In 1930 Dr. James Hosmer Penniman, D.Litt. 1918, honored his mother with the establishment of this fund for the purchase of books for the Maria Hosmer Penniman Education Library. Maria Penniman was also the mother of University of Pennsylvania's fourteenth Provost, Josiah Harmar Penniman.
Dr. James Hosmer Penniman, was a widely-known author and educator. He devoted much of his time to the study of the life of George Washington and to the development of memorial libraries at Penn, Yale, and Brown universities in honor of his parents. In 1929, the United States Geographic Board honored him and Josiah Penniman by naming two hanging glaciers in Alaska after them.
Originally a separate education library, the Penniman Library was integrated into Van Pelt Library collections, which today house the majority of the University Library collections in education. The Woody History of Education materials, within the Van Pelt Library, form part of the core historical part of the collection. The collections also include works on subject specific teaching in other areas, such as mathematics and the sciences.
Educational theory and practice, the history of education, educational psychology, school administration/organization, and higher education are among the stronger areas of the Van Pelt Collection. Paralleling current directions in GSE programs and research, new and continued collecting focuses include urban education, international education, multicultural issues in education, the teaching of math and science, and language learning.
Since 1930, Dr. Penniman's gift has grown almost ten-fold, providing a wonderful resource for today's and tomorrow's education students.