Today is the start of Drexel's winter quarter and the campus is already bustling.
To mark the Libraries' current exhibition, Inventing the Page: Student Literary Magazines at Drexel, the Archives' blog continues its series of essays about past literary magazines by Drexel alumna and Archives volunteer, Martha Cornog. Inventing the Page is on display at W. W. Hagerty Library until June 11.
All's Unfair in Love and War: The Roaring Twenties, the Depression, and World War II in Drexerd
by Martha Cornog
A wonderfully fetching and fashionable young flapper decorates the cover of the second issue of Drexerd, a Drexel literary magazine running from 1921 through 1942. Enthusiastically serving up mostly humorous material at first, a majority of the longer stories in the earlier years give glimpses of romantic rivalries and conquests with a lighthearted touch. The Great War was over at last, and frivolity as well as coquetry rushed in to soothe the hangovers of battle, if only aggravate the hangovers from Prohibition's bootleg booze.
Each year the Archives prioritizes one or two areas of Drexel history to strengthen and develop our collections. In 2012, those priorities are Athletics and Greek Life. For that reason, we were especially delighted to receive a donation from alumnus Bernard Kurek that included the unusual Sigma Pi sleeping cap and ROTC drill team beret (both pictured below). The Archives is working with other alumns to better preserve the history of fraternity and sorority life at Drexel, and objects like this are among the items that further that goal. Do you have interesting items from your time at Drexe
It's National Engineers Week—here’s a look at three innovators in the field who were honored by Drexel with the Science and Engineering Award: Portia Isaacson, a female pioneer in the computer industry; Jacques Piccard, a Swiss oceanographer whose father Auguste Piccard was the inventor of the first bathyscaph FNRS-2; and Wernher von Braun, a NASA aerospace engineer who helped to land the first man on the moon with Apollo 11
This is the second in an occasional series of stories from the collections of the University Archives. Today Brian Stewart tells a tale he uncovered while researching the former home of Sarah Drexel Van Rensselaer.
Every college student knows that residence halls are named after important people, but how many can say why that person was important? Sometimes, as is the case with Van Rensselaer Hall, the name seems to come from nowhere. Why name a building after a family who founded a different school? The fact is that there were Van Rensselaers in the Drexel family, and they were important not just to the University, but to the city of Philadelphia. The following is a brief history of those Drexel family members; their lives, times, homes, and contributions.
Sarah Drexel Van Rensselaer (1860-1929), called 'Sallie,' was the fourth Child of Anthony J. Drexel and Ellen Rozet. Considered by some to have been the most confident and forceful of Tony's children, Sarah would become an active philanthropist and one of Philadelphia’s premier socialites. In 1879 she married John Ruckman Fell, a director of the Lehigh Valley Railroad and later member of the Board of Managers of the Drexel Institute. The couple had five children; Amanda, Ellen, Mae, Francis, and John; and together purchased a significant track of land in Fort Washington.
John R. Fell died of a stroke on November 12, 1895, leaving Sarah in possession of their home, Camp Hill Hall, and the financial resources of both the Fell and Drexel families. In 1897, Sarah proposed the construction of a second home in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood of Philadelphia, and announced her engagement to Alexander Van Rensselaer (1850-1933) following a cruise aboard the May, her yacht. Sarah Drexel Fell became Sarah Drexel Van Rensselaer on January 27, 1898.
This is the first post in an occasional series of stories from the collections of the University Archives. Today Brian Stewart tells a tale he uncovered while researching Jessie Smith.
Howard Pyle (1853 – 1911), author and illustrator of children’s books and a member of the Drexel faculty (1894-1900) is perhaps best known for The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, first published in 1883. The Merry Adventures was one of the first modern interpretations of the story of this now-famous outlaw, and featured a new standard in detailed illustration and a storyline that greatly appealed to children. The book is often credited as being the foundation for the character’s popularity, which continues to this day. Another of Pyle’s works, the novel Men of Iron, was later adapted into the 1954 film The Black Shield of Falworth. Pyle was also a much sought-after instructor in the art of illustration, and both established and directed the Drexel Institute Department of Fine Arts’ School of Illustration in 1894. Though Pyle retired from the Institute in 1900, he went on to found his own school; the Howard Pyle School of Illustration Art. The distinctive style that characterized the work of Pyle and many of his students would become known as "the Brandywine School."
iSchool student and archives intern Phoebe Kowalewski writes about the joy of discovering something special in the archives.
A safe but sometimes chilly way of recallin
To mark the opening of the Archives' newest exhibition, "Access for Everyone: Computing at Drexel, 1946 - 1984," Archives volunteer Martha Cornog explores one dimension of that history.
A Taste of Things to Come: Computing at Drexel, 1946-1984
By Martha Cornog
In 1983, Drexel made national headlines by requiring all students and faculty to have personal computers, the first major academic body to do so. Even the fashion-design majors in the Nesbitt College had to go tech, an increasingly accepted thing at the upper levels of that industry. “It’s really incredible how patternmakers have terminals right next to their sewing machines,” commented Bernard Sagik, Drexel’s Vice President of Academic Affairs, after visiting Christian Dior studios in New York.1
This essay is the fourth and final in a series about Drexel's presidents, marking the inauguration of John A. Fry.
By Bill Paterson
Dr. Kenneth G. Matheson became the third present of the Drexel Institute in 1921. Thirty years old, Drexel faced problems ranging from lowered enrollment and a related drop in income; a lack of cohesion amongst the faculty and alumni communities; and the great need for updated equipment and facilities. Dr. Matheson took these challenges seriously, establishing and beginning to execute a plan of improvement even before officially taking office. To cure these ills Dr. Matheson reorganized Drexel’s faculty and administrative structure, gave faculty an active voice in administration and reached out to students and alumni. An ardent supporter of the young cooperative education program, Dr. Matheson greatly expanded Drexel’s network of employers in the program to more than eight hundred. It was under Dr. Matheson’s hand that the engineering program was accredited, and became a five year program. Pushing himself until the end, in 1931 Dr. Matheson died of a heart attack, having postponed the health leave the Board of Trustees had voted for him, and leaving a greatly improved, far more solvent Drexel with a significantly expanded campus.
This essay is the third in a series about Drexel's presidents, marking the inauguration of John A. Fry.
Parke R. Kolbe and the Fascination of Unattainable Goals
By Martha Cornog
“Anyone with knowledge of another language….,” suggested Parke Kolbe, “may share the joy of creative genius vicariously by indulging in translation. He may not produce a literary masterpiece even at second-hand, but he will at least know and appreciate more adequately the work of the truly great.”
Drexel’s fourth President thought it was fun to translate foreign literature in his spare time. Originally a Professor of Modern Languages and trained as a linguist, Kolbe further broadened the collective background of the Drexel presidency. First president James MacAlister had been distinguished in Education, his successor Hollis Godfrey in Engineering, and Godfrey’s successor Kenneth Matheson in English.