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George Stephens papers


Held at: Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections [Contact Us]370 Lancaster Ave, Haverford, PA 19041

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Haverford College Quaker & 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

George Stephens (alternately spelled "Stevens," "Steevens," "Stevinz," etc.) is a fictitious individual with a nebulous connection to Haverford College. Stephens was created when Haverford students Jim Booth (class of 1973), Roger Easton (class of 1972), David Sloane (class of 1972), Ron Norris (class of 1971), Bob Schwartz (class of 1971), Carl Tannenbaum (class of 1971), and Steve White (class of 1971) were studying for a history exam and one of them asked "who was George Stephens?" The group crafted an identity for Stephens and from there the legend grew. They formed the George Stephens Memorial Association in 1969. The first George Stephens Memorial Dinner was held in 1970, at which time the first gift of "Stephensiana" was presented to the College and displayed in the Sharpless Gallery of Magill Library. At the 1977 Memorial Dinner, President John R. Coleman was presented with the first George Stevens Unmentionable Award and Bequest; photographs of this award ceremony are included in this collection. Edwin B. Bronner, Professor of History and Librarian of the College, was also the first Curator of the George Stephens Memorial Collection.

Tales of George Stephens's exploits grew more numerous over the years. Some stories identify him as a Haverford student while in others his connection to the College is unclear. The most popular story about Stephens identifies him as Ethiopia's goalie in the 1876 World Cup match against England. Due to various distractions and his own incompetencies, Stephens allowed England to score a single goal to win the match. Other tales identify Stephens as General George Custer's scout, implicate him in Rutherford B. Hayes's electoral victory over Samuel J. Tilden in 1876, and indicate that he sent William McKinley a faulty bulletproof vest that he was wearing at the time of his assassination in 1901. Stephens purportedly had relationships with several notable women, including journalist Margaret Fuller, trombonist Marguerite Dufay, and the also-fictitious Bryn Mawr Ice Cream Lady.

This collection consists of items related to and purportedly created by fictitious individual George Stephens (also spelled Stevens, Steevens, Stevinz).

The collection is divided into five series. The first includes works supposedly created by George Stephens, including correspondence, poetry, scholarship, and memoirs. Some of these items were created by Haverford students, faculty, and staff posing as Stephens while others were created by real people named George Stephens.

The second series consists of items about George Stephens, including artwork, poetry, photographs, correspondence, and Haverford lore. Most of these materials were created by Haverford College students, faculty, and staff to expand the mythos surrounding the fictitious George Stephens, but some items relate to real people named George Stephens or George Stevens, including a 2nd Lieutenant in a Civil War Union regiment and an American film director.

The third series contains materials related to the George Stephens Memorial Dinner, held from 1970 until at least 1986. These items include invitations, responses from invited guests, and photographs of the dinners. A series of photographs from the 1977 Dinner show President John R. Coleman being awarded the George Stevens Unmentionable Award and Bequest.

The fourth series includes materials related to the creation of the George Stephens collection. Many of the items in this series pertain to Edwin B. Bronner, Librarian of the College and the first Curator of the George Stephens Memorial Collection. There are also captions from various exhibits featuring the George Stephens Memorial Collection.

The final series consists of items purportedly belonging to George Stephens and other Stephens-related artifacts. Highlights of this series include George Stephens' diploma, his Haverford College soccer jerseys, his Ethiopian World Cup soccer jersey, a "fossil" of his prized race horse, and a "Save with Stevens" wooden bank.

The materials in this collection are arranged into series based on their relationship to George Stephens and their format.

Processed by Elizabeth Jones-Minsinger; completed November, 2019.

Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
Elizabeth Jones-Minsinger
Finding Aid Date
November, 2019
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Collection Inventory

Memoirs of George Stevens.
Box 1 Folder 1
From Capetown to Ladysmith.
Box 1 Folder 2
George Stephens thesis.
Box 1 Folder 3
The Complete Works of George Stephens.
Box 1 Folder 4
George Stephens Literary Masterpiece.
Box 1 Folder 5
George Stephens letter to Kumari.
Box 1 Folder 6
George Stephens letter to Margaret Fuller.
Box 1 Folder 7
George Stephens letter to Edwin Bronner, 1985.
Box 1 Folder 8
George Stephens post card from England.
Box 1 Folder 9
Thoughts on Nancy Magnuson.
Box 1 Folder 10
George Stephens poem.
Box 1 Folder 11
George Stephens manuscript discovered by David Fraser.
Box 1 Folder 12
George Stephens, The Runic Hall.
Box 1 Folder 13
George Stephens letter to Matilda Drazenovich.
Box 1 Folder 14
George Stephens tribute to D.H. Lawrence.
Box 1 Folder 15
Audio recording of George Stephens.
Box 1 Folder 16
George Stephens' impersonation of Tom Foyle.
Box 1 Folder 17
George Stevens Address to the Alumni of Dartmoor Prison.
Box 4 Folder 1

Turner watercolor featuring George Stephens.
Box 1 Folder 18
NCAA letter to Bryn Mawr regarding George Stephens.
Box 1 Folder 19
Bill of sale for champagne and letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Box 1 Folder 20
George Stephens climbing Debre Damo.
Box 1 Folder 21
George Stephens in Poland.
Box 1 Folder 22
John R. Coleman research on George Stephens.
Box 1 Folder 23
Jonathan Stevens, "That Day in Abyssinia, with George Stevens in the Net", 1977.
Box 1 Folder 24
Letter of support for George Stephens' medical school application.
Box 1 Folder 25
Christopher Morley on George Stephens.
Box 1 Folder 26
Elizabeth Green poetry about George Stephens.
Box 1 Folder 27
George Stephens announcement from the Board of Managers, 1989 April 1.
Box 1 Folder 28
Information on George Stephens from the Ethiopian Royal Observatory.
Box 1 Folder 29
The History of the Feeding Ceremony.
Box 1 Folder 30
Greg Kannerstein, "In Memoriam: George Stevens III", 2000.
Box 1 Folder 31
Research on George Stephens.
Box 1 Folder 32
Sigmund Freud on George Stephens.
Box 1 Folder 33
A Voice of Thunder: The Civil War Letters of George E. Stephens.
Box 1 Folder 34
George Stephens' involvement in the Hayes-Tilden affair.
Box 1 Folder 35
George Stephens' involvement with Marguerite Dufay.
Box 1 Folder 36
George Stephens' relationship with the Bryn Mawr Ice Cream Lady, 1974-1976.
Box 1 Folder 37
George Stevens, Director.
Box 1 Folder 38
George Stevens, Scholastic All-American Director.
Box 1 Folder 39
George Stephens cultural impact.
Box 1 Folder 40
"Sinistericon" by Tamara Brooks.
Box 4 Folder 2

Memorial Dinner, 1970.
Box 1 Folder 41
Slides of George Stephens at the 1974 Memorial Dinner, 1974.
Box 1 Folder 42
Memorial Dinner, 1977.
Box 1 Folder 43
Memorial Dinner, 1978-1982 and undated.
Box 1 Folder 44
Memorial Dinner, 1986.
Box 1 Folder 45

Edwin B. Bronner correspondence, 1975-1994.
Box 1 Folder 46
Collection of Stevensiana by John R. Coleman, 1986.
Box 1 Folder 47
George Stephens exhibit captions and collection information.
Box 1 Folder 48

Roberts Rules of Order Revised.
Box 1 Folder 49
Books belonging to George Stephens, 1957, 1962.
Box 1 Folder 50
Notice of Dismissal from the Ethiopian Soccer Team.
Box 1 Folder 51
William McKinley letter to George Stephens.
Box 1 Folder 52
George Stephens Haverford stock certificate.
Box 1 Folder 53
Certificates and awards.
Box 1 Folder 54
Star and cross medallion.
Box 1 Folder 55
George Stephens Haverford decals.
Box 1 Folder 56
Isaac Sharpless letter to George Stephens.
Box 1 Folder 57
"G.S." soccer shorts.
Box 2
Haverford soccer shirt with "STEEVENS" on the back, 1975-1976.
Box 2
Haverford soccer shirt with "STEPHENS" on the back, 1975-1976.
Box 2
George Stephens fertility pants.
Box 2
Black Lock Haven t-shirt.
Box 2
Soccer jersey with Ethiopian royal family coat-of-arms.
Box 2
Ethiopian soccer practice jersey.
Box 2
Coach Wyvus baseball hat.
Box 2
Rhinie beanie, Class of 1959.
Box 2
Argentine World Cup commemorative plate, 1978.
Box 2
George Stephens airplane model.
Box 2
George Stephens toothbrush.
Box 2
Race horse fossil.
Box 2
Founders Hall key and moustache comb.
Box 2
Geminus Malus fly specimen.
Box 2
Oversized toothbrush.
Box 2
Parasol handle.
Box 2
Stick found in Ethiopian soccer net.
Box 2
"Save with Stevens" wooden bank.
Box 3
George Stephens diploma.
Box 4 Folder 3
George Stephens canto.
Box 4 Folder 4
George Stephens "Paper Cup" Soccer Tournament certificate.
Box 4 Folder 5
George Stephens Biorhythms for 1876.
Box 4 Folder 6

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