Megha Karnam and Victor Kim
ColonelHenry via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0
Physical Description of Artifact:
The Queens College Charter Window is an opalescent stained glass window located in the Kirkpatrick Hotel directly above the entrance of the Chapel. It depicts the signing of the charter that created Queen’s College in 1766 by Governor William Franklin. At the bottom of the window is a dedication of the window to Theodorus Jacobus Frelinghuysen and his sons for their support and advocacy for the establishment of the college.
The Queen’s College Charter Window is located in the Kirkpatrick Chapel in New Brunswick above the chapel’s narthex (the entrance of the church) and a choir loft. This location was probably chosen because the Kirkpatrick Chapel is the chapel to Rutgers University and the “Charter Window” commemorates ministers who were instrumental in the founding of Queen’s College, which is now Rutgers. Thus a Rutgers’ chapel is an appropriate location considering the history associated with this object. The window was donated in 1941 (175 years after the signing of the charter establishing Queen’s College). It was donated by the Frelinghuysen family and dedicated to Reverend Theodorus Jacobus Frelinghuysen and his sons. Frelinghuysen was a Dutch-Reformed minister who proposed the idea to establish a college in New Jersey. His sons, Reverend Theodorus Frelinghuysen II and Reverend John Frelinghuysen, continued their father’s efforts, which led to the signing of the charter of Queen’s College in 1766.
We picked the Queen’s College Charter Window because it depicts the moment that was the start of our university. The signing of the charter was a result of growing tensions between the Dutch Reformed churches about whether an assembly should be formed to educate and ordain ministers for the pulpit. Professor Richard P. McCormick in his book, Rutgers, A Bicentennial History, states that the Queen’s College was “a child of controversy.” Its establishment was in the midst of the Great Awakening, which was a period of religious upheaval in the British colonies. Religious motives were dominant in the finding of this college, which is why the history behind the Charter Window is interesting. It shows how much the college has transformed from the day the charter has been signed to now. It speaks to people today because it shows how Rutgers University started from being a small college, deeply rooted in religion, to a large university comprised of a diverse group of people.