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Harcum College Archives small manuscripts collection


Held at: Harcum College Archives [Contact Us]750 Montgomery Ave, Bryn Mawr, PA, 19010

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Harcum College Archives. 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

Harcum College is a two-year associate degree granting school located in Bryn Mawr, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Established as Harcum Post Graduate School by pianist and music educator Edith Hatcher Harcum in 1915, Harcum began as a university preparatory school for women, but added junior college-level classes shortly thereafter and officially became Harcum Junior College in the 1920s. In 1955, Harcum became the first two-year college in Pennsylvania authorized to grant associate degrees. Harcum started admitting men in the 1970s, but didn't become officially co-educational until 2003. As of 2016, the school, now known as Harcum College, offers over 20 degree programs to traditional and non-traditional students.

"Harcum College from its inception has sought to enrich its graduates by broadening their intellectual and cultural horizons with practical, experiential education and exposure to the liberal arts. The origin of Harcum can be traced back to February 1913 when Edith Hatcher, a talented concert pianist and daughter of prominent Virginia clergyman and educator Dr. William E. Hatcher, married Octavius Marvin Harcum, another Virginian.

"Mrs. Harcum studied music, performed piano concerts in Europe and the U.S., and was head of the music department at The Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, PA. She decided after the birth of her first child that 'the concert career did not offer a chance for family stability' so the couple chose a venture that would combine her 'talents as an educator and artist and his business vision and ability.'

"The Harcum Post Graduate School opened on October 1, 1915 in Melville Hall in Bryn Mawr which was home to the Harcum family as well as the School's academic building. The first class had three students and five pianos. Mrs. Harcum's stated goal was to 'start a school where the individual talent of each girl would be treated as an integral part of her education.' To help her plan the curriculum, she had as consultants her sister Orie Hatcher, a faculty member at Bryn Mawr College, a faculty member from Harvard University, and the President of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Though her own expertise was in the fine arts, Edith was also committed to providing a strong academic program.

"In its early years, Harcum was a preparatory school, giving women students the skills needed for college study. It quickly grew, soon adding junior college-level courses. The 'lower school' program was eliminated in the 1920s, and the junior college program was put in place. Edith Harcum was head of school, and Mr. Harcum, or 'Uncle Marvin' as the students called him, was responsible for finances. When he was killed in a car accident in 1920, Edith assumed the Presidency. She remained in that post for more than 30 years with the exception of one academic year, 1945-1946, when Dr. John Barber served as President.

"Harcum grew steadily through the 1930s and 1940s with a student enrollment of 185 in 1948. Mrs. Harcum's individualized approach placed the academic focus on the needs of each student. However, Harcum was a proprietary institution and faced financial difficulties. In 1952, it could no longer run as a profitable enterprise; Mrs. Harcum declared bankruptcy.

"The Junto is a non-profit educational corporation founded in 1941 to promote adult education in the Philadelphia region, adopting the name of a group originally co-founded by Benjamin Franklin. In 1952 The Junto purchased the assets of Harcum College for possible use as a residential college for adults but soon decided to continue its mission as a two-year college for women. Philip Klein, one of the founders of The Junto assumed leadership of Harcum and it was re-opened under a nonprofit charter. In 1955, Pennsylvania granted the College the right to be the first two-year college in the Commonwealth's history to confer the associate of arts and the associate of science degrees. Mrs. Harcum passed away in 1958 at the age of 80, leaving a legacy of compassionate and dedicated service to students and the community.

"Extensive building and expansion occurred at Harcum in the 1960's under the direction of President Michael Duzy, with the addition of the Academic Center, Pennswood Hall, and Klein Hall. Through expansion in its neighborhood, the Bryn Mawr campus reached a size of 13 acres. Harcum opened a nursery school for teacher training, and in the 1960s and 1970s, began programs in medical sciences. [Starting in 2000], Harcum launched programs in nursing, occupational therapy assistant, physical therapist assistant, interior and residential design, and radiologic technology, among others.

"Since 2007, under the leadership of Dr. Jon Jay DeTemple, Harcum's Charles Trout Library underwent a $1.2 million refurbishment, the historic Little Theatre was completely renovated, new programs were added, and Harcum expanded its academic offerings throughout the region with many Partnership Sites in Philadelphia, Reading, and Chester, Pennsylvania as overall enrollment increased to nearly 1,700, the highest in its history.

"Harcum will continue to help students find appropriate directions for their academic and personal development leading to specialized careers, while, as Mrs. Harcum noted 'respecting each student as an individual with personal needs, interests, aptitudes and aspirations.'"


Quoted text from: Harcum College. "History." Accessed August 10, 2016.

The Harcum College Archives small manuscripts collection, 1930-2010, consists of small amounts of photographs, scrapbooks, memorabilia, ephemera, and other materials from various alumni of Harcum College. The materials document each alumnae's time at Harcum. A small amount of records from the Iota Kappa chapter (Harcum College) of Phi Theta Kappa, a junior college honor society, are also present in the collection.

A more detailed description of the materials in this collection is given below.

Helen Elizabeth Burns (Class of 1944) papers and sketchbook, 1944: Ephemera, college mailings, photographs, sketchbook Nancy Caldwell yearbook and photographs, 1930: 1930 yearbook "Purple Patches," two large 14" x12" class photos and two small 2.75" x 3.5" photos, and a typed note with names of the individuals in the photos Joanne Kellerman Cornette (Class of 1951) papers, 1951: Ephemera from Harcum College, letters, newspaper clippings, alumni directory Lena Mae Dulling (alumna) photograph collection, 1963, 2008: Photos of Harcum students from 1963. Photos include descriptions on 3"x5" index cards. Also included is a hand-written note by Lena Mae Dulling and a photo of her with Heather Kauffman (granddaughter) dated January 12, 2008. Merrie Diane Kristol Forstein scrapbook, 1963: The scrapbook includes a 1963 commencement brochure, annotated photos, newspaper clippings with graduation announcements and a newspaper clipping of the ground breaking for Klein Hall. Claudine Fuller scrapbook, 1930s: Harcum ephemera and other memorabilia Merle Holman papers, 1955-1956: Bills, ephemera, receipts, photos, newspaper clippings, and scripts from the time Merle Berman was a student at Harcum Junior College Arthur Klein photograph album, 1964: Photographs, a few clippings, and ephemera Phi Theta Kappa, Iota Kappa Chapter (Harcum College) records, 1957-2010: Chapter record book, 1957-1993; chapter scrapbook, 1961-1962; 2000-2001 new inductees; April 2010 induction ceremony program; and plaque Kathryn Maddux Quarles (Class of 1949) papers, 1947-1999: Kathryn Maddux Quarles graduated from Harcum College in 1949. Originally from Marshall, Virginia. Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Quarles are donors to Harcum College. File 1 contains a packet from Harcum College Reunion, 1999. File 2 contains nine music and voice training exercise books from Quarles's time at Harcum, including the full score to Puccini's Madame Butterfly and tickets to Harcum's production of the opera. File 3 contains five photos annotated by Kathryn Maddux Quarles of her and friends taken between 1947 and 1949. File 4 contains three copies of a Department of Music graduation recital given by Kathryn Maddux, soprano; programs from performances music students were required to attend at the Philadelphia Orchestra and Metropolitan Grand Opera, NYC; a blank permission form for Harcum Junior College; a class schedule and grade report for Kathryn Lee Maddux; and the program from the 84th commencement (1999) in which the class of 1949 was recognized. Two additional items in the box include a certificate of special recognition to Kathryn Maddux Quarles in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the class of 1949 and 50 years of membership in the alumnae association, awarded May 22, 1999 and a copy of the 1949 Harcum College yearbook "Patches." An unidentified scrapbook, 1920-1952, containing Harcum memorabilia. Included in the scrapbook are two photos of Edith Harcum, one undated and one from approximately 1920; a memo on onion paper to Mr. Henry Klein from Edna C. Tetlow regarding the opening of the nursery school; a news clipping; a collection of Harcum Junior College Directories from 1945 to 1952; and a copy of The Springboard, December 1936.

Materials donated from various sources over time

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2014-2016 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.

In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact Harcum College Archives directly for more information.

Harcum College Archives
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Sarah Leu and Anastasia Matijkiw through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories using information provided by Harcum College Archives
This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
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