Lawrenceville School

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The Lawrenceville School
Lawrenceville School seal.png
, ,
United States
Coordinates40°17′39″N 74°43′30″W / 40.29414°N 74.72494°W / 40.29414; -74.72494Coordinates: 40°17′39″N 74°43′30″W / 40.29414°N 74.72494°W / 40.29414; -74.72494
TypePrivate, independent, day and boarding, college-preparatory
MottoVirtus Semper Viridis
("Virtue Always Green")
Established1810; 213 years ago (1810)
CEEB code310680
NCES School ID00869171[3]
PresidentMichael S. Chae
Head of schoolStephen S. Murray[1]
Faculty109 FTEs[3]
Enrollment817 (as of 2017–18)[3]
Student to teacher ratio7.5:1[3]
Campus700 acres (2.8 km2)
Color(s)  Red and
Athletics conferenceMid-Atlantic Prep League, New Jersey Independent Schools Athletic Association
Sports21 sports teams
MascotBig Red
RivalThe Hill School
AccreditationMiddle States[4]
Endowment$632.9 Million (as of July 22, 2021)[5]
Tuition$60,250 Day / $73,220 Boarding (2022-23)[2]

The Lawrenceville School is a coeducational preparatory school for boarding and day students located in the Lawrenceville section of Lawrence Township, in Mercer County, New Jersey, United States. Lawrenceville is a member of the Eight Schools Association, Ten Schools Admissions Organization, and a former member of the G20 Schools group.


As of the 2017–18 school year, the school had an enrollment of 817 students and 109 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 7.5:1. The school's student body was 55.0% (449) White, 21.3% (174) Asian, 9.9% (81) Black, 7.8% (64) two or more races and 6% (49) Hispanic.[3]

In 2010, Lawrenceville announced that Janie Woods, who died at age 87 in 2007, and her husband, Henry C. Woods Jr., had bequeathed the school $60 million.[6] In 2017, Head Master Stephen Murray announced to the school community that Joseph C. Tsai, Class of 1982 and executive vice chairman of global e-commerce company, Alibaba Group, and his wife Clara had donated the largest gift in the school's 207-year history.[7] As of June 2019, the school's endowment stood at $487.2 million.

Lawrenceville received 2,046 formal applications for entry in fall 2018, of which 421 were offered admission, giving an acceptance rate of 20.5%.[8]

The school is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.[4]


One of the oldest preparatory schools in the United States, Lawrenceville was founded in 1810 as the Maidenhead Academy by Presbyterian clergyman Isaac Van Arsdale Brown. As early as 1828, the school attracted students from Cuba and England, as well as from the Cherokee Nation. It had several names, including the Lawrenceville Classical and Commercial High School, the Lawrenceville Academy, and the Lawrenceville Classical Academy, before its current name, "The Lawrenceville School," was adopted during its refounding under the John Cleve Green Foundation in 1883.[9] An 18-acre (7.3 ha) area of the campus built then, including the Hamill House and numerous other buildings, has been designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark District. This portion of the campus includes buildings designed to a master plan by Peabody and Stearns, with landscape design by Frederick Law Olmsted.[10] An addition to the campus outside of that district was built in the 1920s. Lawrenceville's student body was almost entirely white for its first 150 years, with the first African American student admitted in 1964.[11]

Lawrenceville was featured in several novels by Owen Johnson, class of 1895, notably The Prodigious Hickey, The Tennessee Shad, and The Varmint (1910). The Varmint, which recounts the school years of the fictional character Dink Stover, was made into the 1950 motion picture The Happy Years, starring Leo G. Carroll and Dean Stockwell, and was filmed on the Lawrenceville campus. A 1986 PBS miniseries was based on Johnson's Lawrenceville tales.[12]

Among Lawrenceville's prominent teachers over the years have been Thornton Wilder, a three-time Pulitzer Prize–winning author who taught French at the School in the 1920s; R. Inslee Clark Jr., who revolutionized Ivy League admissions at Yale in the 1960s; and Thomas H. Johnson, a scholar of early American poetry.[citation needed]

Lawrenceville was all-male until the Board of Trustees voted to make the school coeducational in 1985. The first girls were admitted in 1987, and 178 of the 725 students were female during the 1987-88 school year.[13] In 1999, the student body elected a female president, Alexandra Petrone; in 2003, Elizabeth Duffy was appointed the School's first female headmaster; and in 2005, Sasha-Mae Eccleston, Lawrenceville Class of 2002 and Brown University Class of 2006, became Lawrenceville's first alumna to win a Rhodes Scholarship.

Lawrenceville was also formerly the world record holder for the largest custard pie fight.[14]

In its 2016 rankings, Business Insider ranked the school's tuition as the 22nd most expensive private high school in the United States.[15] In its 2015 rankings the year before, Business Insider had ranked the school's tuition as the 2nd most expensive private high school tuition in the United States, with tuition and fees of $48,700 behind the $49,092 charged by Connecticut's Salisbury School. In the publication's five years of rankings, that was the first time Lawrenceville was not the top-ranked school.[16]

Historic Landmark[edit]

Lawrenceville School
Memorial Hall, Lawrenceville School (Lawrenceville, NJ).JPG
Woods Memorial Hall at The Lawrenceville School
Lawrenceville School is located in Mercer County, New Jersey
Lawrenceville School
Location in Mercer County, New Jersey
Lawrenceville School is located in New Jersey
Lawrenceville School
Lawrenceville School (New Jersey)
Lawrenceville School is located in the United States
Lawrenceville School
Lawrenceville School (the United States)
LocationMain Street, Lawrenceville, New Jersey
Coordinates40°17′42″N 74°43′45″W / 40.29500°N 74.72917°W / 40.29500; -74.72917
Area17.74 acres (7.18 ha)[18]
ArchitectPeabody & Stearns; Frederick Law Olmsted
Architectural styleQueen Anne, Romanesque
Part ofLawrence Township Historic District (ID72000799)
NRHP reference No.86000158[17]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPFebruary 24, 1986
Designated NHLDFebruary 24, 1986[19]
Designated CPSeptember 14, 1972

The Lawrenceville School National Historic Landmark is a 17.74-acre (7.18 ha) historic district on the campus of the Lawrenceville School. This portion, the old campus area built in 1894–1895, was designed jointly by the landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted and the architects Peabody & Stearns.[20][21] A new campus area, built in the 1920s, does not intrude and is not included in the district.[18]

The district was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1986.[18][19] It is included in the Lawrence Township Historic District, created in 1972.

School heads[edit]

Heads of school include:[9]


The Lawrenceville School sits across U.S. Route 206, or Main Street, from the center of Lawrenceville.

The school includes a golf course and owns much of the land to its east, which is classified as Green Space under New Jersey state law.

Residential life[edit]

Lawrenceville utilizes a house system, similar to many British schools.[23] Students reside in four distinct groups of Houses—the Lower School, the Crescent, the Circle, and the Fifth Form (Senior) Houses—as do a number of faculty members associated with each House.[24]


The school's weekly, student-run newspaper, The Lawrence, is the third oldest secondary school newspaper in the United States, after The Phillipian and The Exonian, Phillips Academy Andover's and Phillips Exeter Academy's weeklies, respectively. The Lawrence has been published regularly since 1881. Students make up the editorial board and all decisions for the paper, consulting with two faculty advisors at their discretion.[25]

In the fall of 2014, L10 News, the school's weekly ten-minute newscast, was founded on The Lawrenceville School's YouTube Channel and Facebook page. The program format features a series of headlines, and three to four main stories from Lawrenceville, ranging from interviews with newsmakers, sports, arts, and special event coverage. L10 News is run by an editorial board composed of students and a faculty advisor. It is created by a team of student reporters, videographers, and video editors. As of 2017, the show had over 117,000 unique views on Facebook and YouTube.

Other student-run publications include The First Amendment, a monthly political magazine founded in 2010; The Ledger, a semesterly business magazine; LMAG, a semesterly fashion magazine; In the Margins, a Diversity magazine; The Contour, a newspaper on global issues; The Lawrenceville Historical Review, the school's annual history periodical; El Artículo, a Spanish publication, and The Lit, a literary magazine published three times a year. The Lit was founded in 1895 by author Owen Johnson, who went on to write the Lawrenceville Stories.[26] Also published annually are the Olla Podrida, the yearbook; Lawrencium, the science research journal; and Prize Papers, a compilation of the best academic work in the English Department by that year's IV Form (junior) class. There is also a WLSR radio club.[27]


House Football: Griswold vs. Woodhull

Lawrenceville's rival is The Hill School of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, against which it competes as one of six schools in the Mid-Atlantic Prep League.[28] On the first or second weekend of November during "Hill Weekend," the two schools celebrate the nation's eighth-oldest high school football rivalry and fifth-oldest school rivalry in the nation, dating back to 1887.[29]

Lawrenceville competes with other schools in baseball, basketball, crew, cross-country, fencing, field hockey, football, golf, hockey, indoor and outdoor track, lacrosse, soccer, softball, squash, swimming, tennis, volleyball, water polo, and wrestling. In addition, the School offers a variety of intramural sports, including Ultimate Disc for the girls' Crescent Houses and 8-man flag football for the boys' Circle Houses. The athletic directors of Lawrenceville and the other members of the Eight Schools Association compose the Eight Schools Athletic Council, which organizes sports events and tournaments among ESA schools.[30][31][32]

Athletic achievements[edit]

In the spring of 2015, the Lawrenceville Boys' Varsity Crew team won the MAPL League Championship, beating out Peddie, Hun, and Blair;[33] placed first at the US Rowing Mid-Atlantic Youth Championship;[34] and then went on to place 4th at the US Rowing Youth Nationals held in Camden, NJ. The crew was selected for the Henley Royal Regatta and is widely regarded as the greatest crew in the school's history.[35] Multiple members of this crew either went on to race for the United States Jr. National Team or row at D1 universities such as Cal, Wisconsin, Yale, Georgetown, and Northeastern.[36] or the United States Jr. National Development Team. In the fall of 2010, the Lawrenceville Boys' Varsity Crew team won the Head of the Christina Regatta in Delaware,[37] then placed 14th in a field of 75 at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, Massachusetts, later in the season.[38]

In the spring of 2008, the Lawrenceville Boys' and Girls' Varsity Track and Field team completed its season undefeated, placing first in the NJISSAA and MAPL.[citation needed] In winter 2011, the 4x200 team was the fastest in the nation, earning each one of them the status of All-American.[39] By January 2014, the Lawrenceville boys' varsity track team had won 103 dual meets in a row; the boys' team has not lost a dual meet, a Prep State A championship, or the MAPL championship since 2006.[40] In winter 2014, the 4x55 Shuttle Hurdle Relay team was ranked #2 in New Jersey and #3 in the nation.[39]

On November 6, 2005, the Lawrenceville Girls' Varsity Field Hockey team defeated Stuart Country Day School 2-1 to capture their third straight Prep A state championship. On November 5, 2006, the Varsity Field Hockey team defeated Stuart Country Day School 1-0 to capture their fourth straight Prep A state championship. In 2007 they tied rival Stuart Country Day School for a shared victory in their fifth straight Prep A state championship with a 2-2 tie on a late Lawrenceville goal.[41]

On February 12, 2006, the Lawrenceville Varsity Boys' Squash team won the National Championship for the third year in a row.[42]

On May 18, 2006, the Lawrenceville Boys' Varsity Baseball Team won the New Jersey State Prep A Championship over Peddie School in a doubleheader (14-0 and 6-1), earning their second state championship in three years.[citation needed] Lawrenceville defeated Peddie again in the 2010 finals to win its second consecutive Prep A title.[43]


Edith Memorial Chapel

There are 38 major buildings on Lawrenceville's 700-acre (2.8 km2) campus, including the Bunn Library, which has space for 100,000 volumes. Peabody and Stearns designed the original campus of the school, which included Memorial Hall (renamed Woods Memorial Hall in January 2010), a gymnasium, the headmaster's house, five dorms, and future plans for the chapel.[44][45]

The four Crescent House dorms, Stanley, McClellan, Stephens, and Kirby, designed by Short and Ford Architects of Princeton, New Jersey, were opened in 1986, with a fifth Crescent House, Carter, opened in 2010. The Circle Houses, declared a national historic landmark, were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted.

Lawrenceville has 18 athletics fields, a nine-hole golf course, 12 outdoor tennis courts, 14-mile (400 m) all-weather and indoor tracks, a boathouse, a hockey arena,[46] and a ropes and mountaineering course. During the summer, Lawrenceville is a popular site for youth sports camps and several academic programs for students and teachers, including the New Jersey Scholars Program.

In the spring of 2012, the School began to draw its energy needs from a solar farm, which consists of a nearly 30-acre, net-metered, 6.1-megawatt solar facility. The area also has several honey-producing bee hives, part of the Big Red Farm, which ring the perimeter of the array.[47]

The big red farm includes three greenhouses, 4 acres of tilled land, and 20 acres of pasture. It includes sheep, chickens, and pigs.[48]


Lawrenceville athletics compete in the Mid-Atlantic Prep League.[28]

Lawrenceville is a member of a group of leading American secondary schools, the Eight Schools Association, which began informally in 1973–74 and was formalized at a 2006 meeting at Lawrenceville. At that meeting, Choate headmaster Edward Shanahan was appointed as the first president, Lawrenceville's Elizabeth Duffy was named first vice president, and former Lawrenceville chief financial officer William Bardel was hired as the executive assistant. Shanahan was succeeded in 2009 by Duffy, and former Hotchkiss head Robert Mattoon succeeded Bardel. The member schools are Lawrenceville, Choate Rosemary Hall, Deerfield Academy, The Hotchkiss School, Northfield Mount Hermon, Phillips Academy (known as Andover), Phillips Exeter Academy (known as Exeter), and St. Paul's School.[49]

Lawrenceville is also a member of the Ten Schools Admissions Organization, established in 1966 and comprising Lawrenceville, Choate, Deerfield, Hotchkiss, Andover, Exeter, St. Paul's, Taft School, Loomis Chaffee, and The Hill School.[50]

Lawrenceville is affiliated with The Island School in Cape Eleuthera, The Bahamas, to which it sends students for semesters abroad.[51][52]


Notable alumni[edit]

Lawrenceville has many notable alumni, prominent in public life in America and abroad, including author and ecologist Aldo Leopold (1904-1905),[53] former President of Honduras Ricardo Maduro, Congressman Patrick Murphy, federal judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III, and former Senator and Governor of Connecticut Lowell P. Weicker Jr.

Other prominent alumni include Obama press secretary Jay Carney; the musicians Huey Lewis and Dierks Bentley;[54] socialite & Real Housewife of New York Tinsley Mortimer, the writers Owen Johnson, James Merrill, and Frederick Buechner; business executives Disney CEO Michael Eisner, Alibaba Vice Chairman Joseph Tsai, former Mobil president Rawleigh Warner Jr., and former Forbes publisher Malcolm Forbes; athletes Joakim Noah and Bobby Sanguinetti; and academics, including the literary and media theorist Laurence A. Rickels, Nobel-Prize-winning economist George Akerlof, Harvard Law School Professor Charles Fried, and Bill Berkson, poet, critic, and teacher; and Episcopal priest Walter S. Cox; screenwriter Merian C. Cooper.

Notable faculty[edit]


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  6. ^ Hu, Winnie (January 5, 2010). "A $60 Million Bequest to New Jersey's Lawrenceville School". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  7. ^ "Lawrenceville School Receives Major Gift to Launch Strategic Campus Initiatives". Lawrenceville School. June 22, 2017. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
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  12. ^ Johnson, Malcolm. "Regaining The Spirit Of Prep School Stories", Hartford Courant, November 15, 2001. Accessed May 10, 2015. "The quintessential manifestations of these books for boys, still available and filmed for PBS in 1992, are Owen Johnson's The Lawrenceville Stories, which unfolded in a real prep school and centered on the fictional 'Dink' Stover, who metamorphosed into a hero and a member of Skull and Bones, the Yale secret society of the presidents Bush."
  13. ^ Quinn, Laura. "When Prep School Goes Coed Following the Lead of Many Other Private Schools, Lawrenceville Finally Broke with Tradition to Admit Girls", Philadelphia Inquirer, March 20, 1988. Accessed July 3, 2014. "But, after resisting the pressures that caused dozens of other private schools to go coeducational in the 1970s, Lawrenceville's trustees opened the gates to girls several months ago. Now 178 of the 725 students are female."
  14. ^ "Lawrenceville School sets world record for biggest custard pie fight". Retrieved April 15, 2017.
  15. ^ Martin, Emmie Martin and Loudenback, Tanza. "The 25 most expensive elite boarding schools in America", Business Insider, February 27, 2016. Accessed April 16, 2016
  16. ^ Danner, Christi; and Stanger, Melissa. "The 50 most expensive private high schools in America", Business Insider, September 15, 2015. Accessed November 19, 2015. "For the first time, The Lawrenceville School in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, was not the most expensive on our list, but instead was overtaken by another northeastern school: the Salisbury School in Connecticut."
  17. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  18. ^ a b c Carolyn Pitts (July 1985). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: The Lawrenceville School" (PDF). National Park Service. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help) and Accompanying 20 photos, exteriors and interiors, from 1980 and undated (32 KB)
  19. ^ a b "Lawrenceville School". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on February 25, 2009. Retrieved June 22, 2008.
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  22. ^ Rojas, Cristina (August 23, 2014). "The Lawrenceville School names new headmaster". News Website. Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  23. ^ "House System". Archived from the original on February 4, 2013. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  24. ^ "House System | The Lawrenceville School | Private Boarding & Day School | The Lawrenceville School". Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  25. ^ "The Lawrence: About". The Lawrence. The Lawrence. Archived from the original on March 18, 2015. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
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  28. ^ a b Member Schools Archived November 22, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, Mid-Atlantic Prep League. Accessed November 21, 2016.
  29. ^ Ross, Rosemarie. "Hill ends season with key victory"[permanent dead link], Mercury (Pennsylvania), November 13, 2005. Accessed October 31, 2007. "In the game that annually means the most to them, it was near total Blues dominance as visiting Hill routed arch rival Lawrenceville, 41-18, Saturday to take home the silver trophy bowl for the second straight year. This was their 103rd showdown in a rivalry that started in 1887."
  30. ^ Drive Time Radio (Sort Of) (As Far As You Know). (2010-05-02). Accessed February 15, 2011.
  31. ^ A Lawrenceville Story (As Far As You Know). (2009-05-03). Accessed February 15, 2011.
  32. ^ Meeting, Meeting, Meeting (As Far As You Know). (2007-04-11). Accessed February 15, 2011.
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  34. ^ 2010 USRowing Mid-Atlantic Jr District Championship held on 05/08/2010[permanent dead link]. Accessed February 15, 2011.
  35. ^ Event # 216 Mens Youth 8+ C Final (14:01) Results USRowing Youth National Championship 2010[permanent dead link]. Accessed February 15, 2011.
  36. ^ 2010 Junior National Team Bios Archived February 21, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Accessed February 15, 2011.
  37. ^ 2010 Head of the Christina Official Results, Wilmington Youth Rowing Association, backed up by the Internet Archive as of October 6, 2010. Accessed May 10, 2015.
  38. ^ Powerhouse Timing Results Viewer. Accessed February 15, 2011.
  39. ^ a b Home Page, MileSplit NJ. Accessed May 10, 2015.
  40. ^ "Record-Setting Day For Big Red Track & Field" Archived May 18, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, The Lawrenceville School, January 22, 2014. Accessed May 10, 2015. "With wins on Saturday against the Pennington School, Robbinsville High School, Lenape High School, and Hamilton High School West, the boys' varsity indoor track team secured 103 consecutive dual meet victories for the School's boys' track and field program."
  41. ^ Alden, Bill. "Johnson's Speed Makes a Big Difference as Stuart Field Hockey Shares Prep Crown", Town Topics, November 7, 2007. Accessed July 28, 2011. "Late in the second half, Johnson raced down the sideline past the Stuart bench and split the Big Red defense, helping the Tartans to score and take a 2-1 lead with 7:30 remaining in regulation. Lawrenceville, though, knotted the game at 2-2 with a disputed goal that came with 2:32 remaining in the second half. The heated contest went into overtime and Johnson was stymied as she was carded in the first overtime. After a tearful scene on the bench, Johnson eventually returned to the game and made several runs into the heart of the Lawrenceville defense. But the efforts of Johnson and her teammates weren't enough to break the deadlock and the game ended in a 2-2 tie with the teams being named co-champions."
  42. ^ Staff. "Navy Squash to Open 2006-07 Campaign on West Coast", CSTV, November 2, 2006. Accessed September 4, 2011. "Mattsson, who battled George in the title game of the Barb Trophy, is a product of The Lawrenceville School who also turned out Navy junior squash standout Jeff Sawin (Haverford, Pa.). Mattsson was a member of the 2004, '05, and '06 squash teams that were crowned National Champions and served as team captain his senior season."
  43. ^ Birch, Red. "HS BASEBALL: Lawrenceville beats Peddie to win second straight Prep A state championship", The Trentonian, May 16, 2010. Accessed September 4, 2011.
  44. ^ "Peabody & Stearns - Schools". Archived from the original on February 25, 2007. Retrieved September 24, 2006.
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  46. ^ "Loucks Ice Center". RinkAtlas. Retrieved January 29, 2018.[permanent dead link]
  47. ^ "The Lawrenceville School Signs Six Megawatt Solar Power Purchase Agreement with TurtleEnergy" Archived August 26, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, Lawrenceville School News, September 3, 2010. Accessed July 27, 2011. "Fully operational, the solar array will produce 8,500 megawatt-hours annually of clean electricity or more than 90 percent of the School's needs, offset 5,300 short tons (4,800 t) of CO
    , and provide a setting to teach sustainable energy and the use of materials, land, and water in ways that promote ecological literacy and sustainability. The natural slope of the 30-acre site, currently part of a 268-acre (1.08 km2) farm that is a part of Lawrenceville's 700-acre campus, will make the solar farm invisible from Route 206 and only partially visible from Lewisville Road."
  48. ^ "Big Red Farm".
  49. ^ Taylor Smith, "History of the Association," The Phillipian (Phillips Academy), February 14, 2008
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  55. ^ Brinkley, Alan. "The End of an Elite", The New Republic, June 7, 2004. Accessed March 16, 2015. "Consider the experience of R. Inslee Clark, who became director of admissions at Yale in 1965. Clark had the typical profile of a senior Ivy League administrator of his time. He was a Yale College graduate, an alumnus of Skull and Bones (the college's most elite secret society), and a former teacher at the Lawrenceville School."
  56. ^ Farber, M. A. "Yale Admissions Dean, 34, Will Head Horace Mann", The New York Times, January 21, 1970. Accessed May 19, 2017. "For three years he taught history at the Lawrenceville School in Lawrenceville, N.J., where he was also assistant to the headmaster."
  57. ^ Littlefield, Bill. "Bill Littlefield, Retired Football Coach?", WBUR-FM, September 28, 2016. Accessed May 19, 2017.
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  59. ^ A Study Guide for Thornton Wilder's Our Town, p. 6. Gale, Cengage Learning, 2015. ISBN 9781410334961. "But Amos Wilder intervened again and found young Thornton a teaching position at Lawrenceville School, a preparatory school for boys near Princeton, New Jersey."
  60. ^ "Dr. Cochran Dies; Fought Plagues: Retired Medical Missionary to China Was 81 - Founder of Mission in Hwai Yuen". New York Times. December 28, 1952.

External links[edit]