Taylor Memorial Library


The library’s website got a bit of a facelift recently! Well, just the Archives page, but still, it’s pretty exciting! We’ve added images of archival materials and expanded our digital media – now you can interact with a map of the trees on Centenary’s campus and check out our newest feature, digital exhibits! We’ll be highlighting some of the collections we have that you might not be familiar with – should we do that on the blog, too?

digital exhibits

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It’s not much, but it’s ours.



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.


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.


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


Art Prize of 1927 – signed “deb”


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.



Library staff members have been working on several archival projects over the past few months. Here’s a look at what’s been going on!

Colleen Bain, a staff member from the Archives at Centenary College, traveled to Rutherfurd Hall with Centenary English Professor Dr. Lisa Mastrangelo to take part in their Tea and Talk series. They discussed the history of scrapbooking in America, using scrapbooks from Taylor Memorial Library’s archival collection. The collection includes scrapbooks kept by the first President of the school, wives of administrators, and the students themselves.

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One of the scrapbooks from Taylor Memorial Library’s collection

The two are also working together for Dr. Mastrangelo’s Advanced Composition class. Students in this class work closely with items from  TML’s Archives for their writing assignments, and meet with Archives staff members to learn more about the history of Centenary College. The class has partnered with the Archives for the past two semesters and will run a third time during this spring semester. In late January, Bain and Mastrangelo will also talk to the faculty about the use of archival materials (specifically scrapbooks) to teach advanced college writing.

A new project this semester is an upcoming lecture on the history of Centenary College, which will be held at the Hackettstown Library. Archival members have just begun gathering information and images for this talk, which should take place in about two months.


A sleigh ride around Hackettstown


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.

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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.


Taylor Memorial Library recently created an Irish Studies Collection, and to help distinguish these books from the books in our regular collection, we created a bookplate and classification sticker for each item.

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Our Irish Studies Collection bookplate.

Our library has used several bookplates over the years to designate ownership of the books. Assembled here are some of the bookplates we’ve found in our collection.

We know these bookplates were used before 1954, because that was the year Taylor Memorial Library was named. We approximate their dates as: Top left: 1870s, top right: 1930s. Bottom left: 1940s, bottom right, unknown.

The dates are approximated as follows: Top left: 1890 – 1915, top right: 1920 – 40s. Bottom left: 1930 – 1940s, bottom right, 1910- 20s.

When the Taylor Memorial Library opened in 1954, a new bookplate had to be created to include the library’s new name. In order to choose a new bookplate, students were invited to participate in a design contest. This design would be place in every new book the library received. Students submitted original designs no larger than 3 x 4 inches, using only India Ink and white paper. Each entry had to contain the phrase “Taylor Memorial Library, Centenary Junior College, Hackettstown, New Jersey.”

These are some of the submitted designs.

Some entries have no name. They are denoted with a line of dashes. Top Row: 1. ——- 2. Karen Colthup 3. ——- Middle Row: 1. ——- 2 Sue Frankel 3. ——- Bottom Row: 1. Doris Houston 2. Anita Brunner 3. ——-

entries 2

Top Row and Middle Row: 1 – 6. Judith Yokell Bottom Row: 1. Carol Ann Brooks 2. & 3. Lois Petersen

entries 3

Top Row: 1. ——- 2. Cynthea Halvorsen Bottom Row: 1. Dorothy Lowry 2. Patricia Sloate

Judging the contest were librarian Ruth Scarborough, art teacher Gilberta Goodwin, commercial art teacher Howard Knapp, and senior Patrician Robinson. A second senior, Pamela Hasting, was originally on the judging committee, but resigned in order to enter the contest herself. The contest began in February of 1954 and ended on April 4, 1954, just before Centenary’s Easter vacation. The winner received a book of their choosing. Freshman Ellen Friedman won the contest with a design of the library done in white on black paper.

CCI library 1950s

This is the bookplate that first adorned Taylor Memorial Library books. The black background of the entry design was replaced with a friendlier blue.

When the college name changed from Centenary Junior College to Centenary College for Women, the bookplate was adapted to fit.

CCI library 1970s

The bookplate during the 1950s-70s.

The college changed names again in the 1980s after it reverted back to a co-ed institution. We don’t know if the library had any bookplates after that. Later on, Taylor Memorial Library switched to a stamp, and just this year we created an embosser to replace the stamp. Who knows, maybe we’ll go back to using a bookplate in the future!