Basking-Ridge Classical and Scientific School of New Jersey (1837 circular with ALS accompanied by an 1838 ALS by later African American educator, Rev. John Ford).
Insights into private education in early 19th-century New Jersey
1837 printed circular for the Basking-Ridge Classical and Scientific School in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. The circular was apparently issued as a way of introducing Robert Bradshaw as the new principal of the school and to solicit new pupils, both day students and boarders.
A handwritten letter within by a woman —written soon after the date of the circular and mentioning Bradshaw— transmits the circular to her father Benjamin Howell of Parsippany, New Jersey. The circular outlines the general plan of instruction and fees as well as the background and qualifications of Principal Bradshaw. The all-male school was founded in the late 18th century by Rev. Robert Finley (1772–1817).
Appended to the circular’s text are printed testimonials about Bradshaw as well as a list of clergymen, professors, and other gentlemen in New York City, Philadelphia, and various places in New Jersey, North Carolina, and Alabama who are prepared to give references on behalf of Bradshaw.
Accompanying the circular is an 1838 autograph letter signed by John Ford concerning a private school in Parsippany, New Jersey. This latter letter, addressed to Miss Malvina Thompson care of one Rev. Mr. Harris at Basking Ridge, offers Thompson the position of teacher:
Chère demoiselle [Dear young lady]...asking whether…you would be willing to come and take the risque [risk] and responsibility of the school upon your own shoulders:—taking all the pay for all the teaching you perform… I think there will be half a dozen scholars besides my four [children], in music and painting—(or drawing)—and probably about as many more in drawing & painting, besides the highest branches of an English education. I will teach French, Mathematics &c. if necessary—and amid the Trio [including Ford’s eldest daughter], we can propose ourselves to the public as something worthy of notice.
John Ford is likely Rev. John Ford who was pastor of the Presbyterian church in Parsippany from 1815 to 1857. Ford was also a teacher and director of a school for African American men conducted at Parsippany under the patronage of the Synod of New Jersey.
The printed circular and the two autograph letters signed offer insights into private education in early 19th century New Jersey.
Note. 1. Jordan, ed., Colonial and Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania. Volume II (New York, 1911), p788. Alexander, A History of Colonization on the Western Coast of Africa (Philadelphia, 1846), p99.
Description: Basking-Ridge Classical and Scientific School of New Jersey (1837 circular with ALS accompanied by an 1838 ALS by later African American educator, Rev. John Ford).
Basking-Ridge [New Jersey]. May 14 and May 22, 1837. One and a half pages. Bifolium. Printed circular with ALS and integral address leaf. Folds; remnant of tape repair and wax seal; else very good. [with:] Parsippany [New Jersey]. April 11, 38. One and a half pages. ALs. Bifolium with integral address leaf. Some separation at folds, remnant of tape and wax seal; short tears and minor losses not affecting letter; good.