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The Smart Set From Drexel University A New Forum for Exceptional Writing

August 16, 2007

In the early 20th century, the Jazz Age was ushered in by a sassy, irreverent magazine called The Smart Set. Edited by the great H.L. Mencken, The Smart Set transformed American literature by launching the careers of writers such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker and Theodore Dreiser. A 21st century successor to this groundbreaking magazine made its debut on August 9 — The Smart Set From Drexel University.

The Smart Set From Drexel University is the new online publication of Drexel University’s Pennoni Honors College. The site’s Maxfield Parrish-style illustrations and iconoclastic tone hearken back to Mencken’s Smart Set, as does the mix of famous contributors such as Susan Orlean, (author of The Orchid Thief and partial inspiration for the film, Adaptation), alongside writing by new authors. The site presents articles, interviews, photos and slideshows, daily columns and weekly features that cover the full spectrum of human experience: literature, culture, travel, politics, health, food, shopping, politics and more. Recent issues included articles about a creationist “anti-natural history museum,” a guided tour through the boudoirs of history, and a quest for Gauguin’s ghost.

The idea for The Smart Set at Drexel University originated with Mark Greenberg, Dean of the Pennoni Honors College. Dr. Greenberg felt that since the University doesn’t have a press, an online publication would be a way to raise awareness of the University’s intellectual and technical riches. He named the publication The Smart Set at Drexel University because, “we consider ourselves smart: our students are smart, our faculty is smart and our technology is smart. The name grounds the publication in the rich literary tradition of American magazine writing while using up-to-date approaches to ideas that will make it attractive to readers worldwide who are interested in stimulating and cutting-edge topics from all fields. It says to the world, ‘we value great ideas and great writing.'”

The publication is edited by Jason Wilson who also edits the bestselling annual anthology, The Best American Travel Writing. His work has appeared in leading national publications including The National Geographic Traveler, Salon, the Boston Globe, and Philadelphia Magazine. To view The Smart Set at Drexel University, visit


News media contact: Brian Rossiter, Drexel News Bureau 215-895-2705, 267-228-5599 (cell) or

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