Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, Jr. in the Palacio Reale, Madrid Spain, after the ceremony of presenting his credentials to Generalissimo Franco, January 1961.
The great grandson of Drexel University’s founder Anthony J. Drexel was a citizen, solider and a diplomat – he was a man of many ambitions like his great grandfather. A man of the people, defender of freedom and a scholar of worldly interests, Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, Jr. lived a celebrated life worth chronicling.
The exhibition Citizen, Soldier, Diplomat: Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, Jr., will open Friday, Dec. 6, 2019 and run through Friday, May 1, 2020 in the Rincliffe Gallery & Anthony J. Drexel Picture Gallery (3141 Chestnut Street, Main Building 3rd floor). View personal artifacts, diaries, photographs, contemporaneous magazines, daily planners, memos and letters that explore the political, military and personal life of Anthony (Tony) J. Drexel Biddle, Jr.
Biddle was enlisted in the U.S. Army during both World War I and World War II. He enlisted in the army in 1917 as a private and rose to the rank of captain in 1919. Between WWI and WWII, Biddle participated in several business and athletic ventures until being appointed as U.S. minister to Norway in 1935 through the State Department then U.S. ambassador to Poland in 1937. Biddle went on to serve as ambassador to more countries at one time than any other man in history.
Meanwhile, Biddle was also a favorite of newspapers, society pages and magazines for his fashion sense, athleticism, well-known Philadelphia family, his business ventures and political career.
Born in 1897, Biddle was the son of Col. Anthony J. Drexel Biddle an eccentric millionaire known for training the U.S. Marines in hand-to-hand combat. Cordelia Biddle, the sister of Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, Jr., wrote My Philadelphia Father, which details the unconventional lifestyle of the Biddle family growing up in Philadelphia.
Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, Jr. comes from a long line of prominent Philadelphians. He is the great-grandson of Anthony J. Drexel, the financier and founder of Drexel University, and the great-great-grandson of banker Nicholas Biddle, the president of the Second Bank of the United States between 1823-1836.
The exhibition was made possible through the generous loans of Mr. & Mrs. Anthony J. Drexel Biddle III, these materials, will bring the storied history of Tony Biddle to life.