Campus Buzz

Ben’s Penn online: Penn’s guardians of the past—the University Archives and the Annenberg Rare Book and Manuscript Library—are getting a head start on the 300th anniversary of the birth of its founder with “Penn in the Age of Benjamin Franklin,” a new web site devoted to the documentary history of the University’s first half century. Franklin was deeply involved with the College of Philadelphia and the University of the State of Pennsylvania from 1749, when he published his proposal for a new college in Philadelphia, until his death in 1790, one year before the College and University were reunited under its current name.

The site contains a small sampling of Penn’s large collection of material pertaining to Franklin and its early existence, but as its co-creator, Rare Book and Manuscript Library Director Michael Ryan, advised Buzz, “Be patient. The site will eventually grow like a person on a McDonald’s diet.” You can check out the work in progress at on the web.

Portrait of a pioneer: A new movie, “Iron Jawed Angels,” gives women’s suffrage activist Alice Paul Gr’12 her due as the driving force behind the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the vote. The film received a gala premiere at the Annenberg Center Feb. 2, hosted by Fels Institute Senior Fellow Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky CW’63 and featuring Newsweek contributing editor Eleanor Clift, author of the new book “Founding Sisters and the Nineteenth Amendment.” Clift noted that while Paul is less well-known than Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, her efforts—beginning with a march on the day Woodrow Wilson was inaugurated in 1913—propelled the stalled women’s suffrage movement forward. Margolies-Mezvinsky in turn praised Clift, calling her “a feminist way before it was a dirty word.” The film will air on HBO Feb. 15.

Such a deal! If you’ve wanted to take in a real live stage play performed by top-notch professionals but haven’t had the bucks for a ticket, here’s your golden opportunity. The Guthrie Theater’s national touring production of Shakespeare’s “Othello” will visit campus March 17-21, and on Thursday, March 18 at 7:30 p.m., they’re putting on a performance just for you. Included with the show are a pre-performance talk by Professor of English Cary Mazer and a post-play conversation with the cast led by Emeritus English Professor Phyllis Rackin. Tickets for this special performance are a bargain at $15 and available only to Penn students, faculty, staff and alumni. To order yours, call the Annenberg Center box office at 215-898-3900 or stop by the ticket windows in the Annenberg Center lobby.

A word to the wise: The Penn Police are once again issuing citations to bicyclists over age 12 who ride on the sidewalk, motorists who drive in the bike lane and anyone else who fails to “Share the Road” with anyone entitled to use it. The pedestrian- and bicycle-safety campaign, launched in the winter of 2002, was suspended over the holidays but resumed Feb. 9.

Originally published on February 12, 2004