1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Camden (New Jersey)

CAMDEN, a city and the county-seat of Camden county, New Jersey, U.S.A., on the Delaware river, directly opposite Philadelphia, Pa. Pop. (1880) 41,659; (1890) 58,313; (1900) 75,935, of whom 10,097 were foreign-born and 5576 were negroes; (1910) 94,538. It is a terminus of the Atlantic City, the West Jersey & Sea Shore, and the Pennsylvania (Amboy division) railways, and is also served by river and coasting steamboat lines. Camden is practically a suburb of Philadelphia, with which it is connected by ferries. It has several pleasant residential sections, and among its public buildings are the city hall, the Camden county court house, the post office, the free public library, the Cooper hospital and the West Jersey homeopathic hospital. The high school has a thoroughly equipped manual training department. The city owns and operates its water-works system, and is an important manufacturing and ship-building centre, among its manufactories being chemical works; asbestos, wall-paper, oil-cloth and morocco-leather factories; woollen, worsted and yarn mills; preserving factories; iron and steel mills; boot and shoe factories; and ship-yards. In 1900 the total value of the city’s manufactured products was $20,451,874 (of which $17,969,954 was the value of factory products, which in 1905 had increased 86.5% to $33,587,273), several of the largest items being worsted goods ($2,090,991 in 1900, and $2,528,040 in 1905); leather, tanned, curried and finished ($1,515,935 in 1900, and $6,364,928 in 1905); oil-cloth ($1,638,556 in 1900); pickles, preserves and sauces ($685,358 in 1900), and wooden ships and boats ($409,500 in 1900, and $361,089 in 1905, when the value of the iron and steel ship-building industry was $4,673,504). The first settlers on the site of Camden came in 1679, but for a century the settlement consisted of isolated farms and a small group of houses about the ferry by which travellers from the east crossed to Philadelphia. The early settlers were largely Quakers. About 1773 Jacob Cooper laid out a town near the ferry, and gave it the name Camden in honour of Lord Chancellor Camden, who had been one of the strongest opponents of the Stamp Act. The settlement, however, was known variously as “Pluckemin,” “The Ferry” and “Cooper’s Ferry” until about the time of the War of 1812. Until 1828 it was administratively a part of the town of Newton, Gloucester county, but in that year, with more than a thousand inhabitants, it was chartered as a city under its present name. During the British occupation of Philadelphia in the War of Independence, a British force was stationed here, and Camden was the scene of several skirmishes between the British troops and the New Jersey irregular militia. Camden was the home of Walt Whitman from 1873 until his death.