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History Co-ops Dive Deep into Drexel Archives

Library shelves featuring grey archival boxes

September 27, 2021

Over the spring and summer Teaching Professor of History Lloyd Ackert, PhD, mentored a diverse group of co-op students in research projects centered on three Drexel archives and special collections. Exploring the archives of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Legacy Center and the Schramm Inc. Collection at University Libraries, the twenty-two co-op students investigated their own unique and individualized research projects based on their background, interests and career plans.

These research co-ops allow these students to advance their research skills, especially in information literacy—that is, locating, evaluating and using a wide range of sources—and writing. Their production of original research, written materials, and other outcomes adds a valuable dimension to their portfolio useful for applying to graduate programs or with prospective employers. This work can be useful for all careers, but especially in academia, museums, libraries and archives, and in K-12 history teaching, public education, digital media, and many other fields.

The research groups collaborated in producing three collected volumes of essays, with each student contributing their own research in a chapter. Collected here are the abstracts for each student research projected, grouped by archive.

A History of Science at the Academy of Natural Sciences

The Jessup Fund: What it Means to be an Employee at the Academy of Natural Sciences, 1896-Today
Marie Gioulis, History
Class of 2022

College students have been contributing valuable time and research to the Academy of Natural Sciences for decades. The goal of this project is to examine the history of student employment at the Academy through the lens of the Jessup Fund, a fund created for the purpose of partial compensation towards student researchers. The project will also focus on defining what it means to be an “employee” versus a “volunteer,” and what makes labor valuable. The overarching conclusion points to the fact that student work and volunteer work is invaluable and indistinguishable from regular “employment” and therefore all students should be fully compensated for their work.

Seeing is Believing: The Evolution of Imaging Techniques and Technology in Advanced Scientific Research Expeditions, 1890-1940
James Patrick Riley, Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science
Class of 2023

Scientific research expeditions and photographic records are essential tools whose impact on our understanding of the natural world can’t fully be measured. This chapter will include analysis of materials from expeditions conducted under the Academy of Natural Sciences such as Robert Edwin Peary’s Greenland expeditions between 1891 and 1894, as well as more famous expeditions outside of the academy like Sir Ernest Shackleton Endurance arctic expedition between 1914 and 1917. The goal of this project is to analyze the usage and presentation of photography from scientific expeditions during the fifty-year period between 1890 - 1940, and how the increased accessibility of photographic technology aided the distribution of information.

Paleoart: The Evolution of the Art of Extinct Life, 1854-2018
Austin Hill, Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science
Class of 2023

Paleoart is the artform of drawing extinct organisms to represent said subjects in a scientific manner using accurate data. The thesis of my project here is to see how this artform has changed from 1854 to 2018 with the science of paleontology over that period of time. I will be using both primary and secondary sources from the time of early paleoart with Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins and Charles R. Knight to the modern day with works from Mark Witton and the artbook “All Yesterdays”. I will be using the archival sources from the Academy of Natural Sciences on Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins, but most of my information will be from primary and secondary sources.

The Acquired Dead: Exotification and Alienation through Academic Colonization, 1798-Present
Nathan Kinsey, Global Studies and Modern Languages
Class of 2023

Decolonization is one of the most important challenges contemporary museums face. This project will be dedicated to a very specific aspect of decolonization: the way museums choose to handle human remains. This project will address questions of traditional colonialism and how it manifests in museums like the Academy, how culture and history can become “claimed” through science, and how the interpersonal relationships of individuals can contribute to these processes. The project will rely heavily upon the stories of George Robbins Gliddon and Samuel Morton to explore these concepts, making use of primary sources surrounding their research and expeditions, correspondence, publications, and other documents related to their careers.

Art’s Purpose in Science: The Academy’s Interest in China Explored through Paintings from the 1700’s
Scott Schrum, Psychology
Class of 2022

There exists a collection of paintings of plants and animals from China that was gifted to the Academy in 1933. The paintings were acquired through trade in China by Manuel Eyre (1837-1912). The paintings are beautiful; however, they have no clear deeper meaning. Despite this, these paintings were made for a reason and held in the archives of The Academy of the Natural Sciences. In my research I hope to deepen our understanding of these paintings and provide a scientific context for them by exploring the Academy’s other interests in China in the 1930’s as well as understanding history of the Eyre family and what led the paintings to be donated in the first place.

Behind the White Curtain: The Decolonization of African Expeditions and their Discoveries, 1930-40
Kris Freyland, Biology
Class of 2024

Many early expeditions were direct results of the ideas of colonialism and supremacy. This chapter will discuss the ways in which these ideas were present in the Vanderbilt African expeditions from 1930-1940 and more importantly will focus on the ways this archival collection can be decolonized to better reflect the contributions of Native populations and their knowledge systems in a more collaborative space. This will be done with the archival expedition journal kept by Harold Green, as well as with the writings of Indigenous cultural studies scholars and archival decolonists.

Meeting Americans: Colonizing Citizens Connecting with their Native Counterparts, 1849-1872
Madalyn Campbell, Psychology
Class of 2022

Some of the greatest experiences in life are the ones that we do not seek out. As a member of a select group of individuals, naturalist and physician Samuel Washington Woodhouse was given the opportunity to engage with Native Americans across the western United States. His journals documenting these journeys from 1849 and 1850 give a unique perspective on the American experience and relationships between the members of an ever-changing nation. In this chapter I will use Woodhouse’s journals as well as other sources to understand the relationship between American citizens and Native American tribes in the mid to late 19th century, and how these relationships shaped the future of the United States.

The Sergeant of the Arctic: The Exploration and Discovery of the North Pole, 1890-1909
Peter Vogric, Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science
Class of 2023

Matthew Henson is the unsung hero of Robert Peary’s Arctic expeditions from 1890-1909. While he is rarely mentioned when discussing arctic exploration, his participation was necessary for the success of the expedition. Due to his race, Henson was excluded from much of the accolades and awards that came because of reaching the pole. He went from a cabin boy to Peary’s primary assistant, proving that he could assist in the expedition more than any other member. Using the Academy’s archives of the expedition plans, photos, and news articles can create a more vivid picture of Henson’s role on the expedition, as well as his life after. The goal of this project is to investigate Henson’s life and analyze how he was so effective in the arctic. To get Henson the notoriety of being the first person to reach the North Pole.

Colonial Appropriation of Indigenous Medical Knowledge: Academy Expeditions in the American West, 1850-1900
Inaki ‘Q’ Herrera, History
Class of 2023

Aliens to the new world, colonial settlers entered a vast new world never seen by the west. In their discovery of new wildlife and environments the introduction to Indigenous nations became key to their survival; because of the knowledge passed down by the Indigenous were settlers able to survive and thrive. Yet, subjugation, oppression, and war became the means of controlling the new world. Postcolonial history has proven how essential Indigenous involvement was to the creation of Nations throughout the Americas and across the world. With new ecosystem came foreign diseases, of which Indigenes used the gifts of the earth to cure such ailments. The expansive knowledge of “folk” medicine not only gave way to colonial extended stay but an industry that would reap from New World remedies. In search of bringing recognition to Indigenous contribution and knowledge, this paper attempts to decolonize material from its whitewashed past and acknowledge its origins.

A History of Medicine in Context: Exploring the Legacy Center Archives and Special Collections

Hartwig Kuhlenbeck’s Psycho-Physical Parallelism in Neuroscience, 1958-1970
Adaeze Uwaomah, Psychology
Class of 2023

An exploration of Dr. Hartwig Kuhlenbeck’s life story, discoveries in neuroscience, and his professional network help us to understand his contributions to the history of neuroscience. Here I am interested in the late philosophers and scholars that inspired him, different practices he developed in the early stages of brain study, especially the way he investigated the relationship between brain and consciousness, and the materialistic and idealistic approaches to the phenomenology of neuroscience. Based on the archival collections at the Legacy Center, Kuhlenbeck’s published work, and historical writing I will explore his career from the end of World War I in 1918 to his appointment as Research Professor in Neurobiology in 1963.

Dress Reform Movement and Medicine within the Nineteenth Century Women's Rights Movement, 1800-1870
Ashley M. Vargas, Psychology
Class of 2023

Gathering primary and secondary resources through The Legacy Center's Archives and Special Collections, the following chapter investigates the dress reform movement and medicine throughout the nineteenth-century women's rights movement, specifically hydropathy. The reform movement instantaneously became a part of household conversations with the support from utopian, religious, and medicinal groups supporting the movement for causes of disfigurement, health impairments, or creating unity amongst individuals. The medicinal practice of hydropathy became popularized by supporting dress reform groups. Reviewing the work and career of Doctor Mary Walker and others, the chapter uncovers where hydropathy meets the dress reform movement.

Women Physicians in Asia: Unique Paths, Connected by Christianity, 1850-1920
Alexis Czerhoniak, Biology
Class of 2024

A case study on three individual women: Anadibai Joshee, Mary Stone, and Ogino Ginko, and their experiences in becoming medical professionals in a period that was very restrictive to women. Where education, let alone higher education, was unheard of and often barred from the opposite sex. The exception to these strict societal standards were medical missionaries. Missionaries being mutually exclusive with imperialism has been known to influence a person’s cultural identity. This chapter will explore the impact of Christianity on the three women from India, China, and Japan, respectively. It will also provide insight on what struggles these unique women faced, along with others that attempted a similar path. Built upon the archival collections at the Legacy Center, I will be using various medical missionary journals, biographies, as well as articles acknowledging their achievements.

Rise of Women in Medicine: A History of Changes in Childbirth Practices, 1750-1900
Claire Bartz, Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science
Class of 2023

During the late 1700s to the late 1800s, there was a shift within the construct of childbirth. This construct changed from a social ritual to a medicalized event. Midwives controlled the birthing process until the rise in medical school and academic medical education caused women to turn to male physicians and hospitals aiding with their birthing process. This shift in power marked this era as a turning point for the act of childbirth for mothers all around America. Traditional midwifery, where women guided soon to be mothers during birth, soon gave way to modern obstetrics. Looking at how these methods changed can further explain why this shift happened and what it now has become. Using primary resources of Martha Ballard (Midwife, 1735-1812), William Potts Dewees (Professor of Obstetrics, University of Pennsylvania 1768-1841) and Richard Lewis (Doctor of Obstetrics of Hahnemann University 1861) firsthand accounts of this shift will allow an enriching examination of this topic as well as future literature within this topic of modern obstetrics.

The Spanish Flu: A Forgotten Epidemic, 1918-1920
Jacob Benjamin, History
Class of 2023

In the years during and following the First World War, the Spanish Flu took the lives of millions of people across the world, vastly outnumbering all casualties suffered during the First World War. This chapter will focus on the cities of Atlanta and Philadelphia during the epidemic, and will dive into how each city’s epidemic started, how it was handled, and what ethnicities, races, and ages it affected the most in each of the two cities, and how they differed and were similar from each other.

The “Infertile” Woman and Her Newly Found Reproductive Capacity: How Florence Haseltine’s Holistic Study of Infertility Helped Birth In Vitro Fertilization 1970-2000
Courtney Harris, English
Class of 2023

An analysis of how Florence Haseltine’s holistic study of infertility helped birth in vitro fertilization and changed the perception of what it means to be truly “infertile”, without and within, the medical community. Prior to infertility discoveries in the 1970s, infertility in women was thought to be solely due to fault in the fallopian tubes despite the high rate of failure of fallopian tube corrective surgeries. Physicians of that time where only dimly aware to role psychology and hormones played in fertility and did not do much in the way of fixing them. When Haseltine conducted her research of IVF, she did what I could not find proof of her predecessors doing; she interviewed and kept a strong, frequent line of communication with her patients. Using the archival collections at the Legacy Center, I analyzed the institutional, political, and medical changes brought about by Haseltine’s holistic study of infertility.

Indigenous Women Define their Mission: Indigenous responses to Health Disparities resulting from the Euro-American Civilizing Process 1865-1920
Amanda Lyles, Behavioral Health Counseling
College of Nursing & Health Professions

Analysis of health and cultural survival preservation challenges of Indigenous communities in North America during the late 19th-early 20th century through an examination of early European perspectives, policies, and programs that ultimately shaped a civilizing mission and led to community spread Indigenous health disparities. The author explores the journeys of four Indigenous women during the Progressive Era who ultimately responded to a time of nation building, discrimination, anti-Indianism, assimilation, and eliminationism through their involvement, scholarship, and skepticism. Their response to the much larger anti-Indian mission of their Era is reflected through their commitment to maintaining their Indigenous identities and through their public support for improving deteriorating health conditions their communities faced.

Manufacturing in the Philadelphia Environs: A History of the Schramm Inc. Company

Pneumatic Equipment Development: Contributions of Product Versatility to Schramm’s Growth and Success, 1928-1982
Jeffrey Johnson, Physics
Class of 2024

My goals for this project are to show how versatility in design of Schramm’s product line contributed to their reputation and financial success, and to explore how Schramm’s development of pneumatic products fits into a larger narrative of compressed air and pneumatic engineering in manufacturing. Examples I use are three Schramm products: the PneumaGopher, Pneumatractor, and the Jumbo Boom. The archival sources I am drawing on are resources from the Schramm collection in the Drexel University archives which contain information such as price lists, patents, government contracts, photos, and documents detailing the products. My historiography includes the history of compressed air, and versatility in design and manufacturing.

Racial Inequality in Postwar Manufacturing: Schramm Inc. during American Deindustrialization, 1945-1990
Gabriel Murray, School of Biomedical Engineering
Class of 2024

My main goals for this project are to examine racial inequalities in the manufacturing industry post WWII and their impacts on Schramm’s company culture, and to inspect Schramm’s success during a time when the Philadelphia region saw an overall decline in manufacturing. A specific case my research uses is the Chestnut Knoll diner at Schramm, exploring its significance as an extension of the company and as a reflection of society. Archival sources from the Schramm collection in the Drexel University archives include employee newsletters and the Schramm president’s annual reports. Historiography includes the civil rights and labor rights movements, regional politics, and American industrial decline.

Competition in Industry: The Example Demonstrated by Schramm Inc., 1950-1990
Eddie Field, Physics
Class of 2024

In this project I will be exploring how Schramm Inc. interacted with competing companies and how Schramm Inc. changed in response to competition. I will be using archival sources from the Schramm collection in the Drexel University archives, such as “Let's design the PERFECT Portable Air Compressor” a marketing pamphlet published by Schramm Inc. in 1959, and President’s Reports. My historiography includes competition in industry in the 20th century.

The Role of the Schramm Sales Force in Industrial Growth, 1930s-1950s
Christopher Ung, Chemical and Biological Engineering, College of Engineering
Class of 2023

The aim of this research project is to investigate the systems and tactics that Schramm Inc.’s Sales Force used to help the company succeed. In general, Schramm invested in its Sales Force, which helped the company’s outreach in finding more uses for the company’s air compressors. As such, the Sales Force improved Schramm’s production capacity, which in turn boosted sales. While one focus of this project is to examine the coordination between the sales and production teams, another focus is to examine the surrounding economic conditions that allowed Schramm Inc. to prosper. The Great Depression was a critical moment in the company’s history to survive by not just developing new technologies, but also using its Sales Force to market them to the public. World War II was a temporary manufacturing boom with demand for Schramm’s products falling afterward. Schramm Inc. still had to find ways to make their products more versatile for the common person and advertise them as such. As a company, Schramm relied on its Sales Force to build brand recognition to allow the company to grow.

Women in the Schramm Company: A Woman’s Place in the Workforce, 1935-1955
Nat Laborde, Engineering Technology, College of Engineering
Class of 2023

This project develops a narrative of the change gender roles in industrial and manufacturing contexts during the mid-twentieth century. Based on an investigation of the Schramm Inc. archives at the Drexel University Libraries, the author examines the lives and work experiences of the women this West Chester/Philadelphia company. Focusing on the during period before, during, and after World War II this study reflects how female employees were treated, what work they performed, and which machines they operated. This occurred in the context of an influx of women into the industrial workforce while many men were being drafted into the military. Especially important is the experience of the female employees in the post-war era, and the labor policies Schramm developed as they responded to the return of their male employees.

Climate Change Legislation and its Effect on Schramm Inc., 1940-2020
Marcelino Collo, Physics
Class of 2024

Schramm Inc. was founded in 1900, during the second industrial revolution and four years after Högbom’s carbon dioxide analysis. They became a company that responded to the public’s need for fuel resources giving drilling companies access to high quality equipment that led to exemplary outcomes. In the 1930s, Schramm’s developed a pioneering technology they called the Rotadrill that has continued to be a popular product in their inventory a century later. In this study, the author explores the history of the Rotodrill in the context of past and current debates about climate change, especially regarding the creation of legislation and Government institutions, such as the EPA in 1970s. Schramm’s Rotadrill and subsequent products had to follow the blooming legislation after already existing for seventy years. However, not only did Schramm have to follow new legislation that seemingly limited their operations, but they were able to persevere. Their Rotadrill began evolving to become more efficient and less hazardous to the drilling area. They even began finding uses for the drill outside of the oil and gas sectors. Schramm’s existence as a drilling manufacturer was not burdened by climate legislation. Through accommodation, they were able to continue to thrive well into the 21st century.

A History of Transportation for Manufacturing: Schramm Inc. during an Era of Rails, Trucks, and Ships, 1930-1980
Qwuacii Cousins, College of Engineering
Class of 2023

The goal of this project is to examine the transportation processes of the Schramm Inc. and the role they played in the advancing the American railway and highway systems. The project stems from the 1999 case Schramm Inc v Shipco Transport Inc. and continues to explore the methods of transportation used by the company in the century prior. Supporting information is based on the documents found in the Schramm Inc archive housed at the Drexel University as well as publications from within the period being investigated (1942-1999). Such material includes shipping and production information from the archive and the book Transportation in America.