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Drexel Archives

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

Engineers week concludes with a bang

A Toy Wagon to the Moon: Wernher von Braun and Rocket Engineering

By Martha Cornog

As a 12-year-old, little Wernher was hauled in by the police for setting off explosions on the street. The child had attached fireworks to his toy wagon, trying to make a rocket-propelled car like those developed by Max Valier and Fritz von Open. At school, he did not do well at math or physics until he realized the connection with space travel, which fascinated him.

Engineers Week in history: the first personal computer store in Texas

Two Sugars, Cream, and an Extra Napkin with That: Portia Isaacson and the First Computer Store

By Martha Cornog

The bar napkin and the airline napkin have long served to record innovation before the keyboard. And thus flying home from the First World Altair Convention, Portia Isaacson used a napkin to pencil in her business plan for a computer store. Her Micro Store opened in March 1976 right across the freeway from Texas Instruments, part of a transition in computing that was far from micro in scope or impact.

Engineers Week continues: Celestial Space and Eternal Darkness

Celestial Space and Eternal Darkness: The Piccards’ Engineering Feats

By Martha Cornog

When your father twice beats the record for the highest balloon flight, what can you do but explore the eternal darkness of the ocean’s depths? At first, Jacques Piccard was just helping out with dad’s bathyscaphe—his real career was teaching economics at the University of Geneva. Father Auguste was internationally recognized for his adventures in the upper atmosphere, having made twenty-seven balloon flights and setting a final record of over 72,000 feet.

Celebrating Engineers: Drexel’s Egg-ceptional Golden Anniversary

By Martha Cornog

Last Friday, the Drexel community began celebrating National Engineers Week with a variety of events designed to raise public awareness of how engineers make modern life—well, modern.  In perhaps the most unique event of the week, students, faculty, and staff will build a contraption to cushion an egg so it can survive a fall of over 30 feet. Fun stuff? Of course.

Make Your Own Valentine

Make it a Historic Valentine's Day!

Create your own Valentine's Day card using vintage Drexel images  from the collections of the Drexel University Archives.

We'll provide the construction paper, glue, glitter, and scissors - bring your creativity to . . .

Hagerty Library on  Friday February 12th from 10 a.m. till 4 p.m.

Hands-on processing workshop is now full!

We've had a great response for our processing workshop, and the workshop is currently full. Please email us at if you'd like to be added to the waiting list, and subscribe to our blog to hear about future events in the Archives.

Join us for a hands-on processing workshop February 5

Update: the workshop is currently full. Please email to sign up for the waitlist.

Ready to go beyond reading books and articles about archives? Eager to get your hands dirty with genuine historical dust? Want to see how Archivists’ Toolkit works? Join the Drexel University Archives for a hands-on archives processing workshop on Friday, February 5th, 2010, from 10-4.

A Reception for a New Exhibition!

"A Manner Worthy of their Importance": Drexel's Standish Collection of Rare Books
Reception Wednesday January 27th from 4 to 6 p.m
on the lower level of Hagerty Library.

In 1898 the Drexel Institute received a large donation of rare books from George Miles Standish.  Starting as a campus treasure, over the decades the Standish collection became a burden to be disposed of, as confusion over the origin and purpose of the books mounted.  As appreciation for the collection again rises, the collection's trials and tribulations shed light on shifting library culture and preferences

This Day in Drexel History: January 22, 1988

Drexel student Frank Masley placed first in the 1988 Olympic trials for luge.

This Day in Drexel History: January 11, 1980

At the beginning of winter quarter in 1980, multiple dorms were overbooked, leaving many students without rooms. Of the seventy students initially without housing, some commuted from home temporarily, while others were assigned to lounges in Van Ren, Kelly, Calhoun and the New Dorm (now Towers).

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