Medical Hall (proposed) on Ninth Street University of Pennsylvania campus, exterior elevation, watercolor and ink by Stephen Bourne 1804 April 22

 

Table of Contents

Introduction

Archives General, Communications of Individuals

Personal Papers

Constitution and Charter Collection

Rules and Laws

Trustees

Faculty of Arts

Students of Arts

Faculty of Medicine

Students of Medicine

Financial Records

Matriculation and Class Records

Matriculation and Lecture Tickets

Curriculum Collection

Commencement Collection

Diploma and Certificate Collection

Non-University Organizations

Printed Pieces

Typescripts of Other Documents

Photocopies of Other Documents

Microfilm

Iconography

Architectural Drawings and Plans

Memorabilia

Other University Collections

 

Archives General Collection
of the University of Pennsylvania, 1740-1820

UPA 3

Introduction

Preface to the Guide to the Archives:
AN APPRECIATION

Note: This preface, written by University of Pennsylvania Archivist James Dallett, appeared in the Guide to the Archives of the University of Pennsylvania from 1750 to 1820 published in 1978)

In the summer of 1975 Rheva Ott Shryock, alumna of the University of Pennsylvania and longtime Chairman of its Alumnae Bequest Committee, asked the University Archivist to suggest a project which members of her committee might support as an appropriate Bicentennial contribution to the University.

The proposal made was for the publication of a guide to materials in the University Archives dating from the years 1740 to 1820. Extending from the year in which was established the educational trust considered the forerunner of the University to the beginning of the decade which largely witnessed the end of the Revolutionary generation, this eighty-year time frame seemed most suitable for a Bicentennial-connected endeavor. Since the plan called for student researchers to assist the compiler, the project would be accomplished entirely on a part-time basis. By limiting the period to be covered, it was thus hoped that the work involving one of the largest university archival collections in the country, would be completed within a reasonable time.

Mrs. Shryock enthusiastically approved the suggested project and it was given the warm backing of University President Martin Meyerson. At the end of the year a number of friends were asked to support the proposed Guide, described at the time by Mrs. Shryock as "a one hundred page descriptive catalogue printed in booklet form." An enclosure to her letter listed some of the material eligible for inclusion: key documents of the establishment and governance of the institution such as the "Constitutions of the Publick Academy;" the Trustees’ Oath book of 1755-1776; the proprietary Charters of 1753 and 1755; the long series of financial records beginning in 1749; the papers of Perkasie Manor in Bucks County (the gift of Thomas Penn and the University’s first major landholding); the rough minutes of the Trustees commencing in 1782, and the Curriculum collection containing student lecture notes for courses in the College from 1760 and in the Medical School from 1765. Items from the "Archives General" collection of individual manuscripts would include: letters and reports from and to University-linked Signers of the Declaration of Independence among them, Hopkinson, Rush, McKean, Clymer, Morris - and of the Constitution notably FitzSimons, Ingersoll and Mifflin, as well as papers in the hand of such eminent Americans as Dr. John Morgan, Medical Director General of the Continental Army and of Dr. William Shippen, a Chief Physician to the Army, artist Charles Willson Peale, Dr. Benjamin Smith Barton, advisor to the Lewis & Clark expedition, astronomer David Rittenhouse, mathematician Robert Patterson, architect William Strickland and of that man for all seasons, Benjamin Franklin, founder of the University.

The favorable response to Mrs. Shryock’s letter made it possible for work on the Guide to the Archives of the University of Pennsylvania from 1740 to 1820 to get underway. Two doctoral candidates in history, Scott M. Wilds and Deborah B. Thomas, worked intermittently but with great effect during 1976 and 1977 preparing a large number of the preliminary entries. Both have now gone on to responsible positions in their profession. In the spring of 1978 Eloise F. Sanchez undertook with considerable skill the proofreading and creation of the index. Successive drafts have been typed by Archives secretary Mrs. Maryellen Cook Kaminsky. Her dedication to a tedious task, repeatedly interrupted and deferred by daily demands, has been outstanding.

Less than half the estimated cost of the Guide was raised during 1976 with the result that work had to be suspended during part of 1977. Fortunately, support grew thereafter and work continued into 1978. Contributions to tile enterprise were received from fifty-nine individuals, from the Association of Alumnae, the Alumnae Club of Philadelphia and the Colonial Dames of America, Chapter 11, as well as through an allocation from the Archives’ own negligible operating budget. We are grateful for the special generosity of the Association of Alumnae and that of Rheva Ott Shryock (Mrs. Richard H. Shryock), Kathryn Porter Wehner (Mrs. Charles J. Wehner), Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander, Esq. (Mrs. Raymond Pace Alexander) and Margaret Redfield Mainwaring (Mrs. A. Bruce Mainwaring), all alumnae, and of Mrs. Edward S. Lower, widow of an alumnus.

The Guide could not have been produced without the interest of the Society of Colonial Dames of America, Chapter II, and that of Dr. Adolph G. Rosengarten, Jr., Mrs. George B. Dyer, then President, and the late Mrs. William Weightman Phillips, Chairman of the Scholarship Committee of the Dames, encouraged their society last year to contribute a scholarship stipend for the student research assistants to the Guide. Alumnus Rosengarten, member of the University Library board and former Associate Trustee, who also came to our aid in 1977, as he did a second time this year, was the most generous contributor.

Although labeled a "Bicentennial project," this publication should be of permanent usefulness to scholars long after the national anniversary is forgotten. The friends whose commitment made it possible are indeed deserving of our thanks.

Francis James Dallett

July, 1978