In the 1917–18 school year, the country was fully engaged in World War I, women did not yet have the right to vote and Charlie Chaplin was king of the silent screen. Montclair State – then known as the New Jersey State Normal School at Montclair – was just a decade old. Several hundred students attended, including a friend of Mabel Geraldine Staats’s family, who was handy with a camera – long before the era of selfies – and documented life at the school on Valley Road. Mabel’s daughter, Peggy Hayes Patton, discovered the album of old photographs of Russ Hall and College Hall, and pictures of women who lived in the female-only dorm, when her mother died. It remains a mystery why Mabel’s friend gave her the album, but Peggy decided the best place for the pictures would be at Montclair State. “I thought the photographs represent a great part of Montclair State history that may not have been seen before,” she says. “It would have been a shame to toss them.” And she was right – there’s a lot of history here – even a picture of Mathematics Department Head John Stone, the namesake for Stone Hall. The photos will become part of the University’s archives and the photo of Professor Stone will be repaired and may end up with a home in Stone Hall.
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