Penn History

University of Pennsylvania China

Bicentennial Wedgwood Plates, 1940

The plates in this set were donated to the University of Pennsylvania by Susan M. Todres, a loyal alumna.

This exhibit was created in July 2005 by University Archives Summer Research Fellow Seth S. Tannenbaum. Seth is an undergraduate at Vassar College.

In commemoration of the University’s bicentennial, the University in 1939 commissioned two sets of Wedgwood China, one set of a dozen plates and one set of an equal number of dessert (or demitasse) cups and saucers. The Wedgwood China Company was selected for this commission partly because this firm had already produced several portraits of Benjamin Franklin during his lifetime, including the portrait which appears on each of the dessert cups.

One set of plates originally sold for twenty dollars. Like the cups, the plates were white, printed in red with drawings of campus scenes done by alumni of the University. The scene and the artist are identified on the back of each of plate. Some of these designs were reproduced in 1960 along with teacups and saucers in a similar design, featuring a profile of Benjamin Franklin.

Class of 1893 Gateway
Wedgwood china, plate depicting Class of 1893 Gateway, 1940
College Hall Portico
Wedgwood china, plate depicting College Hall Portico, 1940
Dormitory Steps
Wedgwood china, plate depicting Dormitory Steps, 1940
Engineering Steps
Wedgwood china, plate depicting Engineering Steps, 1940
Evans Institute Portal
Wedgwood china, plate depicting Evans Institute Portal, 1940
Forward Pass, Franklin Field
Wedgwood china, plate depicting forward pass in Franklin Field, 1940
Spire of Irvine Auditorium
Wedgwood china, plate depicting spire of Irvine Auditorium, 1940
Law School Portico
Wedgwood china, plate depicting Law School Portico, 1940
Medical Laboratory Entrance
Wedgwood china, plate depicting Medical Laboratory Entrance, 1940
University Museum Porch
Wedgwood china, plate depicting University Museum porch, 1940
Veterinary School Archway
Wedgwood china, plate depicting Veterinary Archway, 1940
Young Franklin Statue
Wedgwood china, plate depicting Young Franklin Statue, 1940