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Drexel Archives

Historical photographs and other interesting documents from the Archives' collections, as well as information about the Archives.

Special Training for Nurses at Drexel

by Robin Elliot

In the early twentieth century Drexel participated in training for nurses. At that time nursing was primarily a female profession. There were Nurses Training Schools throughout the country, including Philadelphia. Drexel began offering new scientific classes for nurses which would supplement their regular training. Drexel did not intend to simply offer scientific courses; instead they wanted to help the student be an all around better nurse. The curriculum would therefore include English Language and Literature to ensure proper writing skills. They would also take classes in Vocal Expression. Students in the nursing program would have access to public lectures and the library from Drexel. It is unclear if this program was implemented at Drexel at this time.

Student Life for Women at Drexel During the 1950's

by Robin Elliot

The Sarah van Rensselaer Dormitory was the home of female students at Drexel for many decades. In promotional pamphlets Drexel accentuated the educational and social aspects of college life for female students. There were three main tracks for undergraduate female students, Business Administration, Home Economics and Engineering. The Women’s Student Government Association was a crucial part of student life because of its direct connection to dormitory life. Students were required to live in the dorms if they did not have parents or an aunt or uncle who could house them while at Drexel.
Dorm rooms were similar to dorm rooms today. However more furniture was provided by Drexel than is usual for college students today. Drexel students had beds, mattresses, lamps, rugs, glass curtains and other furniture in their rooms when they arrived. Students were told to bring towels, sheets, and blankets, similar to today’s students. The rooms had hot and cold running water, but bathrooms and showers were available on each hall.

The Federation of Engineering Societies Fourth Annual Engineers’ Day

by Robin Elliot


The growth of the School of Engineering at Drexel is evident in a program for the Federation of Engineering Societies, Engineers’ Day held at the Drexel Institute of Technology in 1952. While none of the speakers were from Drexel, except for Dr. Robert C. Disque, who made the Summary speech of the day, there were a large variety of speakers from all facets of academia and industry. The speakers spoke on subjects of vital interest to both engineers and to society in general. The inclusion of metallurgical engineering in the program is evidence of the growing strength of the engineering department at Drexel during the1950’s. This department was not added to the curriculum until the 1950’s.

"Industrial Science in Relation to Full Employment"

by Cheryl Klimaszewski

To browse the records of the Office of the President during the tenure of Dr. James Creese is to gain an understanding of the Institute’s place in the world as much as it is a view to the development of the Institute itself. Creese sat on the boards of many prominent local institutions and served on numerous government committees at both the state and local levels. On January 11, 1961, Creese presented a statement before the Joint Committee on Unemployment of the Senate and House of Representatives of the Legislature of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Celebrating Drexel's Diamond Jubilee

by Robin Elliot

Diamond Jubilee ticket.jpg

In 1966, Drexel celebrated its seventy-fifth anniversary with its Diamond Jubilee. The theme was “The Responsible Man in a Free Society of Exploding Technology”, which amply illustrated Drexel’s history and the current goals of that time period. The president of Drexel was William Walsh Hagerty, who was the eighth president of Drexel, serving from 1963 to 1984. He was educated as an engineer at the universities of Minnesota and Michigan. Prior to his presidency of Drexel he was the dean of the college of engineering at the University of Texas. The brochure produced at the time of the anniversary demonstrates the tremendous growth of the school and the specific time period in which it was produced. The theme illustrates how conscious Drexel was of events in the world, such as the atomic bomb and the environmental hazards of the war in Vietnam, both of which were directly connected to scientific research.

The Many Roles of the Modern Woman

by Robin Elliot

Ardenia Chapman wrote a memorandum to the Council of Deans on the place of women in higher education in 1960. It is a very enlightening look at how one woman viewed the position of women in society prior to the second wave of feminism in the 1960’s and 1970’s. She linked the uncertainty over the status of women in general society with the debate on how women should be educated above the high school level. Chapman wrote that Drexel had always seen women as having three primary functions in society “the role of a thinking individual; the role of a homemaker and citizen, and a wage-earning role.” Chapman stated that Drexel educated women for all three functions and that these were not contrary roles to that of men in society. She also wrote that any differences that did exist between men and women were decreasing. One recommendation that Chapman made was to have a public meeting on Drexel’s role in society. The purpose was to show how Drexel had historically helped women’s education. It was specifically stated that the speakers should be anyone, regardless of gender, who is an expert and could reliably speak about their views. The meeting’s purpose was to support the idea of women as citizens and that every citizen needed to have an education.

The Business Curriculum of Drexel: The Pink Collar Track

by Robin Elliot
During the 1950's Drexel continued to offer female students the opportunity to receive a degree in the College of Business Administration. The curriculum for the College of Business Administration was varied and included different types of administrative work for women. Kenneth Matheson, Jr., was the Dean of the College and was responsible for the program and facilities.

If you build it . . .

by Cheryl Klimaszewski

A little over sixty years ago, The Triangle presented this article by Edward Miller unveiling, “The New Drexel.” This was the beginning of Drexel’s first master plan, often referred to in the records as the Expansion Plan, and was estimated at a cost of $5,000,000 (roughly $46,000,000 in today’s dollars). Conceived and expanded under the leadership of Drexel Institute president Dr. James Creese, this was the beginning of an incredible period of growth for the Institute, not only physically but also in the cultivation of donors that would make such tremendous expansion possible.

Dorothy R. Young: Dean of Women, Proponent of Co-Education

by Robin Elliot
The Dean of Women in 1949 was Dorothy R. Young. She was involved with the Women’s Progress in Engineering Conference held at Drexel that year. In correspondence to President Creese she shared her ideas about the purpose of an education for women. She supported co-education for women as opposed to the women’s colleges prevalent during that time period. Young believed that men and women had similar responsibilities to society. The Second World War was fresh in her mind and she amusingly, suggested that polygamy might be one way to solve society’s lack of men. Young stated that women were required to have employment, knowledge of culture and know the skills required to be good citizens and parents. Drexel’s focus should be providing women with the opportunities to succeed in all of these different facets of modern womanhood.

New Archives Evening Hours

Want to visit the University Archives but can't get here during the day? Starting on April 1, the Archives will be open every Tuesday evening until 8:00 p.m. You can visit the Archives any and every Tuesday evening until the end of the Spring Quarter (June 13).

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