700 North Seventh Street
Northeast Corner of North 7th & Vine Streets

The WILLIAM JOYCE SEWELL SCHOOL was built as an outcome of a July 1902 decision of the Camden Board of Education that a new school, designed by architect Arnold H. Moses, be built on the northeast corner of North 7th and Vine Streets, opposite the Northeast Public School. After several attempts to redesign the school in order to lower construction costs, the Board awarded a contract to Henderson & Company, in the amount of $35,725 and named the new school after the recently deceased General William Joyce Sewell, who also had served two terms as a United States Senator from New Jersey. The Sewell School opened in September of 2007. 

William Joyce Sewell, born in Ireland on December 6, 1835, became an orphan at a young age, and moved to the United States in 1851. At the start of the Civil War, the Governor commissioned him a Captain, and he raised Company C, 5th New Jersey Volunteers. He distinguished himself in the Battles of Bull Run and Chancellorsville, and won a Congressional Medal of Honor in 1896, for assuming command of a brigade at Chancellorsville. He rallied a group of men around his colors from other regiments, and fought the Confederate troops with great brilliance through several hours of desperate conflict. Though wounded, he remained in command, inspiring them by his presence, and the gallantry of his personal example. Sewell also participated in the Gettysburg and Wilderness Campaigns. He left the military in July 1865, as a Brevet Brigadier General. After the war, he became a railroad executive, a power broker in New Jersey politics, served in the New Jersey State Senate from 1872 to 1880, and was President Pro Tem of that body during his last four years there. From 1876 to 1881, and again, from 1895 to his death, on December 27, 1901, he served New Jersey as a U. S. Senator. His colleagues called him a person of "unquestioned capacity, courage, loyalty, and integrity." Sewell is buried in Camden's Harleigh Cemetery at 1640 Haddon Avenue

As stated above, the Sewell School was on the opposite corner of North 7th and Vine Streets from the Northeast Public School, which stood on the southwest corner. The Northeast School, originally called the  the North East School, was completed in 1880 and was designed for 530 pupils. 

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.  When the Sewell School opened, the male students from Northeast were sent to the new Sewell. This arrangement stayed in place for many years, girls going to Northeast, boys attending 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.

William J. Sewell School - circa 1910

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Frank S. Wilson was the principal of the Sewell School in 1914. Ralph H. Parker was the principal of the Sewell School in 1918 and 1919. He was made principal of the Continuation School, which was located in the old Mount Vernon Street School building, in September of 1920. Horace B. Hand was principal in the mid-1920s, according o the 1924 and 1927 city directories. Mark Messinger was principal of the Sewell School by 1929. Toward the end of the 1929-1930 school year he was transferred to Cramer Junior High School in East Camden. L. Alvin Delp was made principal of the Sewell School, a post he held through at least 1947.

The Northeast and Sewell Schools had separate principals until at least June of 1933, when Miss  Margaret Thomson retired from her longtime position as principal of Northeast School in 1916. L. Alvin Delp was the principal of both schools by 1947.

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

Click on Image to Enlarge
Photo courtesy of Bob Bartosz


The Sewell School was still serving the students of North Camden as an independent school as late as 1977. In later years it was administered as an annex of the the Rafael Cordero Molina Elementary School at 601 Vine Street. The Sewell School building is still standing in 2008.

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 Carrigan, 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.

SEWELL SCHOOL 2nd Grade Class - 1940

Click on Image to Enlarge
Photo courtesy of Harold Srtone

Camden Fire Department Fire Prevention Program - 1966