from the archives

SO THIS IS CENTENARY

 

The archives staff has been working on digitizing many projects, including Ellen P. Kratz’s booklet “So This is Centenary”. Ellen P. Kratz, more often known as Pat, was a freshman at Centenary in the Fall of 1959. She was very involved in Centenary activities; she played on the freshman softball team and became the art editor for the student newspaper Spilled Ink.

In a rare collaboration between Spilled Ink and the Hack (Centenary’s yearbook), Pat put her art skills to use when she created her cartoon flip book “So This is Centenary”. Pat’s booklet was created in order to help raise funds for Centenary’s next improvement project, a new swimming pool.

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Pat Kratz (left) and two others with President Seay.

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Students showing President Seay their collaboration.

The book was well received by President Dr. Seay, who stated that “If you like to laugh, read ‘So this is Centenary.’ ”  1000 copies were ordered, each being sold for $1.50. The following September, plans were made to build an additional wing onto the Reeves Student Union.

Plans to start renovation on the Denman gym and swimming pool were set to begin in November of 1962 and were not completed until February of 1964.

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The new wing cost $475,000 with an additional $125,000 in construction.

Kratz ended up getting married the next year and left Centenary to start her new life. The library is very lucky to have this small piece of history left behind by Ellen P. Kratz.

SILVER SERVICE TEA SETS

In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the charter of Centenary University, the library archives staff is highlighting some of the less well known items in the archives—in this case, silver service tea sets from the early days of Centenary.

The collection includes a total of thirteen pieces from three different tea sets, each with its own distinct pattern or floral design. Altogether, there are four teapots, four sugar bowls, three creamers, and one serving tray.

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Teapots and Silver tray used during a birthday tea

Two of these sets were likely used for “family-style” meals in Centenary’s dining hall and for informal teas held by senior class advisors such as Miss Breckenridge or “Brecky” as she was affectionately referred to by the students. While these more relaxed teas were held in the parlors and “taught some of the graces young ladies should have,” formal teas were also held throughout the early 1960s by President Seay (Custard, 1945, p. 236). These monthly birthday celebrations were held in The President’s House and surviving photographs offer a glimpse into the social culture of Centenary at that time. Photographs also reveal that one of the sets included a second teapot; the location of this item is currently unknown and was possibly lost in the fire of 2015. See and learn more about The President’s House here.

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The third tea set belonged to Ruth Scarborough—the first director of the Taylor Memorial Library—and boasts an impressively etched “S” on each of its five pieces. While all pieces have a hexagonal base, the set’s two teapots of differing size are unique in their wooden handles. Ruth Scarborough worked at Centenary College from 1946 to 1982. See and learn more about her here.

 

Custard, L. R. (1947). Through golden years: 1867-1943. New York, NY: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc.

THE CAMPUS

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the charter of Centenary University! To celebrate, the blog will be highlighting information from past posts about Centenary’s history.

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Centenary Collegiate Institute, 1874

Before Centenary University was built, the land it would sit on was a cornfield, described during the laying of the cornerstone in 1869 as “desolate – not a tree – not a shrub” (Custard, pg 10). The campus was also set far back from the still small town of Hackettstown, and planks had to be laid from Main Street to the Institute for people to travel on.

 

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C.C.I. Gymnasium

Over the next 30 years, several buildings were added to the campus; apart from the Main Building, the campus had two gymnasiums, a chemical laboratory, a barn, and an icehouse. Hundreds of trees and shrubs were also planted to make the campus feel “like a very pleasure garden” (Custard, pg 57).

 

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Centenary Collegiate Institute, 1902

The Great Fire of 1899 destroyed the Main Building but not the spirit of Centenary; a new Main Building and two separate dormitory buildings were built in two years. The institution remained largely unchanged until the start of the 1940s, when it was decided to expand the campus to fit its growing student population.

 

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Trevorrow Hall, 1950s

In rapid succession, the school (now known as Centenary Junior College) built Trevorrow Hall (1941), Lotte Hall (1949), Van Winkle Hall (1951), Taylor Memorial Library and the Reeves Student Center (1954), Brotherton Hall (1956), Washabaugh Hall (1962), Anderson Hall (1965), and the Ferry Arts and Music Building (mid 1960s, which expanded and renovated the original C.C.I. Gymnasium).

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Lackland Center, 2009

Another boom in growth began with the addition of an Equine Center (1978), the Harris and Betts Smith Learning Center (1996), Littell Technology Center (2003), Bennett-Smith Hall (2003), Founder’s Hall (2006), the John M. Reeves Student Recreation Center (2006, which expanded and renovated the original Reeves Student Center), and the Lackland Center (2009). Centenary also opened centers in Parsippany and Edison.

This information was pulled from multiple posts: The First Main Building, The Great Fire, Athletics, The Trees of Centenary, The Ways and Customs of Centenary College, and Trevorrow Hall.

CURRENT ARCHIVES PROJECTS

The library archives staff have been working on digitizing collections in the archives. Recently, our archives intern has been working on creating a digital edition of a book originally printed in the 1950s.

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Printing Press in the Archives

The humorous print book is called “So This is Centenary” and while it may be small, it offers a significant look into the life of a Centenary student in the 1950s. Each page features an illustration of a scene these students encountered.

To create the digital booklet, the library archives is using a replica printing press. Many steps have been taken to recreate the book in the most efficient way possible. The original plates, which have been stored in the Archives, are rolled with ink and passed through the press to transfer the image onto a piece of archival paper. The archives intern printed two copies of each plate: one will be scanned for a digital record while the other is going to be used to remake the booklet. The culmination of this project will be a display using the reprints and a digital presentation of the booklet.

DORMITORY SOCIETIES

Clubs come and go at Centenary – the same can be said at any educational institution. During Centenary Collegiate Institute’s early years, clubs fell into one of three categories: academics, sport, and fellowship. Of the first and second there is much written, but the third is perhaps the most mysterious. There is not much in the archives about these clubs – they were smaller and more intimate, and unfortunately each tended to last only a few years.

delta-lambda-pi-thumbnail“In the year nineteen hundred, a few kindred spirits, for the sake of obtaining a closer fellowship, organized themselves into the Delta Lambda Pi. The initiation of John Day and his contemporaries has been crowned with success. The torch of fellowship they lit has burned from year to year, warming many a heart brought within the scope of its cheery influence. The keynote of the society is brotherhood; not athletics, which belongs to the school in general, nor literary merit, cherished by the literary societies, but good fellowship.” (TGY)

The second boys’ society, established around 1904, was called “Spook and Spectre”.spook and spectre.jpg

The ladies also organized several dormitory societies for themselves. “Delta Nu Gamma” may have been the first ladies dorm society. Other ladies’ dorm societies included “Alpha Epsilon” and “Phi Delta Delta”.

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Delta Nu Gamma

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Alpha Epsilon

By 1911 the yearbook stopped including dormitory societies – in fact only a few clubs or societies were included and they were mostly academic. Now, dormitory societies as they originally existed live on only in Centenary’s memory.

SPOOK and SPECTRE

 

1908057Perfect for Halloween, here are several pictures of Spook and Spectre, a dormitory society from Centenary Collegiate Institute’s early days. It was organized in 1904 and disbanded in 1910 after Centenary became an all girls school.

Whether they were influenced by spiritualism/occultism or just wanted to be spooky is unknown. Enjoy these great ghoulish photos and happy haunting!

spook and spectre all

THE ART PRIZE

Few details are known about the Art Prize at Centenary College, but what is known is that each year a distinguished piece of student artwork was awarded with the title of Art Prize Winner.

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Art Prize of 1959 – Barbara Candell, “Metrepole”

This painting also won fourth place at the Fifth New Jersey College Art Exhibit at Hunterdon County Art Center in 1959.

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Art Prize of 1927 – Deborah May Lloyd, “Chinese Horse”

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Art Prize of 1927 – signed “deb”

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Art Prize of 1962 – Barbara Joan Weingard, “Dancing Figures”

Many of the winning paintings used to hang in the entrance hall to the President’s House. Now several of them are housed in the Taylor Memorial Library Archives.