UR.01.004 Parke R. Kolbe administration records, 1931-1941

Parke R. Kolbe administration records 1931-1941UR.01.004

Summary Information

Title
Parke R. Kolbe administration records
Creator
Altmaeir, Carl Lewis
Creator
Disque, Robert C.
Creator
Dorsey, Ruth
Creator
Kolbe, Parke R.
Creator
Spivey, W.T.
Creator
Stratton, L.D.
Creator
Wagenseller, W.R.
Creator
Worrell, Harriet E
Inclusive Dates
1931-1941
Extent
2.5 Cubic feet
Abstract
Parke Rexford Kolbe, the Drexel Institute's fourth president, served from 1932 to 1942. Before coming to Drexel, Dr. Kolbe was president of the University of Akron from 1913 to 1925 and of the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn from 1925 to 1932. As Drexel's president, Dr. Kolbe presided over the decentralization of Drexel's administration and the development of educational programs to support national defense as the threat of U.S. involvement in World War II loomed. The bulk of the collection consists of Dr. Kolbe's correspondence, mostly with faculty but also including parents and students. The collection also includes copies of surveys of university faculty salaries from 1940 and 1941, as well as a brief set of records relating to the survey.
Call Number
UR.01.004
Language
English
Finding Aid Prepared By
Finding aid prepared by Katelyn A. Wolfrom (2008)
Repository
W. W. Hagerty Library 3300 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19104 215.895.6706 archives@drexel.edu

Preferred Citation

Parke R. Kolbe Administration Records, Drexel University Archives

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Access and Use

Acquisition Information

Date and circumstances of transfer to the archives unknown.

Access Restrictions

Materials stored off-site. Advance notice is required for use.

Preferred Citation

Parke R. Kolbe Administration Records, Drexel University Archives

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry. Department of Athletics.
  • Drexel Institute of Technology. Engineering College.
  • Drexel Institute of Technology. School of Business.
  • Drexel Institute of Technology.

Function(s)

  • Office of the President

Subject(s)

  • Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry--Administration
  • Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry--Alumni and alumnae
  • Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry--Anniversaries, etc.
  • Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry--Commencements
  • Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry--Faculty
  • Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry--History
  • Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry--Sports
  • Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry--Student housing
  • Drexel Institute of Technology--Accreditation
  • Drexel Institute of Technology--Administration
  • Drexel Institute of Technology--Alumni and alumnae
  • Drexel Institute of Technology--Anniversaries, etc.
  • Drexel Institute of Technology--Buildings
  • Drexel Institute of Technology--Commencements
  • Drexel Institute of Technology--Curricula
  • Drexel Institute of Technology--Development
  • Drexel Institute of Technology--Faculty
  • Drexel Institute of Technology--Public Relations
  • Drexel Institute of Technology--Sports
  • Drexel Institute of Technology--Student Housing
  • Drexel Institute of Technology--Students
  • Women--Education (Higher)

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Biographical note

Doctor Parke Rexford Kolbe, born in Ohio in 1881, began his lifetime of university work at his alma mater, Buchtel College. Originally hired as a Professor of Modern Languages in 1905, a position he served until 1913, when the college became incorporated as the University of Akron. Under this new name, Kolbe was elected the university’s first president, a role he served until 1925, when he was offered the position of president at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn. It was this experience, as well as his work within a number of state and national education committees, including the American Association of Urban Schools, that brought him to the attention of Drexel Institute. In 1932, Doctor Kolbe was offered the position of president at Drexel, and served this role until 1942. Doctor Kolbe had the distinction of leading Drexel Institute during highly uncertain times in American history, the Great Depression, and the years leading up to and the start of American involvement in World War II. In this time, Kolbe worked with the hand dealt him to make the best of things, despite the need for a tightly controlled budget, and the ever-present present threat of losing students, be it to the breadlines, or to the front lines. Considering the serious economical strains of the Depression, it should not be surprising that Drexel Institute, like most other colleges nationwide, was suffering from falling enrollment when Kolbe arrived in 1932. Seeking to reverse the trend, Kolbe instituted an Open House, allowing Philadelphia-area high school students and their parents to visit Drexel. This program proved to be such a success that it was temporarily discontinued in 1938, due to peak enrollment being reached. In this time, Kolbe took note of the school’s need to expand, and, with the budgetary assistance of an increasing enrollment and slight raise in tuition, set to work appealing for a separate building for the library, as well as additional student use buildings and campus ground, including an athletics field.

With the arrival of the Second World War on America’s doorstep, Doctor Kolbe and Drexel Institute found themselves in a position of great potential for assisting their country. Due to the great focus on engineering instruction placed on the school, Drexel was selected by the federal government to serve as the Philadelphia region’s school for instructing students in engineering defense. This program grew rapidly during the times of war, with sixteen various classes being offered in the field of scientific national defense by 1941.

However, not all of Kolbe’s changes were brought on by external forces. He was also responsible for internal changes, including the publication of an annual report on the institute, and the change of the name of the school to the Drexel Institute of Technology, citing a need to address the new and broader scope of the university, and concerns that due to the ambiguous name, the public was not aware that Drexel was a school. The school also benefited from a much-needed and long overdue decentralization of governance, resulting in the 28-person Faculty Council which had been in charge of total school decisions being broken up, and each of the major schools getting a dean and a large power of self-governance.

Parke R. Kolbe died on February 28, 1942, while serving as president of Drexel Institute, after suffering from a brief illness.

Reference Works Cited: McDonald, E.D. and Hinton, E.M. (1942). Drexel Institute of Technology 1891-1941: A memorial history. Camden, NJ: Haddon Craftsmen, Inc. pp. 98-120.

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Scope and content note

The bulk of the collection consists of Dr. Kolbe's correspondence, mostly with faculty but also with parents and students. There is a significant amount of correspondence between Willis Spivey and Dean Ralph Wagenseller. The collection also includes copies of surveys of university faculty salaries from 1940 and 1941, as well as a brief set of records relating to the survey. A series of medical records detailing student health screening procedures from 1922 to 1936 is also included within this collection, as well the annual athletics department budgets from 1931-1935. Information is also included on the 1934 renaming process that changed the Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry to the Drexel Institute of Technology.

Arrangement: Correspondence from 1932 to 1935 is grouped together and filed alphabetically by the correspondent's last name. Correspondence from 1935 to 1941 is grouped by academic year, then filed alphabetically.

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Related Materials

Related material

For more information about the academic career of Parke R. Kolbe see UR 1.5 Office of the President Administrative Records, 1913-1950 in the Drexel University Archives. Related Subjects: Kolbe, Parke Rexford, 1881-1942 Drexel University--History. Education, higher--Pennsylvania--History.

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Bibliography

McDonald, E.D. and Hinton, E.M. Drexel Institute of Technology 1891-1941: A memorial history. Camden, NJ: Haddon Craftsmen, Inc., 1942.

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Collection Inventory

 Series I Correspondence 1932-1942   44.0 folders

BoxFolder

Faculty Correspondence Oct. 1932-Oct. 1935: A-G, no.1 October 1932- October 1935 

11

2008004005 

2008004005

2008004006 

2008004006

2008004007 

2008004007

Faculty Correspondence Oct. 1932-Oct. 1935: A-G, no.2 'B' October 1932- October 1935 

12

Faculty Correspondence Oct. 1932-Oct. 1935: A-G, no.3 'C' October 1932- October 1935 

13

Faculty Correspondence Oct. 1932-Oct. 1935: A-G, no.4 'D' October 1932- October 1935 

14

Faculty Correspondence Oct. 1932-Oct. 1935: A-G, no.5 'D2' October 1932- October 1935 

15

Faculty Correspondence Oct. 1932-Oct. 1935: A-G, no.6 'E-G' October 1932- October 1935 

16

Faculty Correspondence Oct. 1932-Oct. 1935: A-G, no.7 'G cont'd.' October 1932- October 1935 

17

Faculty Correspondence Oct. 1932-Oct. 1935: A-G, no.8 October 1932- October 1935 

18

Correspondence, 1932-1935: H Folder no. 1 1932-1935  

19

Correspondence, 1932-1935: H Folder no. 2 1932-1935  

21

Correspondence, 1932-1935: J - R Folder no. 1 1932-1935  

22

Correspondence, 1932-1935: J - R Folder no. 2 1932-1935  

23

Faculty - S [Sawkins- Spivey (1935)] 1932-1935  

24

Faculty - S [Spivey 1933-1934] 1933-1934  

25

Faculty Correspondence: Spivey, Stevens - 1932- June 1935 June 1932- 1935 

26

Faculty S - T: Stratton-Turner, 1932-1935 1932-1935  

31

Correspondence, 1932-1935: V - W [Wagenseller, W.R] 1932-1935  

32

Correspondence, 1932-1935: W - Z 1932-1935  

33

Correspondence, 1935-1936: A - G 1935-1936  

34

Correspondence, 1935-1936: G- McD 1935-1936  

35

Correspondence, 1935-1936: McD - W 1935-1936  

41

Faculty Correspondence: Alt - Dor 1936-1937  

42

2008004008 

2008004008

Faculty Correspondence: Do - Li 1936-1937  

43

Faculty Correspondence: Li - St 1936-1937  

44

Faculty Correspondence: Van - Worr 1936-1937  

45

Faculty Correspondence: A - E Sept. 1937-June 1938 September 1937 - June 1938 

46

Faculty Correspondene: G - L Sept. 1937- June 1938 September 1937 - June 1938 

47

Faculty Correspondence: M - R Sept. 1937- June 1938 September 1937- June 1938 

51

Faculty Correspondence: S Sept. 1937- June 1938 September 1937 - June 1938 

52

Faculty Correspondence T - Z Sept. 1937- June 1938 September 1937 - June 1938 

53

Faculty Correspondence: Altmaier - Disque Sept. 1938- June 1939 September 1938 - June 1939 

54

2008004002 

2008004002

2008004003 

2008004003

2008004004 

2008004004

Faculty Correspondence: Dorsey - Horner Sept. 1938- June 1939 September 1938 - June 1939 

55

Faculty Correspondence: Kapp - Robertson Sept. 1938-June 1939 September 1938 - June 1939 

56

Faculty Correspondence: Schultz - Stratton Sept. 1938- June 1939 September 1938 - June 1939 

57

Faculty Correspondence: Thomas - Wright Sept. 1938- June 1939 September 1938 - June 1939 

58

Faculty Correspondence: Al - Ro, 1939- 1940 1939-1940  

59

Faculty Correspondence: Se - Wi, 1939-1940 1939-1940  

510

Faculty Correspondence: Arnett - Croskey, July 1940- June 1941 1940-1941  

61

Faculty Correspondence: Detwiler - Harrison, July 1940- June 1941 1940-1941  

62

Faculty Correspondence: Lange - Shrader, July 1940- June 1941 1940-1941  

63

Faculty Correspondence: Sims - Worrell, July 1940- June 1941 1940-1941  

64

Faculty Correspondence: Folder 1, 1941-1942 1941-1942  

65

Faculty Correspondence: Folder 2, 1941-1942 1941-1942  

66

Letter to Mr. Edward P. Simon September 1, 1931  

99

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 Series II Miscellaneous Papers circa 1930-1932   28.0 folders

Issues of the Polytechnic Reporter (from Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn). 1932 

Scope and contents note

Contains issue announcing that Kolbe will come to Drexel.

BoxFolder

Faculty Salary Survey Records, 1940-1941 1940-1941  

67

Faculty Salary Survey Records, 1940-1941 1939-1941  

68

Survey, 1940-1941 [1] 1940-1941  

69

Survey, 1940-1941 [2] 1940-1941  

610

Survey [bound], 1941 January 15, 1941  

611

Athletics [1] October 1932- March 1935 

71

Athletics [2] 1931-1935  

72

Papers: Dr. Kolbe 1933-1942  

73

Dormitory-- Reports on Damage by Storms 1934 

81

Change of Name of Institute January 1934- May 1935 

82

2008004001 1935 

Dormitory Waiters March 1934- April 1935 

83

Infirmary Reports/Dispensary Reports [1] May 1922- June 1935 

84

Infirmary Reports/Dispensary Reports [2] May 1921- June 1935 

85

Medical Situation, 1934 August 1934- September 1934 

86

President's Business [1] April 20, 1933 -June 13, 1935 

87

President's Business [2] October 18, 1934 - June 13, 1935 

88

Proceedings: A Conference April 26, 1935  

89

Commencement, 1937 June 19, 1933  

810

Miscellaneous Papers, 1937 1935-1937  

811

Report on Scholarships November 10, 1936  

91

Association of Liberal Arts Colleges of Pennsylvania: Records 1932-1936  

92

Commencement Records, 1940 1940  

93

Commencement, 1941 June 16, 1941  

94

Commencement Records, 1939 June 19, 1939  

95

Cyrus H.K. Curtis-- Memorial Records 1933  

96

Society for the Promotion of Engineering 1933-1938  

97

Records related to freshmen failing math 1935  

98

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