Browse Exhibits (4 total)
This exhibit explores the development of The Lawrenceville School's Fifth Form eatery, Abbott Dining Hall.
An exhibition of letters to Samuel McClintock Hamill (1812-1889) and Hugh Hamill (d. 1881) relating to The Lawrenceville School.
Samuel McClintock Hamill originally came to Lawrenceville as teacher of the Latin and Greek languages, having just graduated from Jefferson College in Pennsylvania. During his directorship at Lawrenceville, Hamill received the degree of D.D. from Hanover College, Indiana. Principal for nearly fifty years, Dr. Hamill named the school Lawrenceville Classical and Commercial High School and co-directed the institution with his elder brother the Rev. Hugh Hamill, who taught classics. Noted more for wise management and firm but generous discipline than for innovative teaching philosophy, Dr. Hamill cultivated Lawrenceville’s prestige and enrollment while leaving intact the traditional curriculum and methods with their emphasis on memorization and recitation.
Under the Hamills’ care, the school flourished and student enrollment grew from eighteen boys in 1837 to sixty-eight boys and a faculty of six in 1849. Lawrenceville’s increasing fame and the respected reputation of Dr. Hamill were reflected in his 1850 appointment as chairman of a Select Committee to report on the “Whole Subject of Instruction and Training” before the National Convention of the Friends of Public Education held in Philadelphia. Ten years later, Lawrenceville boasted a student body of nearly one hundred, a number that temporarily dropped during the Civil War years.
By 1865 and despite Hamill’s conservatism, changes began to occur in the form of school schedule revision, a new gymnasium, and the introduction of organized sports. In 1879 Dr. Hamill sold the School for $25,000 to the residuary legatees of the late John Cleeve Green, a first cousin to Mrs. Matilda Hamill and one of the first students of the school at its founding. As part of the contract Dr. Hamill agreed to continue directing Lawrenceville until a new principal could be secured. His collected records and those of the school were lost when his home for retirement, built in the Lawrenceville orchard, burned down in the winter of 1887. Dr. Hamill moved to Trenton and, almost two years later, passed away on September 20, 1889. He is buried in the Lawrenceville cemetery.
Romanesque in style and completed in 1890, Woods Memorial Hall was designed by the architecture firm Peabody & Stearns as The Lawrenceville School's main academic building. As the institution's physical embodiment of education in the 19th century, numerous references to the School's original curriculum carved in Longmeadow brown sandstone adorn the building's northern facade. These carvings evoke a bygone era yet, retain lessons in history for all Lawrentians.
Over the course of its 210-year history, The Lawrenceville School community has experienced moments of challenge and uncertainty. The past year has tested our spirit but built us stronger; the COVID-19 pandemic upended normal school routine and the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd were a call to action.
Lawrenceville student activists sought a meaningful expression in the midst of such emotional turmoil and the result was the Bearing Witness project. As explained by Assistant Dean of Faculty Alison Easterling in the introduction to the project shared with students, faculty, and staff:
“We want students to understand that they are each and all members of a community where they are valued, and that it's the way of this community in times of trouble, whether outside the gates or inside, to give time and space to reflect on momentous events and powerful feelings.”
In lieu of final exams, students spent the final two days of the school year using class time to create an “artifact” that reflected their personal response to the turmoil of spring 2020. The artifacts were collected by the Stephan Archives to document the community’s response to this difficult time both individually and collectively.
More than 300 students, faculty, and staff responded with submissions in a multitude of formats that represent the creativity of Lawrentians, including:
- Speeches and monologues
- Artwork and photographs
- Lesson plans for classes or self-education
- Personal reflections
- Film and music playlists
- Statistical analysis projects
- Videos and slide presentations
This digital exhibit includes the submissions that best lent themselves to an online format, and whose creators granted the School permission to share. Curator Sarah Mezzino commented:
"The breadth of submissions from the School community was curatorally and emotionally overwhelming in both scale and scope. Balancing the physical limitations of the online platform with an exhibit theme -- 'Experiencers & Witnesses' -- was a challenge that could not have been achieved without the ongoing help of both the OMA and a student focus group. This exhibit is the result of months of collaborative work and represents a fraction of the Stephan Archives' holdings."
The full body of submissions to the Bearing Witness project have been collected by the Stephan Archives and will be retained as a “snapshot” of the School community’s response to the unique challenges of spring 2020. Because of the personal nature of the submissions, not all materials will be available for research until restriction periods have passed.