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PENN BIOGRAPHIES

Thomas Truxtun Hare (1878 - 1956)

University Affiliation:
  • B.S. 1901, Law Class of 1903
  • Member of both varsity and class cricket, football and track teams
  • Captain of varsity football team
  • All-American football player
  • Officer of golf club, tennis clubs, Musical Clubs, and Cercle Francais
  • Freshman class president
  • Spoon Man
  • Member of Delta Psi fraternity, Sphinx, Mask and Wig, poetry club, and many social committees
Biographical Summary:
  • Winner of three Olympic medals: gold and silver at Paris in 1900 and bronze at St. Louis in 1904
  • Member of the Football Hall of Fame
  • Philadelphia lawyer
  • Civic leader
  • Writer and artist

 

Thomas Truxtun Hare was born on October 12, 1878, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He would become one of the city's most prominent athletes and citizens of the first half of the twentieth century. He attended St. Mark's School in Massachusetts before matriculating at the University of Pennsylvania.

As a student at the University of Pennsylvania, Hare excelled at almost everything he did, and he did much. A writer and a painter even as an undergraduate, his cultural activities at Penn included stints as vice-president of the Cercle Francais and as an assistant manager of the Musical Clubs. He was also a member of the Sphinx Senior Society, and the Ancient and Honorable Order of the Sons of Rest (poetry) and acted in Mask and Wig productions during his sophomore, junior and senior years. Hare was also a leader socially, not only was he a member of the Delta Psi fraternity, he also served as toastmaster at class banquets, chair of numerous dance committees, and custodian of the Bowl during his sophomore year. He was elected president of his class in his freshman year and Spoon Man in his senior year.

Photograph of Josiah 
        C. McCracken and Thomas Truxtun Hare,All-American football players and Olympic medal winners, c. 1900Hare was a great natural athlete with many athletic interests. At Penn he played cricket, football and track, both in class competitions and as a member of varsity teams; he was also known for his skill in archery, trapshooting, and golf. Hare excelled at football, leading the Quakers to the top of the sport during his four years as left guard on the varsity team. He was elected to the All-American Football Team all four years of his college career and as football team captain during his final two seasons. He also gained fame on the track and field. He participated in a variety of events, including the hammer throw, shot put, discus, running broad jump, running high jump, 120 and 220 yard hurdles.

While still an undergraduate, Hare went to Paris for the 1900 Olympics and brought home a silver medal for the hammer throw. Four years later, at the 1904 Olymics in St. Louis, he won a bronze medal in the decathalon.

After studying at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Hare went on to practice law, specifically with large corporations, until his retirement in 1941. Hare, however, was much more than a lawyer and athlete; he was also a devoted supporter of all things Philadelphia and devoted much of his time to civic and philanthropic causes. For many years, Hare was active in the work of Bryn Mawr Hospital, serving as its managing director and as a member of its board. In addition, Mr. Hare was a director of the Philadelphia Contributionship as well as a former vestryman and senior warden at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Radnor.

Hare's athletic gifts and artistic talents were not neglected after his college years. As a world-class archer, Hare was also a past president of the United Bowmen of America. But most likely his most well-known distinction is that in 1951 he was elected to the Football Hall of Fame along with fellow Penn alumnus, William Hollenback.

Hare was a member of the Authors' League of America and the Pegasus Club, a group of poets and litterateurs whose monthly meetings were devoted to the reading of original works of members. In addition to his many works of poetry, Hare wrote eight books for young boys. He also defended Philadelphia against the slanderous statements novelist Joseph Hergesheimer made about his beloved city in 1932. As anartist, he showed some of his works of art, mainly pottery, at the exhibitions of the Art Club of Philadelphia.

As a result of his many interests and a desire to stay active, Hare appeared to be in good health, making his death on February 2, 1956, all the more unexpected. He was remembered by all as an exceptional athlete, gentleman and scholar.