>> History of Philadelphia University

History of Philadelphia University


Due to the poor quality of  United States textiles shown at the Centennial Exhibition in 1876, interest grew for the development of some  type of  formalized vocational training in textile manufacturing.  The Philadelphia Textile Manufacturers Association supported this idea. Theodore Search an active member of the Association and a member of the board of trustees of the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art was a leader in bringing this idea to fruition. 

  • 1884

    Theodore Search instructs 5 students in textile mill bookkeeping in an evening class.

    First Location: 1709 Chestnut St., Philadelphia

  • The new textile school becomes a department of the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art.

  • In June, P.M.S.I.A. purchases a new building at 1336 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia.

  • 1885

    The textile department starts day classes,  81 students are enrolled in the textile school.

  • 1887

    The School of Chemistry & Dyeing is founded. Classes are held at 1346 & 1348 Spring Garden St.

  • 1888

    Enrollment for the entire school stands at 268 students; 11 countries and 9 states are represented.

  • 1889

    More space is needed; negotiations are initiated with the University of Pennsylvania but meet with no success.

  • 1890

    Enrollment for the entire school stands at 300 students.

  • 1891

    Space is rented at 1303-1307 Buttonwood Street for the Textile School; the Art School remains at 1336 Spring Garden.

  • Emanuel Anthony Posselt resigns and E.W. France becomes Director at the Textile School.

  • 1892

    An offer is made by P.M.S.I.A. to purchase the Pennsylvania Institute of Deaf and Dumb at Broad & Pine Streets, Philadelphia.

  • 1893

    The building is purchased and classes meet for the first time on September 10,1893. Both the Art School and the Textile School move into the new quarters and the building at 1336 is sold.

    Enrollment for the entire school stands at 404 students.

  • 1894

    The School of Textiles adds a Department of Wool Carding & Spinning and a Department of Cloth Finishing.

  • Enrollment for the entire school stands at 590 students.

    The first separate course catalog for the Textile School is made available.

  • 1895

    Enrollment for the entire school stands at 712 students.

  • 1896

    Department of Cotton Carding and Spinning is added.

  • 1898

    Course of study in Worsted Spinning is added.

  • First faculty committee is formed.

  • 1900

  • The first student athletic association is formed.

  • 1902

    An alumni association for the school is founded.

  • 1910

    A course in Hosiery Knitting is added to the curriculum.

  • 1916

    The first issue of the Textile School's yearbook, "ANALYSIS", is published

  • 1918

    Temple University and P.M.S.I.A. establish a Student Army Training Corps.

  • 1922

    The Textile School receives $400,000 from the sale of German dyestuffs seized during World War I.

  • 1926

    The founder of the school, Theodore C Search, dies of a heart attack.

  • 1934

    The 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Textile School.

  • 1937

    First business courses are added to the curriculum.

  • 1940

    E.W. France retires; M.E. Heard is appointed Dean.

  • 1942

    The name of the Textile School is officially changed to the Philadelphia Textile Institute. Authorization is given by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to the school to award college degrees.

  • 1943

    M.E. Heard resigns as Dean of P.T.I. Richard S. Cox is appointed as the new Dean.

  • 1945

    The first full-time female faculty member is hired by P.T.I.  Martha Jungerman taught in the textile department from 1945 to 1958.

  • 1946

    The Textile Foundation (a fundraising organization completely separate from the Museum School) purchases the Kolb estate in Germantown, for the new campus of P.T.I.

  • 1947

    Bertrand W. Hayward is appointed Director of Philadelphia Textile Institute.

  • 1948

    Construction is started on a new classroom building (eventually Hayward Hall) and the Hesslein Library (will eventually become a the book store and mail room, demolished 2005). These are the first buildings to be built on the new campus.

    Hayward Hall

    Hesslein Library

  • 1949

    The classroom building and library are completed and open with the start of classes at the Germantown campus.

    The Broad of Trustees of P.T.I. decide to separate from the Museum School; the school incorporates as a separate institution

  • 1952

    First honorary degrees are presented by the Institute: Colonial Millard D. Brown receives a Doctor of Textiles and Alban Eavenson receives a Doctor of Textile Science.

  • 1954

    Richard S. Cox resigns as Dean and joins the Textile Foundation as the Executive Secretary. Bertrand W. Hayward is elected President of the Institute.

  • 1955

    The Institute is accredited by the Middle States Association of College and Secondary Schools.

    The first separate dormitory (Scholler Hall) is completed.

  • 1959

    Construction on a new student union building (Althouse Hall) is started.

  • Seventy-fifth Anniversary

  • 1960

    On November 14, 1960 the Philadelphia Textile Institute changes its name to the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science.

  • 1967

    Construction on the Pastore Library is started (the current Architecture and Design Building).

  • 1970

    Roseneath Farms is purchased by the college; the buildings will eventually be destroyed by a fire but the 7 acres of land prove to be invaluable in the future development of the college campus.

    The current residence of the President of the College is purchased from David and Emily Matlack.

  • Textile's basketball team beats Tennessee at the NCAA tournament and becomes the best college team in the nation.

  • 1972

  • PCTS buys the Lankenau School; this purchase adds a number of buildings and 22.5 acres to the school's property holdings.

    Archer Hall
    Downs Hall
    Student Center

  • Archer Hall

  • Downs Hall

  • Student Center (demolished 2006)


  • Bertrand Hayward retires as President; Lawson A. Pendleton is appointed President.


  • The residence of Mrs. Elizabeth Gibbs is donated to the college (Gibbs Hall).


  • Pendleton steps down as President and Donald B. Partridge is appointed President.

  • Blanche Paley donates the home of her mother, Goldie Paley (Paley Design Center) to PCTS.


  • First MBA degrees are awarded


  • The college purchases the Academy of the Assumption (Ravenhill).


  • James P. Gallagher becomes the President of the college.

    Centennial of the founding of the school.


  • The first branch campus is opened in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.


  • The new library (Paul J. Gutman Library) is opened; the Pastore Library is renovated and becomes the Architecture and Design Building.


  • PCTS  purchases "White Corners" from Penn Charter; this building will be renovated and will house "Admissions."


  • The first architectural degree is awarded.


  • Roxboro House is purchased by PCTS from Sandi & Jerry Cohen.


  • The name of Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science is changed to Philadelphia University.

  • Independence Plaza apartment complex is acquired by the University.


  • In June, the University broke ground on the Tuttleman Center, a new, high-tech classroom building.


  • Philadelphia University offered its first doctoral program, a Ph.D. in Textile Engineering and Science.

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All questions or comments related to the history of Philadelphia University should be addressed to Stan Gorski School Archivist, gorskis@philau.edu

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