DR. JAMES EDMUND BRYAN was born September 9, 1869 in Maryland to the Reverend James Edmund Bryan and Anna Virginia Smith Bryan. An 1890 graduate of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore MD, he served as a teacher and principal in Michigan and Illinois, he was hired as superintendent of Camden's public schools in 1899 and served as such through 1931. He succeeded Horatio Draper in that post. Dr. Leon N. Neulen held the post in the 1930s and 1940s.
During Dr. Bryan's tenure Camden High School was erected, as was Hatch Junior High and several elementary schools throughout the city. He was the father of the Junior High School in Camden, and besides Hatch, another was built, Veterans Memorial Junior High School in Cramer Hill during his term. Two other Junior High Schools opened in existing buildings, the Alfred Cramer Junior High School being formerly the Eastside Elementary School, and Junior High School Number One, later known as the Clara Burrough Junior High School occupying the building that had housed the Camden Manual Training and High School. Other innovations instituted by Dr. Bryan included the Continuation School and corrections classes.
He was a member and trustee of Centenary Church at 5th and Cooper Street for many years, a member of the Trimble Lodge, No. 117 Free and Accepted Masons, the National Education Association, and many other professional groups. His niece, Dr. Mary Roberts, was principal of Moorestown High School, and "Woman of the Year in South Jersey" for 1948.
Dr. Bryan died at his home, 124 South Springfield Avenue in Merchantville, on December 18, 1951. He was buried at Rising Sun MD.
South Jersey: A History 1624-1924
JAMES EDMUND BRYAN, JR., A. B., Ph.D., is superintendent of the public schools in the city of Camden, which office he has held since 1899. Prior to coming to Camden, he held the position of superintendent in the schools of Danville, Illinois, for three years, and in Litchfield, Illinois, for a similar period. He began his educational work as principal of the high school in Houghton, Michigan, from 1891 to 1893. During the period of Dr. Bryan's superintendency of the Camden Schools, there has been rapid development and growth. The enrollment has increased from less than twelve thousand to more than twenty-two thousand; the number of teachers from less than three hundred to seven hundred and fifty; and seventeen new school buildings have been erected, including the new Senior High School in Forest Hill Park and two junior high schools. The organization of the school system has been completely modernized and developed along the lines of the most advanced educational thought and experience.
He attended the public schools of Maryland and Delaware until fifteen years of age, when he entered the Wilmington Conference Academy, now known as Wesley Collegiate Institute. Upon graduation from the Institute, he matriculated in Johns Hopkins University, where he received the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1890. The year 1890-91 was spent in graduate work in Johns Hopkins upon a University Scholarship awarded for high scholastic standing in undergraduate work. After teaching nine years, he entered upon a course of graduate work in the University of Pennsylvania and was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in 1908.
Dr. Bryan was born September 9, 1869, in Cecil County, Maryland. He is the son of Rev. James Edmund Bryan, of the Wilmington Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and Anna Virginia Bryan, both of old Maryland families, and both now deceased. He was united in marriage with May Barratt Martindale, also a native of Maryland, on December 28, 1893, at Newcastle, Delaware.
Dr. Bryan was president of the New Jersey State Teachers' Association in 1908 and of the New Jersey Council of Education in 1908 and 1909. For ten years he was a trustee of the Teachers' Pension System of New Jersey. He is a life member of the National Education Association, and a charter member of the New Jersey Schoolmaster's Club. He affiliates with Trimble Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, and is a member of Centenary-Tabernacle Methodist Episcopal Church of Camden, of which church he has been a trustee since 1902. He is also a Rotarian.
Between 1920 and 1933 space within the Mount Vernon School was allocated to the Continuation School. In January of that year, Superintendent of Schools Dr. James E. Bryan went to Boston to visit Continuation Schools because they were operating there, in old factories, with separate boys' and girls' classes, for about the last four to five years. In Massachusetts, students who worked were required to attend school at least four hours per week. In New Jersey, the Legislature enacted a law requiring at least six hours per week, and whenever a student was unemployed, the state expected the student to attend school every day. This special school, called a Continuation School, had to open by September 1, 1920. According to the New Jersey law, the child attended school in the city in which he worked, and not where he lived, unless the two happen to be the same. (In essence, the state took the financial burden of continuation schools out of the suburbs, and into the cities where the jobs were located.)
Bryan reasoned that the district needed to provide instruction for a maximum of 600 students, and believed that in this type of school, efficiency required 15 pupils per class, covering the sixth through tenth grades. Bryan also recognized that these classes would be in a constant state of flux, and he would have to arrange the classes by ability and personal advancement. The teacher's problem was one of individualized instruction. Bryan assigned four male and four female teachers to shops and domestic-science rooms, with academic classrooms, a principal and an office assistant, and attendance clerk. The Mount Vernon School building and the old church (Wynn Memorial Chapel) next to the Liberty School, became the sites for the district's Continuation School. Bryan also wanted a print shop established in the school, when funds were available, as this was one of the developments of modern industrial education not represented in the curriculum at the time.
In mid-February 1929, Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Bryan learned of the sale of tickets of chance in the school system. Mr. Charles F. Otto, Principal of Kaighn School reported the incident in response to published accounts in the papers of the selling of chances at his school. The board questioned the principal and two students, Nicholas Perino and Charles Menequale. Otto recounted that on the playground, a pupil, Leon Gendler, complained to him that Charles Menequale threatened him with harm, if he [Leon] did not give him money. For this attempted extortion of money, Mr. Otto reprimanded Charles. Disregarding the warning, however, Charles continued his threats for money, and Leon again complained to the principal. Consequently, Otto summoned both boys to the office, and learned that Charles was coercing Leon to extort money from others in order to playa form of lottery. Otto decided it was advisable to inform the police, and let them make a full investigation. The board appointed a committee of three to work with the police, and to investigate further the sale of lottery tickets in the schools. The committee exonerated Mr. Otto from all blame in reference to the published accounts in the papers, and the board complimented him for his promptness in reporting the incident. The board directed the superintendent to instruct principals to cooperate "in stamping out the evil of school children selling or buying lottery chances."
June 26, 1904
Jefferis - Edward H. Sayford - James
E. Bryan - Clara
S. Burrough -
Julian K. Potter - G. Bovilla Fry - George T. Phillips - Helen E. Herbert
Camden Manual Training and High School - Camden Lodge of Elks
Frank Healy - Peter Verga - Frank Gardner - Amos R. Dease - Levi Farnham - Albert West
Broadway - Federal Street - Linden Street
|Philadelphia Inquirer - June 10, 1905|
|Dr. James E. Bryan - Dr. Hyman I. Goldstein - First Methodist Episcopal Church|
March 11, 1918
Click on Image for PDF File of Complete Article
Camden Manual Training & High School
Haddon Avenue - Newton Avenue
|Philadelphia Inquirer - March 17, 1918|
Daniel Strock - Dr.
James Bryan - Mrs. Margaret Thompson - Dorothy Morris - Ralph
Camden Courier-Post - February 8, 1933
BRYAN PLEADS FOR SCHOOL AS CURB ON JUVENILE CRIME
Retention of uncurtailed educational facilities to prevent an increase in youthful crime and in "the great army of discontent" is urged by Dr. James E. Bryan, former superintendent of Camden city's schools. Education, he declared, cannot be deferred from year to year in the case of children, and what they axe denied today cannot be retrieved.
Addressing the Yorkship Parent-Teacher Association at the Yorkship School, Fairview, Dr. Bryan told of the thousands of "migratory youths" roaming the country, many being introduced to crime, because their schooling has been neglected. His subject was "Choosing Values."
"We should do all within our power to give the children the education to which they are entitled," Dr. Bryan said. "We must do this so that we do not increase the great army of the discontented and the number of potential criminals, for that is what curtailment of educational facilities means.
"It is a serious question, and when we deny to young men the education and school privileges to which they are entitled we are adding to the movement of this migratory stone down hill. Roaming the country today are many boys who are becoming beggars and in many cases will be introduced to crime. We must do everything possible to halt this evil, and we can do that by insisting on the maintenance of our educational facilities, which have a restraining influence on youth to keep away from crime.
Fears for Children
"We should keep in mind one thought. That is that the careers of millions of boys and girls are being charted in this country. For them, and for us, it is the "uncharted future.' Should we consider then what the value today in education, or 20 years hence. It is a matter of great importance that we consider not 20 years hence, but today, for we must realize that education cannot be deferred....
"We cannot defer proper, adequate schooling in the lives of our children. What is denied them this year will never be supplied in the same way in the future in the method where they would best profit by it.
"I know, therefore, of no group that should give as much attention to this question of adequate education than the Parent-Teacher associations. These associations have it in their power to determine whether the schools are to be crippled for a whole generation, or maintained with relative efficiency. The P.T.A's are needed because of the sympathetic support they can give to the schools."
Must Get Money
"I've read of schools being closed because no money was available," the former superintendent said. "Why is it not available? It is not entirely due to the fact people cannot pay their taxes. That is true only in part, for there is one thought deeper than that, and that is we've gone ahead to get things we didn't have the money to pay for. We thought of today and not of tomorrow and the future. Governments have spent money they did not have and because of that they are struggling with heavy debts."
Dr. Bryan said that if Camden city and Camden county were not so loaded with past debt, there would be no trouble to live on with the taxes that are paid. He said such a condition should serve as a lesson for tomorrow and the future.
Mrs. William Angus, president of the Yorkship School Parent-Teacher Association, presided. The program included vocal selections by Mrs. Jack Williams and a pageant in observance of P.T. A. Founders' Week, in which Mrs. Angus, Mrs. Marcie Herford and Mrs. Samuel Magill participated.
The association made plans for a card party for February 17. A contribution of more than $11 from teachers of the Yorkship School toward the welfare fund was reported.
Wilson Rickenbach, right, winner of first prize in a Camden centennial contest conducted at the Washington School, and below, the sketch he submitted. William Baughman, left, won second prize at the school. Nineteen pupils participated. Both prize winners are students at Washington School and at the Graphic Sketch Club, Philadelphia, and aspire to become artists.
|Centennial Pageants Given By Camden School Children|
Camden Courier-Post * June 2, 1933
Northeast Principal Is Guest of Honor at Dinner
teachers of Northeast
Streets, honored Mrs. Margaret Thomson, principal of the school, at an
informal dinner Wednesday night in Haddon Heights, to mark Mrs. Thomson's
retirement from active service in Camden schools after 30 years,
of the teachers at the dinner at the "Little White House" tea
room are members of the present staff of Northeast
School, while others
have taught at the school and have either retired or been transferred.
Thomson began her Camden teaching career in 1904
she was assigned to Sewell School. For 12
the boys of Sewell School and members of their families regarded Mrs.
Thomson as more than a teacher, often bringing to her little family
problems to be settled, or seeking advice in matters other than affairs of
Thomson was named principal of Northeast
School, across the street from
the building where she started teaching in Camden. Her interests in the
families remained the same for her pupils at Northeast School were the
girls of the same families
she had counseled while at Sewell School.
Thomson was born in Chester, Pennsylvania, and received her education
there. She taught in the Chester schools for several years before her
decided to re-enter the teaching profession several years after her
marriage and went to Millersville Normal School for further training.
her sister, Mrs. Mary Brown, had located in Camden to start the French
department in the high school. Mrs. Brown, pleased with Camden and its
schools, persuaded Mrs. Thomson to come here, and a few years later they
were joined by another sister, Mrs. Frances Wilmerton.
member of Centenary-Tabernacle
Methodist Episcopal Church since coming to Camden, Mrs. Thomson has
been active in church affairs of the community. She has served as
treasurer of the Teachers' Relief Insurance Fund, and is a member of the
State Teachers' Association as well as the National Education Association.
her efforts, the number of Camden teachers associated with the insurance
fund has increased from less than 500 to more than 500, and the benefits
have been increased from $300 to $500.
Thomson will be honored Monday at a reception given by members of the
Parent-Teacher Association of Sewell and Northeast schools and by
families, of the community. The reception will be held in State Street
Methodist Episcopal Church, Sixth and State
James Bryan, former
superintendent of Camden schools; Dr. Leon
N. Neulen, present superintendent; Samuel E. Fulton, president of the Camden
Board of Education, and several former pupils of Mrs. Thomson will review
her career as a teacher here and recount many incidents of her work.
Camden Courier-Post * June 16, 1933
Eight retiring school principals were honored last night at a banquet in the junior ballroom of Hotel Walt Whitman by the Camden Principals' Association.
Amid decorations of roses and spring flowers these teachers, who have served the city from 35 to 40 years, heard words of praise from their schoolmates and superiors.
They are Miss Daisy Furber, Central School; Mrs. Margaret Thomson, Northeast; Miss Minerva Stackhouse, Davis; Miss Bessie Snyder, McKinley; Miss Clara S. Burrough, Camden High; Miss Helen Wescott, Mulford; Miss Loretta Ireland, Cooper; Miss Charlotte V. Dover, Washington.
Harry Showalter, president of the association, presided. Eighty guests represented the entire school system of 38 institutions. Showalter, Dr. Leon N. Neulen, superintendent of schools, and Dr. James E. Bryan, retired superintendent, joined in paying tribute to the retiring principals as having set a high example for Camden's school system.
The male teachers serenaded the women instructors and vice versa with song. At the closing the teachers joined hands at the suggestion of Dr. Bryan and sang "Auld Lang Syne." .
Camden Courier-Post - June 25, 1933
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