President's Office and Administrative Records, 1874-2003
Held at: Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia [Contact Us]1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA, 19103
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The oldest natural science research institution and museum in the Americas, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia was founded in 1812 "for the encouragement and cultivation of the sciences, and the advancement of useful learning." Since the founding of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, there have been twenty-eight presidents and five acting presidents (please see additional note for a complete list of Academy presidents). From 1937 to 1995, there were four presidents and one acting president who left their administrations well documented: Charles M.B. Cadwalader, William M. Marvel, Milton H. Wahl, Thomas Peter Bennett and Keith Stewart Thomson. In addition, several key staff members who worked closely with these presidents left a record of their influence and contributions.
Charles M.B. Cadwalader, (1885-1959), served as president from 1937 to 1951. Cadwalader was born at Fort Washington, Pennsylvania on June 3, 1885 to Richard M. and Christine Biddle Cadwalader, and was a descendant of the 1689 Welsh emigrant, John Cadwalader. He studied at the William Penn Charter School and graduated from St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire. Though not a professional research scientist, he was fascinated, from his youth, with birds and frequently visited the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. He was elected a Life Member of the Academy in 1908 and to the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee on April 7, 1927. Cadwalader served as Managing Director from 1928 to 1937, when he was elected President. He served as both President and Managing Director until 1947, when H. Radclyffe Roberts was appointed Managing Director. In 1937, Cadwalader received an honorary Master's degree in Science from the University of Pennsylvania in recognition of his service to the Academy. For twenty five years Cadwalader served the academy without financial compensation. In fact, throughout his tenure as president, Cadwalader was a generous benefactor to the museum. Cadwalader is credited with establishing the Academy publication Frontiers in 1936, quintupling membership, and expanding many of the habitat groups representing the animals of North America, Africa and Asia. He actively worked to raise funding for the library, scientific research, expeditions, and the installation of exhibits. He was "among the pioneers in the habitat type of exhibit, a method which shows the animals in natural postures in their native surroundings" ( Frontiers, p. 27). Cadwalader retired in 1951, although he remained actively involved with the Board of Trustees and later was appointed as an honorary trustee. He died on June 18, 1959.
William Marvel served as President from 1971 to 1974. Marvel was raised in Baltimore, Maryland. He graduated from Princeton University in 1941 and received his doctorate in political science in 1951, also from Princeton University. Marvel was not personally interested in science, rather his background was in education and civics. In fact, in 1962, he became the first president of Education and World Affairs. During his time at the Academy, Marvel worked on a few major projects, including: a developmental planning survey of the Academy called the Brakeley John Price Jones survey, a major fund raising campaign; the purchase of an additional building to accommodate growing space needs; and the 1976 Bicentennial Celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
In 1969, the Academy endorsed the city's efforts for the 1976 Bicentennial. Marvel was actively involved with The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance which was formed during his tenure and included more than twenty cultural institutions in the area which worked together to create programs for the Bicentennial Celebration. The Academy's program centered on the creation of an extensive exhibit highlighting the development of the natural sciences in the United States since 1776. In addition, the Academy created traveling programs, held a lecture and film series, and held a three day symposium.
In 1970, the Board of Trustees voted that Brakeley John Price Jones Company, an international fund-raising consulting firm, should be commissioned to assist the Academy in the Master Planning Process and the creation of a ten to fifteen year long-term plan. Brakeley John Price Jones Company produced an in-depth survey which was completed by 1972. The survey determined core programs, a new mission statement, and identified new funding sources for the Academy. A capital campaign was organized to finance and implement the proposed changes.
Due to the growth and expansion of the Academy, by the 1960s, there was a need for more space for the scientific programs; and a Site Committee examined possibilities and methods of execution for minimal disruption. In 1972, guided by Marvel, the Academy purchased the Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Company building at Pennsylvania and Fairmont Avenues. The new building was to house the scientific departments, collections, laboratories, offices and the library, thereby separating the research and public functions of the institution. The aforementioned departments moved into new building in 1973, however, the move was short-lived. When Milton H. Wahl succeeded Marvel as Academy President, he determined the cost of maintaining two buildings to be prohibitive and the move back into the main building began immediately. The research departments returned first. Still in need of space, as an alternative, renovations on the main building commenced in 1975, making room for all the remaining departments still in residence in the Fidelity building. The building at Pennsylvania and Fairmont Avenues was sold in December 1978.
Wahl was born in 190 in St. Louis Missouri. He received his undergraduate degree from the Central Wesleyan College in 1928, his Master's degree from the University of Missouri in 1930, and his doctorate from the University of Illinois in 1933. On recommendation by Ruth Patrick, the Academy's noted limnologist, Wahl served as acting president from 1974 to 1976. Wahl had recently retired as an executive of the DuPont Company. Formally, he was head of the Savannah River Laboratories and in charge of the Atomic Energy Division at DuPont. On a part-time basis, Wahl supervised the daily operations at the Academy, submitted budget proposals, and supported the Board of Trustees in financial development. In 1976, Thomas Peter Bennett was appointed president and Wahl retired.
Bennett was born in Lakeland, Florida. He received his bachelor's degree in Chemistry from Florida State University in 1959 and his doctorate from Rockefeller University in 1965. Prior to his administration at the Academy, Bennett was a professor of Biology and Chemistry at several prominent universities. He also authored several publications on molecular biology and developmental cell biology. During his tenure at the Academy, he more than doubled the endowment, and built a new science wing, auditorium, classroom facilities and the Hall of Changing Exhibits. Bennett founded The Academies of Natural Science Institutes (TANSI), Museum Association of Pennsylvania (MAP) and Friends of Logan Square Foundation (FLSF). In 1984, the Outside-In children's hands-on exhibit opened. The renowned permanent exhibit, Discovering Dinosaurs opened in January 1986. Bennett resigned in 1985, in order to return to his home state of Florida, although he remained available to assist in finding his replacement and smooth the transition. John Schmidt, a member of the Board of Trustees acted as President during the candidate search from 1986 to 1987.
In 1987, Keith Stewart Thomson began his administration as President. Born in Derbyshire, England on July 29, 1938, he received his Bachelor of Science in Zoology and Comparative Physiology in 1960 from the University of Birmingham. In 1963, he received his doctorate in Biology from Harvard University. Thomson was a dean and former director of Yale's Peabody Museum of Natural History before taking the position at the Academy. He also wrote several books and numerous scientific papers. During his tenure as Academy president, he reinitiated the Capital Campaign to raise money to build a new space for the library, exhibits, and education programs and to increase scientific research and expeditions. He resigned from the Academy in 1995.
During Cadwalader's presidency, James A.G. Rehn was the Corresponding Secretary and worked closely with Cadwalader. Rehn was born in Philadelphia on October 26, 1881 to William J. and Cornelia Loud Rehn. He was educated at the Public Industrial Art School and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He began at the Academy in 1900 as a student, and went on to become an associate in the Entomological Section. He served as Secretary from 1920 to 1938, and Corresponding Secretary from 1938 to 1959, though he continued to work in Entomology. Rehn died on January 25, 1965.
Throughout the Office of the President's history, the Comptroller or Treasurer has worked closely with the President of the Academy, managing the financial aspects of accounts, expenditures, benefits, building operations and other fiscal duties. There have been a few notable Treasurers including George Vaux, Jr. and Arthur E. Newbold, Jr.
George Vaux, Jr. was born on December 18, 1863 in Philadelphia Pennsylvania to a prominent Quaker family. He graduated from Haverford College in 1884 and the Law School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1888. He was elected a member of the Academy in 1892, treasurer in 1894 and solicitor in 1911; he served all these positions until his death in 1927. As a mineralogist he was involved in developing the mineral collection at the museum. His great-uncle Joseph Sansom (1767-1826) and his uncle William Sansom Vaux (1811-1882), were both notable mineralogists. William Sansom Vaux donated his significant mineral collection to the Academy.
Arthur E. Newbold, Jr., became the treasurer after Vaux's death. Newbold was the son of Arthur E. and Harriet Dixon Newbold. He graduated from Harvard University in 1909 and the University of Pennsylvania in 1912. Newbold was elected as a member in 1921, and served as treasurer from 1927 to 1948. Newbold guided the Academy during the Great Depression, and throughout the 1930s, invested in real estate in areas such as Colorado Springs.
During the Marvel, Wahl and the beginning of Bennett's administration, there were a few different people who served in the position of comptroller. The comptroller was responsible for managing institutional finances, including monitoring bank accounts; creating treasury reports; performing audits; maintaining the budget and operational plans; gifts; investments; and creating employee benefit packages. Cliff Jones served as secretary/comptroller from October 1972 until 1974. When Jones resigned, Kirby Scott served as comptroller from 1974 to 1977. As comptroller, Jones and Scott assisted the Academy with both the purchase and sale of the Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Company building, as well as site planning and renovations for the main building.
Additionally, under Marvel's administration, the Academy’s internal structure was reorganized in 1973, creating three distinct divisions; 1) The Public Museum, 2) Limnology and Ecology and 3) Systematics and Evolutionary Biology. The new divisions were headed by Robert Matthai, Clyde Goulden and Frank B. Gill respectively. Additional pre-existing divisions were; the Office of Development and the Office of Finance and Administration.
Matthai’s tenure was short-lived, and in 1975, Christopher Ray replaced Matthai as the Director of the Public Museum from 1975 to 1979. Ray was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and raised in Westport, Connecticut. He earned a degree in physics and biology from Reed College in 1957. In addition to being a scientist, he was an artist and sculptor, talents which he put to use designing and curating exhibits. During Ray's tenure at the Academy, he assisted with the intensive plans for the Bicentennial Celebration and installed many new exhibits.
The Director of Systematic and Evolutionary Biology, Frank B. Gill was born October 2, 1941 in New York, New York. Gill specialized in zoology and received both his undergraduate degree in 1963 and his Doctorate in 1960 from the University of Michigan. Gill began his career at the Academy as Assistant Curator of Birds in 1969, serving in that capacity until 1974 when he was promoted to Associate Curator. In 1970, he was appointed Chairman of the Department of Ornithology. Gill became the Director of Systematic and Evolutionary Biology division in 1973 and retired in 1991.
In 1972, when Roberts retired as the Managing Director, the title of the position was changed to Scientific Director and Clyde Goulden was appointed. While searching for Roberts replacement, George Davis, the director of the Malacology Department was appointed Executive Assistant to the President. George Davis was born May 21, 1938 in Bridgeport Connecticut. He received his bachelor's degree in Biology from Marietta College in 1960, a Master's in Zoology in 1962 and his doctorate in Zoology and Malacology in 1965. Both of his graduate degrees are from the University of Michigan. Davis began his career at the Academy in 1970 as Associate Curator of Mollusca. As the Executive Assistant to the President, Davis held this position from 1971 to 1972, during the transition period from John Bodine to Marvel as President. The title "managing director" was resurrected in 1974 when Milton H. Wahl was appointed acting president of the Academy upon Marvel's resignation. Davis retired in 2000.
Academy of Natural Sciences Website: “About the Academy, History,” http://www.ansp.org/
"Academy's Retired President, A Patron, Charles M.B. Cadwalader, Dies," Frontiers. Vol. 24:1, October 1959.
"Brutes and Scholars," Time. March 29, 1937.
Linton, M. Albert. The Academy of Natural Sciences: 150 Years of Distinguished Service. Newcomer Society in North America: New York, 1962.
Nolan, Edward J. A Short History of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia: Philadelphia, 1909.
This collection contains papers kept by the Office of the President as well as some of the various divisions or departments of the Academy overseen by the President from 1874 to 2003. Four presidents and one acting president left their administrations well documented: Charles M.B. Cadwalader (1937-1951), William M. Marvel (1971-1974), Milton H. Wahl (1974-1976), Thomas Peter Bennett (1976-1985) and Keith Stewart Thomson (1986-1995). The bulk of the collection consists of subject files kept by the President’s Office during their tenures. The subject files were created through the day-to-day activities of the President’s Office, offering a comprehensive overview of the Academy and its work during the years covered. Files typically contain correspondence, reports and memoranda, evidencing the wide-ranging efforts of the research departments and museum, finances and public functions of the institution in addition to specific work of the president. Common files found throughout the collection include membership, Academy publications, development, and files on various Academy committees and departments. These subject files demonstrate the activities of the President and the Academy as a whole, as well as the social and professional interactions between the Academy and its public.
In addition to the president, many other administrative, scientific and support staff, as well as external organizations and private individuals contributed to the file system. Because the Presidents’ subject files provide an overarching perspective on a wide variety of events and activities, this portion of the collection is a great resource for researchers interested in the general history of the Academy, as well as specific events in the Academy’s history. Additionally, researchers interested in the activities of a specific Departments or managers and individuals associated with any particular Department would find the Presidents’ subject files extremely useful. The president’s office records make up the first five series of the collection, reflecting each Presidential administration: "Charles M.B. Cadwalader papers," "William W. Marvel papers," "Milton H. Wahl papers," "Thomas P. Bennett papers," and the "Keith S. Thompson papers." Within each series, records are arranged alphabetically by name or subject. Researchers should note that people, corporations and/or subjects are not necessarily filed under the same heading across all five series, therefore it is recommended that researchers perform key word searches for specific topics.
Following the president’s papers are eleven series, containing small groups of records that relate specifically to particular projects and/or support departments. The series are: "President's reports," "Board of Trustees files," "Long range plans," "Annual reports," “Office of the Comptroller papers,” "Public Museum Division files," "Frank B. Gill, Director of Systematic and Evolutionary Biology papers," "Personnel files," "Fund raising," "George M. Davis, Executive Assistant to the President papers," and "James A.G. Rehn, Corresponding Secretary papers." Each of these large divisions is further subdivided, and this collection contains material that represents the activities of each of these.
This collection as a whole presents an in-depth and well-rounded record of activities of the Academy. It contains official information presented in the form of public announcements and Academy wide communications, and casually, in the form of personal correspondence and planning materials. This collection will be of interest to researchers interested in the lives of Academy Presidents, the history of the Academy between the years 1874 and 2003, and/or the history of science and Philadelphia’s cultural institutions. More detailed notes about series arrangement and contents can be found at the series level descriptions below.
George Troost, 1812-1817
William Maclure, 1817-1840
William Hembel, 1840-1849
Samuel George Morton. 1849-1851
George Ord, 1851-1858
Isaac Lea, 1858-1863
Thomas Bellerby Wilson, 1863-1864
Isaac Hays, 1865-1869
William S.W. Ruschenberger, 1869-1881
Joseph Leidy, 1881-1891
Isaac Wistar, 1891-1895
Samuel G. Dixon, 1895-1918
John Cadwalader, 1918-1922
Richard A.F. Pensrose, 1922-1926
T. Chalkley Palmer, 1926-1928
Effingham B. Morris, 1928-1937
Charles M.B. Cadwalader, 1937-1951
M. Albert Linton, 1951-1962
George Clark, 1962-1963
John Bodine, 1963-1971
William Marvel, 1971-1974
Milton H. Wahl, acting, 1974-1976
Thomas Peter Bennett, 1976-1985
John Schmidt, acting, 1985-1986
Keith Stewart Thomson, 1987-1995
Phelan Fretz, acting, 1995-1996
Paul A. Hanle, 1996-2000
Seymour S. Preston, III, 2000-2002
D. James Baker, 2002-2006
Ian Davison, acting, 2006-2007
William Brown, 2007-2010
Edward Daeschler, acting, 2010- present
Transferred from the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia President's Office.
The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project.
This collection was minimally processed in 2009-2011, as part of an experimental project conducted under the auspices of the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries to help eliminate processing backlog in Philadelphia repositories. A minimally processed collection is one processed at a less intensive rate than traditionally thought necessary to make a collection ready for use by researchers. When citing sources from this collection, researchers are advised to defer to folder titles provided in the finding aid rather than those provided on the physical folder.
Employing processing strategies outlined in Mark Greene's and Dennis Meissner's 2005 article, More Product, Less Process: Revamping Traditional Processing Approaches to Deal With Late 20th-Century Collections, the project team tested the limits of minimal processing on collections of all types and ages, in 23 Philadelphia area repositories. A primary goal of the project, the team processed at an average rate of 2-3 hours per linear foot of records, a fraction of the time ordinarily reserved for the arrangement and description of collections. Among other time saving strategies, the project team did not extensively review the content of the collections, replace acidic folders or complete any preservation work.
Portions of the accession number 00.10 were not created by the President's Office, and have been added to the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia Managing Director records.
- Benett, Thomas Peter, 1937 -
- Cadwalader, C.M.B, (Charles Meigs Biddle), June 3,1885-1959
- Davis, George, 1938-
- Gill, Frank B.
- Marvel, William
- Newbold, Arthur E., Jr.
- Rehn, James A.G., (James Abram Garfield), b. 1881
- Thomson, Keith Stewart
- Vaux, George, Jr., 1863-1927
- Wahl, Milton H.
- Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.
- American Association of Museums.
- American Museum of Natural History.
- Brakeley, John Price Jones Inc..
- Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.
- The Associated Natural Science Institutions (TANSI).
- Wagner Free Institute of Science.
- Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology.
- Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Laurie Rizzo and Eric Rosenzweig
- The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project.
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Archives with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.
Charles M.B. Cadwalader maintained his papers chronologically by year, with each year comprised of a single alphabetical system, from 1939 to 1948. Within each year, correspondence and subjects are arranged alphabetically. In addition to his general duties as President, the materials document Cadwalader's fundraising activities for the library, expeditions and exhibits and his efforts to increase Academy membership. Researchers should note that the 1939 papers begin with the letter "I" and that the 1943 and 1945 are not represented in this collection; those records are housed in the Managing Director records collection.
The "William W. Marvel papers" are divided into two subseries: "Correspondence" and "Subject files." The materials document Marvel's daily activities, as well as important projects that Marvel was involved in during his tenure. The projects represented in this series are the Brakeley John Price Jones developmental planning survey, the capital campaign fund raising, the purchase of an additional building to accommodate the space needs, and the planning for the 1976 Bicentennial Celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The correspondence dates from 1971 to 1973, and is arranged chronologically. The subject files date from 1953 to 1977, with the bulk of the material dating from 1971 to 1973. The subject files are arranged alphabetically.
The "Milton H. Wahl papers" contains two subseries: "Correspondence" and "Subject files." The materials document Wahl's supervision of the daily operations at the Academy, including the financial development. The correspondence dates from 1974 to 1976, and is arranged chronologically. The subject files date from 1959 to 1976, the bulk of which dates from 1974 to 1976, and are arranged alphabetically by subject title.
This series contains nine subseries: "Correspondence," "Wahl/Bennett transition files," "Subject files," "Development files," "Speeches," "Reports," "1983 Accreditation files," "Operational planning and research," and "President's Office activities." The materials document Bennett's tenure at the Academy including his fund raising activities, the planning and construction of the building expansion, and Bennett's involvement with several associations such as, The Academies of Natural Science Institutes (TANSI), Museum Association of Pennsylvania (MAP) and Friends of Logan Square Foundation (FLSF). There are also materials related to the organization and implementation of the Discovering Dinosaurs exhibit.
The "Correspondence" subseries dates from 1973 to 1984, and is arranged chronologically.
The "Wahl/Bennett transition files" dates from 1966 to 1977, the bulk of which is from 1975 to 1976, and is arranged alphabetically by subject.
The "Subject files" date from 1970 to 1989, the bulk of which dates from 1975 to 1986, and are arranged alphabetically by subject title.
The "Development files" date from 1974 to 1985 and are arranged alphabetically by subject title.
The "Speeches" subseries dates from 1971 to 1986 and is arranged alphabetically by speech title and/or location.
The "Reports" subseries dates from 1976 to 1986 and is arranged chronologically.
The "1983 Accreditation files" date from 1983 to 1986 and are arranged in an order that reflects the progress of the composition of the final report.
The "Operational planning and research" files date from 1970 to 1983 and are arranged chronologically.
The "President's Office activities" subseries contains schedules and calendars that date from 1980 to 1983 and are arranged chronologically.