Penns Brand, continued
Also uncelebrated was Franklins academy that was open to girls as well as boys, while the college was open to all males who could meet the academic requirements. German Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg C1763, the fighting clergyman who served as a brigadier general during the Revolution, was an early graduate; another was Moses Levy C1772, the nephew of Nathan Levy, who founded many of Philadelphias Jewish institutions. In 1802 Philadelphias and Penns continuing social openness was evident when Levy was elected to the board of trustees, where he served until 1826 as Penns last link to the Revolutionary generation. His story was also ignored in Penns magazines, in favor of inflated or spurious claims of connection to George Washington Hon1783 (in absentia), whose birthday was celebrated with historic and patriotic lectures for a century in the now-forgotten University Day, and Revolutionary War General Anthony Wayne, who in the 1930s was discovered to be an alumnus of the Class of 1765 on questionable evidence. Photographs of Waynes statue in Valley Forge appeared in the Gazette, with the implication that this was the image of manhood appropriate to Penns future.
The Universitys 19th-century status as a center of engineering and its progressive role in educating those awarded city scholarships (granted in exchange for much of the land of Penns growing campus) were also dropped from the narrative. When collegiate prestige increasingly depended on exclusivity, inclusiveness was not a plus. A principal factor that led to the reshaping of Penns history was the growing rivalry with Princeton, Harvard, Yale, and Cornell, which was played out on the football field, in the design of the campus, and in aspects of campus life from rituals to songs. Penns anthem, The Red and the Blue, composed in 1896, places the origins of Penns colors in a combination of those of the best of her rivals. Fair Harvard has her crimson, and Yale her colors too / But for dear Pennsylvania, we wear the Red and Blue.
Meanwhile, the newly constructed dormitories, student union, and athletic field marked the metamorphosis of undergraduate life. In 1902, the first issue of Old Penn opened with a photograph of Houston Hall on its front page accompanied by an article on College Clubs and Fraternities. No more would college life at Penn be characterized by harsh, eye-straining work in the laboratory or library; instead, Old Penn reported a new and more enticing lifestyle:
Sports, music, theater, and other extracurricular activities took place in clubhouses, the gymnasium, and the new stadium that became the image of the turn-of-the century campus.
With University identity increasingly gauged against peer east-coast institutions Penns leaders commissioned Cope and Stewardson to design, in addition to the Quad dormitories, the Law School and a series of new classroom buildings in anglophile styles. They contrasted with Frank Furnesss library and the power plant and engineering-school building designed by the Wilson brothers (demolished in the 1920s for the construction of Irvine Auditorium) that were rooted in the functional expression of the regions industrial culture.
To create an identity of appropriate antiquity on the English model, Penns new architects turned back the clock three and four centuries to buildings of the 14th and 15th centuries at Cambridge and Oxford. The new standard of genes instead of genius led Penn to advance its founding date and to shift its identity from engineering and the sciences, the programs in which more than half its students studied, to the anglophile elite culture of the East.
That the University was intentionally draping itself in the authority of English collegiate history by promoting an architectural continuity with Oxford and Cambridge was apparent in the way that the campus was depicted in Old Penn and the Gazette. Under the editorship of George Nitzsche L1898 (later the Universitys publicity agent and recorder), Old Penn told the story of the campus and its growth so as to compare favorably with its Eastern rivals.
In its first year alone, stories praised the magnificent new law school building that proved that Penn was attracting students from around the nation. The paper reported with pride that the new gymnasium, Weightman Hall, was among the most commodious in the United States and will be equipped with every modern convenience, though it did not mention the industrial trusses that spanned its interior. And it weighed in on the importance of state appropriations for the growing School of Veterinary Medicine. However, even before the first year of publication had ended, the insidious focus on the past turned to fiction in an essay on The Botanical Garden in May, in the May 16, 1903 issue. Here Nitzsche certainly embellished and probably created history by claiming: