Archives > Historical Features > Exhibits > 19th Century

Extracurricular Life

The Class of 1887 greatly enriched the extracurricular life of the College, enthusiastically creating new activities as well as embracing existing traditions. Sports, student publications and societies of learning, social fraternities, and student traditions - all were a part of college years of these young men.



  • Organized sports on campus included Cricket, Crew, Baseball, Track, Football, Tennis, Bicycle Club, Gun Club, Swimming, Tug of war

  • Class of 1887 teams and competitions: commentary in 1887 yearbook

  • All-University teams:





  • Alumni Association: listing of members in 1887 yearbook

  • Class of 1889 Chess Club : activities and members in 1887 yearbook

  • Committee to Produce Creek Play, The Acharnians, by Aristophanes: collection guide, 1887 yearbook listing
    Costume Sketch for 1886 Penn production of The Acharnians of AristophanesAn achievement unique to this class, this endeavor was conceived by members of the Class of 1887 in a Greek class conducted by Professor Morton W. Easton, Professor of Philology. The production eventually involved over seventy students from all classes, but the Class of 1887 was most involved throughout. This play was produced in Greek and performed in Philadelphia's Academy of Music in the spring of 1886 and then in the New York City Academy of Music the following fall. The program included the full text in both English and Greek.

  • Dramatic Club: 1887 yearbook

  • Glee Club and Reissiger Quartette Club: activities and members in 1887 yearbook

  • Philomathean Society: history, 1887 yearbook entry

  • Philosophic Seminar: 1887 yearbook description

  • Racket Club: activities and members in 1887 yearbook

  • Scientific Society: history, activities and members from the 1887 yearbook

  • Towne Scientific and Literary Society: activities and members in 1887 yearbook

  • University Orchestra : activities and members in 1887 yearbook

  • University Sketch Club : activities and members in 1887 yearbook

  • Young Man's Christian Association of Medical Department: activities and members in 1887 yearbook

  • Zelosophic Society: history, 1887 yearbook listing



  • Illustration for Fraternities section of 1901 yearbookHistory, 1887 yearbook listing

  • Delta Phi: St. Elmo, founded 1849 history, 1887 yearbook
    Delta Phi was the first fraternity to design and construct its own purpose-built house in West Philadelphia, at 3453 Woodland Avenue - directly opposite College Hall. However, construction did not take place until 1898.

  • Zeta Psi, founded 1850: history, 1887 yearbook
    It is not known where this group met during the 1880s, but a number of young men in the Class of 1887 listed membership in this fraternity.

  • Phi Kappa Sigma, founded 1850: history, 1887 yearbook
    Robert James Pilgram, in his General Register of the Members of the Phi Kappa Sigma Fraternity, 1850 - 1930, stated that the Alpha chapter rented rooms at 13th and Walnut Streets until 1896, when it purchased a small house at 3537 Locust Street.

  • Delta Psi: St. Anthony Hall, founded 1854: history, 1887 yearbook
    Professors Brownlee and Thomas, in Building America's First University, have noted that in 1888, Delta Psi was the first fraternity at Penn "to have its own purpose-built house, a Wilson Eyre, Jr.-designed palazzo on 22nd Street across the Schuylkill"- not on the University campus. When the new meeting house was opened in January 1889, it was known as St. Anthony Hall. Certainly the Class of 1887 would have played a major role in fund raising for this undertaking.

  • Phi Kappa Psi, founded 1877: history, 1887 yearbook
    The alumni members included two well known faculty members: Otis H. Kendall, professor of mathematics and Edgar Fahs Smith, professor of chemistry. Maxwell's Greek Letter Men noted that at the close of the 19th century the Iota chapter occupied rented space at 3617 Locust Street.

  • Beta Theta Pi, founded 1880: history, 1887 yearbook
    Began with fourteen members in 1880. After what appears to be just a brief life of eight years, the Phi chapter disappeared from The Record. The Phi chapter re-appears in the Record of 1895, composed of two alumni members and twenty-three students.

  • Alpha Tau Omega, founded 1881, not in 1887 yearbook: history
    Penn's Tau chapter was established on April 5, 1881 and first appeared in the Record of that year. Alpha Tau Omega did not appear, however, in four editions of the College yearbook, those of 1887 through 1890, and may have disbanded in those years, not to reappear until 1891. Several members of the Class of 1887, however, were at one time members of this fraternity.


Sophomore Cremation as depicted in 1887 yearbookSTUDENT TRADITIONS