646 Vine Street
Southwest Corner of North 7th & Vine Streets

The NORTHEAST PUBLIC SCHOOL School was originally called the North East School, and stood on the southwest corner of North 7th and Vine Streets. 

The school was on the northeast corner stood the William Joyce Sewell School. North East was an all girls school, while Sewell was for boys. This pattern was similar to that practiced at the Mulford and Fetters schools, which stood on opposite corner at South 3rd and Walnut Streets in South Camden.

Around 1878 land was purchased  to build this school. Board of Education member Fox had made a motion to name the new school the Riley Barrett Schoolhouse in December of 1878, but the motion was tabled until December of 1878, when the board voted to all the new school the North East  School.  By April 1879 construction had not begun, in part due to delaying tactics on the part of Board of Education member Joseph B. Fox, who wanted another school built for colored children in South Camden. In June of 1879 a compromise was reached, which resulted in the enlargement of the Ferry Avenue School and the award of a contract in the amount of $11,548 to Mr. Joseph Butcher for the construction of the North East School. 

The school was completed in January of 1880. Miss Mary A. Burrough was named principal, of the girls department while miss Mary A . Sweeney was selected to head the boys department. Miss Sweeney left the district before taking her position and a Miss Hattie was selected to take her place. The opening student-teacher ration was 39-1 , which was much less than the average in the Camden schools at that time. The small number of rooms in the school made for an expensive per pupil cost; thus, Board member Henry Bonsall endorsed maintaining half-day sessions to double the number of students taught. 

Between 1890 and 1900 the population of Camden nearly tripled. School construction, however did not occur until the 1900s, by while time the existing schools were not only overcrowded, but in a state of disrepair.  The board proposed a new school on the southeast corner of North 7th and Vine Streets in June of 1902, designed by Arnold H. Moses. After several attempts to redesign the school to lower costs,  contract was finally awarded to Henderson & Company, and the school officially named the General William. J. School School, after the late Civil War hero and U.S. Senator William Joyce Sewell. The Sewell school opened in September of 1907. At this time the boys went across the street to the Sewell School, with the girls remaining at Northeast.

Intersection of North 7th Street & Vine Street, June 7, 1965
The Northeast School is at the upper right, the William J. Sewell at lower left

Click on Image to Enlarge
Photo courtesy of Bob Bartosz

Miss Mary A. Burrough was still serving as principal of Northeast School in 1901, when the was also assigned the task of supervising the Linden and Read schools, whose principals were Anna Johntra and Emma Holl. She finally stepped down in 1916. Miss  Margaret Thomson was next selected as principal of Northeast School in 1916. She served in that capacity until her retirement in 1933. L. Alvin Delp was the principal by 1947.

The Northeast School continued to serve the students of North Camden until December of 1974, when it was destroyed by a fire set by sub-humans ill suited to live among decent citizenry. The 225 students then attending the Northeast school finished the school year at the William Joyce Sewell School, located across the street. The Northeast School was replaced soon afterwards by the New Northeast School at 601 Vine Street, which was later renamed the Rafael Cordero Molina Elementary School.

Philadelphia Inquirer - December 17, 1896

Camden Evening Courier
November 27, 1900

Walter Wilson - Mt. Vernon School
William Munson -
Sumner School
Harry Vansant -
Mickle School
Albert Holland - Raymond Lawson

Albert James
- William C. Reeve 
Florence Tourtelot -
North East School

Mrs. Elvin - Central School - May Rogers - Ella Cooper - Lincoln School - Helen Bowyer 
Fetters School - Mulford School - Nellie Tullis - Edith Anderson

Philadelphia Inquirer - December 21, 1904

Grace E. Titus - North 6th Street - Rev. Dr. Marshall Owens

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

Camden Courier-Post * June 2, 1933

Retiring Northeast Principal Is Guest of Honor at Dinner
School Officials, Teachers Praise Mrs. Margaret Thomson
P.T.A Plans Farewell Reception at State Street M. E.

Twenty-two teachers of Northeast School, Seventh and Vine 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,

Some 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.

The teachers' presented a chair to Mrs. Thomson, and a gold pin to Miss Eva Burrough, a cousin of Miss Clara S. Burrough, retiring principal of Camden Senior High School.

Mrs. Thomson began her Camden teaching career in 1904 when she was assigned to Sewell School. For 12 years 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 the school.

In 1916 Mrs. 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.

Mrs. Thomson was born in Chester, Pennsylvania, and received her education there. She taught in the Chester schools for several years before her marriage.

She decided to re-enter the teaching profession several years after her marriage and went to Millersville Normal School for further training.

Meanwhile 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.

A 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.

Through 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.

Mrs. 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 streets.

Dr. 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 4, 1933

Retiring Principal Will Be Honored

Mrs. Margaret Thomson, retiring principal of Northeast School, will be honored tonight at a reception given by members of the Parent-Teacher Association of Sewell and Northeast Schools and by families of the North Camden community.

The reception will be held in State Street M. E. Church, Sixth and State streets. Mrs. Thomson will retire at the end of the present school term after 30 years of active service in North Camden.

Dr. James Bryan, former superintendent of Camden schools; Dr. Leon N. Neulen, present superintendent; Samuel E. Fulton, president of the board of education, and several former pupils of Miss Thomson will speak.

Camden Courier-Post * June 6, 1933

Retiring Principal Honored By 700
150 Men and Women, Former Pupils, Pay Tribute to Mrs. Thomson

Mrs. Margaret Thomson, who for 30 years has been a teacher or principal of North Camden schools, was honored last night on the eve of her retirement with a reception in State Street M. E. Church, attended by 700 persons.

More than 150 former pupils, now grown to manhood and womanhood, were in the audience when a massive four foot basket of flowers and a floor lamp were presented Mrs. Thomson.

Mrs. Thomson, who lives at 413 Penn Street, is at present principal of the Northeast Grammar School for Girls, at Seventh and Vine Streets.

She will retire at the end of the present school term.

Dr. James Bryan, former superintendent of Camden schools, Dr. Leon N. Neulen, present superintendent, and Samuel E. Fulton, president of the Board of Education, paid tribute to the work of the retiring principal.

Others who added to the praise of Mrs. Thomson were Benjamin G. Covington, Dr. John Pemberton, pastor of Centenary-Tabernacle M. E. Church and Dr. W. W. Payne, pastor of State Street M. E.

Several former pupils of Mrs. Thomson entertained with vocal selections while a quartet from the Centenary-Tabernacle gave several selections. The North Baptist Church orchestra furnished music. .

Camden Courier-Post * June 6, 1933

Phyllls Arters, Ray Koehl and Kathryn Schmidt, pupils at the Northeast School, inspecting a section of the exhibit of Camden Public School Art contributed by their school. The exhibit is open to the public all this week and is on display on the third floor of the Penney Store, Broadway and Federal Street.

Joint Class Work on Murals Shown in School Art Exhibit
Director Says Aim is Not So Much to Teach Drawing
as an Appreciation of Artistic Principles and Use of Color


When CAT had to be laboriously inscribed beneath the lumpy-looking outline the primary child had scrawled under the stern direction of the drawing teacher, it would have been an aesthetic blunder to label the results “art."

Honest to goodness art is, however being produced today in the Camden public schools from the first grades on through the departmental sections.

When we heard that an exhibition of public school art was being held all this week on the third floor of the Penney Store, at Broadway and Federal streets, we went to see and stayed to gape.

Perhaps the most amazing feature of the exhibit is the mural and frieze work commonly called "free-hand, big work." Friezes approximately eight by ten feet, had been worked up as class projects. Each member of whole classes having had a turn at the paint brush before the frieze in tempora paints was completed.

Wide Range of Work

The first grades had done romping children and panels illustrating their favorite fairy stories, while the ·upper grades did more detailed panoramas of historical or literary significance.

There is much to be seen besides the big work because the exhibit occupies the entire third floor of the store. The eighth grade students of the Mickle School had contributed a Marionette show, with the stage setting for the production of "Evangeline." The necessary properties, costumes, electric power, stage. and the marionettes themselves were all made by the children- even to the paper-mache  heads of the doll-actors.

A most interesting section was devoted to textile design with both the hand-block-printed fabrics and sketches illustrating their application on display. This was the work of the senior high school students.

Charcoal sketches, hobby posters, etchings, batik and India prints, costume design, all of most professional caliber, are there to bear witness to the potential talent that is being developed in our public schools.

Not Merely to Draw

"We no longer try to teach children to draw. We are only too well aware that there are those of us who can never produce a recognizable outline. The aim of art in the schools today is to instill in every student an appreciation. and understanding of the application of artistic principles," Miss Margaret Hall, director of public school art, explained.

"In the junior high grades we teach the application of art in the community and in the home. In the high school we teach art in dress, in the theatre, commercial art and textile designing.“

The exhibit as a whole gives the feeling that the use of color, the understanding of outline, and the useful application of art has been completely grasped and mastered by the children in the schools.

Camden Courier-Post * June 16, 1933

Association Gives Banquet and Entertainment for 8 at Hotel Here

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." .

Teacher Assignments & Transfers - June 22, 1933

Camden Courier-Post - February 19, 1936

P. T. A. Applauds Brunner's Beautification Project

To the Editor:

Sir-Hats off to you, Mr. Brunner! 

We congratulate you on your courage to really do something for the benefit city dwellers who must stay near home.

By careful and wise planning of your park beautification project, you can at the same time give the children as well as the grown folks places for safe and healthful recreation which, if thoughtfully and carefully supervised, will not only do much toward taking the children out of our traffic-ridden streets, but will give them their birthright, the opportunity of becoming healthy, happy and law-respecting future citizens.

This should save the taxpayers of Camden a considerable amount of money by the large reduction of costs for detention homes, juvenile courts, prisons, etc., not mentioning what it will do by preventing much anguish and heartaches. We have definite plans for Pyne Poynt Park and vacant lots in North Camden which we and other organizations are going to submit to you to within a week and hope that you will consider them before you pass out your plans for starting work. . 

Mrs. Elsie P. Robertson

Chairman Child Study Group and Safety Committee

Camden Courier-Post - February 4, 1938

Parent-Teacher Association News

North-East-Sewell- At the regular meeting in the school on Tuesday night, Miss Elizabeth Matthews, county character education chairman, was guest speaker. A Founder's Day program was presented by Mrs. Dorothy Downing, Mrs. Marie Kelley, Mrs. Ruth Altone, Mrs. Marian Keny, Mrs. J. Limbach and Miss Keturah Smith. Mrs. John Becker is president of this association..

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 of the sewing contest held by the T. A. at SS. Peter and Paul school on Tuesday night.

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.

Camden Courier-Post * April 30, 1974

Northeast School Destroyed by Fire

A general alarm fire destroyed the Northeast Elementary School in Camden early this morning after vandals apparently kicked in a school door, scattered papers over the first-floor and fled after setting the blaze.

The two-story brick building-built in 1887- was scheduled to be torn down soon and replaced by another facility to be erected adjacent to the structure at Seventh and Vine Streets.

Battalion Fire Chief Charles Bates said the fire, which continued to burn out of control throughout the morning, was set by vandals who gained entrance to the building through the basement.

There were no injuries reported in the blaze. Pupils of the school today will attend classes at Sewell Elementary School, located across the street from the fire scene. About 225 students attend Northeast School.

Bates said arrived firemen at the scene after the first alarm was sounded at 4:49 a.m. and discovered a side door to the building had been pried open.

They reported school supplies were strewn across the first floor.

The second alarm was sounded 10 minutes after the first, Bates stated, when fire­fighters were initially forced out of the building due to intense heat and smoke. The general alarm was sounded at 5:24a.m.             '

Bates said the Fire Marshal's office had been notified of the blaze's suspicious origin and will conduct a complete investigation.

The mutual aid program went into effect after the general alarm was sounded since all of Camden's firefighting equipment had been dispatched to the scene.

Under the program, nearby firefighting units man Camden's fire stations in a back-up capacity while city units are at the scene of a fire.

Camden's stations were manned during the firefighting effort this morning by detachments from Westmont, Haddon Heights, Audubon, Oaklyn and Woodlynne. In addition, the Cherry Hill rescue-squad and a pumper from Chews Landing were at the site for assistance..

Fire Destroys the North East School * April 30, 1974
photo by Bob Bartosz
Click on Image to Enlarge