33. The collector who aspires to own this rare volume today must be willing to pay at least $60.00 for the privilege. The last title in the catalogue, "Crawford's Poems, presented by the Author" is appraised, perhaps generously, at 25 cents. Of greater value was Sermons to Asses, presented by Randle Rickey and valued at 66 cents.

Another catalogue of the Trenton Library Company was printed in 1804. 28  The number of volumes had now grown to seven hundred and they were classified not according to size but by subject, in ten classes.


28 Murray, History of Education in New Jersey.


Another similar catalogue was issued in 1819, a copy of which is in the library of the American Philosophical Society.

On February 17, 1813, a number of the stockholders peti­tioned the Legislature for permission to erect a house on a part of the government lot 29 to be used as a library room. The build­ing was not to exceed twenty by thirty feet. Permission was granted, the House approving it on the I9th and the Council on the 20th, but there is no evidence that such a house was ever erected. The library doubtless continued to be accommodated in a rented room.


29 The "government lot" meant the grounds and site of the governor's mansion on West State Street. The mansion is now the front part of the Hotel Sterling.


It would appear that the Trenton Library Company continued to be active down into the 1830's and then entered into a period of decline. At the annual meeting of the stockholders in 1832 the matter of the sale of the library was discussed but no action taken at the time. The previously mentioned extant record of books issued from November 12, 1831, to April 25, 1855, shows diminishing activity. In 1832, 717 books were issued; in 1837, 159 ; in 1842, 109 ; in 1847, 25 ; in 1852, 17. Apparently the active proprietors of the flourishing days had died and no "new blood" filled their places. New leaders arose in the community who deemed it better to start a new organization to meet the reading needs of the day. On May 20, 1855, after more than a century of service, the Trenton Library Company wrote finis to its long and honorable career by transferring its books to the recently organized Trenton Library Association.



In May 1811, Daniel Fenton, bookseller and publisher, estab­lished at his home and place of business in Mill Hill, the Chris­tian Circulating Library. The following month he moved to South Warren Street nearly opposite the Trenton Bank. This Library at first consisted of religious books. It did not prosper and Fenton increased its scope by adding secular literature. "It is natural to suppose," his advertisement states, "that the sub­scriber has a view to private interest in the line of his business; but with this is truly combined a wish to improve young minds by giving an opportunity to cultivate a taste for useful and gen­eral reading." He regrets that not "every paragraph or part of a book can pass the inspection of the conductor" but he promises that "no book shall be put in circulation which shall not more or less have the apparent tendency to promote the great object of religion, virtue and morality." Still the Library did not prosper, and Fenton announced in March 1812 that he must either give up the project or raise the dues to subscribers from $3.00 to $4.00 per year and increase the number of patrons to one hun­dred, ministers being on the free list. Books were given out Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. In December 1812 he announced additions to the shelves. There is no later mention of the Christian Circulating Library.



The Apprentices' Library Company was established in 1821, the opening exercises having been held on the evening of Decem­ber 31. The library was benevolently intended for the young working men of the day, and one may infer that they did not patronize the older Trenton Library Company, which must have served principally the genteel and elite. Perhaps the organi­zation of the Apprentices' Library Company of Trenton was inspired by the Apprentices' Library Company of Philadelphia, which was founded a year earlier, in 1820, and is still in active operation.

The first annual meeting of the Apprentices' Library Com­pany was held April 20, 1822. A few interesting extracts from the report 30 which was there presented are as follows:


30 Given in Raum's History of Trenton, p. 226.


The board of managers of said company respectfully report . . . that, on the evening of the 31st of December, at the request of the board, and agree ably to public notice, Charles Ewing, Esq., president of the society, delivered, in the Presbyterian meeting‑house, to a numerous and attentive audience, an appropriate and eloquent address on the utility and importance of this and similar institutions. 31


31 Mr. Ewing in 1824 became chief justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey and this address here mentioned, has survived in manuscript form and is preserved in the Free Public Library.


That, on the evening of the 1st of January, the library was for the first time opened, when thirty‑five volumes were taken out by apprentices and other young persons.

That, from a report of the librarian to your board, it appears that the number of volumes taken out each week, since the opening of the library, has been, on an average, about seventy‑five, ninety‑three being the highest number in any one week, and fifty‑five the lowest.

From the same report, it appears that the whole amount of fines incurred, for the detention of books beyond the time allowed in the by‑laws, is but one dollar and seven cents, of which all but fifteen cents have been paid; that all the books borrowed (except two taken out two weeks ago, and those taken out on Saturday evening last, all of which will he returned, probably, this evening), have been returned, and all in good order.

These facts are highly honorable to our youth, and encouraging to this society. They prove that they properly estimate our motives, and set a just value on this institution, while they are a pledge to us that our continued and increased exertions to place useful knowledge within their reach will not be in vain.

Let it be further observed, to their credit, that the library, from which they draw seventy‑five volumes weekly, contains no novels, romances, or plays, which are so apt to captivate juvenile imaginations, but is composed of works of more sterling value and lasting usefulness‑on religion, morality, and science, history, biography, travels, voyages, etc . . . .

On the whole, the board offer their cordial congratulations to the society on the experiment made and the prospect presented, and earnestly hope that none who have lent their aid to so good a work will become weary of well doing.


In December 1828, according to a notice in the Trenton Fed­eralist, the Apprentices' Library was "placed in the hands of the `Trenton Literary Society,' " and opened for the loaning of books, "under the like guarantees as formerly," at the Trenton Academy. Much later notices appear in the State Gazette in April 1845 when "persons having books in their possession be­longing to the `Apprentices' Library' are requested to return them immediately to the subscriber" who was B. S. Disbrow. It was "proposed to place the Library in charge of a Society recently organized, under whose direction, the books may be made useful to a large portion of our citizens."

When the Apprentices' Library finally ceased operations, the books, according to Raum, continued for many years in the possession of the librarian, Samuel Evans. They were finally placed in the custody of the Y.M.C.A., along with the books of several other defunct libraries.



The next "public" library came about in 1852 in the organiza­tion of the Trenton Library Association. It was first opened in the corner store of Temperance Hall (now Goldberg's) and in the following year was moved to the second story of Charles Scott's new building on Greene (Broad) Street, just below State Street. A "Catalogue of the Trenton Library Association with their rules and regulations" printed in 1853, as well as many of the volumes listed therein, are in the present Free Public Library. Some of the volumes continue in active circulation. The book selection was of surprising excellence and totaled over 1,500 volumes. The classification headings were Agriculture and Horticulture; Biography; History; Travels, Voyages and Geog­raphy; Polite Literature; Speculative and Political Philosophy; Physical Science; Natural History; Fiction; Miscellaneous. In the fiction list we find represented Thackeray, Dickens, D'Israeli, Cooper, Lever, Hawthorne, Kingsley, Borrow, Melville, Mar­ryat and Bronte. Harriet Beecher Stowe's recently published Uncle Tom's Cabin is also listed.

From the "Rules and Regulations" one learns that


The Library and Reading Room shall be open four times a week, on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday evenings, from 7 to 9 o'clock, and on Thursday afternoons, from 3 to 4 o'clock.

Stockholders shall pay $1.50 annually, in half yearly payments, in advance.

Responsible persons, not stockholders, shall be entitled to the use of the Library, whenever open, and to take to their own houses, subject to the prescribed regulations‑one octavo, or two duodecimo volumes at a time, on paying in advance fifty cents every three months. And those under eighteen years of age, may take out one book at a time, on their depositing with the Librarian, sufficient security for the return thereof, in good con­dition; or on presenting a written guarantee from a stockholder of this Association, for the safe and proper return thereof.


Folios and quartos were issued for four weeks, octavos and books of less size for two weeks with privilege of renewal, unless requested by another stockholder or subscriber or unless the book was a recent addition that had been in the library less than two months. Overdue fines were three cents per day for folios and quartos, two cents per day for octavos and smaller volumes. On books overdue more than a week the above fines were doubled.

In 1855 the directors of the Trenton Library Association reported that there were 79 stockholders and 51 annual subscribers, an annual revenue from these sources Of $220.50, and that, "as nearly as can be ascertained," there were 1606 volumes in the library. The annual expenses of the Association were estimated at $175 without including the salary of the librarian (one hun­dred dollars), which one of the directors had undertaken to raise by voluntary contributions. The hours of opening had been increased since 1852, the library now being "open daily, from ten o'clock till one in the mornings, and from three till five in the afternoons, and on every Monday evening from seven o'clock till nine."

The report continues:

There are many useful books in the library, and it is to be regretted that the most useful are the least read. If the community choose to sustain this institution, enlarge its resources, and avail themselves of the instruction already contained in its sixteen hundred volumes, it will be both creditable and profitable to them .to do so.

The present directors had, with the aid of some liberal gentlemen, suc­ceeded in paying off the old debts and providing means for adding to the library when the fire of December last occurred. It will now be necessary for the association to pay for rebinding ,the books injured by the fire, and also for buying new books. This may be easily done if the community will take a proper interest in the prosperity of the library, and it is believed that the same public spirit which has raised the institution will sustain it and carry it on successfully.


The Trenton Library Association found it a struggle to con­tinue. A printed circular dated January 1, 1858, appeals to share­holders "for aid in sustaining the Library, by using their influ­ence to add to the number of subscribers, and by promptly paying their dues to the Treasurer." A manuscript roll book of stockholders, preserved in the Free Public Library, shows no payments after January 1861, although among several extant notices of indebtedness is one dated December 9, 1862.

Probably preoccupation with the Civil War had something to do with the demise of this Association. Its collection of books afterward passed into the possession of the Y.M.C.A.



The Y.M.C.A. was organized in Trenton in 1856. It is prob­able that one of its activities was the maintenance of a public reading room, and, as previously mentioned, it came into possession, probably in the late '60's, of the books of the Appren­tices' Library Company and the Trenton Library Association. Raum, in 1871, says that the Y.M.C.A. "has a splendid library of several thousand volumes, and various newspapers of the day are to be found in its rooms. The rooms are now located at 20 and 22 East State Street, over Titus and Scudder's dry goods store." A daily register of readers who used the Y.M.C.A. read­ing rooms, January 1875‑September 1878, has come down into the custody of the Free Public Library.

The Y.M.C.A. subsequently went into temporary eclipse. Hageman, in his History o f Mercer County, says "it quietly breathed its last in 1879." However, it came to life again in 1886, as recorded in Chapter IX.



Trenton's orphaned; libraries next, in March 1879, came under the kindly ministration of the W.C.T.U., which had been started in Trenton in 1876. For the next two decades this organi­zation strove to meet Trenton's library needs. At first it con­tinued in the same location where it succeeded the Y.M.C.A.,­at 20 and 22 East State Street. The books which it took over numbered about 3,500 volumes. Appreciating the need of more adequate quarters, the W.C.T.U. in 1883 fostered the founda­tion of the Union Library Company, a stock company with a capital of $30,000. The stock was subscribed for by public-­spirited citizens.

Under the supervision of the board of directors the building on East State Street adjacent to the present postoffice was erected in 1885, the first floor being given over to library use. Under the terms of the subscription the whole building, still the head­quarters of the W.C.T.U., was leased to this organization for a period of ten years at the nominal rental of $1.00 per year.

In 1885 there was printed a "Catalogue of the Public Library, Union Library Building, East State Street, Trenton, N.J." Mrs. L. E. Allen was librarian. Subscription terms were $2.00 per year, $1.oo for six months, 50 cents for three months, 25 cents for one month or five cents a book with the privilege of keeping it one week. Subscribers were entitled to one book at a time, which could be retained for two weeks. Additional volumes could be borrowed for one week at a charge of five cents each. The fine on overdue books was one cent per day. The library then contained about 3100 volumes.

In 1895 the library had grown to about 7,000 volumes be­sides including many of the leading newspapers and periodicals of the day. The Union Library was Trenton's "public" library until the organization in 1900 of the present municipally owned Free Public Library. The Union Library still maintains a small rental library numbering about 1,500 volumes.



Trenton has been fortunate in having in its midst the State Library of New Jersey, one of the oldest of its kind in the United States. It takes its origin in a resolution adopted by Legislature March 18, 1796, wherein Maskell Ewing, clerk of the House of Assembly, was ordered to procure a case in which to keep and preserve the books belonging to the Legislature.

In 1804 the Legislature appointed a Committee on Rules, which catalogued the library and found 168 volumes. In 1813 the first "Act concerning the State Library" was passed. In 1822 an Act provided for the appointment of a state librarian annually by joint meeting. Previously the clerk of the House was charged with the custody of the books.

A law library, owned by the Law Library Association of which Stacy G. Potts was treasurer and librarian, had meanwhile been formed. It was kept in the Supreme Court Room until 1837 when the Legislature authorized its consolidation with the State Library.

The Legislature by joint resolution on March 11, 1856, granted to the clergymen of Trenton the same privileges of using the books of the State Library as were already enjoyed by the lawyers.

The State Library today consists of a law and general refer­ence library with a legislative reference department. The law library and the general library each number about 75,000 vol­umes. The general library is strong in political and social science, history and genealogy, especially of New Jersey, public docu­ments, periodicals and newspapers.

The State Library is under the control of a Commission consisting of the governor, the chancellor, the chief justice, the sec­retary of state, the state treasurer, the state comptroller and the attorney general. Meetings are held at the call of the governor.



The Trenton Circulating Library, a private enterprise, of which George Fitzgeorge was proprietor, was conducted for a number of years at 37 East Front Street. In 7868 it had 5,000 volumes.



A small free library was established October 27, 1897, in the old Cadwalader House on West State Street, for the use of the residents of that section of the city. Cadwalader Place was then just being developed. This little library was supported by the voluntary subscriptions of the residents of the community. Its book collection grew by gift and purchase to number about five hundred volumes. Edmund C. Hill was the moving spirit and treasurer of this library and the records continue in his posses­sion. When the Free Public Library was organized the Cad­walader Library was discontinued and the books given to the Cadwalader School.



Several of the foregoing circulating libraries have been desig­nated "public" libraries, but they were public only in the sense that they were generally open to public users on payment of a small fee. None was public in the sense of being municipally owned, supported and controlled.

Under the leadership of Assemblyman William Prall of Pater­son the State of New Jersey enacted in 1884 the public library law, which has been subsequently widened and extended by amendments. This law permitted city authorities to submit the question of the establishment of a free public tax‑supported library to a referendum of the citizens. If a majority vote was "for a free public library," the law provided for the establish­ment of a board of trustees and required that a tax of one‑third of a mill on every dollar's worth of taxable property should be levied for library support.

As other cities began to establish public libraries under this law, forward‑looking citizens from time to time urged that Trenton take similar action. Trenton was slow to act, partly because it had available the Union Library and the reference privileges of the State Library, and partly because of the peren­nial worry over the increasing tax rate. Union Library authori­ties were beginning to feel that the city's needs were beyond their library's resources.

In 1893 John Lambert Cadwalader of New York, a great-­grandson of Dr. Thomas Cadwalader, offered to buy the Union Library, building and books, and present them to the city as the beginning of a free public library, but the then mayor declined the offer unless Mr. Cadwalader would add an endowment for maintenance.

In May 1897 Mayor Welling G. Sickel formed a public com­mittee of twenty‑five influential citizens to study and promote the establishment of a municipal free public library. When the committee met, Mayor Sickel was elected chairman and Edmund C. Hill secretary. Sub‑committees were appointed and subse­quent meetings held but nothing came of the movement at the time. The minutes of the various meetings have been preserved by Mr. Hill, who for years was a staunch advocate of a free public library.

In 1900 matters were again brought to a focus by Mayor Frank O. Briggs, on whose recommendation Common Council on March 6 acted to have the question submitted to referendum at the spring election. The newspapers supported the project and it had the endorsement of such organizations as the Ministerial Union, the Contemporary Club and the W.C.T.U. The election held on April 10 showed that the free public library had been adopted by a vote of 4,482 "for" to 1,052 "against." On May 15 Mayor Briggs sent to Common Council the following nomina­tions as trustees of the Free Public Library: John A. Campbell, John J. Cleary, William M. Lanning, Joseph L. Naar and Fer­dinand W. Roebling. The mayor and the superintendent of schools, Leslie C. Pierson, were by provisions of the law trustees ex‑officio. These nominations were confirmed and the trustees at once organized, electing Mr. Roebling president, Mr. Cleary secretary and Mr. Campbell treasurer.

The newly organized board of trustees began library service promptly by purchasing the books of the Union Library as a nucleus of the new library's book collection and the Union Library premises were leased and temporarily occupied.

Sarah C. Nelson was employed as cataloguer and temporary librarian for about a year and the first assistants appointed were Alice M. Rice and Louise K. Hope. Meanwhile the trustees were seeking a permanent chief librarian and they wisely chose Adam Strohm, then of Chicago, who was appointed to begin his duties here September 1, 1901. Adam Strohm brought to his task a rare combination of ideals, scholarship and executive ability and the reputation which the new Trenton Free Public Library afterward achieved both at home and abroad was due in large measure to his librarianship.


The trustees immediately studied the possibilities of a new library building. On their recommendation Common Council appropriated $20,000 for the purchase of a lot on Academy Street, which for more than a hundred years had been the site of the Trenton Academy. Subsequent appropriations of $80,000 for the building and $15,000 for furnishing and equipping it were made. The architect was Spencer Roberts of Philadelphia. The new building was dedicated June 9, 1902.

Thus Trenton acquired a free public library on a firm and permanent basis. Administered by a high‑minded and highly respected board of trustees and under the immediate direction of a trained, alert and progressive librarian, the new institution began at once a popular and useful career. Nearly every sub­sequent year has marked an increase in the book collection, in the home circulation of books and in reading‑room patronage.

Very soon it was evident that the new library building was too small and annual reports of the board began to mention the need for additional space. This was met in 1913 through the generosity of John Lambert Cadwalader, who offered to build a considerable addition to the library and to make certain altera­tions to the original building. Mr. Cadwalader's formal proffer was brought to the attention of the board of trustees December 5, 1913.

On January 14, 1914, the gift was formally accepted, plans approved, and Mr. Cadwalader authorized to proceed with the work under the supervision of an architect of his own selection, Mr. Edward L. Tilton of New York. Mr. Cadwalader was sud­denly taken ill and died on the day that the contracts were signed. His executors faithfully carried out his wishes both in letter and in spirit. The completed improvements represented an ex­penditure of about $45,000. The addition was formally dedi­cated on April 6, 1915, with appropriate exercises at which the principal speaker was Henry W. Taft, a law partner of Mr. Cadwalader's. The Cadwalader addition immediately relieved the congestion and improved the library service, not to mention greatly increasing the working comforts both of the patrons and the staff.

At this writing it appears that further enlargement of the building will shortly be required.



Extension of library facilities throughout the city by means of branch libraries has been undertaken from time to time, in order that library privileges may be more equally shared by residents of all parts of the city, especially the children.

The first branch library was established in igio in a rented building on the corner of Hamilton and Chestnut Avenues, and straightway received a heavy patronage. This branch has since continued to operate in the same building, though the quarters have long since been outgrown. It is expected that room for this branch will shortly be provided in the new Senior High School, through the cooperation of the Board of Education.

The next branch was opened in 1914, through the coopera­tion of the Board of Education, in a room of the Columbus School on the corner of Brunswick Avenue and Mulberry Street. This branch continues in the same place.

The third branch was opened in 1917 in the partially aban­doned old Franklin School on the corner of Liberty and William Streets. In 1926 this branch was temporarily moved to rented quarters in the basement of St. Mary's Greek Catholic School, on the corner of Grand and Malone Streets. In 1929 it is expected that this branch will be moved into a new building, the first to be built specifically for the purpose in Trenton, on the corner of South Broad and Malone Streets. This site was purchased in 1927 by an appropriation Of $28,000 by the city and in 1928 an appropriation of $60,000 was made for a building. Construc­tion is now under way.

The fourth branch was opened in 1926 in East Trenton in a rented portion of a building popularly known as the Old Dickinson House, then used for community purposes, on the corner of North Clinton and Girard Avenues. In 1928 the building was bought by the library board at the cost of $10,000, the City Commission having made a total appropriation of $16,000 to cover purchase and improvements.

The fifth branch was opened in a rented store at 43 North Hermitage Avenue in 1927.

These five branch libraries now bring library privileges within a mile of practically every resident of Trenton.



Successive mayors have kept appointments to the library board free from party politics. Generally a member whose term expires has been reappointed. The board at present (January 1, 1929) consists of John A. Campbell, John J. Cleary, Edward L. Katzenbach, the Rev. Hamilton Schuyler, Alfred P. S. Bellis and ex‑officio members Frederick W. Donnelly, mayor, and William J. Bickett, superintendent of schools. Messrs. Campbell and Cleary were members of the original board appointed in 1900, Mr. Cleary having served continuously as secretary since the board was first organized. In 1910, on the resignation of Ferdinand W. Roebling from the board, Mr. Campbell was elected president and has served continuously since. He was succeeded as treasurer by Edward L. Katzenbach. In the mean­time others who have been members of the board between its original and present composition are Henry W. Green, Nathan Stern, Harry G. Stoddard, Frederick W. Gnichtel (both as mayor and by appointment), Frederick C. Carstarphen, Mayors Frank S. Katzenbach, Jr., and Walter Madden and School Superintendents Ebenezer Mackey and Zenos E. Scott.

In 1911 Adam Strohm resigned as chief librarian and he was succeeded by Howard L. Hughes, at the time assistant reference librarian of Princeton University Library and formerly an as­sistant on the staff of the Trenton Free Public Library.

The Free Public Library has been the recipient of many gen­erous gifts, both of books and money. Many items of local his­torical interest have been contributed to the Library's collection of Trentoniana, the most cherished of which is the original letter written by Washington acknowledging the courtesies of the ladies of Trenton at his reception April 21, 1789. This was placed in the custody of the Library in 1928 by William E. and Caleb S. Green.



The most valuable bequest that has come to the Library was made before the present institution was dreamed of. By the will of Charles Skelton, M.D., who died in 1879, his real estate and certain other property was bequeathed, after the life inter­est of certain relatives, to the superintendent and trustees of the public schools of the City of Trenton. The will directed that the net income from this property was to be spent each year for the purchase of books, to be added to the nucleus of his per­sonal library of about nine hundred volumes, which also he gave to the superintendent and trustees of the public schools of the City of Trenton. The will further directed:

That all the books purchased by the aforesaid income of said property shall be strongly and plainly bound, and shall consist of works, treatises on the arts and science, especially in mechanics, engineering, mathematics, astronomy, geography, natural philosophy, chemistry, architecture, history, travels, biography, but no mere tales and works of fiction. Truth is always more profitable than falsehood. Life is too earnest, and time too precious to be wasted on fictions which give no knowledge. A single great practical truth is of more value than all the fictions ever invented by novelists. I ac­quired the property hereby devised by a life of honest industry, frugality and temperance, and I desire that it may be employed to inculcate these virtues, without which our republican institutions, based on the sovereignty of the people, must soon perish.

The donor specified that the gift was to be administered "for the use of the teachers and pupils of the public schools of said city, apprentices, mechanics, and such other persons, as the said corporation shall deem expedient, and most conducive to the public good."

The Board of Education accepted the trust but was handi­capped by the lack of library space and other facilities for admin­istering the gift so that its fullest values might be realized. After the organization of the present Free Public Library, through the medium of a friendly suit, the Court of Chancery transferred the whole Skelton bequest to the trusteeship of the library board. It was realized that the new Free Public Library was equipped to carry out more effectively the wishes of the donor. The trans­action is described in detail in the annual report of the Board of Education 1901‑02. When the library board took over the Skelton property there was a net annual income of about $750. Today, owing to an increase in values and judicious reinvest­ment of capital, the net income is about $3,700 per year. The library board has purchased, out of the Skelton Fund, some 25,000 volumes. These volumes have been read and studied by thousands of persons while the value and extent of the collec­tion increases annually. By this benefaction Dr. Skelton left an enduring monument to his interest in the education of the people.

Some idea of the growth of the library may be had from the following table of figures in five‑year periods, for the whole system:



                                                        CITY          CIRCULATION

                           APPROPRIATION             OF BOOKS                VOLUMES

                1903                $                16,000                186,863                27,920

                1908         19,000     217,993                42,701

                1913         26,110     233,012                58,878

                1918         34,821     322,689                85,171

                1923         61,580     470,298                102,380

                1928                108,806                788,451                159,060


The Library staff, January 1929, numbered 41 persons as well as 20 "pages," who were mostly high school students work­ing after school hours.

In a world of shifting values, that of reading good books re­mains universally accepted. Both as a disseminator of good books and as a storehouse of facts, the public library has taken its place alongside of the public school as a part of our educational sys­tem. At a small annual per capita cost, the modern public library makes available to all what in early days only a few enjoyed­ free access to a garnering of the wisdom of mankind, including the latest facts of science, commerce and industry, as well as such spiritual riches of the ages as have been recorded in print.


VI. Biographical Sketches


Charles Skelton, one of the most valuable citizens Trenton ever had, was born in Bucks County, Pa., April 19, 1806, the son of John .Skelton and Leah Doane. His schooling was very limited and his early youth was given to the toil of farm and quarry. 'Later he moved to Trenton where he served an apprenticeship of three years in learning the trade of a ladies' shoe­maker. His spare time was largely devoted to reading and study, the Appren­tices' Library Company being doubtless the principal source of his books. In 1829 he married Elizabeth Hutchinson. Filled with the desire for learning he read assiduously and finally decided to enter the medical profession. In the fall of 1835, when he was 29 years old, he moved his family, consisting of his wife and invalid mother, to Philadelphia, and entered Jefferson Med­ical College, from which he graduated in 1837. After entering college he found the support of himself and family rapidly consuming his savings of about $2,000 and he made ends meet by working at his trade. When he re­ceived his diploma (which is preserved in the Free Public Library) he was without funds and much broken in health.

He commenced medical practice in Philadelphia, but his services were given entirely to the poor from whom he asked no fees. He continued to support his family by working at the shoe bench.

In 1841 he returned to Trenton and opened a ladies' shoe store, which included drugs and medicines. His great sympathy for the poor drew him again to the practice of medicine and, in addition, to giving freely from his medicines. Finally he felt obliged to abandon medical practice entirely in order to support his family by his shoe business. He soon became active in the interests of public schools as related elsewhere in this chapter.

Dr. Skelton later took an active part in advancing the welfare of the workingman and reform measures enacted by the State in 1850 and 1851 were largely due to his persistent and untiring efforts.

In 1850 he received unsought the Democratic nomination to Congress, and so great was his popularity that he overcame the usual Whig majority by nearly 1,000 votes. He was elected a second time, serving in Congress alto­gether from 1851 to 1855. Twice the office of governor was within his reach, had he cared to grasp it. He served in Common Council 1873‑75, and as its president.

He was a diligent reader all his life. In 1875 he published an Essay on Heat, Light, Electricity and Magnetism and in 1877 a pamphlet on The Doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul, Sustained by Modern Scientific Discoveries.

He was one of the incorporators of Temperance Hall Association and a stockholder in the Trenton Library Association. He died May 20, 1879, and was buried in the Presbyterian Burial Ground at Hamilton Square. 32


32 Transactions of the Medical Society of New Jersey, 1879, p. 211.



Edward S. Ellis was born in Geneva, Ohio, in 1840. He graduated from the State Normal School at Trenton with the class of 1858‑59. He first became identified with the Trenton public schools in 1864 when he was appointed a teacher in a rented building on Montgomery Street. He was principal of the Academy Street School from about 1865 to 1874. He was elected a member of the board of school trustees from 1874‑78 and from 1880‑85, and he was superintendent during the year 1884‑85. For a time he was editor of Public Opinion, a Trenton newspaper. Ellis was well known to an earlier generation as a writer for young people. He produced many thrilling Indian stories, a number of books of history and several Masonic stories. He died at Cliff Island, Me., June 20, 1916, and was buried at Montclair, N.J.


Benjamin C. Gregory was born in New York City in 1849. He graduated from the College of the City of New York in 1868. After a course at the School of Mines of Columbia University and a few years' business experi­ence he joined, in 1873, the faculty of the College of the City of New York. From 1875‑88 he filled executive positions in .the public schools of Newark, N.J. From 1888‑1902 he was supervising principal of the Trenton public schools. During this period he was very prominent in musical activities and he had a large part in the original organization of the School of Industrial Arts. He organized the Arion Glee Club of Trenton. He received an honor­ary degree of L.H.D. from Rutgers College in 1901. Dr. Gregory left Trenton in 1902 to become superintendent of schools in Chelsea, Mass., where he died in 1910.


William H. Brace was born at St. John's, Newfoundland, April 20, 1830, and graduated from an academy there. He was a teacher in the Trenton Academy in the early 1850's. In 1857‑58 he conducted a classical school on Union Street. His first appointment as a teacher in the public schools of Trenton began December 1, 1858, at the Sixth Ward (Mott) .School. During the next ten years he had other school connections at intervals. He spent a year in study at the Princeton Theological Seminary, 1861‑62, and was the first county school superintendent of .Mercer County, 1867‑68. In May 1868 Brace was appointed a teacher and shortly afterward principal of the Higbee Street (Nixon) School, in January 1874 principal of the Academy Street School, and later in 1874 principal of the new high school on Mercer Street. He resigned in 1900, continuing afterward for a period as a teacher of classics. Princeton University gave him an honorary degree of A.M. in 1858 and of Ph.D. in 1894. He died .in Trenton September 1, 1910.


John Lambert Cadwalader was born in Trenton, November 17, 1836. He was the son of General Thomas McCall Cadwalader, the grandson of Colonel Lambert Cadwalader and the great‑grandson of Dr. Thomas Cad­walader. His mother was Maria C. Gouverneur. He graduated from Princeton College in 1856, and took his Master's degree in 1859. In 1860 he gradu­ated from the Harvard Law School. He then entered the practice of law in New York City. In 1874 he was appointed Assistant Secretary of State under Hamilton Fish in the second administration of President Grant. He was one of the founders of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and years afterward its president. He was chiefly instrumental in the consoli­dation of various New York libraries into the present New York Public Library, a tremendous task which President Taft said "required genius and statesmanship." At the time of his death Mr. Cadwalader was president of the board of .trustees of the New York Public :Library. He was also a trustee of numerous other public institutions, including Princeton Univer­sity. He died in New York City, March 11, 1914. 33


33 See John Lambert Cadwalader, an appreciation, by Henry W. Taft, 1915; and Princeton Alumni Weekly, March 18, 1914. An excellent sketch of the Cadwalader family in Trenton by Alexander McAlpin Phillips appeared in the True American, July 13, 1901.


    Ebenezer Mackey was born in Butler, Pa., August 14, 1857. He graduated from Mercersburg College in 1878 and in June 1910 received the degree of Doctor of Pedagogy from Franklin and Marshall College. He taught for a while in the school of St. Paul's Orphan Home at Butler and in 1881 he­

came the principal and first superintendent of schools in Butler. From 1889 to 1902 he was superintendent of schools in Reading, Pa. In 1902 he was

appointed supervising, principal of the public schools of Trenton. Dr. Mackey was active in church and public affairs and held several important offices in educational organizations. He died in Trenton, June 11, 1919.


William A. Wetzel was born at Ackermanville, Pa., July 30, 1869. He graduated from Lafayette College in 1891, following which he taught for a year at the Bordentown Military Institute. He then entered Johns Hopkins University from which he received the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in 1895. For the next few years he .was superintendent of schools at Pen Argyl, Pa. Dr. Wetzel entered upon his duties as principal of the Trenton High School February 1, 1901.


Adam Strohm was born at Venersborg, Sweden, February 16, 1870. He graduated from the University of Upsala, Sweden, in 1888 and came to America in 1892. He studied at the Library School of the University of Illinois, graduating in 1900 with the degree of Bachelor of Library Science. He had been librarian of the Armour Institute of Technology for about a year when he was appointed librarian of the Trenton Free Public Library. He resigned in 1911 to become assistant librarian of the Detroit Public Library. In 1913 he was made librarian. His administration of the Detroit Public Library has been highly successful, that institution ranking among the best in the United States.


William J. Bickett was born in Drumnagoon, Ireland, December 23, 1880. The following year his family, which much earlier had lived in Parkesburg, Pa., returned to America. Mr. Bickett graduated from the Normal School at West Chester, Pa., and Grove City College. From the latter col­lege he afterward received the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. After several years' experience as a teacher and principal in Pennsylvania and Delaware he was appointed superintendent of schools in Salem, N.J., and he held a similar position successively in Rahway and Bernardsville, N.J. In 1920 Dr. Bickett became superintendent of schools in Trenton.


Frank Forrest Frederick was born at Methuen, Mass., October 21, 1866. He graduated from the Massachusetts .State School of Art in 1890 and in the same year was appointed Professor of Art and Design at the University of Illinois. He took an active part in developing the study of art in the public schools of Illinois. Two of his sabbatical years were spent in study abroad, principally at the Royal College of Art in London. Mr. Frederick was appointed director of the Trenton School of Industrial Arts in 1906.




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