Felix E. Schelling papers
Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. 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
Felix Emmanuel Schilling was born on September 3, 1858, the son of Felix and Rose (White) Schelling. He and his siblings, Julia and Ernest were all very musical and, in 1873, he studied with Henry C. Timm in New York. According to Thomas H. Hill's dissertation, Felix E. Schelling had been tutored at home, but "was accepted as a sophomore by the University of Pennsylvania even though he had never attended a school," (Hill, page 9). As a student, he was class poet, sang with the Glee Club, and was a member of several fraternities. He earned his A.B. at the University of Pennsylvania in 1881, his LL.B in 1883, his A.M. in 1884, his Litt. D. in 1903, and his LL.D in 1909. In 1893, he began his career as the John Welsh Centennial professor of English Literature, a title which was renamed in 1930 as the Felix E. Schelling Professorship of English Literature. At the time of his retirement, after serving as a faculty member for 48 years, he was considered the "Father of the English Department" at the University of Pennsylvania and it is stated that "his course in the modern novel was the first of its kind in American colleges," (box 1, folder 2) Following his retirement, he served as the curator of the Howard Furness Memorial Library.
According to resolution adopted in 1934, Schelling's "place in the world of scholarship is attested not only by the large number of students inspired and trained by him who occupy important positions in colleges and universities throughout the county, but by his own writings," (box 1, folder 2). Indeed, he authored more than 15 books and countless articles and edited 7 works, most of which relate to Shakespeare and Elizabethan literature and writers.
In 1886, Schelling married Caroline Derbyshire and they were the parents of Dorothea and Felix. Schelling died on December 15, 1945.
Biography (box 2, folder 19)
Hill, T. H. (1970). Ernest Schelling (1876-1939): His life and contributions to music education through educational concernts.
Resolution on Schelling's retirement (box 1, folder 2)
This collection documents Schelling's life as a student, a professor, a scholar, and an author. It also documents the University of Pennsylvania through the eyes of an individual who was a student and a faculty member over a period of more than fifty years. The collection is arranged in eleven series: Correspondence, Events, Financial records, Personal items, Research, Speeches and addresses, Teaching, University of Pennsylvania, Writings, Theatrical scrapbooks, and Newspaper and magazine article clippings.
Series I. Correspondence includes letters to and from Felix E. Schelling, although the bulk of the letters are addressed to Schelling. He appears to have had a wide range of correspondents, but there are a few people with whom he corresponded fairly regularly. These correspondents include Joseph Q. Adams, Raymond M. Alden, Frank Aydelotte, Henrietta Bartlett, A.S. Bouton, A. Brandl, J. LeGay Brereton, Tucker Brooke, Martin G. Brumbaugh, Edgar Potts Cheyney, Florence Coates, Allen S. Cook, Morris W. Croll, J.E. Davies, George W. Douglas, A.R. Elsasser, John Erskine, Max Farrand, Albert Feuillerat, Horace Howard Furness, Dr. M. Nelson Gay, Austin K. Gray, Francis B. Gummere, J.M. Hart, Henry Hanby Hay, Morris Jastrow, H. La Barre Jayne, W.W. Keen, Horace Liveright, Percy Long, Hughes Mearns, S. Weir Mitchell, Harrison S. Morris, A. Edward Newton, D. O'Bolger, E.H. Oliphant, Willard Parker, Leonidas Payne, Josiah H. Penniman, William Lyon Phelps, Agnes Repplier, Ernest Rhys, Maura Skinner, J. Duncan Spaeth, Charles William Wallace, Cornelius Weygandt, and W.A. White. Researchers interested in Schelling's career at Penn (and also collections found within the Kislak Center) will find letters from colleagues including E. Scully Bradley, E.P. Cheyney, Thomas Sovereign Gates, Joseph Hergesheimer, Edgar L. Potts, Arthur Hobson Quinn, J. Howard Reber, J.G. Rosengarten, and Edgar F. Smith. Letters are largely professional in nature, although there are several letters to and from his family (filed under Schelling in box 1, folder 18). If letters had attachments, the attachments are filed behind the letters. Material in this series is arranged in alphabetical order.
The second series, II. Events, contains invitations, programs, and memorabilia relating to events which Schelling almost certainly attended. Early events focus on musical performances in which Schelling and family members performed. From 1878 to 1884, there are many University of Pennsylvania student events represented, including performances of the Glee Club, Cremation ceremonies, athletic events, class days, and commencements, to name the most prevalent. Later years include memorabilia from University of Pennsylvania alumni events and commencements, the Shakespeare Society of Philadelphia, and other local institutions such as the American Philosophical Society. A few notable events include a trip to the University of Glasgow Jubilee in 1901, the Deutsche Shakespeare-Gesellschaft in 1914, the Shakespeare Tercentenary in 1916 (multiple events), cornerstone dedication at the University of Louvain in 1918, and a trip to England in 1923 which included the Cambridge University Jubilee and the 800th anniversary of the foundation of St. Bartholomew's Hospital. Material in this series is arranged in chronological order.
Series III. Financial records and IV. Personal items are both very small but contain important information for researchers interested in Schelling's writing career. These series contain receipts, royalty statements, biographical material, and copyright certificates.
The fifth series, V. Research, contains material that Schelling used for his scholarly work on Shakespeare and the Elizabethan literary world. This group of material contains photocopies of works by Bacon, Flacci, Lenton, and Livy and a number of inventories of collections of primary sources held at repositories, largely in New York. The primary source collections relate to theater. Material in this series is arranged in alphabetical order.
Schelling's career at the University of Pennsylvania is documented in series VI. Speeches and addresses and VII. Teaching. Schelling appears to have been a popular speaker during his career, and topics addressed are the Elizabethan literary world, Shakespeare, theater, teaching, and education. Very few of the speeches have titles and many are undated and therefore, the speeches are arranged chronologically whenever possible, with a large numbered grouped together as "undated." His teaching career is not particularly well documented--there are a few lectures (at least two of which were not held at the University of Pennsylvania), several of the exams he gave, and some student records.
Schelling's connection to the University of Pennsylvania was strong. Not only did he teach at the University for 48 years, he also earned all his degrees from Penn. The eighth series, VIII. University of Pennsylvania includes some academic records from his time as a student, alumni information, and publications about the University. Events relating to his time as a student and alumni of the University of Pennsylvania are located in Series II.
The bulk of the collection can be found in Series IX. Writings. Schelling appears to have been a prolific writer, publishing books, articles, and reviews on others' works. He also wrote a play which was performed and many poems, but it is unclear if many or any of them were published. The material in this series is arranged by type of publication and then alphabetically by title within Books, Drafts, Play, and Poetry, and chronologically within Published articles and Reviews (written by Schelling). The poems are in Schelling's original folders, but there appears to be a great deal of duplication. It is unclear if Schelling tried to publish the same poems under several different titles over a period of time. Researchers interested in Schelling's poems should take the time to look at all folders in the group.
Series X. Theatrical scrapbooks contains eleven scrapbooks, some of which may have been created by Schelling. There are three scrapbooks created by the physician Charles W. Burr which document theater fairly generally. These scrapbooks include clippings (largely magazine) of theater actors and actresses and scenes from plays and other productions. A scrapbook which appears to have been created by Owen Marlowe contains clippings, letters, and playbills from his career. A few writings (manuscript) are scattered through the scrapbook, and the last few pages contain recipes for champagne and orange wine. The Clara Woodward scrapbooks include playbills and images of actors and actresses. For the most part, the playbills are for the Broad Street Theatre, the Castle Square Opera Co., the Chestnut Street Theatre, and the Chestnut Street Opera House. The remaining scrapbooks have no names attached to them, but several are in the same style as Clara Woodward's and may well be created by her. All scrapbooks relate to theater, regardless of the creator.
The final series, Series XI. Newspaper and magazine article clippings, cover a variety of topics and are arranged alphabetically by topic. Reviews of Schelling's works are located at the end of the series.
Gift of Mrs. Schelling, 1946.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Nicole Love and Holly Mengel
- Finding Aid Date
- 2015 September 23
- Access Restrictions
The bulk of this collection is open for research use. Researchers interested in using the scrapbooks (located in boxes 6 to 13) will require assistance from Kislak staff as the items are extremely fragile. Please make an appointment to use these materials so that staff will be available.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.