Who Was J.F. Tatem?

Did you ever stop and think why our school was named for J. Fithian Tatem? Mr. Tatem lived a remarkable life. He was a scholar, a lawyer, a veteran, and so much more. Above all, Mr. Tatem was an outstanding person who served his fellow citizens in many ways.
J. Fithian Tatem was born on August 20, 1869, in Haddonfield. After attending the Haddonfield School he continued his education at the Rittenhouse Academy, the University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard University Law School. He was a member of both the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar Association and practiced law in Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey.

Mr. Tatem served as an ensign in both the Naval Reserves of New Jersey and the United States Navy. During the Spanish American War, he served on U.S. Steamship Resolute. He received the bronze medal during his time in the Navy.

J. Fithian Tatem was an active and charitable member of the community. During the First World War, he chaired the Red Cross drive and helped raise more than $8,000.00 from the Citizens of Haddonfield. This was quite a sum back in 1917. As a Haddonfield Trustee of Education, Mr. Tatem sought to improve and enrich the curriculum. Chiefly due to his work, the Haddonfield School became a recognized High School in the state.

Mr. Tatem died on October 19, 1921, at Hahnemann Hospital in Philadelphia. I think it is easy to see why when Haddonfield opened a new school two years later it was named in honor of J. Fithian Tatem.


“The Haddon Gazette” June 28, 1917

Heston, Alfred. South Jersey: A History. Lewis Historical Publishing Company

Reeves, Constance. 75 Years of Education. Haddonfield Historical Society Bulletin 1998

Mr. Robert Tatem. Building Dedication Address, October 17, 2002