Held at: Drexel University: Archives and Special Collections [Contact Us]W. W. Hagerty Library, 3300 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Drexel University: Archives and Special Collections. 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
"A library is the intellectual hub of a great university, enhancing the climate of learning, stimulating the education and research of student and teacher alike" (W.W. Hagerty Library, Dedication book).
Drexel University's first library was housed in one room inside of the Main Building, which housed all the functions of the institution, serving as a learning environment for students of the Department of the Library and Reading Room. Within its first year, it built a collection of nearly eight thousand volumes, chiefly through gifts and donations from Drexel's founder, Anthony J. Drexel and his business partner, George W. Childs. The collection included books and periodicals as well as manuscripts, photographs, and slides.
The first directors of the Drexel Institute Library were prominent women librarians, each prolific writers and active in the American Library Association. These directors and their successors led both the library and Drexel’s library school (the third such school to open in the United States) until 1962, when the directorship was divided into two positions.
The first director of the Drexel library, and founder of the library school, was Alice B. Kroeger (1864-1909), a former student of Melvil Dewey. Kroeger served as director of the library and library school until her sudden death in 1909. Another prominent librarian and former student of Dewey, who also served as his Vice-Director of the Library School in Albany, New York, Mary Salome Cutler Fairchild (1855–1921), acted as director for four months until a new permanent director could be appointed. From 1910 to 1912, June Richardson Donnelly served as director. Corinne Bacon succeeded Donnelly in August 1912 and held the position until 1914, when the library school was suspended for what President Hollis Godfrey said was low enrollment. During the temporary suspension of the library school there were two directors who served the library alone, Elizabeth V. Clark, from 1914 to 1917 and J. Peterson Ryder, from 1917 to 1922.
When the library school reopened in 1922, a new director was hired to revitalize the program, Anne Wallace Howland. Howland is famous for creating the first library program in the South, at the Atlanta Public Library, now Emory University. At Drexel, she reestablished the library school and significantly increased the library's collections.
Marie Hamilton Law began working for Drexel as an instructor in 1922, became Vice-director and Associate Professor in 1925, and succeeded Howland as Dean in 1936. During her tenure as dean, Law brought attention to what she felt was the library’s primary issue--a lack a space. In the 1946/1947 Annual Report, she wrote, "A review of the year's work makes evident the fact that the limitation of physical space in the Library is the chief handicap in serving faculty and students." The issue of space was not a new one and was apparent as early as 1927 when Howland corresponded with librarians at other institutions to learn about their facilities. Law, however, through her annual reports and other means gave the matter more public attention, setting the stage for major growth in the decade that followed. Harriet D. MacPherson succeeded Law upon her retirement as the Director in 1949.
During the 1940s and 1950s the number of volumes in the library rapidly increased. This growth as well as increased demand for materials and reference services necessitated a new library building. Under MacPherson's direction, Drexel opened a Business Library on November 1, 1949, installed the periodical section and started construction on the new library. In her 1956/1957 Annual Report, she wrote of the building effort, giving credit to Harry Dewey, Librarian of the Institute, for devoting his time to planning the new building that was scheduled to house both the library and library school. MacPherson, however, retired in 1958, just prior to the completion of the new building.
The groundbreaking for the new library took place in 1958, and it was opened to the public a year later in 1959. It was a unique hexagonal shape, bordered on one side by Woodland Avenue, which ran through campus, and on its other sides by underground utility and trolley lines. The shape of the structure was notable, and was frequently referenced in Philadelphia guidebooks for tourists. In 1977, the library was renamed the Korman Center.
The library’s new Audio-Visual Center centralized audio-visual material, such as film and filmstrips, which were previously scattered throughout campus. It also served as a means for instruction, eventually including recording devices and producing slides. The internal organization of the library was restructured for the new space, and included existing departments: Reference, Circulation, Serials, Drexel (Special) Collection, and Technical Services; and some new ones, the Audio-Visual Center and Administrative Services.
The new library, unfortunately, was outgrown almost as soon as it was inhabited. MacPherson's successor, John F. Harvey wrote in 1960 that "the Library Building is already full. . . " (1959-1960 Annual Report). This was partially due to the continued cohabitation of the library and the library school; many spaces originally designated for shelving were converted to offices as the faculty of the library school grew. Additionally, space needed for collection storage was underestimated during the original planning process.
In 1962, the library and library school were separated. Assistant Director, Robert Johnson, became head of the library while Harvey remained the Director of the School of Library Science within the College of Information Technology. The Rush Building was purchased in 1961 and renovated to house the College of Information Science and Technology. Although the Rush Building was available for use in 1962, the library school did not move until September of 1965. At that point, the school’s departure from the library building freed up much needed storage space, postponing a need for yet another new library building.
While the library had several library directors come and go, one, Frances Wright (1901-1979), remained on staff for 37 years. Beginning in 1928, she joined the staff as a reference assistant and subsequently held several positions, including Head of Reference and Assistant Director. Wright retired in August of 1965 however, was retained on staff part-time as a special collections librarian. When Johnson resigned in 1964, Wright acted as director until Richard L. Snyder's appointment later that year.
During Snyder’s tenure, in 1964, Drexel became a United States Government Documents Depository and in 1971 was designated a depository for Pennsylvania State Documents. The Government Documents remained a division of the Reference Department until it was dissolved during the 1992/1993 academic year. In 1965, Snyder reorganized the internal structure of the library into eight departments: Drexel (Special) Collection, Reference, Science Technology, Circulation, Acquisitions, Cataloging, Non-print and Administrative Services. He also increased library security and added the position of a book-checker to prevent theft.
Beginning in the 1960s, the Drexel Collection included institutional archival material and, in 1970, the Archives were officially established. Snyder was the first to suggest hiring an Archivist, however, the request was not approved until 1979 and even then only on a part-time basis. Often the term "Drexel Collection" is applied to the Archives and Special Collections, which is independent from the museum, the Drexel Collection.
Planning for another new library building officially began in 1970 with the reformation of the Library Building Program Committee. The committee was charged with developing and submitting plans to architects for design proposals. The purpose of which, according to Snyder, was ". . . to identify the major physical and other needs of the Library for the next twenty years, and to describe them sufficiently well to obtain formal approval from the University community for action on these needs. The document will outline the goals, functions, organizations, proximities and related quantitative requirements. . ." (1970-1971 Annual Report). Jack Slater, who became assistant director after Wright's retirement, officially authored the Library Building Program. Construction didn’t begin until September 1979, after the demolition of the SEPTA Building that formerly occupied the site. The W. W. Hagerty Library was dedicated October 13, 1983.
Snyder retired in 1989 after twenty-five years of service as Director of Drexel Library. William L. Page and Lucille Jones, were acting co-directors from 1989 to 1990, when Eileen Hitchingham became the new Dean. During Hitchingham’s tenure, the online library system was launched and the library collections were barcoded. In 1995, Hitchingham resigned and William Page once again stepped in as Interim Dean.
In 1998, Carol Hansen Montgomery began her tenure as Dean of Libraries and began an electronic library initiative, which included establishing an electronic journal collection, an idea considered radical at the time (Montgomery 2005). In 2002, Medical College of Pennsylvania (MCP) Hahnemann University was acquired by Drexel. The merger resulted in the addition of the Drexel University College of Medicine Archives and Special Collections as well as the Queen Lane and Hahnemann Libraries.
Montgomery retired in 2005. Jane Bryan was Director of Libraries from 2005 until her death in 2008. Dorothy Schwartz, Head of Administrative Services, served as Interim Director until January 2010, when Danuta Nitecki began her tenure as Dean of Libraries.
Montgomery, C.H. "Pioneering an Electronic Journal Collection at Drexel." Emerging Trends in Academe, June 2005.
Unpublished, Annual Report to the President from the Librarian, 1946-1947.
Unpublished, Annual Report to the President from the Librarian, 1956-1957
Unpublished, Annual Report to the President from the Librarian, 1959-1960
Unpublished, Annual Report to the President from the Director of Libraries, 1970-1971
Unpublished, W.W. Hagerty Library Dedication book, 1983.
This collection contains documentation of the Drexel University Library from its creation in 1891 to 2003. The collection is arranged into ten series as follows: "Dean/Director administrative records," "Departmental records," "Annual reports," "Meeting Minutes," "Early library records," "Self-study records," "Library Building records," "Personnel records," "Library publications and press," and the "Multimedia collection."
The collection's primary strength is found in the "Library Building records," which detail the planning of the 1959 library, which is now the Korman Center, and the W.W. Hagerty Library in the 1970s and early 1980s.
Please review series descriptions and folder lists for more information.
Transferred from library departments, probably in several accessions, dates unknown.
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.
- Harvey, John F., (John Frederick), 1921-
- Howland, Anne Wallace
- Law, Marie Hamilton
- Montgomery, Carol Hansen
- Snyder, Richard L.
- Wright, Frances
- Association of College and Research Libraries .
- Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry. Library School.
- Drexel Institute of Technology. Korman Center.
- Drexel Institute of Technology. Library.
- Drexel Institute of Technology.
- Drexel University. W.W. Hagerty Library.
- Pennsylvania Library Association.
- Philadelphia Metropolitan Library Committee.
- Academic libraries
- Libraries and education
- Libraries--Designs and plans
- Library buildings--Pennsylvania
- Library science
- Drexel University: Archives and Special Collections
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Laurie Rizzo and Eric Rosenzweig
- Finding Aid Date
- 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
Because the collection may contain confidential information, portions are currently restricted pending review by the archivist. See the university archives' policy on access to records for further information.
- Use Restrictions
Consult archivist regarding copyright restrictions.
The "Dean/Director administrative records" series contains records produced by library deans and/or directors from 1940 to 2003. It is divided into eight subseries, each representing the tenure of a dean or director. They are arranged in order of administration: "Marie Hamilton Law records," "John Harvey records," "Robert Johnson records," "Richard Snyder records," "William Page/Lucinda Jones records," "Eileen Hitichingham records," "William Page records" and "Carol Montgomery records."
Researchers will find newsletters, departmental annual reports, long-range planning materials, statistics, articles, policies, procedures, meeting minutes, directories, memos, correspondence and other materials related to the governance and day to day operations of the library. Richard Snyder’s tenure is by far the best represented, making up approximately fifty percent of the total series.
Both Richard Snyder’s and Carol Montgomery’s records retain original order. The remainder of the subseries are arranged chronologically. Researchers should cross reference subseries as there is some overlap. See also "Departmental records.
The "Departmental records" series contains documents related to various departments within the library. The series is divided into subseries based on department: "Acquisitions Department records," "Administrative Services Department records," "Audio-Visual Department records," "Cataloging Department records," "Circulation Department records," "Drexel Collection Department records," "Non-Print Department records," "Reference Department records," "Science and Technology Department records" and "Security records." Each subseries is arranged chronologically and houses reports, meeting minutes, memos and correspondence of the daily workings of each department. See also "Dean/Director administrative records" series.
The “Annual Reports” series contains departmental reports from 1927 to 1997, evidencing roughly seventy years of Drexel Library history. The “Report of the Director of Libraries” is the oldest and most extensive set of reports in this series, dating from 1927 to 1988. The departmental reports date between 1960 and 1997. This series evidences the Science and Technology Department’s change into the Technical Services Department in 1991. The series is arranged by institutional hierarchy with the Report of the Director of Libraries first. All other library departments are arranged alphabetically, and reports are arranged in chronological order within each department.
The “Meeting Minutes” series contains minutes from the meetings of the Library Administrative Council from 1963 to 1992, the Library Faculty Heads from 1959 to 1965, and the Library senior and junior staff from 1965 to 1977.
This series is arranged hierarchically by body, and in chronological order within each body.
The bulk of the “Early Library Records” series is comprised of circulation statistics kept between the years 1893 and 1923. It also houses the minutes of the Trustees' Committee on the Library from 1892 to 1917; accession and inventory books listing items received and withdrawn from the library collection from 1891 to 1947; and card catalogs for rare book, manuscript, and painting collections. It also includes a brief series of correspondence by library director Anne Wallace Howland, from 1923 to 1930.
The “Library self-study records” series contains compilations of library statistics, and the surveys and questionnaires used to gather information about library use and user needs between the years 1968 and 1986. The "Library Statistical Handbook," which houses the compiled statistics, serves as a summary of much of the material contained in the other series in this collection. More specifically, it provides statistical information about student and faculty data, collection size and use, and the activity of each of the library's departments. The questionnaires are typical to the type of self-study material that libraries perform to gain information about user types and needs, and to gauge the success of the library's initiative to meet those needs. This series is arranged alphabetically by document type and in chronological order within each type.Physical Description
The “Library Building records” series contains records pertaining to the design, construction and use of the buildings that the Drexel Library has occupied since 1957. The records are divided into three subseries: Library Center records,” “Library Building Program records” and “Hagerty Library Building records.”
The “Library Center records” subseries contains a group of recommendations for a new library space that were collected by librarian Harry Dewey, beginning in 1957, and include records of the Library Equipment Committee and the Library Building Committee. These records document the library's space and equipment needs and demonstrate how these needs dictated building design. The subseries dates from 1957 to 1983. The second subseries, “Library Building Program records” houses the records of the Library Building Program, which oversaw the transition from the Library Center to Hagerty Library. Researchers will find design proposals from the final ten architects considered for the contract as well as records of the library director's evaluation process. Also included are the Kling Partnership's construction documents and specifications. This subseries dates from 1970 to 1983. The third and final subseries, “Hagerty Library Building records,” houses documentation of renovations and modifications to the as-built conditions of the original 1981 Kling design. There are letters of recognition from other libraries all over the nation and documentation of the Hagerty Library Building dedication ceremony. The records of the Hagerty Library Building date from 1983 to 1991.Physical Description
8.0 boxes 6 record cartons 2 document boxes 216 folders
The “Library personnel records” series contains records that date from 1952 to 1990. The first subseries, “Library personnel management records,” houses records that evidence the management of library personnel, including records relating to paid time off and benefits plans. It also includes information related to the protocols and requirements for hiring staff and interns, as well as policies on staff conduct. The “Personnel dispute records” subseries contain the documentation of two cases. One is a result of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) strike in November 1972, where a librarian was fired shortly after. The librarian felt that it was a wrongful termination, because of the librarian being unwilling to cross the picket line. However, the library retained their position that the librarian was let go for being an incompetent administrator. The materials are letters of support of the librarian from professionals across the country, news articles and memos about the strike, articles about the incident that followed, the investigation by the president of the university which sided with the library, and other internal correspondence. The second case was an Equal Employment Opportunity case, where a librarian filed suit against the library believing that the library discriminated against the librarian for promotion due to the librarian's race. The materials include legal documents, testimonies and some correspondence surrounding the case. This series contains some personnel files of and other files that contain restricted personal information. The series is arranged in chronological order.Physical Description
2.0 boxes 49 folders
The next series, “Library Publications and Press,” houses printed materials and brochures produced by and about Drexel Library. It is divided into the following subseries, “Drexel Libraries Special Publications collection,” “Library Guide collection,” “‘News Release’ collection,” “Newspaper clippings and University publications collection” and “Library newsletters and bulletins.” The first subseries is a collection of serial reports called "Drexel Libraries Publications," and contains thirty-two reports dating from 1974 to 1977. The Drexel Libraries Publications were created in-house, providing information on specific library collections and/or functions. The second subseries is a collection of Library Guides from 1964 to 1978. The third subseries is a collection of a serial newsletters created by the Drexel University Library Administrative Services entitled "News Release." These newsletters are one page each and were published twice a month. There are newsletters from 1969 to 1990 The fourth and final subseries houses Drexel brochures, and newspaper clippings from the Drexel Triangle that discuss current events at the library from 1969 to 1990, such as changes in hours of operation; complaints about library equipment (for example, the photocopiers and carrels) and environment (for example, no food allowed, and temperature settings); updates on planning and construction progress of the Hagerty library; and the introduction of computer stations and library automation. from 1969 to 1990. All of the subseries in this series are arranged chronologically.