1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Pennsylvania, University of

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PENNSYLVANIA, UNIVERSITY OF, an American institution of higher learning, in Philadelphia, occupying about 60 acres, near the west bank of the Schuylkill river, north-east of the Philadelphia Hospital, east of 39th Street, south-east of Woodland Avenue, and south of Chestnut Street. In this irregular area are all the buildings except the Flower Astronomical Observatory (1896), which is 2 m. beyond the city limits on the West Chester Pike. The northernmost of these buildings is the law school, between Chestnut and Sansom Streets, on 34th Street. In a great triangular block bounded by Woodland Avenue, Spruce Street, and 34th Street are: the university library, which had in 1909 about 275,000 bound volumes and 50,000 pamphlets, including the Biddle Memorial law library (1886) of 40,000 volumes, the Colwell and Henry C. Carey collections in finance and economics, the Francis C. Macauley library of Italian, Spanish and Portuguese authors, with an excellent Dante collection, the classical library of Ernst von Leutsch of Göttingen, the philological library of F. A. Pott of Halle, the Germanic library of R. Bechstein of Rostock, the Semitic library of C. P. Caspari of Copenhagen, the (Hebrew and Rabbinical) Marcus Jastrow Memorial library, the ethnological library of D. G. Brinton, and several special medical collections; College Hall, with the university offices; Howard Houston Hall (1896) the students' club; Logan Hall; the Robert Hare chemical laboratory; and (across 36th Street) the Wistar institute of anatomy and biology. Immediately east of this triangular block are: Bennett House; the Randal Morgan laboratory of physics; the engineering building (1906); the laboratory of hygiene (1892); dental hall; and the John Harrison laboratory of chemistry. Farther east are the gymnasium, training quarters and Franklin (athletic) field, with brick grand-stands. South of Spruce Street are: the free museum of science and art (1899), the north-western part of a projected group, with particularly valuable American, Egyptian, Semitic and Cretan collections, the last two being the results in part of university excavations at Nippur (1888-1902) and at Gournia (1901-1904); between 34th and 36th Streets the large and well-equipped university hospital (1874); large dormitories, consisting in 1909, of 29 distinct but connected houses; medical laboratories; a biological hall and vivarium; and across Woodland Avenue, a veterinary hall and hospital.

The university contains various departments, including the college (giving degrees in arts, science, biology, music, architecture, &c.), the graduate school (1882), a department of law (founded in 1790 and re-established in 1850) and a department of medicine (first professor, 1756; first degrees granted, 1768), the oldest and probably the most famous medical school in America. Graduation from the school of arts in the college is dependent on the successful completion of 60 units of work (the unit is one hour's work a week for a year in lectures or recitations or two hours' work a week for a year in laboratory courses); this may be done in three, four or five years; of the 60 counts: 22 must be required in studies (chemistry, 2 units; English, 6; foreign languages, 6; history, logic and ethics, mathematics, and physics, 2 each); 18 must be equally distributed in two or three “groups” the 19 groups include astronomy, botany, chemistry, economics, English, fine arts, French, geology, German, Greek, history, Latin, mathematics, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology, sociology and zoology; and in the remaining 20 units the student's election is practically free. Special work in the senior year of the college counts 8 units for the first year's work in the department of medicine. College scholarships are largely local, two being in the gift of the governor of the state, fifty being for graduates of the public schools of the city of Philadelphia, and five being for graduates of Pennsylvania public schools outside Philadelphia; in 1909 there were twenty-eight scholarships in the college not local. In the graduate school there are five fellowships for research, each with an annual stipend of $800, twenty-one fellowships valued at $500 each, for men only, and five fellowships for women, besides special fellowships and 39 scholarships.

The corporation of the university is composed of a board of twenty-four trustees, of which the governor of Pennsylvania is ex-officio president. The directing head of the university, and the head of the university faculty and of the faculty of each department is the provost — a title rarely used in American universities; the provost is president pro tempore of the board of trustees.

In 1908-1909 the university had 454 officers of instruction, of whom 220 were in the college and 157 in the department of medicine, and an enrolment of 4570 students, of whom 2989 were in the college (412 in the school of arts; 987 in the Towne scientific school; 472 in the Wharton school, and 253 in the evening school of accounts and finance; 384 in courses for teachers; and 481 in the summer school), 353 in the graduate school, 327 in the department of law, 559 in the department of medicine, 385 in the department of dentistry, and 150 in the department of veterinary medicine.

In August 1907 the excess of the university's assets over its liabilities was $13,239,408 and the donations for the year were $305,814. A very large proportion of the university's investments is in real estate, especially in Philadelphia. In 1907 the total value of real estate (including the university buildings) was $6,829,154; and libraries, museums, apparatus and furniture were valued at $2,025,357. Students' tuition fees vary from $150 to $200 a year in the college; and are $160 in the department of law, $200 in the department of medicine, $150 in the department of dentistry and $100 in the department of veterinary science. The income from tuition fees in 1906-1907 was $458,396; the payments for “educational salaries” amounted to $433,311, and For “administration salaries” to $135,314.

The university publishes the following series: Astronomical Series (1899 sqq.); Contributions from the Botanical Laboratory (1892 sqq.); Contributions from the Laboratory of Hygiene (1898 sqq.); Contributions from the Zoological Laboratory (1893 sqq.); Series in History (1901 sqq.); Series in Mathematics (1897 sqq.); Series in Philology and Literature (1891 sqq.); Series in Romanic Languages and Literatures (1907 sqq.); Series in Philosophy (1890 sqq.); Series in Political Economy and Public Law (1885 sqq.); The American Law Register (1852 sqq.); The University of Pennsylvania Medical Bulletin (1888 sqq.); Transactions of the Department of Archaeology (1904 sqq.); the Journal of Morphology (1887 sqq.); and Transactions and Proceedings of the Botanical Society of Pennsylvania (1897 sqq.). There are also occasional publications by institutes and departments connected with the university. Student publications include: a daily, The Pennsylvanian (1885); the weekly, Old Penn (1902); a comic monthly, The Punch Bowl; a literary monthly, The Red and Blue; a quarterly of the department of dentistry, The Penn Dental Journal; an annual, The Record; and The Alumni Register (1896), a monthly.

Benjamin Franklin in 1749 published a pamphlet, entitled Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania, which led to the formation of a board of twenty-four trustees, nineteen of whom, on the 13th of November 1749, met for organization and to promote “the Publick Academy in the City of Philadelphia,” and elected Benjamin Franklin president of the board, an office which he held until 1756. So closely was Franklin identified with the plan that Matthew Arnold called the institution “the University of Franklin.” On the 1st of February 1750 there was conveyed to this board of trustees the “New Building” on Fourth Street, near Arch, which had been erected in 1740 for a charity school — a use to which it had not been put — and as a “house of Publick Worship,” in which George Whitefield had preached in November 1740; the original trustees (including Franklin) of the “New Building” and of its projected charity school date from 1740, and therefore the university attaches to its seal the words “founded 1740.” In the “New Building” the academy was opened on the 7th of January 1751, the city having voted £200 in the preceding August for the completion of the building. On the 16th of September 1751 a charitable school “for the instruction of poor Children gratis in Reading, Writing, and Arithmetick” was opened in the “New Building.” The proprietaries, Thomas and Richard Penn, incorporated “The Trustees of the Academy and Charitable School in the Province of Pennsylvania” in 1753; and in 1755 issued a confirmatory charter, changing the corporate name to “The Trustees of the College, Academy and Charitable School,” &c., whereupon William Smith (1727-1803) of the university of Aberdeen, who had become rector of the academy in 1732 and had taken orders in the Church of Englanc in 1753, became provost of the college. In 1756 Dr Smith established a complete and liberal curriculum which was adopted by Bishop James Madison in 1777 when he became president of the College of William and Mary. In 1757 the first college class graduated. Under Smith's control the Latin school grew in importance at the expense of the English school, to the great annoyance of Franklin. In 1762-1764 Dr Smith collected for the college in England about £6900; and in 1764 his influence had become so strong that it was feared that the college would become sectarian. The Penns and others deprecated this and the trustees bound themselves (1764) to “use their utmost endeavours that . . . (the original plan) be not narrowed, nor the members of the Church of England, nor those dissenting rom them ... be put on any worse footing in this seminary than they were at the time of receiving the royal brief.” From September 1777 to June 1778 college exercises were not held because Philadelphia was occupied by British troops. In 1779 the state legislature, on the ground that the trustees' declaration in 1764 was a “narrowing of the foundation,”[1] confiscated the rights and property of the college and chartered a new corporation “the Trustees of the University of the State of Pennsylvania”; in 1789 the college was restored to its rights and property and Smith again became its provost; in 1791 the college and the university of the State of Pennsylvania were united under the title, “the University of Pennsylvania,” whose trustees were elected from their own members by the board of trustees of the college and that of the university. In 1802 the university purchased new grounds on Ninth Street, between Market and Chestnut, where the post office building now is; there until 1829 the university occupied the building erected for the administrative mansion of the president of the United States; there new buildings were erected after 1829; and from these the university removed to its present site in 1872.

The provosts have been: in 1755-1779 and in 1789-1803, William Smith; in 1779-1791, of the university of the state of Pennsylvania, John Ewing (1732-1802); in 1807-1810, John McDowell (1750-1820); in 1810-1813, John Andrews (1746-1813); in 1813-1828, Frederick Beasley (1777-1845); in 1828-1833, William Heathcote De Lancey (1797-1865); in 1834-1853, John Ludlow (1793-1857); in 1854-1859, Henry Vethake (1792-1866); in 1860-1868, Daniel Raynes Goodwin (1811-1890); in 1868-1880, Charles Janeway Stillé (1819-1899); in 1881-1894, William Pepper (1843-1898); in 1894-1910, Charles Custis Harrison (b. 1844), and in 1911 sqq. Edgar Fahs Smith (b. 1856).

See T. H. Montgomery, A History of the University of Pennsylvania from its Foundation to A.D. 1770 (Philadelphia, 1900); George B. Wood, Early History of the University of Pennsylvania (3rd ed., ibid., 1896); J. B. McMaster, The University of Pennsylvania (ibid. 1897); G. E. Nitzsche, Official Guide to the University of Pennsylvania (ibid., 1906); and Edward P. Cheyney, “University of Pennsylvania,” in vol. i. of Universities and their Sons (Boston, 1901).


  1. Probably the actual reason was that the assembly, dominated by the advocates of the radical constitution of 1776, was attempting to punish the trustees of the college, who were almost all “anti-constitutionalists.”