Peith History

The Peith Logo

Created by: Misses Chaplain, Morrow, Stevens, Richardson, Ellis, and Porter.

Year Introduced: Spring 1880

Colors: Blue & Gold

Secret Letters: D.V.V.

Society Paper: The Meteor

Greek letters: Theta Epsilon Nu (first mentioned in 1914 Hack Yearbook)

Nicknames: Peith, the Evergreens

The original society, the Evergreens, was changed to Peithosophian after the members became disgusted with the name.

The Peiths of 1904

The Peiths of 1904

Lit society Anns

peith ann_0001

Peithosophian Anniversary of May 10, 1889 Back Row: Misses Norris (Oration), Yelter (Essay), Penny (piano), Mathews (Pipe Organ solo), Fisher (Recitation), and Wolf (Poem). Seated: Misses Warne (Essay), Lizzie Beers (President), and Carrie Beers (Editress).


Alpha Phi History

The Alpha Phi Pin

The Alpha Phi Logo

Created by: O. A. Stevens

Year Introduced: June 1875

Colors: Ruby, Gold & Blue

Secret Letters: M.V.S.Q.H

Society Paper: The Journal

Nicknames: Philos, Zetas

The Zetas of 1904

The Zetas of 1904

Young men in this fraternity were trained in debate, discussion, impromptu speaking, essay writing, and journal work. Philomathean’s secret letters were jokingly translated to “Maude Valentine studies quite hard”. Along with the Whitney Lyceum, Alpha Phi Fraternity held their last meeting in 1910, the year C.C.I. became an all girls school.


The first issue of Centenary’s Spilled Ink (the old student newspaper) always had one or two articles about the start of the school year and incoming freshmen. The following articles offered some advice for new students as they began navigating their new college. A different era, but still, the sentiment stays the same: make the most of your time here at Centenary.

Welcome Back_1

Spilled Ink, Fall Issue, 1941. pg 1. (Centenary was a two year school for several decades)

Spilled Ink, Fall Issue, 1944. pg 1.

Spilled Ink, September 30, 1944. pg 1.


Recently the Director of the Taylor Memorial Library discovered a glassine envelope containing five negatives of photographs, two of a group of students, and three of a famous visitor. These pictures were taken the day Eleanor Roosevelt visited Centenary College.


Cover of the Spring 1950 Alumni Bulletin: Roosevelt shakes hands with President Seay.

On February 9, 1950 Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady of the United States, traveled to Hackettstown and spoke at what was then Centenary Junior College. Roosevelt had been the First Lady from March 1933 to April 1945, until her husband died in office. She became more popular with time and many referred to her as First Lady of the World.

When she arrived on campus, her first stop was the president’s home, where she met President and Mrs. Seay and was welcomed to the College by a group of students. Following introductions, a short press conference was held in the President’s office.

eleanor roosevelt5

Negative 1: A Welcoming Committee. (Negative 2 is of the same group, sitting down)

Centenary was very lucky to have arranged a visit with Eleanor Roosevelt; she explained that she accepted the college’s invitation to speak because she just happened to be free, she had not yet been to this part of New Jersey, and because she enjoyed addressing groups of young people, particularly women.

negative 3: Roosevelt is greeted by Centenary students.

Negative 3: Roosevelt is greeted by Centenary students.

She spoke in Centenary’s Whitney Chapel to an audience of both students and members of the community; so many people attended that the overflow was seated in the Little Theater on campus (She spent a few minutes speaking to that group before giving her speech in the Chapel). Her remarks were broadcast over radio stations in Morristown, NJ and Easton, PA.

The topic of her remarks was taken from the title of a freshman orientation class at Centenary: “Living in Today’s World.” She spoke about the challenge of selling democracy in the face of the threat of communism and the H-bomb (the hydrogen bomb). Mrs. Roosevelt said scientific knowledge had outrun our development in human relations, and that “we must learn to live by reason and not by force.”

Negative 4: Eleanor Roosevelt wearing a corsage given to her by President Seay.

Negative 4: Eleanor Roosevelt wearing a corsage given to her by President Seay.

Negative 5: Roosevelt giving her speech in the Whitney Chapel.

Negative 5: Roosevelt giving her speech in the Whitney Chapel.


Trevorrow Hall in the 1950s

Trevorrow Hall in the 1950s

trev005Within the past year, the college has seen a number of improvements on Trevorrow Hall, including updating science laboratories and lectures halls, as well as installing an elevator to the three-floor building.

Trevorrow Hall was one of the improvements to Centenary College set forth by the Reverend Doctor Robert Johns Trevorrow, president of the college from 1917 – 1943.

President Trevorrow came to Centenary Collegiate Institute during a period of financial crisis, and worked hard to pull the school out of debt. After 7 years of meticulously examining the college’s expenditures, Trevorrow was able to pay off a mortgage of $81,000! Having brought the school out of debt, he dedicated himself to creating his 10 Year Plan, which would invest in the college’s future through scholarships, curriculum reorganization, and a physical expansion of the campus.

The school was in dire need of more classroom space, and in 1940 a building was planned that would house Science, Home Economics, Art, and Clothing. During the Annual May Fete of 1941, the final stone was placed. The faculty suggested the name Trevorrow Hall. In the Centenary College history, Through Golden Years, author Leila Custard writes,“now at last there was adequate housing for the Departments of Science and Home Economics, while the Art Department glorified in its sky-lighted spaciousness and its gallery for special exhibits” (192).



Clockwise from top left: Students in Home Economics, A lesson in fashion sketching and textiles, Laboratory Science, and a Chemistry presentation.

The building has remained relatively unchanged, with fashion classes on the first floor, sciences on the second, and art on the third.

Diokosophian Society

Diok History

The Dioks of 1904

The Dioks of 1904

The Diok Pin

The Diok Logo

Created by: Miss H. Emma Stitzer

Year Introduced: September 19, 1875

Colors: Gold & Black

Secret Letters: S.E.V

Society Paper: The Scroll

Greek letters: Sigma Epsilon Phi (first mentioned in 1914 Hack Yearbook)

Nickname: Diok, Deik

diok ann 1

Program from a 1903 Ann

Diok Title Page

Diok Ann Feb 15 1889 front

The Diokosophian Ann of February 15, 1889  Back Row: Misses Taylor (Debate), Bowman (Essay), Clarke (Essay), and Noe (Debate). Seated: Misses Jones (Piano Solo), Allen (President), and Abbott (Editress).


The library archival staff has been hard at work preparing a display on the President’s House, which was lost in a fire in January 2015. The display was exhibited in the library’s circulation area, along with several items recovered from the house before it was demolished. The display has temporarily been moved to the Lackland Center for the 2015 Scholarship Gala.

Staff members researched a detailed history of the house, from its start in the 1890s to its loss earlier this year. Two staff members took a trip to Morristown to learn about the history of the Gilded Age, an era marked by stark social contrasts, when the house that would become the President’s House was built. [A history of the President’s House can be found here]

The display board has 12 panels that track the history of the house. Panels are dedicated to different periods of the house’s life.

display board full

The first side of the display board chronicles the ‘pre-history’ of the house, starting with the Gilded Age and the wealthy residents of Morristown. Brightstowe, the house that would become the President’s House, was originally located in Normandy Heights and was disassembled in 1911 to make way for Thorne Oaks, a mansion that still stands today under the name Gateways.

The next side of the display focuses on the years between 1911 and 1945, after the Hoffman family rebuilt the house in Hackettstown, and until the college purchased the home. As Centenary’s enrollment grew, more student rooms were needed, and the president and various faculty members who had lived in the Main Building moved to Hackettstown houses and apartments.

display board side 2

The third side of the display recounts the heyday of the house – when it was used for parties and other college functions. President Seay held a monthly Birthday Tea for students, and often visiting guests would be hosted in receptions at the house. The house was also part of a historic walking tour of Hackettstown.

The final side of the display board focuses on the fire that destroyed the house and plans for the future of the property. At the moment the college is hoping to build on the same footprint and will need to submit plans for a new structure to the Zoning Board and the Historic Commission. ­

display board side 3display board side 4Although some items are quite damaged from the fire, others are in excellent condition. Facilities employees took care to clean several items before delivering things to the library. These items will be stored along with other pieces of Centenary history in the Taylor Memorial Library Archives.

regina music box plate close-up

This plate came from a Regina music box rescued from the fire. Listen to it play here

charred dish and knife

A plate and knife. Other dishes from this set have been cleaned.

tableware from pres. house

Dishes and a teacup from another set of plateware.

historical property plate

This plaque used to adorn the house.

Hundreds of hours of hard work were poured into this exhibit, and the Taylor Memorial Library is very pleased to be able to make it available to the Centenary community.