When editor George E. Nitzsche L1898 introduced the first volume of Old Penn on November 14, 1902, he knew it was going to be an “invaluable guide and index for all University affairs”—but he may not have imagined this. One hundred and eighteen years later, Old Penn and the earliest volumes of its successor, the Pennsylvania Gazette, have been digitized and are now available for free to anyone with an internet connection (much cheaper than the original cost of five cents).
“One of the principal objects of the publication will be to keep every student and alumnus, as well as the public, in touch with all University activities, past, present and future,” wrote Nitzsche. And now those of us in the future can look back on articles from the past, sampling campus life as it was lived—the publication came out weekly through most of this period—from the turn of the 20th century to the coming of World War I and its aftermath.
In an ongoing project, staff from Penn Libraries’ Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts have posted the first 16 volumes of Old Penn (until the name changed to the Gazette in February 1918) at the HathiTrust (www.hathitrust.org), a repository of digitized content from over 200 research libraries. All issues are fully searchable. Just perform a catalog search on the site for the title “Old Penn” or “The Pennsylvania Gazette,” or use the direct URL: catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/008701457. A number of issues from Gazette volumes through 1924 that are in the public domain, digitized by Google from other research libraries, can also be found at catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/000639680. —NP