Edward Potts Cheyney Memorial Fund

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This fund was created in 1992 with a bequest by Oron J. Hale, Ph.D. '30, for the enrichment of the University of Pennsylvania Library holdings in ancient, medieval, and modern European history and the history of science and technology, in honor of an esteemed professor, Edward Potts Cheyney. Professor Cheyney, College 1883, Wharton 1884 (its first class),and LL.D. 1911, was a leading American scholar of English history and contributed to the growth of the history profession.

A professsor in Penn's History Department, he was highly regarded by his colleagues. He served as president of the American Historical Association and editor of the American Historical Review. An adherent of the new "scientific" method of scholarship, he noted: "The simple but arduous task of the historian is to collect facts, view them objectively, and arrange them as the facts themselves demanded..." (AHA, Annual Report, I, 29). He published extensively on English and American history, focusing on subjects common to each.

Upon his retirement from the History Department in 1934, he was named Curator of the Henry Charles Lea Library at the Penn Library. Not being idle in retirement, he published a full-scale history of the University of Pennsylvania in 1940 as part of its bicentennial celebration.

In this history, he commented on the dedication of the 1891 Furness-designed Library: "...the building was dedicated to its principal use as a repository of books and a workroom of students in an impressive ceremony. It has been the heart of the University since." Then, noting the growth of the collections during his time, "...it has long been the dearest wish of many that it should be superseded by a new building. It is not likely that the University will have advanced far into its third century without the erection of a far larger, more beautiful, and more convenient library building than that which has served its purposes since 1891."

Today, multiple copies of his still heavily-used scholarship reside in a 1961 structure that is being remade from the inside out into a Library for the 21st century, and text from his history of the University can be read online. Professor Cheyney would be delighted.

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