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Swarthmore College Engineering Department records

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: SFHL-RG6-J04

Scope and Contents

This small collection consists of Swarthmore College Engineering Department brochures, newsletters, photographs, clippings, and other materials. Of special interest are a selection of letters, primarily notes from alumnni with life updates (including wedding invitations), as well as a letter from US President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Dates

  • 1928 - 2008

Creator

Limitations on Accessing the Collection

This collection is available for research use.

Copyright and Rights Information

Most of the material in this collection is copyright Swarthmore College per the institution's Intellectual Property policy. Inquire with the Curator of the Friends Historical Library for permission to reproduce.

Biographical / Historical

The history of engineering at Swarthmore began in 1870 (soon after the college opened in 1869), when the college began to offer courses in mechanical drawing and surveying. Swarthmore’s 1871-1872 catalog established a degree of civil engineering under Joseph B. Davis, the college’s sole teacher of civil engineering. In 1872, Arthur Beardsley was also appointed as a professor of applied mechanics and physics, and became the college’s first professor of engineering. By 1883, Beardsley held the title of professor of civil and mechanical engineering.

From 1870 to 1885, the college’s engineering courses focused solely on civil and mechanical engineering. Students studied drawing, railroads, bridges, windmills, and water wheels. Engineering labs remained in Parrish basement until 1882, when they moved to the newly-constructed Trotter Hall.

Dr. Wilbur M. Stine arrived at Swarthmore in 1897, and established the college’s electrical engineering program. From 1910 onward, the Engineering Department advanced, and developed specialized work for students in civil, mechanical, chemical, and electrical engineering. The college’s programs for civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering became accredited in 1936, as the general engineering program was dropped.

During World War II, 49 Chinese military officers came to Swarthmore to both improve their grasp on English and study engineering fundamentals in civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering. World War II also brought a V-12 Navy College Training Program in engineering to the college. Swarthmore was one of only two colleges selected to give a Navy Civil Engineering program.

In 1958, the Engineering Department began to offer an Honors version of its program, aimed at providing an interdisciplinary base of engineering sciences, physics, and mathematics.

In the early 20th century, the Engineering Department gradually moved from Trotter Hall to spaces in Beardsley Hall (built 1904) and Hicks Hall (built 1919 and named after the Hicks family who attended Swarthmore). The Engineering Department moved into newly-built Maxine Frank Singer ’52 Hall (also known as B.E.P., or “the Bep”) in the summer of 2019.

Extent

.2 Linear Feet

Language

English

Overview

This small collection consists of Swarthmore College Engineering Department brochures, newsletters, photographs, clippings, and other materials. Of special interest are a selection of letters, primarily notes from alumnni with life updates (including wedding invitations), as well as a letter from US President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transfer from Engineering Department, 2019.

Related Materials

See also: reference file on the Engineering Department, RG6/V; Arthur Beardsley Papers, RG6/L8/003; Sigma Xi - Swarthmore Chapter Records, RG6/P007; Engineering Class photographs, SPA/209/C/E; and Engineering Faculty photographs, SPA 207/F/Engn.

Separated Materials

Photographs of faculty were removed to Swarthmore College faculty photographs, SPA 207/F/Engn. Publications not related to the Engineering department, and duplicates of Engineering publications, were moved to RG6/A Swarthmore College Publications.

Processing Information

This collection was processed in the summer of 2019.

Author
Anatole Shukla
Date
2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College Library

Contact:
500 College Avenue
Swarthmore Pennsylvania 19081 USA