Mission, Vision, and History

Our Proud School History

James B. Congdon School was erected in 1907. It is a small elementary school located on New Bedford's south side of the city. The building is named after James Bunker Congdon (1802-1880), who was extremely conspicuous in the public life of New Bedford in the 1800's. Mr. Congdon was chairman of the Board of Selectmen, drew up the charter for the city government, and was first to hold the position of President of the City Council. He led the fight to remove the onus of "pauper" from the public schools of the city by serving on the school committee from 1833-1844. His most outstanding public service occurred in 1852, when he established the New Bedford Free Public Library, first in the United States to be built with public funds. It is fitting then, that our school is named after one who dedicated his life to public service and to establishing the first free public library - a place where one would avail himself of the opportunity to broaden their knowledge.