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Lawrenceville, New Jersey (U.S.)

Mercer County

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Lawrenceville School House Flags

The information below is gathered from my prep school's alumni news from about 4 years ago. The attribution can be made to bhorn@lawrenceville.org. For the record I am a long-time NAVA member. I attended the Lawrenceville School, a college preparatory school, or "prep" school, located in Lawrenceville New Jersey USA, founded in 1810 - class of 1977.
Chris Sweet, 25 July 2016

The Lawrenceville School

The House System
The Lawrenceville House System is unique among independent schools in America. Rooted in the centuries-old tradition of British boarding schools, the Lawrenceville plan treats student housing as a rich educational opportunity in itself.

Through a comprehensive residential curriculum, students in each of the School's 20 houses are guided by a team led by a resident housemaster. When parents wish to find out how their children are doing, the Housemaster is the first person they call for answers. Each Housemaster is supported by an assistant master, who also lives in the House, and several other faculty members. These adults take part in all aspects of House life from academic advising, to study hall supervision, to coaching intramural teams. Their efforts are supported by carefully selected, extensively trained Fifth Formers who reside in the Houses as prefects.

Each House thus develops a distinct character, shaped by the personalities of its leaders. As members of a small community with a large group of adults looking on, students in each House enjoy a high level of attention and guidance, and a high level of accountability and responsibility. Since Lawrenceville draws students from around the world and every walk of life, each day brings lessons in tolerance, cooperation, and leadership, through which House leaders influence students, subtly and dramatically, by directive and example.

Each House bears its own flag to which each student bears as strong allegiance as to the School at large. Indeed, when our students say "my House," they often mean their Lawrenceville experience. The contests between Lawrenceville Houses in intramural tackle football date back to the origins of the game in this country and are older than all but a handful of college rivalries. House traditions that have developed over the years are carried on today, and House identity is sustained through separate dining rooms in the Irwin Dining Center.

The Houses of Lawrenceville are organized into three distinct student communities, based on the conviction that adolescents of different degrees of maturity require different degrees of freedom and supervision. Students in the Second Form (ninth grade) live in one of the Lower School Houses. Students in the Third and Fourth Form live in one of the Circle or Crescent Houses, while Fifth Formers, with considerable independence, live in one of six Fifth Form Houses. As students move from the Lower School to the Circle or Crescent to the Fifth Form, they develop close associations with small groups of students their own age.

The House System is one of the hallmarks of every student's Lawrenceville experience, and aside from a few historic sports rivalries, perhaps nothing is more symbolic of the individual Houses than their House flags. Just as each House has its own character and its own story, so, too, do the House flags represent distinct bits of Lawrenceville history. With significant help from The Lawrenceville Lexicon, we go behind the scenes of the House flags in alphabetical order. Perry Ross and Cromwell will be combined with Dawes, and Thomas and Davidson will be included with Raymond, but every other House with a flag all the Circle and Crescent Houses plus Reynolds will be highlighted individually.
Chris Sweet, 25 July 2016

Circle and Crescent Houses

It is likely that this reference is to water closets or privies for men and women, as in the 19th century the crescent was the symbol for the Ladies' and the circle was the symbol for the Men's much as the stick figures are used today. The origin is probably from the respective grammatical genders of "Moon" and "Sun".
Michael Halleran, 1 August 2016


The Carter House flag

[The Carter House flag, Lawrenceville School, New Jersey] image located by Chris Sweet, 25 July 2016

Dedicated in the fall of 2010, Carter House became Lawrenceville's fifth Crescent House. Its periwinkle-colored flag features two interlocking Cs, symbolizing Carter House and the Carter family, anchored by a ruby-throated hummingbird. Fifteen members of the Carter family have attended Lawrenceville since the early 20th century, and the House was a gift from Tom '70 and Jeanie Carter P'01 '05. The ruby-throated hummingbird spends its winters in Central America and works its way through the Carter family's home state of Texas around mid-March on its way to New Jersey, where it arrives in early April. CC is also the Roman numeral for 200, reflecting the fact that Carter House opened in conjunction with Lawrenceville's bicentennial.
Chris Sweet, 25 July 2016


Cleve House Flag Recalls School's Origin

[The Cleve House flag, Lawrenceville School, New Jersey] image located by Chris Sweet, 25 July 2016

As the first of the Circle Houses built at the "refounding" of The Lawrenceville School in 1882, Cleve House boasts a distinctive flag recalling John Cleve Green, one of the School's original students and benefactor of the Lawrenceville we know today. But that's not Cleve's only link with deep L'ville tradition.

Let's start with the flag, though. It's green and white, reflecting the colors of the Green family coat of arms, which is also the source of the School motto, Virtus Semper Viridis, or "Virtue Always Green." Depicted in the flag's crest are books, symbolizing scholarship; crossed quills and keys, symbolizing composition and knowledge; and winged feet, symbolizing athletic prowess. The messages have obviously worked: Cleve has produced 15 Lawrenceville trustees and 15 School presidents.

The House has a few traditions of its own as well. One holds that only Fifth Formers are permitted to enter through the front door. Another is embodied in its long-time housemaster, the late Science Master and Coach Marshall "Marsh" H. Chambers H'62 P'77, who, with his wife Ginnie H'59 '61 '62 '89 P'77, presided over Cleve for 37 years, from 1954 to 1990. Ginnie Chambers continues to return to campus to host a Cleve House Coffee on the Saturday morning of Alumni Weekend, held the first weekend in May.
Chris Sweet, 25 July 2016


Dawes/Cromwell/Perry Ross: Every Flag Tells a Story

[The Dawes House flag, Lawrenceville School, New Jersey] image located by Chris Sweet, 25 July 2016

As one of two residences for the Second Form, Dawes incorporates Cromwell and Perry Ross, the two Second Form girls' Houses. All three entities Dawes, Cromwell and Perry Ross proudly fly their own flags.

The original Dawes House was a gift from General Charles G. Dawes P'09, vice president of the United States under Coolidge, ambassador to the United Kingdom from 1929 to 1932, and winner of a Nobel Peace Prize for the Dawes Plan, which outlined a program of World War I reparations by Germany. The gift was made in memory of Dawes's son, Rufus '09, who died in a boating accident while attending Princeton. After the original House burned down in 1929, a new Dawes House became part of the Delano and Aldrich campus surrounding the Bowl. The Dawes House flag is gold and maroon and displays the lion rampant from the coat of arms of the Court of St. James, in honor of Gen. Dawes's service as ambassador.

Cromwell was named for James Henry Roberts Cromwell '15, an American diplomat and author who today is remembered as much for his marital connections as his personal accomplishments. Cromwell's first wife was Delphine Dodge, only daughter of the auto magnate; his second wife was Doris Duke; and his sister was the first wife of Gen. Douglas MacArthur. Cromwell was a principal benefactor of Old Lower, which was divided into four student Houses: Cromwell, Perry Ross, Thomas and Davidson. The House flag is a triangular, swallow-tailed version of a yacht club burgee, customarily flown by a commodore, reflecting Cromwell's membership in several yacht clubs and his diplomatic rank (FDR named him Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Canada). Its colors are blue and gold, the colors of the Corinthian Yacht Club in Philadelphia and the Cromwell coat of arms. The flag is adorned with a large "C."

The flag of Perry Ross, named for Perry Ross Rosenheim '14, who died in 1919 from wounds he received in World War I, symbolizes the district of Rosenheim in southern Bavaria, Perry Ross's ancestral home. The City of Rosenheim is at the district's center, and the city's coat of arms, like the House flag, is green and red with a red lion rampant.

Dawes's male counterpart across the Bowl, Raymond House, is the only other campus House with more than one flag.
Chris Sweet, 25 July 2016


Dickinson Flag Has Unique History

[The Dickinson House flag, Lawrenceville School, New Jersey] image located by Chris Sweet, 26 July 2016

It has been said that Lawrenceville is the only prep school with its own literature (The Lawrenceville Stories: www.amazon.com), but the Dickinson standard may be the only flag on campus with its own history.

The red-and-white banner with the pen (writing/scholarship) and sword (strength, courage); the inspirational motto "Princeps Exemplo," or "Leadership by Example"; the date designation "1885," the year Dickinson appeared on the Circle; and the giant "D" is actually a replacement created by former housemaster Ted Graham H'66 '72 P'85 and the boys. According to Graham, when he took over as housemaster in 1964, the original House flag had been stolen by "pranksters." All he knew of it was its colors - red and white - and that it was adorned with a big red "D." That sounded dull to Ted, his wife Barbara H'72 P'85, and the students, so they set out to redesign it.

The history of the House and the Grahams' history in it are well worth noting. Ted and Barbara spent most of their Lawrenceville tenure in Dickinson over three different residencies, beginning in 1964 and concluding in 2000. Known as "The Pride of the Circle," the House was named in honor of John Cleve Green's (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cleve_Green) great-grandmother and her father, Jonathan Dickinson, a co-founder of Princeton University and its first president. As one of two "cooking Houses" at a time when meals were served in individual House dining rooms, Dickinson was reputed to have the best food on campus.
Chris Sweet, 26 July 2016


Griswold Flag Underscores Family Ties

[The Griswold House flag, Lawrenceville School, New Jersey] image located by Chris Sweet, 26 July 2016

Family names abound on the Lawrenceville campus, and the Circle Houses bear some of the most historic among these. Griswold, like Cleve, is closely tied to the School's original benefactor, John Cleve Green, but Griswold takes it a step further. The House is named for Green's wife, Sarah Helen Griswold, whose mother was a Woodhull, and its flag is based on the Griswold family crest.

The House flag is red and gold on a blue background. A stylized coat of arms incorporates a football, in honor of Griswold's victories in House football, and a book to represent scholarship.

Like its Circle neighbors, "Gris" has been graced by its share of legendary masters as housemasters. Those in recent memory include English Master Lewis Perry, Jr. H'52 P'65, History Master Norval Bacon H'49, and History Master and legendary Coach Charles "Chuck" Weeden H'65 '92 P'77 '79 '87.
Chris Sweet, 26 July 2016


Hamill and Its Flag: Both Originals

[The Hamill House flag, Lawrenceville School, New Jersey] image located by Chris Sweet, 26 July 2016

Hamill was the very first campus House, so it should come as no surprise that its flag is equally original.

Built in 1814 to accommodate the growing number of boarders, for a time Hamill was Lawrenceville, serving as dormitory, administration building and classroom building all in one. Nameless during its early decades, Hamill acquired its present identity in the mid-nineteenth century, when the School was owned and led by Dr. Samuel McClintock Hamill, Lawrenceville's third and longest-serving Head Master.

Hamill's nickname, "Old Blue," reflects the dominant blue in its flag, which differs from other Circle House flags in both shape and symbolism. For one thing, since Hamill House predates the Green legacy, its flag contains no references to coats of arms or members of the Green family, and its symbols, unlike most of the flags, make no specific reference to books or scholarship. The polar star represents the infinite possibilities of a goal pursued, while the horseshoe is the standard heraldic symbol for luck, tenacity and perseverance - the keys to attaining any goal. The date "1837" does not, in fact, mark the building's construction, but rather the year Sam Hamill acquired the School.

Perhaps most striking, however, is the flag's shape, unique among a collection of House rectangles. Cut from an older pattern called a swallowtail with tongue, the Hamill flag features a V-shaped cut to create two points - a swallowtail - which are then intersected by a third point. A shape most often associated with battle standards, its rationale is a mystery.

Hamillites: If you know why the House flag resembles a battle flag, contact us at the email address above. Hint: It has nothing to do with the yearly battle for the Crutch, which commenced several years after House flags were introduced.
Chris Sweet, 26 July 2016


Old and New Meet in Kennedy Flag

[The Kennedy House flag, Lawrenceville School, New Jersey] image located by Chris Sweet, 27 July 2016

With its blue and grey colors honoring the Scottish flag of its namesake, John S. Kennedy, executor of the Green estate, and its polar stars rumored to be copied from the Hamill flag, the Kennedy standard manages a nod to both Lawrenceville's later "founders," who used the Green legacy to recast the School in its present form, and its earlier identity as the Lawrenceville Classical and Commercial High School under Head Master Sam Hamill.

As in other Circle Houses, tradition reigns supreme in Kennedy House, and its most colorful tradition surrounds the legendary House football rivalry between Kennedy and Hamill. (It seems likely that the rumor of the copied stars may have its origins here.) The annual "Crutch Game" between the two Houses began in 1947, the story goes, when the over-eager Kennedy coach stepped onto the field and intercepted a Hamill pass. He was summarily tackled and suffered a broken leg. Several weeks later, when the teams met again for the final game of the season, the coach, now on crutches, was bowled over by a play that spilled onto the sideline. One of his wooden crutches was broken, and it henceforth became the prized trophy in a final season game between Kennedy and Hamill.

The annual Crutch Game continues to attract an enthusiastic crowd on both sides, complete with costumed cheerleaders and the participants' House flags on display.
Chris Sweet, 27 July 2016


Kirby Flag Honors Family

[The Kirby House flag, Lawrenceville School, New Jersey] image located by Chris Sweet, 27 July 2016

The Kirby House flag displays an almost exact replica of the Kirby family crest, honoring House benefactor, the late Fred Kirby '38 GP'11 '12 '15, and the Kirby family. But, lest the images of a bold knight and heraldic cross appear more suggestive of the Circle than the Crescent, the girls seem to have added a bit of whimsy to the traditional elephant topper.

Across cultures, the elephant is associated with strength, honor, stability and patience, which explains its position at the apex of the Kirby family coat of arms. In the most prominent version of the crest, an elephant head is emerging from a crown. Fans will be amused to note that the elephant head and crown on the Kirby House flag bear a striking resemblance to those of Babar, the hero in a series of beloved children's books about a wise and compassionate elephant king.

The girls also added a message of their own to the crest, the Latin "Facta Non Verba," or "Deeds, Not Words." This more formal variation of Nike's "Just Do It" tagline has served the House well. In recent years, Kirby has won multiple House Olympics and several times taken the Dresdner Cup, awarded annually to the Crescent House with the best record in both House and interscholastic sports.
Chris Sweet, 27 July 2016


McClellan Flag Reflects Recent History

[The McClellan House flag, Lawrenceville School, New Jersey] image located by Chris Sweet, 27 July 2016

At least four decades of Lawrentians can tell you, even without looking, that the McClellan House flag is distinguished by references to the late Bruce McClellan H'57 '60 GP'10, English master from 1950 to 1986 and Head Master from 1959 until his 1986 retirement.

Dr. McClellan was far and away the longest-serving Lawrenceville Head Master in recent history, and the School's debt to his service is demonstrated in the House and flag that honor him. A strong proponent of coeducation who worked closely with the School's Board of Trustees to usher in this fundamental change in the formerly all-male institution, Dr. McClellan's efforts were acknowledged in the gift of Trustee Bert A. Getz '55 P'85 that named one of the first girls' Crescent Houses for the recently retired Head Master.

The House flag reinforces the tie between McClellan House and Dr. McClellan. The flag's purple and yellow hues acknowledge the purple and gold colors of Dr. McClellan's alma mater, Williams College. Its yellow thistle is a nod to his Scottish heritage and also symbolizes hardiness and perseverance, two qualities that were undoubtedly useful in nearly three decades as Head Master, particularly during the 1960s and 1970s.
Chris Sweet, 27 July 2016


The Flags of Raymond/Thomas/Davidson: Symbols of Valor and Unity

[The Raymond House flag, Lawrenceville School, New Jersey] image located by Chris Sweet, 28 July 2016

Like Dawes, its mirror image across the Bowl, Raymond House encompasses two Second Form Houses, and again like Dawes, each - Raymond, Thomas and Davidson - has its own flag.

Raymond, also known as Raymond-Davis House, was built in 1930 and named for Charles Henry Raymond, a recently retired member of the faculty with a five-decade tenure in teaching and 37 years of service to Lawrenceville. The House was built during an expansion of the School that came to be known as the Delano and Aldrich Campus, after the architects, and included the construction of the Fathers' Building, aka Pop Hall. Mr. Raymond was housemaster of the original Davis House, which sits on the perimeter of the Lawrenceville campus and is now privately owned. He also served as a master of elocution, assistant Head Master and, briefly, as acting Head Master, and he is credited with writing the first School song, In Olden Days. The Raymond House flag is crimson and gray, reflecting Mr. Raymond's Harvard pedigree, and it bears the image of the eagle that graces the building's exterior door, here a symbol of community.

The Raymond eagle may be a bird of peace, but the eagle displayed on the Thomas flag is anything but. Lieutenant Gerald Provost Thomas '1915, killed in action during a World War I air battle, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his bravery on behalf of his fellow airmen. The Thomas House flag, inspired by the insignia of Lt. Thomas' 17th Aero Squadron, is blue and white and depicts an eagle, centered on a cross, swooping in for its prey. The Latin word Unitas, or "unity," has been added.

The Davidson flag appears to be an invention meant to honor Lieutenant Philip James Davidson '1911, for whom the House is named. Lt. Davidson also was killed in action during World War I, leading an attack on a German machine-gun nest. The House flag is blue and white with a letter "D" in the center of a stylized crest.

Life at Lawrenceville was greatly influenced by the first World War: Military drills were held twice weekly, and much of the Fifth Form was in service overseas. Nearly 50 Lawrentians perished, and in 1924, Lawrenceville's new Lower School residence was named the Alumni War Memorial Building. Later known as "Old Lower," it was the precursor to both Dawes and Raymond.
Chris Sweet, 28 July 2016


Reynolds Flag Stands Alone

[The Reynolds House flag, Lawrenceville School, New Jersey] image located by Chris Sweet, 28 July 2016

Reynolds is the only Fifth Form House with a flag, and if its flag makes you think of aluminum foil, read on to find out why.

Reynolds House, built to help accommodate the influx of girls following the advent of coeducation in 1987, was the generous gift of David P. Reynolds '34. At the time, Reynolds was a Lawrenceville trustee and chairman emeritus of the family business, Reynolds Metals Company, best known for an aluminum foil product so ubiquitous in American households as to inspire the generic name "Reynolds wrap." The father of three daughters who were not eligible to attend Lawrenceville, Reynolds' gift may have been inspired in part by his niece, Nancy Martin Roberts '89, a member of the first class of Fifth Form girls to live in the new Reynolds House.

The Reynolds flag was designed by then-housemaster Joanne Adams Rafferty H'65 '81 '03 P'93 using the Reynolds company logo and colors, silver and royal blue. It depicts a gladiator on horseback, wielding a sword and shield against what appears to be a dragon. Its symbolism beyond its use as the Reynolds company logo is unknown.
Chris Sweet, 28 July 2016


Stanley Flag Blends Family and House Traditions

[The Stanley House flag, Lawrenceville School, New Jersey] image located by Chris Sweet, 28 July 2016

Like many of the other House flags, the Stanley House standard makes liberal use of a family crest, in this case the coat of arms belonging to Ted Stanley '43 and his brother Tom '45, House benefactors on behalf of the Stanley family. But again like many of its House siblings, Stanley has imbued its flag with unique markings signifying its own traditions.

The royal blue band that runs on a diagonal through the flag, populated by a series of three stags' heads, is taken directly from the Stanley family crest. The green background, a nod to School benefactor John Cleve Green, embodies the now-traditional Stanley House green. At House sporting events, the green-clad Stanley girls can be heard enthusiastically chanting the House cheer, and House alumnae keep up with each other's activities through an annual Stanley newsletter.
Chris Sweet, 28 July 2016


Stephens Flag Honors Lifelong Friendship

[The Stephens House flag, Lawrenceville School, New Jersey] image located by Chris Sweet, 29 July 2016

No doubt many a Stephens girl has associated the name of the House with Jean Stephens H'50 '59 '61 '64 '68 '89 P'78 GP'06, longtime advisor to Periwig and a popular presence on campus. The House was given in honor of Jean and her late husband, Dr. Wade Stephens '50 H'68 P'78, Classics master, Assistant Dean of Faculty and Academic Dean, but its flag reflects the lifelong friendship between Wade Stephens and his Lawrenceville classmate Artemis A.W. Joukowsky '50 P'80, the House benefactor.

The flag's colors, red and black, are an obvious nod to the Lawrenceville origins of their friendship, and the two symbols on the flag reference the friends' respective roots. One, a lion rampant, is an English symbol of heraldry, honoring Stephens' British heritage. The other is a variation of the Maltese cross, the dominant figure in many Russian service medals, and honors Joukowsky's Russian homeland.

Ultimately, what's best about Lawrenceville's residential life is recorded in the Stephens House flag: a lasting friendship born here between classmates from opposite sides of the globe. Every flag tells a story, and this one captures the spirit of House life like no other.
Chris Sweet, 29 July 2016


The Mighty Wood (Woodhull House)

[The Woodhull House flag, Lawrenceville School, New Jersey] image located by Chris Sweet, 29 July 2016

Shuttled to last place by the vagaries of the alphabet, a consideration of the Woodhull House flag closes out our summer series on House flags of The Lawrenceville School. It is a matter of fact and School history that Woodhull House, nicknamed "the mighty Wood" by the boys, is in truth a great survivor, and its endurance is symbolized in its flag.

Built in 1885 as one of the original Circle Houses, Woodhull House was named for Henry Woodhull Green, brother of School benefactor John Cleve Green. The House was destroyed by fire in 1892 but was completely rebuilt in the same year. As a result, the House flag is black and gold with a phoenix in the center. The phoenix is a mythical bird said to be perpetually reborn from the ashes of its previous existence.

Like the other Circle Houses, Woodhull takes House football as seriously as any interscholastic rivalry, and the annual battle against Griswold for "the muffler" is an important part of Lawrenceville athletic lore.
Chris Sweet, 29 July 2016