This essay is the second in a series about Drexel presidents
Hollis Godfrey and Drexel's Design
By Martha Cornog
Although he authored a science fiction novel titled The Man Who Ended War, Hollis Godfrey did not inspire peace after taking over as the second president of the Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry. While the expertise of predecessor James McAlister came through experience with administering secondary school systems, Godfrey’s background was all very much higher education: two doctoral degrees in science and engineering, two in law, and a position on the faculty of MIT. MacAlister’s legacy, a collective of self-run departments granting no degrees, struck Godfrey as likely to hold Drexel back from its full potential. The Drexel name should become positioned as a respected source of technical education as the new century unfolded, and as an institution to be reckoned with.1
Accordingly, Godfrey set immediately to reorganize the departments and faculty, and to push for degree-granting status. Of the original eighteen departments, he trimmed them down to eight departments within three schools: the School of Engineering, the School of Domestic Science and Arts, and the Secretarial School. This last later became the School of Business Administration. However, the Library School and the Architectural Department ended up on the cutting room floor. Simultaneously, Godfrey began pushing the faculty towards getting additional training, funding their coursework at nearby universities and bringing in guest speakers.
Perhaps surprising to us today, the newly-birthed Drexel Institute gave no collegial degrees. In setting up the original organization, James MacAlister envisioned something in the spirit of vocational guilds.1 Founder Anthony J. Drexel together with collaborators George W. Childs and Drexel’s wife Ellen Rozet Drexel had intended a vocational emphasis,2 but they themselves were not educators. So it was MacAlister who pulled together overall structure, departments, and faculty. And through MacAlister, who had emigrated from Scotland at age 10 and had run the public school systems in Milwaukee and Philadelphia, the original “Drexel Institute” concept took shape: advanced vocational training, somewhere between high school and any later higher education.
Drexel University Archives is pleased to present the work of ten Drexel students writing about innovation at Drexel. Each Thursday during this Spring quarter, we will feature a new essay. These essays were written for Professor Sheryl Simons' English 102 class, Winter quarter 2011.
Please join us for an open house at the Drexel University Archives this Wednesday, March 30, from 5-7 P.M.
The Archives is located on the Lower Level of Hagerty Library.
Why come to the open house?
You can examine rare books and manuscripts!
You'll see documents and photographs from Drexel history!
You'll learn about our services and upcoming events!
If that sounds like fun, come to the Archives this Wednesday at 5 p.m.!
Please join us for a reception to mark the opening of the Archives new exhibition, "Dear Mr. President: Letters to and from the Drexel Presidents." The reception will be held on the first floor of Hagerty Library from 4-6 p.m. today.
This essay is the seventh in the series Drexel students write about Drexel history
The Armory and "The Dandy First" 103rd Engineer Regiment
by Christopher Murphy
Before the United States was established as a nation, Benjamin Franklin had laid the framework in Philadelphia for one of the greatest domestic military branches in the world. The 103rd Engineer Regiment, “the Dandy First,” created in 1747, is considered the first regiment of the nation’s National Guard.
This essay is the sixth in the series Drexel students write about Drexel history
Giving Credit Where Credit is Due: Antoinette Westphal
by Emily Kim
Drexel University’s art corner, the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design (AWCoMaD), is located at the corner of 33rd and Market Street. The college offers 14 undergraduate and 5 graduate degrees as well as a summer program for prospective high school students. The school has endured more than a century’s worth of name changes, some ten at last count.
If you're planning to do some research on Drexel history, or want to see rare books from the dawn of the age of printing, please plan to come an hour later. We're not opening until 2:00 so that staff can attend a lecture by Dr. Barbara Tillett, Chief of the Policy and Standards Division (PSD) at the Library of Congress. There's more information on her talk here, if you're interested.
See you at 2:00!
Are you ready to go beyond reading books and articles about archives? Eager to get your hands dirty with the dust of history? Want to see how Archivists’ Toolkit works? Join the Drexel University Archives and Drexel College of Medicine Archives for a hands-on archives processing workshop at Hagerty Library on Friday, February 18, 2011, from 9-5. Experienced archivists will teach you the basics of archival processing and then we’ll work together to arrange and describe a previously unprocessed collection.
In the student center, the wall plaque reads: “A compassionate and witty gentleman, a scholar of repute, the students’ champion. A sensitive humanist, he molded a dynamic technological institution devoted to enriching the quality of life for all mankind.” While heartfelt, the words only begin to measure the true impact of James Creese on the Drexel Institute.