Top left, Students in front of the Cedar Grove schoolhouse, 1904. (Historical Society of Princeton)
New Digital Tour Goes Back to the Mid-19th Century
By Laurie Pellichero
Going all the way back to Betsey Stockton and her No. 6 School in the 1830s and continuing to present day, “Princeton’s Public Schools: A History,” a new digital tour presented by the Historical Society of Princeton (HSP), in partnership with Princeton Public Schools (PPS), traces the history of public education as it developed in Princeton through the stories of 21 schools.
The 19-part tour, which is illustrated with photographs, documents, and oral histories, draws on materials and research collected for “150+ Years of Princeton Public Schools,” a 2009 exhibition at Princeton High School. Curated by Lisa Paine, Charlotte Bialek, and a team of volunteers, the show was the result of resources gathered from PPS, the HSP, Princeton Public Library, and Princeton University Libraries.
“When I started volunteering for Princeton Public Schools, I did research at the Historical Society of Princeton archives and learned that Princeton’s school system was over 150 years old,” says Paine. “The materials in the historical society’s collection and in Princeton Public Schools’ archives documenting that long history inspired me to develop the 2009 exhibition.”
At the suggestion of then PPS Assistant Supervisor Robert Ginsberg, a revised wall display of the exhibition was mounted at the Valley Road administrative building in the summer of 2021. Since building restrictions due to COVID-19 limited viewership, the PPS began working with the HSP to convert it into a digital tour that more could enjoy. The completed digital tour was released in May.
Stephanie Schwartz, HSP curator of collections and research, said, “HSP is thrilled to present ‘Princeton’s Public Schools’ alongside our existing digital tours. As many of the families who saw the original 2009 exhibition have graduated from the school system, it’s the perfect time to being these stories to a new and larger audience.” more