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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Within 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.
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.
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.
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.
Although 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.
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.
Created by: W. M. Trumbower, J. H. Stitzer, C.S. Benedict, H. H. Rusby & A. C. Van Syckle
Year Introduced: September 1874
Colors: Royal Purple and Gold
Secret Letters: V.N.A.F
Society Paper: The Lancet
Nickname: The Whits
Whitney Lyceum’s first Inauguration Programme was also the first public performance for the Institute! In the 1890s, Whitney Lyceum and Diokosophian combined Ann’s to decrease the time and money each society spent for their program.
In 1910, the school graduated its last coed class and the Whitney Lyceum held its last meeting after being in existence for 36 years.
A history of all Literary Societies of Centenary College can be found here
Before technology granted us the convenience of information on demand, spreading awareness and knowledge of events, even locally, relied upon many individual efforts. For over 50 years, our student newspaper, Spilled Ink, reported on the comings and goings of daily life at Centenary and offered students a chance to remain well-informed about the campus as well as showcase their own writing efforts.
Spilled Ink, run and written by students, was first published around 1932 and began as a modest four-page publication with a column layout typical of newspapers at the time.
Most issues covered upcoming college activities and events, student/faculty achievements, and local advertising. Early issues dedicated a lot of space to creative writing contributions from students, usually short stories or poetry. Indeed, issues leading up to World War II resemble a literary magazine much more than a newspaper. Although this focus would wane later on in the life of the paper, it helped pave the way later for a separate publication featuring the works of students called the Prism. (You can now view issues of Prism online here)
In the early 1940s, the onset of war marked a shift in the tone and focus of the paper to a more traditional form, both in content and style.
By the 1950s, Spilled Ink had refocused its emphasis to student activities and involvement on campus and that is where it would stay. It was also a time of growth for the college and this was featured prominently. New buildings, programs, and efforts underway were covered with great enthusiasm as the length of the paper expanded along with Centenary. From theater to sorority events to fashion shows to guest speakers to awards to commencement: At the heart of every campus lies the student news beat.
MASTHEADS THROUGH THE YEARS
You can now view and search Spilled Ink of the 1960s: