18 North 23rd Street

The THOMAS H. DUDLEY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL on North 23rd Street first opened for students in 1904, during the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. Joseph Nowrey was the Mayor of Camden at the time. The school, built by East Camden contractor George Bachmann Sr., which is located at North 23rd and High Street in East Camden, was one of a series of public buildings erected early in the century, after the town of Stockton was annexed by the City of Camden. These buildings included the fire house and police station at 27th & Federal Streets, and the library building at Federal Street and Westfield Avenue. It replaced the Harrison School, which had been built decades before by Stockton Township on Marlton Pike (East State Street) north of of Federal street. 

The school was named for Thomas H. Dudley, a leading Camden citizen of the 19th century. Thomas H. Dudley served both the city of Camden and the nation as a whole for many years. He wrote the 1851 City Charter, was in charge of the United States'  efforts to to convince Great Britain to remain neutral during the Civil War, and was America's representative in the settlement of the Alabama claims after war's end. Thomas H. Dudley owned a fine home that sat at the center of what is now the Dudley Grange Park. This building held the East Camden branch of the Free Public Library of Camden for many years until budget cuts forced its closure. Once abandoned, the building was lost to fire. 

The Thomas H. Dudley School was designed by Philadelphia architect Paul Armon Davis III, who also designed the W.J. Sewell School, which also opened in 1904. Davis would go on to design or take part in the architectural work of no less than six other Camden public schools. In 1907 three Davis designed schools opened there doors, the Parkside School, the H.B. Wilson School, and the George Washington School. In 1910 the John G. Whittier School opened at 8th and Chestnut Street. Davis worked under Arthur Truscott in the design of 1916's Camden High School, and the final Davis-designed school to open was the Charles Sumner School at South 8th and Van Hook Street in 1926. 

When the Dudley School opened, the nearby Harrison School, which had been built by Stockton Township and was located at East State Street and High Street, was closed and demolished. 

Contagious disease was a problem in Camden and elsewhere at the turn of the century, and the school board authorized quarantine periods for diphtheria, smallpox, mumps, and whooping cough. Dr. Henry H. Davis, in charge of medical affairs in Camden's schools, closed the Dudley School for two weeks in mid-November, 1905 to prevent a diphtheria outbreak.

By 1910 Dudley School was so crowded that 90 students were on split session. The school board considered portable buildings, but decided the city would be better served by adding four rooms onto Dudley School.

During the Depression, students often were absent for lack of proper clothing. "Daddy" Sparks, a janitor at Dudley, used donated material from those in the neighborhood to mend about 100 pairs of shoes a month in the basement of the school for neighborhood children.

Sometime after 1950 an annex was built where houses had stood. The annex gave the school a new street address, 18 North 23rd Street.

The Dudley School in 2003-2004 served students in kindergarten through the fourth grade. Dudley serves an ethnically and racially diverse community. Students have come to Dudley in recent years speaking a variety of languages, including English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Haitian Creole. The traditionally working class neighborhood which Dudley serves was devastated by drugs when crack cocaine hit Camden in 1986, and only in very recent times has stabilized, although at a level that barely meets the standards of civil society. 

The Dudley School was scheduled to be replaced by a new school in 2006, as part of a new construction program that will see several other Camden elementary schools replaced, including the Catto School in East Camden, the H.B. Wilson School in Fairview, and the George Washington School in Cramer Hill. Government corruption on the state level, however, made this impossible, and the school will remain in use, barring disaster, into the foreseeable future.

At the beginning of the 2007 school year, The Dudley Elementary School ceased to exist. its students were sent to the new Catto School that had been built where Thomas H. Dudley's home once stood, Dudley Grange. The building remains in use, as the Board of Education's Early Child Development Center.

Looking at the Dudley School from High Street

Philadelphia Inquirer - October 27, 1906

Philadelphia Inquirer - March 17, 1918

Dr. Daniel Strock - Dr. James Bryan - Mrs. Margaret Thompson - Dorothy Morris - Ralph Parker
Mary Brown - George B. Pine - Emma Summerill - John Koerner - Helen Amelson

Northeast School - Dudley School - Liberty School - Camden Manual Training & High School


Patrolmen of the Second and Third districts are attempting to locate boys who are believed to be responsible for two robberies over the weekend.

Breaking into the Dudley School, Twenty-Third and High Streets, thieves ransacked teachers' desks in every room and carried off the contents of a telephone box which they tore from the wall. Detective William Casler, investigating the thefts, was unable to learn whether anything had been stolen from the desks. He said he round a number of small fingerprints on the windows through which the robbers entered.

The second robbery was reported by Jacob Dubin, of 835 Broadway. He said that a show case in front of his store was broken open and men’s shirts and sweaters valued at $50 stolen

Camden Courier-Post

March 25, 1930

Teacher Assignments & Transfers - June 22, 1933

Camden Courier-Post - June 22, 1933

Miss Jennie Bryson Tendered Farewell Fete by Parent-Teachers

Miss Jennie Bryson, principal of the Dudley School, was honored yesterday afternoon at a farewell banquet given under the auspices of the executive board and social committee of the Dudley School Parent-Teacher Association. 

Principal of the Dudley School eight years and prior to that a teacher there for 15 years, Miss Bryson will take over the duties in September as principal of the Washington-Beideman School, River road and Cambridge Street. 

The farewell banquet was conducted at the school amid a profusion of bouquets, baskets of flowers, and many colorful decorations. The flowers were later donated to Cooper Hospital for the cheer of patients. 

Miss Laura Pittenger, a teacher at the school, was the banquet mistress of ceremonies. She, in behalf of the teachers and pupils, and Mrs. Lucinda J. Walters, president of the parent-teacher group, in behalf of that organization, commended Miss Bryson for her long and able service to the school and expressed regret that she was leaving.

Miss Bryson expressed her appreciation in a brief response and added that she will long cherish memories of the school, its pupils, their parents and her other associations there. Miss Bryson lives at 610 North Fifth Street. In addition to her service at the Dudley School, she was principal of the Rosedale and Beideman Schools. 

The executive board of the Parent Teacher Association includes Mrs. Walters, president; Mrs. James Banks, vice president; Helen Richie, secretary; Mrs. Charles Leone, treasurer; Mrs. Katharine Conley, chairman of the social committee; Mrs. Bertha Walker, chairman of the welfare committee; Mrs. Lillian Isackson, chairman of the membership committee; Mrs. Marguerite Truempy chairman of the program committee, and Mrs. Louise Gick, chairman of the hospitality committee. 

The social committee includes Mrs. Conley, chairman; Mrs. Jeanette Cooper, Mrs. Della Jarvis, and Mrs. Mary Deeney.


An automobile's tire tread Is the only clue city detectives obtained to identify a hit-run driver who damaged the fender and body of Miss Helen G. Ritchie's new car while it was parked near Dudley School, Twenty-third and High Streets, yesterday afternoon. Miss Ritchie, a sixth grade teacher there, lives in Gibbstown.

Camden Courier-Post

June 24, 1936

Camden Courier-Post - February 1, 1938

Appoints 2 Instructors and Pensions 2 Others; Wilson Enrollment High

The Camden Board Education last night approved transfers of 14 teachers, the appointment of two new instructors and the retirement on pension of two others.

The board then adjourned until 11.45 a. m. today and it was announced the 1938-39 board will be organized at noon when Commissioner Mary W. Kobus is expected to be re-elected president.

When the report of the teachers committee making recommendations for appointments, transfers and retirements was read it was approved by unanimous vote and without comment.

Following the meeting Carlton W. Rowand explained that most of the transfers were made to meet emergencies in teaching classes at Woodrow Wilson High School, where more than 1500 students will be enrolled for the second semester, be ginning today.

Rowand explained that enrollment at the Wilson school is the highest in its history, due to many students taking up English and commercial courses instead of entering Camden senior high school, which will have an enrollment of approximately 1540 students, the smallest in several years.

List of Transfers

Transfers affecting teachers in junior high schools are: Louis E. Feinstein from Hatch Junior High School to commercial business organization, Wilson High School; Frank E. Sias, from Cramer Junior High to physical education, Wilson High; Jessie W. McMurtrie from Cramer Junior High School, to physical education, Wilson High; Wilton D. Greenway, from Cramer Junior High School to mathematics, Camden High; Elizabeth Dickinson, from Bonsall; to English, Cramer Junior High; Mrs. Mildred C. Simmons, from English to mathematics, Cramer Junior High; Miss Celia Boudov, from Hatch Junior High to departmental geography, science, and penmanship, Liberty School; Mrs. Elizabeth R. Myers assigned to English, Hatch Junior High;

Thelma L. Little transferred from, Grade 5 to Cooperative Departmental; Dudley school.

The following elementary school transfers, also effective today, are:

Beatrice W. Beideman from Starr to Sharp school; Mrs. Esther S. Finberg from Cramer to Broadway school; Dorothy M. Lippincott from Parkside to Dudley school; Mrs. Alva T. Corson from Washington to Broadway school, and Mary G. Cathell from Washington to Dudley school.

Teachers whose retirement was approved are Carolina W. Taylor, Grade 2, Broadway school, and William M. Thayer, mathematics [Camden] senior high school. Both teachers had resigned and applied for their pensions, the report read.

Appointments Made

Nathan Enten was appointed as physical education teacher in the Cramer school and Harry S. Manashil was appointed commercial teacher in Hatch school. Each will receive $1400, annually. The board also approved the appointment of Florence M. Dickinson as principal of Lincoln school at a salary of $2200 annually.

The assignment of Miss Grace Hankins as principal of Parkside school to succeed Miss Dickinson also was approved. Ethel Thegen was approved for appointment as assistant librarian at the Camden senior high school at a salary of $5.50 a day. All appointments are effective today.

To relieve overcrowded conditions among pupils the board approved the transfer of 7A and 7B classes from the Washington to the Cramer school.

The board vote to open a library in the Cramer school and Raymond G. Price, supervisor of building was instructed to provide, the necessary equipment.

A resolution of condolence upon the death of Ethel C. Wenderoth, for 19 years a teacher in the Broadway School was passed and secretary Albert Austermuhl was instructed to send a copy to members of the deceased teacher's family.

2 New Faces on Board

The board received and filed a letter from Mayor George E. Brunner in which he stated he had appointed Mrs. George W. Tash, Samuel T. French Jr. as new members and had re-appointed Robert Burk Johnson as a board member.

William B. Sullender, of the Tenth Ward, who was not re-appointed, was commended by the members for his services. E. George Aaron said he regretted the fact that Sullender was leaving as a member and wished him success. Others joined in this tribute.

Sullender in reply thanked the members for their co-operation during his term of office.

Camden Courier-Post - February 4, 1938

Parent-Teacher Association News

Dudley- Mrs. Morris Cooper attended the city group meeting. The basketball teams have been furnished with suits by this organization. The executive committee meeting will be held tonight at 8 o'clock at the home of Mrs. Sarah Miller, 2214 Howell Street. Plans for a spaghetti supper to be held February 15th will be completed.

Camden Courier-Post - February 1 1, 1938

41st Anniversary Will Be Observed by Broadcast in Afternoon
4th Annual Child Welfare Institute Being Planned for April

The desire to carry on toward the goal envisioned by founders of the Parent-Teacher Association will be emphasized throughout the country in honor of the 41st anniversary of the National Congress of Parents and Teachers.

A Founders Day broadcast will be heard on the Parent-Teacher Radio Forum next Wednesday from 4.30-5 p. m. over the NBC blue network. 

Mrs. Percy Powell, Mrs. Fred M. Raymond and Miss Mary England are in charge of the program.

One of the vital topics to be considered that day is "What needs to be 
done for children today?"

The celebration of Founders Day started by Mrs. David O. Mears in 1910, thirteen years after the organization of the National Congress of Mothers, and the "birthday gifts" from local units are used for the extension of this service to childhood so that it may be carried to every girl and every boy in the country. 


Mrs. Herbert Schoellkopf, county Americanization chairman, urges every parent-teacher member to display the American flag on three important birthdays being celebrated this month, namely: Lincoln's  Birthday, February 12; Founder's Day, February 17, and Washington's Birthday, February 22.

Word has been received of the cancellation of the "Homemakers Forum" on station WOR. The series of talks on the adolescent which were to have been given on this program, are available in mimeographed form from the office of the home demonstration agent, Miss Mary M. Leaming, room 208, courthouse, Camden. In requesting this information, the name of the particular talk desired and the definite number of copies needed should be specked.

Parent-Teacher members are looking forward to the fourth annual Child Welfare Institute to be held in April. Plans for this institute are being formulated by Albert M. Bean, superintendent of Camden county schools, who is general chairman. The theme this year will be "Guidance" being divided in four classes pertaining to career, character, community and health.

Guest Speaker

MRS. MORRIS FOULK Director of the southern P. T. A. district and second
vice president of the New Jersey Parents and Teachers Congress, who was guest
speaker at the Garfield School, Camden, P. T. A. meeting: last night.


Broadway — Mrs. Ralph Jones, county magazine chairman, was the guest speaker at the meeting Tuesday night. A playlet in commemoration of Founder's Day was presented by a group from the Northeast-Sewell association. Mrs. Thomas Melchore presided. Mrs. George Lee, welfare chairman, has made arrangements for an industrial tour on February 21. Mrs. Walter Gross attended the meeting of the Home Demonstration Extension on Monday. Mrs. C. Fred Becker, parent discussion group  leader, is holding a meeting in the school on Tuesday at 1.30 p. m. A donation of $1.25 was approved to be given the recreation committee toward the New York trip of the winners in the sewing contest held recently.

CassadyMrs. M. Moullette, Summer round up chairman, has appointed a committee to assist her in her work. They are Mrs. E. Hudson, president; Mrs. R. Bowen, vice president; Mrs. H. Mount,  secretary; Mrs. A. Reinhold and G. McGrath Kershaw. The executive committee will hold a meeting next Wednesday at the home of Mrs. K. Hudson at 8 o'clock.

Cooper—Health night was held at the regular meeting Monday. Mrs. G. Kramer, county health chairman, spoke on the importance of correct food for children. A play was presented by the Seventh grade English class, under the direction of Miss E. Hanna. A violin solo was rendered by Miss A. Claypool, accompanied at the piano by Miss V. Merwall. An educational trip has been planned for this afternoon at 1.30.

Cramer — The county president's message echoes from the release were read by Mrs. William Rown-tree, president, at the meeting last week. A gift of $1.25 was sent to the committee on the Doll Dressing Contest. Mrs. Arthur Fichter, membership chairman; Mrs. Fred Creag-er, welfare  chairman, and Mrs. William Rowntree, president, attended the city group meeting last week. The executive committee will meet at the home of Barney Brown, vice president, 2566 Baird boulevard, on Tuesday night at 8 o'clock. The association is sponsoring a three-act comedy, "Here Comes Charlie," to be given by the Queen Esther Society of Asbury M. E. church, on Thursday night, February 17, at 8 o'clock in the school auditorium.

H. H. Davis—Members of the discussion group met in the school yesterday under the leadership of Mrs. William Allen, discussion group chairman, followed by rehearsal for the Founder's Day play arranged by Miss Kathleen Willetts, Founder's Day chairman. A candle lighting ceremony will also be given in observance of Founder's Day, at the meeting Thursday. Calvin Chambers will compile the publicity record book to be displayed at the annual luncheon. A trip to an industrial plant is planned for next Wednesday afternoon. A bus will leave the school at 1 p. m.

Dudley—Mrs. Elizabeth James and Mrs. Sarah Miller who were in charge of purchasing of basketball suits for the school team, reported that donations of $10.65 have been received from business people and friends. The executive committee has approved sending $1.25 to the Recreation Commission toward the New York trip for winners of the Doll Dressing Contest. Mrs. Clara Batten, chairman of the committee in charge of purchasing a new banner, has been authorized to purchase  same as soon as possible. Mrs. Florence Fiedler, newly appointed summer round-up chairman, is making plans for a thorough survey of the school neighborhood in order to enlist the aid of the parents of preschool children. Founders' Day exercises will be held tonight at the meeting.

McKinley—Harry Roye will speak at the meeting next Tuesday night. There will also be a Founders' Day ceremony. Those taking part will rehearse Friday at 3.30 a. m. at the school. Mrs. Rudolph Koerner will hold a study group meeting at her home next Wednesday at 2.00 p. m. Next Thursday a covered dish luncheon will be held by Mrs. R. Koerner and Mrs. Morris Sellers at the home of Mrs. R. Koerner, Fremont and Thirty-fifth street. On Thursday a meeting on character education will be  held at the school at 3.30 p. m. Miss Alice Butler, general secretary of the Y. W. C. A., fill speak.

Liberty & Starr—The meeting of the executive committee will be held ext Thursday night at the home of Mrs. Charles Baden, 954 Pine street. Mrs. Emily S. Hurd, publicity chairman, who served as chairman of the judging committee of the sewing contest sponsored by the Recreation commission, recently acted as judge f the sewing contest held by the T. A. at SS. Peter and Paul school on Tuesday 

Parkside—Mrs. Robert Simmington, council chairman, and Mrs. Rocco Palese, city chairman, gave brief talks at the meeting last Thursday night. Corsages were presented to them by Mrs. Sinclair Sondie, program chairman. Proceeds from the sale of a cake will be sent as a Founders' Day gift to he National Congress to be used or extension work.

North-East & Sewell — Mrs. Grace Dill, discussion group leader, attended the meeting in City Hall Monday under the direction of Miss Mary Leaming, home demonstration agent. A meeting of the discussion group was held in the Sewell school on Tuesday afternoon.

Sumner—The ways and means committee met at the home of Mrs. Grace Thomas, president, on Monday. Plans for various entertainments for the months of February, March and April were made. A membership campaign was launched. The topic of discussion at the meeting on Wednesday was "How the School Prepares for Home and Family Life."

H. C. Sharp—The regular meeting was held Friday. Gordon Carrigan presided. The Rev. Eric A. Osterle of Collingswood. discussed "Youth Problems." "Founders' Day" was observed, also the ninth birthday of this unit. A large birthday cake was lighted by the past presidents, and a large candle lighted by Miss Ethel Lee for Founders Day. Miss Lee was congratulated for her wonderful co-operation with all presidents and P.T.A. work; and was presented with a corsage of red roses. Each president in turn was presented with a red rose bud boutonniere by Miss Esther Bauer, who had charge of the program, assisted by Miss Maier and Mrs. Barton. Each president gave a "Reminiscent" of his service. They were as follows: Chester Knaub, Harry Krattenmaker, Herman Neissner, Gordon Carriean, Howard Stewart, Raymond Price.

Washington — Rev. E1wood A. Harrar spoke Tuesday at the Founders Day meeting Tuesday. Mrs. Howard Weeden, city juvenile probation chairman, was guest speaker. Miss Charlotte V. Dover, former principal of the school, was also a guest. A brief history of the association were called upon to speak. John White was the first president. He was followed by Jacob Grosmick, Mrs. Wilbur Cassedy, and the present president, Mrs. Richard Baker. Mrs. F. Kau ff man reports the cake sale a success. Mrs. William Mitchell reported plans to form a First Aid class that will be given a course by the Red Cross.

H. B. Wilson—Plans were made for the Founders Day program at the executive committee meeting Thursday afternoon in the school. Mrs. Lawrence Miller was named chairman. Miss Harriet Reiners will speak on character education at the next meeting. The basketball team was furnished with suits by the unit.

Yorkship—After a short business session with Mrs. James L. Ferris presiding, the monthly meeting was turned over to Mrs. J. P. McMillion, county chairman of alcohol and narcotics. Rev. H. S. Lepperd, of Fairview M. E. Church, spoke. Mrs David Pyper, chairman of ways and means, announced plans for a care party to be held on February 18. Proceeds will be used for expenses to carry on the monthly dances and Annual Field Day. The discussion group met today in teachers lunch  room. Mrs. Malcolm Steck, leader, will use as a topic "What Interests Adolescence." As a special feature for the monthly dances the organization has arranged to have a half hour of dancing instructions before the regular dancing begins. Attending the city group meeting at City Hall were Mrs. James L. Ferris, president; Mrs David Pyper, Mrs. M. Johnson, Mrs. Eleanor Wynn, Mrs. W. Clemmens Mrs. George Mehaffey and Mrs. Harold Turner attended.

Lincoln—Dr. Helen Schrak gave a talk on health and a report on health conditions of the children of this school at the last meeting. A Founders Day sketch was presented by Mrs. M. Beaumont, Mrs. G. Welmrich, Mrs. E. Schelpat and Mrs. K Conlin.

I wonder if the Johns are still outside or if they've been moved inside? Remembering back, there were always two guys outside the school at recess. One was selling pretzels and the other, a Filipino, was demonstrating and selling Yoyo's.

Tom Agin, May 2004

Tom Agin grew up on the 2000 Block of Cooper Street. He attended Dudley School in the 1930s

Dudley School

February 1, 2004

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