Cornelia Hennigan research on the Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades
Held at: Williamson College of the Trades (Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades) [Contact Us]106 S. New Middletown Road, Media, PA, 19063
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Williamson College of the Trades (Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades). 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
Cornelia M. Hennigan, born in 1927, worked at the Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades (now known as Williamson College of the Trades) in Media, Delaware County, Pennsylvania from 1994 until her retirement in 2009. During her time at Williamson she was served as a dorm mother (1994-1997), director of residential life (1997-2000), and historian (2000-2009). While serving as historian, Hennigan wrote a manuscript (never published) about the history of Williamson.
Hennigan earned a bachelor's degree in history with a minor in education and went on to obtain both a master's degree and PhD in history. She worked at several colleges across the United States before coming to Williamson in 1994. Hennigan initially worked at Williamson as a dorm mother - the last person to hold that position, as the title was shortly changed to "dorm manager" - and also helped out in the school store and the library. After three years, Hennigan became Williamson's first director of residential life, supervising the dorm managers and establishing several dorm activities such as pumpkin carving and Christmas decorating contests to encourage bonding among dorm members and promote a home-like environment for Williamson students.
In 2000, Hennigan sought approval from Williamson's president to write a history of the school and was appointed the school's first "official" historian. In the summer of 2000, Hennigan and a research assistant, Suzanne Davis, began researching the school and its history. They interviewed alumni, students, current and former faculty and staff members, and the children of employees who had grown up on Williamson's campus. From about 2003 to 2008, Hennigan and Davis wrote a seventeen-chapter manuscript about the school, highlighting personal stories of those associated with Williamson. (The manuscript was never published.) Hennigan retired from the school in 2009.
"Hennigan Retires After 15 Years." The Williamsonian 73, no. 1 (2009): 9. Accessed January 15, 2015. http://www.williamson.edu/williamsonian/issues/Williamsonian-Fall-09.pdf.
This collection consists mostly of research files compiled by Hennigan while she wrote her book on Williamson's history from 2000 to 2008. Organized alphabetically by topic, the files cover subjects and people associated with the school, such as the ladies auxiliary, various academic departments, Isaiah Williamson (the founder of the school), former presidents, and other topics. The files consist primarily of photocopied primary and secondary-source documents, such as obituaries, published articles, transcribed oral histories, personal memoirs, and other materials. Many pages were highlighted and/or annotated by Hennigan, and some of her handwritten notes are also present in the collection. There is at least one original photograph in the collection.
The collection also includes some binders with subject indexes to the school's Board minutes, alumni magazine, and other primary and secondary sources; as well as several binders of highlighted photocopies of publications with the sources noted. One box contains an incomplete index to Hennigan's manuscript.
Lastly, a quantity of materials relating to the logistics of Hennigan's research and writing are present in the collection. There are folders on various institutions where Hennigan conducted research, such as the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Historic Langhorne Association. Additionally, Hennigan's book proposal, supply receipts, book orders, and other materials that document the logistical challenges of writing a book are included the collection. There are several CDs with files of Hennigan's book drafts and software she used.
Gift of Cornelia Hennigan, circa 2008.
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 Williamson College of the Trades (Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades) directly for more information.
- Williamson College of the Trades (Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades)
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Sarah Leu through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
- 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.
- Access Restrictions
Contact Williamson College of the Trades (Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades) for information about accessing this collection.