In the 1950s and 1960s, a group of women infiltrated Lawrenceville School, an upper class boarding school in New Jersey. These women were not students though; they were the wives of the teachers at Lawrenceville. They held weekly coffee breaks for the students and acted as mother-figures in the otherwise entirely male school. These “Ladies of Lawrenceville” played a huge role in the school and the lives of the students.
Lawrenceville School became co-ed in 1987 and most of the Ladies of Lawrenceville became a thing of the past. However, a few are still strongly connected to the school. Jean Stephens still bakes cookies for the students and coaches the drama club. Ginnie Chambers stays in contact with 810 former students by sending them annual Christmas cards. Edith Eglin is a trustee emerita.
And Janie Woods, who died at age 87 in 2007, left the school a $60 million bequest. Janie’s husband, Henry C. Woods, Jr., taught English at the school for 35 years. Since then, the Woods’ were a constant presence at the school. The money will go towards financial aid, refurbishing buildings on campus, and professional development.
“Lawrenceville was Henry and Janie’s family,” said Liz Duffy, the school’s headmaster. “They were beloved members of the community throughout their lives.”
Janie attended the “Midday Music” concerts at Lawrenceville School so often that a chair was reserved for her in the front row. Now, a bouquet of flowers sits in her chair so students will remember the woman who made the largest donation the school has ever received.
Via the New York Times