The Friends of Mead Hall was established in 1999 by the Drew University Board of Trustees to ensure the continuing preservation of Mead Hall, a state and national architectural landmark. Constructed between 1833 and 1836, this Greek revival mansion is one of the most eminent examples of that style in the country.
Through a wide range of educational events and programs, the Friends seek to encourage greater public awareness of and support for the University’s signature building and its historical significance to the greater community.
Our primary purpose is to ensure the continuing preservation of Mead Hall. The Friends of Mead Hall annual newsletter MEAD and program events are our means of sharing information and research on this building with the wider community. This in turn helps to not only inform and guide its preservation, but also to generate interest and support. In choosing topics about and related to Mead Hall each year, we attempt to deepen our understanding of the 19th century American experience. We believe Mead Hall is a unique treasure, and that there are still many people who would like to be awakened to its significance.
This uniquely preserved Greek revival building was built 1833-36 by William Gibbons as a family home. In 1867, “the Forest” was purchased by Daniel Drew for the founding of a Methodist seminary, and was renamed Mead Hall in honor of his wife, Roxanna Mead. Today, with administrative offices, meeting and reception rooms, Mead Hall is an excellent example of adaptive re-use in historic preservation.
A disastrous fire in 1989 turned into an opportunity to restore the building to its original splendor. This near-loss and renewed historical appreciation of the building led to the founding of the Friends of Mead Hall in 1999. It also inspired the founding of Drew University’s Certificate of Historic Preservation program; this program’s connections with the historic preservation community in New Jersey, and the educational opportunities it provides on our doorstep, are valuable resources that well complement our goals. The many courses and workshops are accessible and available to you as well.
We seek to widen our audience and to expand our membership and volunteer base. We welcome all people who feel that preserving outstanding buildings of the past makes a difference and enriches our communities.
The articles in our newsletters represent gems of original research that add to growing knowledge and understanding of Mead Hall in its historical context.
The 2012 Spring lecture on March 25 continues our exploration of the Gibbons family history and their continued presence in Madison after William Gibbons’s death in 1852. How does this family, with roots in the south, including vast plantations with hundreds of slaves in Georgia fare during and after the Civil War? The popularity of historical programs that honor the Sesquicentennial celebration of the Civil War in New Jersey has us consider this intriguing subject.
You, reader, are cordially invited to visit Mead Hall, to experience for yourself its architectural beauty, and to participate in our programs. An historical introduction to Mead Hall provided here, and an online tour provides background information.
Receptions following our events are opportunities to meet and to stay in touch with a community of people from many perspectives but with a common goal in preserving historic buildings.
When you become a Friend of Mead Hall, your membership, along with your interest, participation, and donations, supports our mission and public programs, to ensure that this building is preserved for and shared with future generations.
Join us and become a Friend of Mead Hall today!
- Nancy Priest, Chair, C’83, P’86, Preservation Certificate ‘00, University Trustee Emerita
- Jane Alcoff, Community Representative
- David Cowell, Professor of Political Science Emeritus
- Michele Fabrizio C’73
- Alice Glock C’76, Preservation Certificate ’03
- Majorie Hulstrunk
- Jane McNeill, Preservation Certificate ‘04
- Catherine Messmer, Preservation Certificate ’05
- Sue Schmidt, Preservation Certificate ‘02
- Jeanne T. Zenker, University Trustee Emerita
Please direct any inquiries to the Friends of Mead Hall at (973) 805-8855 or firstname.lastname@example.org.