Green Hall time capsule discovered

Pictured in 1931 at a burial ceremony for the Green Hall time capsule are (left to right): D. Stewart Craven, president of the State Board of Education; Charles H. Elliott, commissioner of education; Nicholas M. Butler, president of Columbia University; Agnes W. Cromwell, chair of Teachers College Committee; Governor Morgan F. Larson and his military attaches. Photo (c) “The Signal”

While refurbishing work continued on Green Hall this summer, in an effort to ensure the first academic building erected on campus remains functional well into the future, a piece of college history was unearthed. Laborers digging around the building’s foundation uncovered a time capsule buried in Green’s northeast corner, closest to Roscoe West Hall.

The capsule was carefully removed and taken to the library. When opened, among its contents were discovered an invitation to the cornerstone laying ceremony, which took place on May 9, 1931; a May 1931 issue of The Signal; an issue of the Trenton State Gazette, a newspaper no longer in circulation; a College catalog listing academic programs from the time period; sketches of Green Hall; and specification and  bidding documents for the building.

Damage from water, mud, and bugs had taken its toll on many of the items in the capsule, said TCNJ Librarian Pat Beaber, who was there for the opening. However, Beaber was happy to report that one item which might be of most interest to the College community was remarkably well preserved: a beautiful, hand-lettered resolution from the Alumni Association thanking the State Board of Education for naming the building in Dr. James M. Green’s honor. The cream-colored scroll is on vellum, and the first letter is enlarged and decorated with red and blue colors and gold leaf.

Beaber, who oversees the College’s Archives, said the scroll suffered minor water damage but that plans have been made to have the mildew stains removed and to restore the document to its original glory.

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