Penn History

this image taken from the program for a dinner for Provost Charles Custis Harrison in 1906

Campus Information and History of the
University of Pennsylvania
on the WWW

This is a list of Web sites which contain information about The University of Pennsylvania, it's history, facilities, collections, and buildings. It is by no means complete, but I try to keep it as up-to-date as possible. If you have any additions or corrections to the list, please email
The Name of each site is followed by a brief description, which ends with the name of the University department which maintains it in italics. "" denotes documents maintained by me. Click on the "Penn History" banner at the top of any page that has one to return to this page.

General History

A Brief History of the University
Different than Alumni/Development's history. By Steven Morgan Friedman, C98. Includes links to important references in the text. Archives

University Archives Homepage

A Description of the University of Pennsylvania
Facsimile of the article as it appeared in Harper's Monthly Magazine, July 1895, pp. 282-303. Archives

History of Penn Tuition
Tuition and mandated fees, Room and Board and other educational costs at Penn: 1900-2003. Archives

Women at Penn
Quotations, Timeline, Biographies. Archives

Penn Campuses before 1872
The University had 2 campuses before its current location. Archives

Partial Catalog of Students, Faculty, Staff and Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania 1749 - 1852
Still growing. Archives

Presidents, Provosts, and head Trustees
An updated adaptation of the Chronology found in Martin Meyerson's and Dilys Pegler Winegrad'sGladly Learn and Gladly Teach, 1978. Archives

Current Trustees
Does *not* include phone numbers or addresses. Archives

Important dates in the history of Penn, from the founding of the Charity School to the founding of Mask and Wig to the inauguration of Judith Rodin, the first permanent female president of an Ivy League school and the first University alum to be named President in 50 years. Archives

A Brief History of Each School of the University
Anywhere from 1 to several paragraphs of text on the history of each college at Penn, with links to more. Archives

The College for Women: The First Forty Years
R. Jean Brownlee's article, reprinted from the 12-Feb-74 issue of the Almanac. David Toccafondi

The "Quiet Revolution" at Penn, 1961-1968
by Michael Silver. The fight for student power and gender equity at Penn. Penn History Review

Penn's ties to the S.S. Titanic.
References to books and articles about John B. Thayer and his son, John Jr., both of whom attended the University. Also, info about other "Titanic" passengers with Penn ties. David Toccafondi

Ben Franklin's Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania
Franklin's 1749 pamphlet on the aims of education which led directly to the founding of the Academy of Philadelphia, since 1791 known as the University of Pennsylvania. Archives

The University of Pennsylvania in 1830
Yet another site by S.M. Friedman! Pictures, History, Catalogues, People, and More! Archives

University Museum Archives
A brief descriptions, with suggestions for other references, and email & phone numbers of Museum archives staff. Museum

Art and Sculpture

Art at Penn
Covers a few sculptures on campus, including photographs, artist, measurements, etc., quotes from the artists, and articles from newspapers and alumni magazines about the art. David Toccafondi

Art Galleries and Campus Sculpture
Covers every scultpure you can think of on campus, and then some. Click on a map location for more info on that item/building. Does not go as indepth as the "Art at Penn" site. Facilities

Gargoyles on the Quad
Information about the Gargoyles on the Quad. This page is still EXTREMELY in-progress.

Arthur Ross Gallery
Includes images from past exhibits if the gallery. Arthur Ross Gallery

Balser Art Collection at Wharton
A brief description of the collection and a small sampling of the works contained in the Steinberg Conference Center. Wharton

Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA)
Address, membership info, archives of past exhibits, info on current exhibit, schedule of other events, etc. ICA

The Relation of David Rittenhouse and His Orrery to the University
A detailed early history of the Rittenhouse Orrery, currently housed in Van Pelt Library, printed in the General Magazine and Historical Chronical. David Toccafondi

A Description of the Rittenhouse Orrery and the University of Pennsylvania
French, with English translation. Excerpt from Voyages de M. le marquis de Chastellux dans l'Amirique Septentrionale : dans les annies 1780, 1781 & 1782., published 1786. Vol. 1, pp. 189-90. David Toccafondi


Pictures of Benjamin Franklin
Color and B/W. From Various sources. David Toccafondi

History of Penn's Colors
Hurrah for the Red and the Blue! Archives

Pictures of the University's Seals & Coats of Arms

History and Guide to Use of the University Seal & Coat of Arms
An HTML-ized edition of a 1965 University publication. Archives

Ivy Stones
This site includes pictures and locations of most Ivy Day Stones on campus. It also includes a short history of the tradition. David Toccafondi

Men's and Women's Senior Award Winners
Men's awards (Spoon, Bowl, Spade, Cane) since 1900 and Women's awards (Hottel, Harnwell, Goddard, and Brownlee) since 1959, 1969, 1969, & 1977 respectively David Toccafondi

The Old Academy Bell
Now resting in Van Pelt Library, and cast at the same foundry as the Liberty Bell, the University Bell once hung in the belfry of the Academy of Philadelphia, the parent of the University of Pennsylvania. David Toccafondi

Information for soon-to-be grads. Includes the following few links.

History of Commencement
Did you know Commencement used to be held in Musical Fund Hall and in the Academy of Music?

Guide to Academic Costume
How come that guy is wearing that funny looking hat and that purple thing around his neck? Check here.

Commencement speakers since 1938
Who the heck are Henning W. Prentis, Jr., Quo Tai-Chi , and Lady Barbara Ward Jackson?

History of Honorary degrees conferred by Penn
Also includes a list of what all those degrees mean. Did you know you could get an honorary S.T.D.?

Library Collections and History

Library Homepage
Library resources at Penn. Library

Proceedings at the Opening of the Library, Feb. 7, 1891
An HTML-ized edition of the 1891 program, including photos of the (then) new library designed by Frank Furness. (pronounced like "furnace"), speeches given during the ceremonies, and original floorplans. David Toccafondi

Dedication of Charles Patterson Van Pelt Library
Proceedings from the opening, October 22, 1962.

Van Pelt Library's Namesake
Who was Charles Patterson Van Pelt? David Toccafondi

The Library's rapidly-disappearing Card Catalog.
With the advent of the online catalog, the card catalog, used at Penn for over a hundred years, is closing in on extinction. Here's some more info, and some samples of the cards themselves. David Toccafondi

University Librarians
1884-Present. Start date, Name, and Birth/Death dates. David Toccafondi

Architectural Archives
List of the collections, including a description of the major collections. Some images online.GSD

Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Description of their fantastic collections, access to the Center for Electronic Text & Image, and virtual exhibits. Library

First Library Catalogue and Shelf List
An on-line version of the University's first printed library catalog, 1829. Library

The Thorsten Sellin criminology collection)
Almanac article about the donated books and journals of Dr. Sellin. David Toccafondi

Henry Charles Lea Library
A picture of Lea's original library in his home at 2000 Walnut, with links to more info about the library's 203 boxes of Lea's personal papers, research notes, and book manuscripts. Library

Edgar Fahs Smith Memorial Collection
Devoted to the History of Chemistry. Vintage photo of Smith, brief description of the collection.

Penn Library Collections at 250
The fact that this site uses PDF drives me CRAZY, but it has fantastic content. Library

Horace Howard Furness Memorial Library
Devoted to the study of Shakespeare and other Tudor and Stuart dramatists.Library

Campus Buildings

Aerial Photo of Campus

Penn Buildings on the National Historical Register

Penn Buildings on the Philadelphia Historical Register

Historical campus development
Campus maps from 1872, 1872, 1885, 1890, 1895, 1900, 1905, 1910, 1915, 1925, 1930, 1935, 1940, 1955, 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, and 2000. Includes a list of buildings erected during each time period. Facilities

Hill Square and the Commemoration of 125 Years of Women at Penn
In November 2003, artist Jenny Holzer's 125 Years, a curving walkway of text-based sculpture located in Hill Square, was dedicated in honor of the anniversary of 125 Years of Women at Penn. Archives

Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church (33rd & Walnut, NW corner)
History of the building that Penn bought to turn into Charles Adams Hall. Burned down 3/9/97. David Toccafondi

Houston Hall
The first student union built in America. History, floorplans, and other interesting things.Student Life

Last update: Wednesday, 28-Dec-04 16:42:43 EST
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