Drexel University: Archives and Special Collections
Table of Contents
- Parke R. Kolbe administration records
- Altmaeir, Carl Lewis
- Disque, Robert C.
- Dorsey, Ruth
- Kolbe, Parke R.
- Spivey, W.T.
- Stratton, L.D.
- Wagenseller, W.R.
- Worrell, Harriet E
- Inclusive Dates
- 2.5 Cubic feet
- 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
- Finding Aid Prepared By
- Finding aid prepared by Katelyn A. Wolfrom (2008)
- W. W. Hagerty Library 3300 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19104 215.895.6706 firstname.lastname@example.org
Parke R. Kolbe Administration Records, Drexel University Archives
Access and Use
Date and circumstances of transfer to the archives unknown.
Materials stored off-site. Advance notice is required for use.
Parke R. Kolbe Administration Records, Drexel University Archives
Controlled Access Headings
- 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.
- Office of the President
- 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)
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.
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.
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.
McDonald, E.D. and Hinton, E.M. Drexel Institute of Technology 1891-1941: A memorial history. Camden, NJ: Haddon Craftsmen, Inc., 1942.
Series I Correspondence 1932-1942 44.0 folders
Faculty Correspondence Oct. 1932-Oct. 1935: A-G, no.1 October 1932- October 1935
Faculty Correspondence Oct. 1932-Oct. 1935: A-G, no.2 'B' October 1932- October 1935
Faculty Correspondence Oct. 1932-Oct. 1935: A-G, no.3 'C' October 1932- October 1935
Faculty Correspondence Oct. 1932-Oct. 1935: A-G, no.4 'D' October 1932- October 1935
Faculty Correspondence Oct. 1932-Oct. 1935: A-G, no.5 'D2' October 1932- October 1935
Faculty Correspondence Oct. 1932-Oct. 1935: A-G, no.6 'E-G' October 1932- October 1935
Faculty Correspondence Oct. 1932-Oct. 1935: A-G, no.7 'G cont'd.' October 1932- October 1935
Faculty Correspondence Oct. 1932-Oct. 1935: A-G, no.8 October 1932- October 1935
Correspondence, 1932-1935: H Folder no. 1 1932-1935
Correspondence, 1932-1935: H Folder no. 2 1932-1935
Correspondence, 1932-1935: J - R Folder no. 1 1932-1935
Correspondence, 1932-1935: J - R Folder no. 2 1932-1935
Faculty - S [Sawkins- Spivey (1935)] 1932-1935
Faculty - S [Spivey 1933-1934] 1933-1934
Faculty Correspondence: Spivey, Stevens - 1932- June 1935 June 1932- 1935
Faculty S - T: Stratton-Turner, 1932-1935 1932-1935
Correspondence, 1932-1935: V - W [Wagenseller, W.R] 1932-1935
Correspondence, 1932-1935: W - Z 1932-1935
Correspondence, 1935-1936: A - G 1935-1936
Correspondence, 1935-1936: G- McD 1935-1936
Correspondence, 1935-1936: McD - W 1935-1936
Faculty Correspondence: Alt - Dor 1936-1937
Faculty Correspondence: Do - Li 1936-1937
Faculty Correspondence: Li - St 1936-1937
Faculty Correspondence: Van - Worr 1936-1937
Faculty Correspondence: A - E Sept. 1937-June 1938 September 1937 - June 1938
Faculty Correspondene: G - L Sept. 1937- June 1938 September 1937 - June 1938
Faculty Correspondence: M - R Sept. 1937- June 1938 September 1937- June 1938
Faculty Correspondence: S Sept. 1937- June 1938 September 1937 - June 1938
Faculty Correspondence T - Z Sept. 1937- June 1938 September 1937 - June 1938
Faculty Correspondence: Altmaier - Disque Sept. 1938- June 1939 September 1938 - June 1939
Faculty Correspondence: Dorsey - Horner Sept. 1938- June 1939 September 1938 - June 1939
Faculty Correspondence: Kapp - Robertson Sept. 1938-June 1939 September 1938 - June 1939
Faculty Correspondence: Schultz - Stratton Sept. 1938- June 1939 September 1938 - June 1939
Faculty Correspondence: Thomas - Wright Sept. 1938- June 1939 September 1938 - June 1939
Faculty Correspondence: Al - Ro, 1939- 1940 1939-1940
Faculty Correspondence: Se - Wi, 1939-1940 1939-1940
Faculty Correspondence: Arnett - Croskey, July 1940- June 1941 1940-1941
Faculty Correspondence: Detwiler - Harrison, July 1940- June 1941 1940-1941
Faculty Correspondence: Lange - Shrader, July 1940- June 1941 1940-1941
Faculty Correspondence: Sims - Worrell, July 1940- June 1941 1940-1941
Faculty Correspondence: Folder 1, 1941-1942 1941-1942
Faculty Correspondence: Folder 2, 1941-1942 1941-1942
Letter to Mr. Edward P. Simon September 1, 1931
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.
Faculty Salary Survey Records, 1940-1941 1940-1941
Faculty Salary Survey Records, 1940-1941 1939-1941
Survey, 1940-1941  1940-1941
Survey, 1940-1941  1940-1941
Survey [bound], 1941 January 15, 1941
Athletics  October 1932- March 1935
Athletics  1931-1935
Papers: Dr. Kolbe 1933-1942
Dormitory-- Reports on Damage by Storms 1934
Change of Name of Institute January 1934- May 1935
Dormitory Waiters March 1934- April 1935
Infirmary Reports/Dispensary Reports  May 1922- June 1935
Infirmary Reports/Dispensary Reports  May 1921- June 1935
Medical Situation, 1934 August 1934- September 1934
President's Business  April 20, 1933 -June 13, 1935
President's Business  October 18, 1934 - June 13, 1935
Proceedings: A Conference April 26, 1935
Commencement, 1937 June 19, 1933
Miscellaneous Papers, 1937 1935-1937
Report on Scholarships November 10, 1936
Association of Liberal Arts Colleges of Pennsylvania: Records 1932-1936
Commencement Records, 1940 1940
Commencement, 1941 June 16, 1941
Commencement Records, 1939 June 19, 1939
Cyrus H.K. Curtis-- Memorial Records 1933
Society for the Promotion of Engineering 1933-1938
Records related to freshmen failing math 1935