Skip to main content
Subject Guide

Diversity at the University of Pennsylvania

Access to collections is granted in accordance with the Protocols for the University Archives and Records Center.

Prepared by Melanie Xu, Summer Research Fellow and University of Pennsylvania undergraduate
July 2017


Over time, the University of Pennsylvania has gradually become a more diverse institution, not only in their student body and faculty, but also in their administration, academics, and student organizations. The University Archives and Records Center documents this transition through administrative reports and records, student and alumni activities, campus and popular publications, and personal papers. These materials reflect both the experiences of individuals at Penn and the University’s collective attitudes towards diversity, as well as how that has changed throughout the last century and a half.

This guide is designed to be a jumping-off point for researchers trying to find relevant documents pertaining to diversity at Penn. Materials are sorted into the following categories: Admissions, Centers and Organizations, Women at Penn, Minorities at Penn, and Significant Figures. Entries contain the name of the collection and/or specific documents, the box and filing or folder number, and a short description of the contents. Documents that have been digitized are linked, and may or may not include a box and filing number.


Administration, Students, and Faculty

The Affirmative Action Program of the University of Pennsylvania

  • Almanac Supplement (Feb. 17, 1976), UPL 1090.35

    This bulletin contains goals, policies, and procedures comprising the University’s Affirmative Action Programs. It details grievance procedures, salaries, promotions, and hiring procedures for both academic and non-academic personnel, and also sets numerical goals and time frames for making progress in implementing these policies.

Minority Permanence

  • UPF 8.5S Box 159, FF 13
    October 1992

    This 1992 report discusses the University’s efforts at becoming a more diverse and inclusive institution, specifically referring to efforts at increasing minority presence on campus, in terms of admissions, recruitment, financial aid, academic support, and fellowships. This document is divided into sections, “Faculty,” “Undergraduate Studies,” “Graduate and Professional Studies,” “Precollege,” “Community,” and “General Academic and Support Programs.”

International Students and Personnel, UPL 95.6

Six Working Papers for Strategic Planning

  • Almanac Supplement (Jan. 15, 1982), UPL 1090.35

    The first section of this document discusses “practical actions that might adopt to increase the number of members of minorities in the faculty and student body.” This is divided into “Possible administrative changes,” “Faculty Appointment and Promotion Policy,” and “Minority Student Presence.”

Admissions Policy for the Undergraduate Schools of the University of Pennsylvania

  • UPA 4 Box 183, FF McGill Report
    August 1, 1967

    The University’s admissions policy establishes diversity as an admissions goal, and lays out qualifications of incoming students. Also sets guidelines for the composition of the incoming class.

    See also: Office of the President Records (UPA 4) Box 312, FF 25-28 – Minority Recruitment

Federal Aid to Education (I)

  • UPA 4 Box 31, FF46

    This folder includes records regarding the enrollment of Jewish, Italian, and black students at various medical schools (e.g. Penn, Temple, Jefferson), law schools, and other institutions across Philadelphia from the years 1920 to 1950.

Centers and Organizations

Greenfield Intercultural Center Records, UPE 501

  • The GIC was established in 1984 to provide support for minority students – specifically, black-, Latino-, Asian-, and Native-American communities on campus. Its records consist of reports, minutes, and other documents from 1973 to 1995. These documents are from various student organizations, including, but not limited to, the Women’s Center, the Black Student League, and more, the full listing of which can be found in the collection guide.

    See also: Office of the President Records (UPA 4) Box 51, FF 46-52; Box 84, FF 7-8

International Students House News, UPA 9

Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center at the University of Pennsylvania Records, UPE 502

  • 1979-2013

    Established in 1982, the LGBT Center provides support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and allied (LGBTQA) students, staff, and faculty on campus. Its records consist of news clippings from various publications on campus pertaining to LGBT issues, correspondence, event planning, policy making, and activism.

    See also: Office of the President Records (UPA 4) Box 276, FF 4 – Gays and Lesbians at Penn

Office of the President Records. Martin Meyerson Administration, UPA 4 Meyerson

  • Box 326, FF 8-9

    This collection consists of papers from President Martin Meyerson’s office discussing the establishment of DuBois Residential Program (a residential space for students interested in black culture). This was met with much resistance from students and faculty who viewed this program as racial discrimination and a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. While correspondence with Meyerson’s office form the vast majority of this collection, it also contains excerpts from newspapers/pamphlets and flyers.

Online Exhibit: "Taking Action for the Community: The International Students' House at Penn"

  • Describes the history of International House of Philadelphia, and its role as a support system for international students on Penn’s campus.

Online Exhibit: "Dealing with Global Engagements: The History of the Office of International Programs"

  • Feature on the history of study abroad and foreign exchange programs at the University of Pennsylvania, separated by department/region.

Women at Penn

How Fare Women?, UPP 9100 H834, and Return Engagment, UPP 9100 H979

  • 1955 and 1970

    This collection includes a 1955 report on women’s education and employment (H834), as well as a 1970 “how to” and “where to” guidebook on finding employment in Philadelphia (H979). It provides information on employers, sample jobs, requirements, salaries, and etc.

"Daughters of Pennsylvania," UPP 15.2 M648

  • July 1937

    This pamphlet describes the role, status, and contributions of women in Penn history, and advocates the establishment of a separate college campus for women.

Women Faculty in the University of Pennsylvania

  • Almanac (Apr. 13, 1971), UPL 1090.35
    March 23, 1971

    The Committee on the Status of Women discusses the presence of women on campus, and the disparity in the numbers of male and female faculty members. It also suggests measures to increase the number of female faculty through recruitment and promotion. Finally, it includes commentary on the wage gap between genders.

The Alumni Register, UPM 8115

  • 1918 (Vol. 20, No. 4), p. 301-317

    This book contains a series of editorial debates regarding making Penn entirely co-ed (some schools/departments already accepted women). It also contains figures on the existing number of women in departments, as well as a historical overview of their presence on campus.

The General Magazine, UPM 8115

  • 1933 (Vol. 36, No. 1), p. 23

    This publication contains an address delivered by Merle Odgers, the Dean of the newly-established College of Liberal Arts for women.

"A Woman's College"

  • The Pennsylvania Gazette (Apr. 15, 1933), UPM 8125

    This publication contains an article advocating the establishment of a college specifically for women, as opposed to making the entirety of the University co-ed. This article also describes how a women’s college would function in relation to the rest of the university, in terms of its administration, teaching, and facilities.

College of Liberal Arts For Women Records, UPB 3

  • These form the records for the College of Liberal Arts for women. This collection consists of:

    UPB 3.1 – Faculty minutes, 1933-1974
    UPB 3.2 – Includes committee reports and curriculum discussion
    UPB 3.3 – includes membership lists, reports and correspondence regarding coursework in the women’s college and the proper education afforded to them. Also includes correspondence and minutes of meeting on the merger of the women’s college and Arts and Sciences faculty
    UPB 3.6 – Budget correspondence, committee reports, etc.
    UPB 3.71 – Registration forms with names, photos, and biographical information; some contains letters of recommendation

Office of the President Records, UPA 4

Office of the Provost. Vice Provost for University Life Women's Oral History Project Records, UPA 6.11

  • 1949-1953, 1980-1983

    These records document “the experiences of over 100 prominent female University of Pennsylvania students, administrators, faculty and faculty family members.” This project takes the form of biographical materials – i.e. newspaper articles and scrapbooks – as well as tape and cassette interviews of the women in question. Also included are project organizational documents, such as budget estimates, minutes, and interviewer guides.

Online Exhibit: "Women at Penn: Distinguished Early Graduates, Faculty, and Benefactors of the University"

  • Contains a list of prominent 19th century women at Penn, and gives a brief description of their lives and contributions.

Minorities at Penn

Historical Facts of the Black Veterinarian, UPP 15.97

  • This book is dedicated to the history of black veterinarians, both at Penn and other institutions. It contains an article on pioneer black vets at Penn, as well as a list of the charter members of the Revolving Emergency Fund (a club of black vets, established by the author of this document, William H. Waddell).

Report of the Task Force on Black Presence

  • Almanac (Mar. 21, 1978), UPL 1090.35
    June 9, 1977

    The Task Force on Black Presence wrote this report discussing the progress of the university in strengthening the presence and improving the experiences of black students and faculty. This report is divided into the following headings – Affirmative Action, Undergraduate and Graduate Admissions, Report of the Subcommittee on Curriculum, and Improving University Life for Black Students, Faculty, and Administrators.

Center for the Study of Black Literature and Culture Records, UPB 160

  • This collection contains documents pertaining to the center’s history, including information on Afro-American studies coursework, center correspondence, minority presence development, journal articles, news articles, and more.

African American Studies Records, UPB 1.9AF

"Blacks at Penn, Then and Now"

  • A Pennsylvania Album, 1990

    This expose on the experience of black pioneers at Penn in the early 20th century describes the racism and other adversities they faced, as well as the organizations and programs established by these students in response. It contains references to significant figures such as Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander and John Baxter Taylor, as well as organizations like Delta Sigma Theta, Alpha Phi Alpha, the Afro-American Studies program, and DuBois College House.

    Also see the following records in the Office of the President Records (UPA 4):
    Negro Students – Box 5 FF 50; Box 58 FF 29
    United Negro College Fund – Box 40, FF 8
    Black Admissions – Box 231, FF 10-14

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Records, UPS 41 AL

  • This collection contains records of the first black fraternity on campus – includes charter information, rosters, history, correspondence, and records of activities from 1966 to 2002.

La Universidad de Pennsylvania

  • UPA 9 Box 3, FF 18
    October 1910

    This October 1910 pamphlet was written in Spanish, and contains descriptions and images of the university in the early 20th century.

Hispanic Studies at Penn: From Rennert to Sebold, UPP 15.19RL

  • This article on the history of the Hispanic Studies Department was written by prominent faculty member Otis H. Green, upon his retirement. It was included as a supplement to the Hispanic Review in 1972.

    For more on Latin American Students and Studies at Penn, see Office of the President Records (UPA 4):
    Box 14, FF 5-7 – Proposed Latin American Center
    Box 22, FF 10-12; Box 312, FF 24 – Latin American students
    Box 34, FF 8 – Latin American teachers
    Box 43, FF 37 – Latin American relation

Oriental Studies in the University, UPP 15.1

  • A pamphlet on the history of Oriental studies (at this time, Egyptology/Near East studies) at Penn. Refers to faculty contributions to the field as a whole

    See also: Office of the President Records (UPA 4) Box 84, FF 9; Box 270, FF 21-22

Department of South Asia Regional Studies Records, UPB 1.9SA and W. Norman (William Norman) Brown Papers, UPT 50 B879

  • These two collections contain documents on the South Asia Regional Studies department. The former consists of administrative documents, such as student/faculty lists, budgets, and other paperwork. The latter documents William Norman Brown’s establishment of the department, through his notes, drafts, papers, and correspondence.

    See also: Office of the President Records (UPA 4) Box 33, FF 13-18; Box 51, FF 53-55; Box 84, FF 10; Box 271 FF 20-21

Japan Alumni Club

  • 1908 Alumni Register, p. 63, and 1909 Alumni Register, p. 61

    Students from Japan had been attending the University of Pennsylvania as early as 1879. By the early 20th century, a thriving alumni club by the name of the Same Window Society had emerged, and appears in various alumni records.

    See also: Office of the President Records (UPA 4) Box 21, FF 43-49 – Japanese students, letters protesting university action; Box 235, FF 11 – Japanese Alumni

School of Veterinary Medicine Records, UPC 5

  • Box 7, FF 66; Box 8, FF 6

    One folder is titled “Minority Students” and the other “Pioneer Black Vets.”

Significant Figures

Claire Fagin Papers, UPA 4 Fagin

  • Closed to researchers until 2019

    Fagin was the first woman to become president of the University of Pennsylvania, serving as the interim president from 1993 to 1994. She was also instrumental in the development of the Penn nursing program. These papers are not open until 2019.

Atmore and Yasukawa-Matsumoto Family Papers, UPT 50 A881

  • This collection consists of correspondence between two families, one from Japan and one from Philadelphia, in the late 19th/early 20th century. This collection consists primarily of letters between the two families, as well as family history and background documents.

Helen Octavia Dickens Papers, UPT 50 D548

  • The first board-certified black ob-gyn in Philadelphia, Dickens was a faculty member in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a practicing physician. In terms of diversity, she also served as the Associate Dean of Minority Admissions at Penn. Her papers cover both her work in medicine and in Minority Affairs. The former is documented through articles, grant proposals, notes, and correspondence; the latter is documented in minutes and reports.

Raymond P. Alexander Papers, UPT 50 A374R

  • A graduate of Wharton, Alexander was a defense attorney in many civil cases involving racial discrimination and/or segregation. He was married to lawyer and fellow Penn alum, Sadie Tanner Mossell. This collection consists of personal and professional correspondence, legal organization/action, government service, publications, and more.

    See also: Office of the President Records (UPA 4) Box 232, FF 19

Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Papers, UPT 50 A374S

  • The first black woman in the United States to earn a PhD, and later also the first to be admitted to the Pennsylvania bar, Alexander served as a member of numerous boards and committees, including Truman’s Committee on Human Rights. A prominent lawyer in Philadelphia, Alexander left behind a breadth of records throughout her personal and professional life.

    See also: Office of the President Records (UPA 4) Box 18, FF 12; Box 234, FF 26-28

Robert F. Engs Papers, UPT 50 E57

  • A faculty member in the history department, Engs served as the Director for Minority Faculty recruitment and played a large role in increasing the presence of minorities in Penn’s faculty and study body. This collection consists of mostly papers from Engs’s professional and academic life – it includes his work as a student, his teaching and writing as part of the history department, and projects he undertook.

Elizabeth F. Flower Papers, UPT 50 F644

  • Flower was a prominent faculty member in the Philosophy department, known best for her publication, History of Philosophy in America. This collection contains her publications, research, and manuscripts, as well as personal papers and correspondence, photographs, and audiotapes of her research.

Laura Ruth Murray Klein Papers, UPT 50 K641

  • As an educator and pioneer in women’s education, Klein served as the principal of the Philadelphia High School for girls from 1963 to 1976, where she developed and implement new programs to increase opportunities for girls. As a graduate of Penn, Klein served on various alumni associations, in addition to being the president of the American Association of University Women. Her records primarily document her involvement with Phi Beta Kappa honor society, although that represents but a small fraction of her life’s work.

Ruth Branning Molloy Collection, UPT 50 M726

  • Molloy was one of the founders of the University City Historical Society, as well a poet and writer for publications such as the Saturday Evening Post, the Pennsylvania Gazette, and more. This collection documents Molloy’s life in West Philadelphia in the form of scrapbooks, correspondence, poetry, essays, and other materials.

Mudd Family Papers (Dr. Emily Hartshorne Mudd), UPT 50 M944

  • Dr. Emily Mudd was a sociologist and Professor of Family Study in the Department of Psychiatry, whose achievements include founding and directing the Marriage Council of Philadelphia, serving as the consulting editor of the Kinsey Report on the Human Female, and playing an instrumental role in establishing the Philadelphia branch of Planned Parenthood. Her papers consist largely of her publications of the sociology of gender and women.

Rosemary A.W. Stevens Papers, UPT 50 S845

  • The first woman to serve as the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, Stevens is known for her research on the field of medicine in the US and UK. Her work includes comparative studies of British medicine, as well as research on medical welfare in the United States. This collection is comprised of four sections: specialization and national medicine in the UK, medicine in the US, her work on the health service in Tanganyika, and other academic writings.

Dorothy Swaine Thomas Papers, UPT 50 T455

  • Faculty at the Wharton School, Thomas is known for her work on population studies, sociology, and economic growth. Her papers include her studies of migration in Norway and Sweden, population growth and distribution, and more.

Michelle E. Tucker Papers, UPT 50 T893

  • As a member of the class of 2000, Tucker’s papers represent the extracurricular opportunities available at the University. Her documents especially provide insight into her involvement with Penn Hillel.