FREDERICK A. FINKELDEY was born on September 8, 1860 in Philadelphia to Johann Friedrich (John F.) Finkeldey and Louisa F. Birkenhauer. His father had emigrated from Germany in 1839 and was a lithographer and printer in Philadelphia. After his father's death in 1883, Fred and his brother Werner continued the family business at 218 Walnut Street, Philadelphia until 1896, and Fred had artistic talent. 

Frederick Finkeldey had planned to become a Lutheran minister, but developed tuberculosis and became interested in gymnastics and calisthenics. He attended a gymnastics program in Milwaukee, and in 1905 received a degree from Temple University in Philadelphia. In the 1890s, he became a physical education teacher in the Camden, New Jersey school system. In 1903 he left the Camden schools to become Director of Physical Education at Girard College, in Philadelphia, and worked there until 1918. He then returned to employment in Camden as Director of Physical Education. He established the playground system in Camden, and was founding member and trustee of the East End Trust bank on Federal Street. A staunch Republican, he was a member of the Camden City Council for many years, and served as Council president in 1914. In 1907 was an unsuccessful primary campaign for Mayor against Charles H. Ellis, but quickly mended fences with the Mayor, and went on to be a significant figure in city politics.

Frederick Finkeldey brought his family to Camden in the 1890s when he was placed in charge of Turner Hall, which stood in the 500 block of Pine Street. Frederick Finkeldey was a member of the Turn Verein, also  known as Turners, a German-American social organization that placed a great emphasis on athleticism and physical fitness. 

City Directories from 1894 through 1899 indicate that they lived at 554 Spruce Street from 1894 through 1899, and they were still at that address when the Census was taken in June of 1900. Directories from 1901 through 1905 show that the family had moved to 232 North 32nd Street in East Camden. The Finkeldeys remained at that address until moving into a newly built home at 220 North 32nd Street in 1906. This would be Frederick Finkeldey's home until his death in 1921.

At the time of his death he was described as "Dynamic, Energetic. Advocated and fought for better civil government. Was popularly known as "The Man Who Can't Be Bossed." For the last ten years of his life devoted himself with a zeal that was almost a passion to the recreation and playground movement for young children."

Frederick married Fredericka Meine (1863-1935) on August 27, 1888 at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. They had two sons, Frederick Adam (1889-1944) and William Henry (1892-1974).

Besides his involvement with the Turn Verein, Frederick Finkeldey was also a member of the Trimble Lodge No. 117, Free and Accepted Masons; Camden Lodge 293 of the Elks; and the Patriotic Order of Sons of America. 

Frederick Finkeldey died on October 24, 1921 and was buried at Arlington Cemetery in Pennsauken, New Jersey. On the day of his funeral all the Camden schools were closed and all flags were lowered to half mast. Mrs. Finkeldey remained on North 32nd Street as late as 1929. By 1931 she had moved out of Camden, and joined her husband in 1935.

Son William Finkeldey married Miriam Nulty, daughter of John Nulty, a step-brother of builder Joseph E. Robert Sr., who was father to noted physician Dr. Joseph E. Roberts Jr.

South Jersey: A History
Alfred M. Heston, Editor-in-Chief


Few public men of Southern New Jersey have been so greatly loved and admired by constituents and few have left behind them so brilliant a record of achievement in behalf of their public as Frederick Adolph Finkeldey. While his activities as a member of the Camden City Council and of the City Planning Commission and as president of the Board of Recreation Commissioners have made him well known to the people of his city, he is nationally known as an authority on the physical education of school children, and as a champion of the playground movement in America. H is work in Camden as director of physical training in the Camden Public Schools and in the police and fire departments and in Philadelphia as director of physical training at Girard College and as an instructor in physical education at the University of Pennsylvania, and at Temple University, has gained for him an enviable reputation in this his chosen profession. 

Frederick Adolph Finkeldey was born in Philadelphia, in the old Finkeldey home at Juniper and Pine streets, on September 8, 1861. His father, John Frederick Finke1dcy, was born in Frankenberg. Hessen. Germany, on September 8, 1821. He came to America in 1838, His first home in this country was in Baltimore, Maryland. Later he moved to Philadelphia, where on January 1, 1858, he married Louisa Fredricka Birckenhauer. The children were: Frederick Adolph, Louisa, Anna, and Werner.

Adolph Finkeldey was a graduate of Temple University, graduating in 1905 in Physical Education. His pedagogical course of training was obtained in the Milwaukee (Wisconsin) Normal School. 

Preparation for his life-work began with his studies with the North American Gymnastic Union, from which he graduated in 1890. From 1889 to 1891, while still a student, he taught physical training at the Rugby Academy, in Philadelphia, and from 1891 to 1894 he was physic al instructor at the Philadelphia Young Men's Christian Association. The following six years were spent in directing the physical culture activities of the Camden Turn Verein. In 1900 he was made physical director of the Camden Public Schools. 

His fine, erect presence upon entering the schoolroom, his unfailing courtesy and the atmosphere of friendly humor he created endeared him to teachers and pupils alike. His efficient outlines of work for the schools were intelligently planned to meet the needs of the growing child, and the splendid results obtained there from in the physical well-being of hundreds of children form a lasting monument to the memory of this truly great teacher. 

In 1904 he accepted the position of director of physical training at Girard College, at which post he served until 1915 when, to the deep satisfaction of hosts of friends, he returned to the Camden Public Schools, where he continued to work until a few days before his untimely death on October 24, 1921. 

Mr. Finkeldey's public career began in 1905, when he was elected a member of the Camden City Council from the Eleventh Ward in which he lived most of his life. He served on the city council until 1915. From 1913 to 1921 he was president of the Board of Recreation Commissioners of the city of Camden, and for years served on the City Planning Commission. 

Mr. Finkeldey became famous for his work in the Camden City Council. A witty, terse speaker of convincing eloquence, his humor colored many a political argument. A vigorous agitator in behalf of the citizens of Camden and an opponent of cliques, political machines and grafters, Mr. Finkeldey waged a lifelong battle against unscrupulous, self-interested political groups. 

It was through his efforts that the railroad was forced to erect a modern stone and steel bridge at Pavonia; he fought for and won a playground for children in Reservoir Park, Camden; he secured the passage of an ordinance providing electric arc lights for the Eleventh Ward. He was instrumental in acquiring a large area to be set aside as an athletic field for the use of the school children of Camden. He was also the prime figure in the fight to get two-cent ferry rates across the river from Camden to Philadelphia, and the leader in the movement that brought about the erection of the public markets. It was partly due to his efforts that street lighting and paving costs were reduced. He also secured the passage of the ordinance permitting in Camden, the sale of ice, milk, drugs, and other necessities on Sunday. 

For these many services to the public, and his activities against sinister political cliques. Mr. Finkeldey came to be much loved and respected. He was the sort of man who not only through his immutable integrity and public interest, refused to accept graft from schemers, but went further and disclosed the operations and the machinations of the grafters. Thus he died, a man of little material wealth, though opulent in public affection and esteem. 

Mr. Finkeldey was a director in the East End Trust Company, and in the Westfield Building and Loan Association. He was a member of the Young Men's Christian Association; of Trimble Lodge No. 117, of the Free and Accepted Masons, of Camden; the Camden Lodge, No. 293 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks; the Patriotic Order of the Sons of America, the American Playground Association, the New Jersey State Physical Education Association, of which he was a member from March 4, 1898, to the date of his death; the American Association for the Advancement of Physical Education, and the Camden Teachers' Club. He was a devout believer in the Bible, at one time in his early youth having begun studies preliminary to those leading to the ministry. 

Mr. Finkeldey married Fredericka Meine, daughter of William G. and Eliese (Casche) Meine, in St. Peter's Protestant Episcopal Church, on Third and Pine Streets, Philadelphia, on August 27, 1888. There are two sons: Frederick Adam, born December 6, 1889; and William Henry, born May 26, 1892. Both are married and each has three children.

554 Spruce Street 

May 29, 2012

Frederick A. Finkeldey
and family lived here
from 1894 through 1900

Philadelphia Inquirer - May 1, 1896

Camden Turn-Verein - Temple Theatre - Frederick A. Finkledey
Pennsylvania Railroad Branch Y.M.C.A.

1896 - Frederick Finkeldey

1896 photo of Frederick Finkeldey (back row) and Fredericka (front left), their two young sons William and Fred Jr. and five unidentified persons

Philadelphia Inquirer - July 26, 1905

220 North 32nd Street - Camden, New Jersey

Philadelphia Inquirer - October 11, 1906


Frederick A. Finkeldey - Frank S. Fithian
E.G.C. Bleakly - Robert Hollingsworth


September 12, 1907

Frederick A. Finkeldey
Charles H. Ellis

David Baird



January 1908

Dr. James E. Bryan
Frederick A. Finkeldey
Camden Manual Training and High School

Philadelphia Inquirer * August 30, 1910

Charles H. Ellis - Dr. William H. Kensinger - O. Glen Stackhouse - John S. Roberts - George A. Frey
William J. Fox - Edmund E. Read Jr. - Harry C. Dole - Charles H. Greer - David Jester - Edmund H. Way
Harry R. Read - Robert W. Gordon - Joshua C. Haines - Frank C. Van Hart - J. William Mills
Raymond Warren - C.K. Deacon -  Daniel Smith - Henry S. Gordon  - Frederick A. Finkeldey
Frederick Von Neida - Henry D. Longacre - J. Morton Pennock - John B. Irwin - Dr. Silas H. Quint
John J. Welsh - Alfred R. White - William H. Deets - Harry R. Barrett - John Miller - D.W. Poland
Frank Shaw - Edward J. Kelleher - Harry Richmond - William C. King - William Wynn
George Clark - George N. Stokes - John F. Hurley - George W. Evans
Frederick A. Finkeldey - Jonas Shaw 

August-September - 1910

Frederick A. Finkeldey - Washington School

Camden Post-Telegram * October 14, 1912

O. Glenn Stackhouse -
John Painter - Frank B. Frost
Jeff Kay - William T. Boyle
Elisha Gravenor - Grace Presbyterian Church - Bertha Skillen 
Bessie Skillen - Albert Ludlow - Joseph Wittick

North 21st Street - North 27th Street - North 30th Street - North 34th Street - Sherman Avenue - High Street - Federal Street 
Thomas Sink - A. Lincoln James - William Schregler
Henry C. Moffett - John Brothers - William C. Horner
Arthur Colsey - Anson Kelley - Robert T. Abbott 
John H. Vickers - Frederick A. Finkeldey 
"Indian Bill" May - Eugene McCafferty - Dr. William S. Jones
Dr. E.A.Y. Schellenger Sr. - John T. Potter - Elbridge B. McClong
John T. Cleary - Charles A. Wolverton - Thomas Gallagher's Saloon




May 9, 1914




Philadelphia Inquirer
June 30, 1914

Frederick A. Finkeldey
Charles H. Ellis
Florence Brogan
Frank Brogan
Ida M. Schwartz
Frank D.L. Covely

Philadelphia Inquirer
November 16, 1914
Frederick A. Finkledey - James E. Hewitt
Frank S. Van Hart
- Amos R. Dease

Camden Post-Telegram * Fall 1915

Philadelphia Inquirer
March 5, 1916

William A. Stecher
Frederick Finkeldey

April 20, 1917



Philadelphia Inquirer - July 27, 1917

Philadelphia Inquirer
January 2, 1918

T. Gordon Coulter
George Kappell
Frederick A. Finkeldey
William C. Davis
Theodore T. Kausel
Allen Jarvis -
Frank S. Van Hart
Frederick von Nieda
Joseph Forsyth
Dr. Charles P. Tuttle
Dr. H.F. Bushey
Elisha Gravenor
Charles Whaland



Philadelphia Inquirer - June 29, 1919

Elwood Geiges - Frederick A. Finkeldey - Liberty School

Philadelphia Inquirer - August 31, 1919

Philadelphia Inquirer
March 28, 1920

East End Trust
Leon Todd
Elwood H. Antrim
Frank X. Braun
Albert E. Burling
George S. Cadwallader
Wayland P. Cramer
John Crawford
Frederick A. Finkeldey
Arthur H. Gemberling
Dr. C.F. Hadley
Lemuel D. Horner
Frank G. Hitchner
Victor S. King
Oswen D. Kline
George C. Prince
William A. Regan
John Schimpf
William Schmid
Levi Stratton
Frederick von Nieda
J. Newlin Wilkins
East Camden

Frederick & Fredericka Finkeldey
at 220 North 32nd Street, Camden NJ - Circa 1919

Click on Images to Enlarge

Speech to the Rotary Club of Camden - Circa 1920

...a line left out when printed, note handwritten by Frederick A. Finkelday...

Camden Post-Telegram or Camden Courier - October 24, 1921


Camden Post-Telegram or Camden Courier
October 25, 1921

Philadelphia Inquirer - October 26, 1921