Tatem Arts Center is named in memory of Minnie Antoinette Moore Tatem, a well-known and highly respected teacher and civic leader. Mrs. Tatem was born on November 30, 1867, in Philadelphia. At age four she moved to Hammonton, N.J., and later moved to Haddonfield, N.J. Mrs. Tatem was educated in the private schools of Haddonfield, received a teaching certificate from Trenton State Teachers College, and taught in the Haddonfield schools for ten years.
On September 10, 1896, at age 29, she married Joseph Fithian Tatem, a lawyer and developer who was President of the Wildwood Fower Company in Philadelphia. They had five children: Joseph Moore, Mary Theodasia, Antoinette Ware, Sylvia Jane, and Robert Moore.
Mrs. Tatem was active in church, philanthropic and civic organizations in Haddonfield. A member of the Federation of New Jersey Women’s Haddon Fortnightly Club, she served as chair of the building committee, spear-heading an effort to raise funds to purchase and renovate a Methodist Church as a headquarters for the club. Now known as Artisan’s Hall, it serves as a hub of community activity and is one of the biggest public meeting places in Haddonfield.
Mrs. Tatem also served as president of the Wildwood Civic Club. During World War I she organized the First Woman’s Liberty Loan Committee and was chair of the Haddonfield Woman’s Victory Loan Committee. She organized committees to raise money for the New Jersey Federation of Women’s Clubs Social Club House at Camp Dix, the Camp Dix Hospital, the Red Cross, and the Near East Relief Society.
A member of the First Presbyterian Church in Haddonfield for 82 years, she was president of the Women’s Missionary Society, was active in the International Sunday School Association and the YMCA, and traveled abroad to attend church-sponsored conferences. Mrs. Tatem was Vice-Regent and Regent of the Haddonfield Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and was a member of the Colonial Dames of America and the Haddonfield Historical Society.
Interested in education, Mrs. Tatem established scholarships for seniors attending Haddonfield and Collingswood high schools and provided numerous scholarships through her affiliations with the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Presbyterian Church.
Mrs. Tatem took great interest in her children and grandchildren. The Tatem family had a summer place in Maine where she took the grandchildren for two months every summer, often without their parents. Her grandchildren love to tell stories of how, at age 96, she could still beat them at Scrabble. An avid botanist, she knew all the Latin names for plants and loved gardening.
Built at a cost of $870,000, Tatem Arts Center was financed entirely from private sources, including gifts from alumnae, foundations and friends, as well as the Tatem family. The Center houses the Hodson Art Gallery, Price Auditorium, Avalon Speech Studio, the College Bookstore, an art studio, art and language laboratories, and the departments of Art, Education, and Foreign Languages and Literatures.
Though not a Hood graduate herself, a number of Mrs. Tatem’s descendants are Hood alumnae: her daughter-in-law, Edith Gladwin DeChant Tatem ’23; her daughter Antoinette Tatem Driscoll ’29 (a member of the Board of Trustees from 1955-1972, an honorary trustee from 1972 until her death in 1985, and winner of the Alumnae Achievement Award in 1975); her granddaughter, Patricia Ware Driscoll ’55 (a member of the Board of Trustees from 1978-1990); a grand daughter, Mary Edith Tatem Williams ’55 (winner of the Distinguished Alumnae Award in 1983); a cousin, Katharine May Tatem Brody ’64; a great grand daughter, Edith Gay Williams ’75; and a cousin, Julia Eberly Driscoll ’82.
Minnie Tatem died in November of 1962 at age 95. Yet her memory lives on in Tatem Arts Center. Hood College is grateful for the longstanding support and loyalty of the Tatem family.