Office of the Provost Records. William Pepper Administration
Held at: University of Pennsylvania: University Archives and Records Center [Contact Us]3401 Market Street, Suite 210, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104
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Overview and metadata sections
William Pepper Jr. was born in Philadelphia August 21, 1843 to William Sr. and Sarah (Platt) Pepper. William Sr. was a prominent physician at the Pennsylvania Hospital and professor at the University of Pennsylvania. William Pepper Jr. attended the University of Pennsylvania where he earned his bachelor degree in 1862 graduating Valedictorian of his class
and splitting the Senior English Prize. He went on to the Medical School at the University of Pennsylvania and received his Medical Degree in 1864.
William Pepper Jr. began his medical career as a resident physician at the Pennsylvania Hospital. He was a lecturer at the medical school of the University of Pennsylvania where he taught Morbid Anatomy from 1868- 1870. He continued this with other subjects such as Clinical Medicine from 1870-1874 and Physical Diagnosis from 1871-1873. In 1874, Pepper became professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. While traveling in Europe in 1871, Pepper studied the methods of medical education and institutional administration that would form his ideas about medical education. When he returned, Pepper used his new found beliefs to open the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. The Hospital expanded the curriculum of the Medical School by supplementing the classroom teaching with clinical training.
In 1881, Dr. Pepper was unanimously elected the eleventh Provost for the University of Pennsylvania. At the time of his arrival, the University had a standing faculty of 42 who taught in the five schools- Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Medicine, Law, and Dentistry, and a total student population of 1,044 students. Under Pepper's leadership, the University of Pennsylvania was transformed into a modern university. Pepper established two key programs for the University of Pennsylvania, the Wharton School of Business and the Graduate School of Arts and Science. By the time of his departure from the University in 1895, the faculty had grown to 245 and the number of schools to nine- Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School of Arts and Science, General Studies, Engineering, Wharton School of Business, Medicine, Law, Dentistry, and Veterinarian Medicine, with a total student enrollment of 2,680 students.
In addition to his work at the University of Pennsylvania, William Pepper Jr. was active in several cultural and educational institutions in Philadelphia. Pepper was the Medical Director of the Centennial Exposition of 1876. He was instrumental in founding the Free Library of Philadelphia in 1891-1892 and also founded the University of Pennsylvania Archaeological Museum in 1887, the Wistar Institute in 1894, and the Philadelphia Commercial Museum in 1898. William Pepper belonged to the American Philosophical Society and the College of Physicians.
William Pepper Jr. married Frances Sergeant Perry in 1873. They had three children, William Pepper [III], who went on to become one of the University of Pennsylvania's dean of the Medical School, B. Franklin Pepper, and Oliver Hazard Perry Pepper. William Pepper Jr. died July 25, 1898.
This collection documents William Pepper Jr.'s career as Provost for the years 1887 through 1892 for the University of Pennsylvania. These documents are comprised of correspondence, financial, and minutes. The correspondence mainly concerns the applications for and appointments to positions on the faculty and nominations for honorary degrees, particularly the degree of Doctor of Divinity. Due to the close relationship between the Provost and the Secretary of the University of Pennsylvania, this collection also includes correspondence of Reverend Jesse Y. Burk. The relationship of Pepper and Burk with the board of trustees is evident in minutes of various University committees.
For more complete documentation of Provost William Pepper Jr.'s term in office, see the General Administration Records (UPA 3). The personal papers of William Pepper Jr. are in the Walter H. and Leonore Annenburg Rare Book and Manuscript Library. A small collection of personal papers is in the University Archives (UPT 50 P424).
The collection is organized in one series called correspondence. The files are arranged alphabetically by subject matter.
Transferred from the University Library in 1996 (accession number 1996:11).
- University of Pennsylvania: University Archives and Records Center
- Finding Aid Author
- Edward A. Skuchas under the direction of J.M. Duffin
- Finding Aid Date
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