Friday, October 28, 2011

1st Grade 1951/52: Miss Madden, Teacher

                                        Photo courtesy of Seth McQuillan, a student in the class

Monday, October 24, 2011

The East Orange Library System Makes National News: 1961

The Stockton neighborhood didn't have its own library. Several school and recreation reports between 1910 and 1945 recommended the expansion of the school toward The Oval with a community library as part of the mix but it never happened.

But we were only a half-mile from both the Ampere Library and the Main Library, and some of my earliest memories were of my mother pushing me to the Ampere Library in my stroller in the late 1940's so she could stock up on the murder mysteries she loved to read. The Ampere branch was much less imposing than the Main Library and, unlike the Main, there were no hills to deal with to get there, so it was also my library of choice when I started going by myself. In the late 1950's my mother was once again pushing the stroller to the Ampere Library with my younger brother. Libraries have always been very important to our family.

We moved from the neighborhood in December, 1959 to SC, but in February, 1961 I was excited to see the East Orange Library system make national news... newspapers, magazines, and tv: people with overdue books who had ignored letters and even court summonses were arrested at their homes. Life magazine carried the story as a spoof with these mocking dramatic photos:

                                                 Above: Harold Roth, Library director




Below: from a 4/4/1961 newspaper

Three years later, the East Orange Library made news again:

July 25, 1964; New York Times

East Orange Issues Orders to Arrest Library Laggards

EAST ORANGE. N. J., July 24—Magistrate Peter A. Wil­liams issued warrants today for the arrest of 26 persons who have failed to return books to the public library here.EAST ORANGE. N. J., July 24—Magistrate Peter A. Wil­liams issued warrants today for the arrest of 26 persons who have failed to return books to the public library here. City detectives were instruc­ted to talk to the borrowers by phone and ask that they sur­render at police headquarters. Failure to do so will mean ar­rest. The handling of today's war­rants will be more temperate than methods employed three years ago, when the police routed 14 delinquent borrowers from their beds late at night and jailed several in lieu of $100 bail. This time, Mayor James W. Kelly Jr. has Ordered that ar­rests be made between 8 A.M. and 8 P.M. The warrants issued today charge the borrowers, who have ignored three warning letters from the library and a court summons, with contempt of court. Officials say that the 26 borrowers owe a total of $600 in fines on almost 80 books. According to Harold L. Roth, director of the library, the ar­rests in 1961 solved the prob­lem of overdue books only tem­porarily. At that time, those for whom bench warrants were is­sued were ultimately fined $25 for contempt of court, ordered to return the delinquent books and pay the accumulated fines.

Below: postcard photo with 1929 postmark

Recess at Stockton: 1948

Newspaper clipping courtesy of Barbara Quinn who can be seen behind the shoulder of the boy in the striped shirt

Students in photo above are probably coming out of door shown in photo below from 1959.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Joel Brigham Baker, Principal, Eastern School, 1871-1875

Colonel Joel B. Baker came to East Orange in 1871 from Troy, NY where he was principal of First Ward School. He became Eastern District School's first principal in its new, brick building on the north side of Main Street near Maple Avenue and served at Eastern School until 1875 when he left to work at a Hartford, CT school. He was followed as principal of Eastern by Clarence Franklin Carroll.

Mr. Baker was born Joel Brigham Goodell in Ontario, Canada on August 9, 1833. In 1837 his parents, Jotham Weeks Goodell and Anna Bacheler (may be "Bachelor") Goodell decided to emigrate to Ohio (the family eventually went on to Washington state). Joel was only 4 and considered not healthy enough for the trip, so his father's older sister Phebe Goodell Baker and her husband Jonas Baker who lived in Lockport, NY took him in as their son. Another reason given for the informal adoption is that the Bakers were not able to have children of their own (Phebe was already 44 in 1837). Joel officially changed his name to Baker in 1860.

Joel Baker was a graduate of Wilson Academy, a NY school. He married Emily Lafler on May 23, 1854 and they had three children, William Jonas, Emma Anna, and Minnie Phebe. His pre-1863 and 1865-1870 employment history is unclear but he was elected school commissioner in Niagara County, NY in 1860. In 1863 he entered the army as a captain and when he was mustered out in June, 1865 he was a colonel. Colonel Baker died in Hartford on June 1, 1876 and is buried in Budd Cemetery, Cambria Center, Niagara County, NY. (Photo of Col. Baker's gravestone)

One of Col. Joel B Baker's descendents found letters that he had written to Emily during the Civil War and the letters were published in 1996 under the title Letters Home, Joel B Baker. More info about the Goodell family's travels to Ohio and then Washington, life in Washington state, and some info about the Baker family can be found at the following sites:
Phoebe Goodell Judson