Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Two Relatively Unknown Private Schools in Pelham: The Pelham Manor School and The Pelham Manor Day School

For years I have seen references to a private school that operated in Pelham Manor from about 1917 until about 1935 called "The Pelham Manor Day School" and, occasionally, the "Pelham Day School."  The institution was located at 1018 Edgewood Avenue near the intersection with Prospect Avenue and served pupils from kindergarten through the eighth grade.  The school began with a tiny faculty and a group of about a dozen pupils, but grew until it served more than 100 students each year.

Recently, I decided to try to learn more about the little school.  As I began my research, I stumbled across quite a surprise.  I learned of the brief existence of an entirely unrelated school of which I previously was unaware.  That school was called "The Pelham Manor School."  It opened on September 20, 1915 at Boston Post Road and the Esplanade and billed itself as a successor to Mrs. Hazen's School.  

The Pelham Manor School

At the close of the 1914-15 school year, Mrs. Hazen's School for Girls, located in a group of buildings at Boston Post Road and the Esplanade, closed its doors forever.  A few months later, on September 20, 1915, a new private school named "The Pelham Manor School" opened.  An announcement of the opening described the new school as "Succeeding Mrs. Hazen's School."  

Announcement of the Opening of "The Pelham Manor School,"
as the Successor to Mrs. Hazen's School, on September 20, 1915.
Rochelle Pioneer, Sep. 18, 1915, p. 6, cols. 1-3.

The advertisement above reveals much about the initial opening of the school.  To facilitate search, the text of the advertisement is transcribed immediately below in its entirety.

Succeeding Mrs. Hazen's School

The Kindergarten will be conducted for one hour in French and two hours in English.

Boys wil [sic] be received in the first three departments and will be tutored for preparatory schools.  Pupils will be prepared for Regents' examinations if desired.  College preparatory as well as advanced courses for grammar and high school graduates, are offered to girls in addition to the regular course of study.

Special students will be received for elective courses of literature, art, design, history of art, English, languages, dramatic art, cultivation of the speaking voice, etc.

Trolleys from Pelham, Mount Vernon and New Rochelle stop at the school entrance.


Virtually nothing is known of this school that opened as a "successor" to Mrs. Hazen's School for Girls.  Hopefully additional research will reveal more about this institution which certainly seems to have lasted only a short while since virtually nothing can be found about it. 

The Pelham Manor Day School (AKA The Pelham Day School)

The Pelham Manor Day School opened in a structure that previously was a private residence located at 1018 Edgewood Avenue in 1917.  The structure no longer exists.  The guiding light of the school was its principal, Clara Armstrong.  

Clara Armstrong, a native of Portland, Maine, became the principal at or shortly after the opening of the school in 1917.  When the school opened, it had a faculty of three (including Clara Armstrong) and ten pupils.  It grew quickly.  Within twelve years it had 106 pupils served by a faculty of ten.  In fact, by 1925, the school had outgrown its small facility which had to be completely renovated and enlarged to add classroom space and up-to-date educational facilities.  

In 1932, Clara Armstrong announced that due to health reasons, she was retiring from her 15-year stint as principal of The Pelham Manor Day School.  The local newspaper printed a laudatory letter from the school trustees regretfully accepting her resignation.

The school, however, continued to operate for at least some period of time thereafter.  A brief item published in 1935 indicated that, by then, "Miss Helene Schumacher" was serving as the principal of the Pelham Manor Day School.  See Social Happenings, The Pelham Sun, Jul. 12, 1935, p. 6, cols. 1-2 ("MIss Helene Schumacher, principal of Pelham Manor Day School is at Camp Cotuit, West Barnstable, Cape Cod, Mass.").  

As with The Pelham Manor School that succeeded Mrs. Hazen's School for Girls, it is hoped that additional research one day will reveal more about the history of The Pelham Manor Day School that once operated at 1018 Edgewood Avenue.

1922 Newspaper Advertisement for "The Pelham
Manor Day School."  Source:  The Pelham Manor
Day School, The Pelham Sun, Dec. 29, 1922, Vol.
13, No. 44, p. 3, col. 2.  NOTE:  Click Image to Enlarge.

The advertisement immediately above reads as follows:

"THE Pelham Manor Day School
Prospect & Edgewood Aves.
Pelham Manor
Telephone, Pelham 1655
Kindergarten and first eight grades.
Prepares boys and girls for all college preparatory schools.

1928 Newspaper Advertisement for "The Pelham Day School."
Source:  The Pelham Day School, The Pelham Sun, Jul. 20,
1928, p. 14, cols. 1-2.  NOTE:  Click Image To Enlarge.

The advertisement immediately above reads as follows:

Kindergarten Through Eighth Grade
Catalogue on Application
Horace H. Chittenden
John T. Snyder
E. Kendall Gillett
Edward H. Townsend
Roscoe C. Ingalls"

"Pelham Manor . . . 

Making Improvements

The Pelham Manor Day school is being prepared for the new term, and will be completely remodeled and renovated for the pupils, when the new semester begins this month.  Alterations are being made inside and out, and the building will be fitted up with modern school equipment, and buidling facilities.  More space will also be provided for class-rooms, and by the time the school is ready for opening, all will be in readiness for a highly successful school year."

Source:  Pelham Manor, The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Sep. 4, 1925, p. 12, col. 3.

"Principal Of Pelham Manor Day School Announces Her Resignation At End of Term
Miss Clara Armstrong, Who Has Made Conspicuous Success of Private School in Pelham Tenders Resignation at End of Fifteen Years Service -- Accepted With Regret.

After fifteen years as principal of the Pelham Day School, in Pelham Manor, Miss Clara Armstrong, will retire at the end of the present term.  Her decision to relinquish her duties was reached last week, ill health which two years ago forced her to take a vacation of three months was the major factor in determining her course.

At a meeting of the Board of Trustees on Monday night the resignation of Miss Armstrong was received with regret.  During the fifteen years of her incumbency as principal Miss Armstrong has won and held the respect of all her pupils and their parents until she has become generally accepted as a Pelham institution.

'For some time I have felt the need of an extended rest,' said Miss Armstrong, in her letter of resignation, 'and it now seems best to ask you to relieve me from my school duties.'

'I shall look back on the years at school with pleasant memories, and shall always be interested in its success.'

The following resolution was adopted by the Board of Trustees of the school:

'It is with greatest regret that we, the members of the Board of Trustees of Pelham Day School, accept your resignation as Principal of the School.

'Your work since 1917, when the school was founded, has been untiring.  The organization which you have built up, and the results which have been achieved, speak for themselves.  The school, in this period, has grown from three teachers and a dozen pupils to a registration in 1929 of 106 pupils and 10 on the teaching force.  The children who have gone out, both boys and girls, have made most enviable records and have proven that the preparation received under your guidance left nothing to be desired.  

'The Board has known for the past two years of your wish to be relieved of the responsibility of the school.  You have been good enough during this period to carry on in spite of ill health.  We are indebted to you for your cooperation.  It has helped us over a very difficult period.  

'Now that you have definitely decided that you must sever your connection, we all wish you a most speedy recovery and hope that when your health allows, that you will be able to associate yourself with a congenial organization amid happy surroundings.  We regret to have you leave.  Our sincerest and best wishes go with you.

'Should we as a group or individually be able to be of any assistance to you at any time, or should you wish to refer anyone to us, please do not hesitate to do so.  It will be a great pleasure to co-operate with you in every possible way.

E. Kendall Gillett
D. F. Goodnow
Carroll B. Haff
W. B. Holton, Jr.
Louis Carreau
J. U. Reber

Board of Trustees Pelham Day School."

Miss Armstrong's record at the school has been an enviable one.  She has devoted her life to the teaching profession and for the last thirty years has been identified with instruction in exclusive private schools in the East.  Under her direction the Pelham Manor Day School grew from a small private school into one which now numbers more than a hundred pupils.  

Miss Armstrong is a native of Portland, Maine.  Her sister Miss Elsie Armstrong is also a member of the staff of Pelham Manor Day School.  

Among those who were pupils at the Manor School when Miss Armstrong first assumed charge were Richard and Bob Leonard.  Dick is now at Harvard and plays right tackle on the varsity football team; Bob is married and a resident of Larchmont.  Natalie Roe, now married and resident in New York the latter active in affairs at the City; Heywood and Eleanor Fox, Manor Club; Betty Gillett now at Smith; Kendall Gillett, now a Junior at Williams, and editor of the Williams 'Record'; there were fourteen pupils in all.  Miss Larrabee and Miss Stevens were the other two members of the faculty of those days.

Reminiscing -- those were the days when Jack Butcher, now custodian of the Fire Hall was janitor; Jack had just left circus life where he was an acrobat; when the furnace went out as it did once in a while in those days of hot-air heat, Sergeant Burnett was called from police headquarters; he shoveled snow in winter, and helped the children home on stormy days when it became necessary.  

Many in Pelham Manor will regret the resignation of Miss Armstrong, and it is quite likely that the sentiment will express itself in concrete form before her departure.  Although no successor has been appointed, the Board of Trustees on Monday re-engaged the services of all the members of the late staff.  The appointment of a principal will be decided on during the next few weeks."

Source:  Principal Of Pelham Manor Day School Announces Her Resignation At End Of Term, The Pelham Sun, Apr. 15, 1932, p. 5, cols. 1-4.  

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