Restored Head Master McPherson papers return to the Stephan Archives!

The Stephan Archives will be adding approximately two linear feet of recently cleaned documents to the existing collection of Head Master McPherson papers (DC034). Though the Archives acquired the papers decades ago, poor condition resulted in their separation from the rest of the collection. They were set aside and left unsubscribed until funding could be secured for proper cleaning. Fortunately, a portion of Dr. John Stephan L. 1959 and Bobby Stephan’s generous gift was dedicated strictly for conservation work. This provided the Archives with the means to hire Belfor Restoration to properly clean the materials. The integration of these papers into the current Head Master McPherson collection will fill in the many gaps that exist in the current sermons and addresses series.

Though the bulk of the papers consist of numbered sermons and addresses both handwritten and printed, some documents pertaining to Davis House are also included. The Davis House material was likely created and maintained by Assistant Head Master and master of Davis House Charles Henry Raymond. The fact that the sermons and the Davis House material were stored together may be an indication that Charles Henry Raymond was in fact the collector and original arranger of the Head Master McPherson sermon collection.

This new accession is currently being arranged and described. Expect it to be open for research use within the next month!

New accession of Hamill Family Papers

Recent additions to the Hamill Family Papers are now open for research use. This new accession includes correspondence, sermon notes, receipts, and printed ephemera collected by Headmaster Dr. Samuel M. Hamill. A significant amount of correspondence between Samuel M. Hamill, Jr. and other members of the Hamill family and several photos are also included. This material provides a wealth of information about the day-to-day operations of school in the 19th century. In addition to documents pertaining to school business, the papers also contain correspondence with notable people such as Chief of the Cherokee Nation William P. Ross, United States Secretary of War William W. Belknap, Princeton University President James McCosh, and Horace Porter, personal secretary to Ulysses S. Grant. This material has already been used by students studying the late-Antebellum Era and the Civil War in Anne Louise Smit’s honors U.S. history course.

The Stephan Archives received the documents as a gift from William Hamill L ’65 and Samuel Lambert, two of Dr. Hamill’s great-grandchildren. The newly acquired documents were added to our existing collection of Headmaster Hamill papers and the collection was renamed the Hamill Family Papers. A finding aid for the collection can be found here:
hamill024The above photo from 1890 in which Hamill House is visible on the right was included in the accession.

All student records reside at the Stephan Archives

We at the Stephan Archives are excited to announce that all student records now reside in one place. With 718 boxes, the student records are by far our largest collection. This is the culmination of a multi-year project made possible by a generous donation from Dr. John Stephan L. ’59.

The project began in 2008 with the relocation of the records from the basement of McPherson. The goal of the project was to house all student records in one climate-controlled and secure area, but the Archives’ storage space as of 2009 proved inadequate. The records were temporarily split into two groups: one housed at Bunn Library and the other in the attic of one of the student houses. After another generous donation from Dr. Stephan, the Archives’ storage space in Bunn Library was renovated, and compact shelving, a dedicated HVAC system, and multiple security measures were installed. With a suitable environment and shelf space to house all records in one place, the process of physically combining all the records could begin. Records that were subjected to the less than ideal conditions of the house attic were combined with records from the basement of the Mackenzie Administration Building damaged during Hurricane Irene and were sent offsite for cleaning and rehousing to prepare them for cohabitation with clean records already held in compact storage. The final batch of records underwent cleaning in the summer of 2013. They were returned safely in September, marking a successful end to the quest to bring all of the student records together in one accessible place.

The next step of the student records project has already begun. We have enlisted parent volunteers and students to help with entering important data such as alumni names and record/folder numbers, which currently can only be found in a card catalog, into the Archives’ digital catalog. Moving this data from analog to digital will great improve the staff’s ability to retrieve records and track records that have been pulled for use.

The student records are open for research use but restrictions apply. Student records are restricted to administrative users for 80 years following the student’s class date and with the death of the student, except by permission of the Registrar. Under FERPA, students are permitted access to their own records. If you are an alumnus and would like to see your student record, please contact the Archivist.

1852 plan for the “school house”

The 1852 Catalog of the Lawrenceville School helpfully included a floor plan for the “school house” — the building today known as Haskell House, which served as the main classroom building from 1832 until Memorial Hall (now Woods Memorial Hall) was built in 1885.  Hamill House, built in 1814, was where boarders lived. Below you see the exterior of the School House on the left and what is now the Hamill House on the right. As you can see from the diagram of desks, the teacher sat at the back of the classroom (marked a) where he could keep an eye on the students.

1852 School House Plan

1852 School