Penn History

History of the
University of Pennsylvania

(documents maintained by David Toccafondi)

This is a list of Web documents that I personally maintain which contain information about The University of Pennsylvania, it's history, facilities, collections, and buildings. If you have any suggestions for additions, or corrections to the list, please email

Library History

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

General History

The Bowl Fight
History of the Bowlfight, taken from Penn yearbooks.

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

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

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

The Monument to William Pepper, M.D., LL.D.
Its Inception, Completion, and Presentation, 1894-1899 David Toccafondi

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

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

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

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

Last update: Wednesday, 12-Mar-97 16:42:43 EST
Send mail concerning this page to: David Toccafondi /