Penniman, Josiah Harmar, 1868-1941

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Josiah Harmer Penniman was Provost of the University of Pennsylvania.

From the description of Letter to Horace Howard Furness, Jr., 1930. (University of Pennsylvania Library). WorldCat record id: 155884585

Josiah Harmar Penniman, fourteenth Provost of the University of Pennsylvania, was born in Concord, Massachusetts, on July 20, 1868. He was the son of James Lanman and Maria Davis Hosmer Penniman. His parents were of distinguished colonial ancestry, some of whom were among the founders of the town of Concord.

Josiah received his early education at home from his father, a Yale graduate who was noted for his interest in literature. Later he attended the William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia and after his graduation from that school, entered the University of Pennsylvania. Penniman graduated from Penn with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1890 and received Ph.D. from the same institution in 1895. When a student, he was editor-in-chief of the daily journal the Pennsylvanian.

Penniman became a member of the teaching staff at Penn in 1892 when he was appointed Instructor in English. In 1896 he was appointed Assistant Professor of English Literature and Vice Dean of the College and the next year made Dean of the College. He was promoted to be Professor of English Literature in 1903.

He resigned from the College deanship in 1909. Two years later, he was elected Vice Provost of the University. Upon the retirement of Provost Edgar Fahs Smith in 1920, Penniman was appointed Acting Provost. He was elected Provost of the University in January 1923 and for more than three years from July 1923 to late 1926 served as both President and Provost of the University. He held the position of Provost until 1939 when he retired.

Penniman was the author of two books--The War of the Theatres and A Book About the English Bible--as well as many articles on literary and educational topics. He was also the editor of Ben Jonson's Poetaster and Thomas Dekker's Satiromastix in the Belles Letters Series in 1905. He received honorary degrees from a number of universities and colleges, which included the University of Alabama, Washington College, the University of Pennsylvania, Ursinus College, Juniata College, Lafayette College, Franklin and Marshall College, Swarthmore College and Muhlenberg College.

In addition to his academic and educational activities, Penniman had a keen interest in civic affairs. He was invited by many institutions for public speeches and addresses. In 1926 he was awarded the Kiwanis Medal in Philadelphia for distinguished civic service. In 1925 he was also appointed lieutenant-colonel in the Special Service Officers Reserve Corps of the United States.

Penniman was a member of many distinguished academic or civic societies, among them the American Philosophical Society, the Modern Language Association of America, the American Dialect Society, the American Society for the Advancement of Science, the English Association of Great Britain, the Society of Colonial Wars, the Sons of the Revolution, and the Royal Societies Club and the Pilgrims in London.

Penniman's brother, Dr. James Hosmer Penniman, was also a widely-known author and educator. He devoted much of his time to the study of the life of George Washington and to the development of memorial libraries at Penn, Yale and Brown universities in honor of his parents. In 1929, the United States Geographic Board honored the two brothers by naming two hanging glaciers in Alaska after them. James died in 1931.

Penniman was married in June 1929, to Ida Jutte Walther of New York City, a widow of three children. He was an affectionate son, brother, and husband.

From the description of Papers,personal and family 1706-1968 (University of Pennsylvania). WorldCat record id: 123570060

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Office of the Provost Records. Charles Custis Harrison Administration 1854-1943 (bulk 1891-1927) University of Pennsylvania, Archives & Records Center
creatorOf Penniman, Josiah H., 1868-1941. Papers,personal and family 1706-1968 University of Pennsylvania, Archives & Records Center
creatorOf Penniman, Josiah Harmar, 1868-1941. Miscellaneous manuscripts, n.d. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Penniman, Josiah Harmar, 1868-1941,. Autograph letters signed Josiah H. Penniman, Philadelphia and London, to F.G. Fleay [manuscript], 1895-1897. Folger Shakespeare Library
referencedIn Speck, Frank Gouldsmith. Frank Gouldsmith Speck Papers. 1903-1950. American Philosophical Society Library
creatorOf Mack, Connie, 1862-1956. Miscellaneous manuscripts, 1926-1930. University of Pennsylvania Library
creatorOf Penniman, Josiah Harmar, 1868-1941. Correspondence with Edgar Fahs Smith, 1904-1928. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf University of Pennsylvania. Correspondence with Paul Philippe Cret, 1903-1940. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn John Clement Fitzpatrick Papers, 1927-1941 Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Penniman, Josiah Harmar, 1868-1941. Letter to Horace Howard Furness, Jr., 1930. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Houghton Library. Houghton Library printed book provenance file, L-Q. 1942. Houghton Library
creatorOf Penniman, Josiah Harmar, 1868-1941,. Autograph letter signed from Josiah Harmar Penniman to Frederick Gard Fleay [manuscript], 1897 November 15. Folger Shakespeare Library
referencedIn Fitzpatrick, John Clement, 1876-1940. Papers of John Clement Fitzpatrick, 1927-1941. Library of Congress
creatorOf Fuller, Margaret, 1872-1954. Miscellaneous manuscripts, 1939. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Nagle, Jay Edwin Sturgis,. Papers, Philadelphia Correspondence and Indentures Collection, 1699-1929. Temple University Libraries, Paley Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith American Dialect Society corporateBody
associatedWith American Philosophical Society corporateBody
associatedWith American Society for the Advancement of Science corporateBody
associatedWith Cartwright, Robert. person
associatedWith Daniel, Samuel, 1562-1619 person
associatedWith English Association of Great Britain corporateBody
associatedWith Fitzpatrick, John Clement, 1876-1940. person
correspondedWith Fleay, Frederick Gard, 1831-1909 person
associatedWith Fuller, Margaret, 1872-1954. person
associatedWith Hosmer, Maria Davis 1830-1914 person
associatedWith Houghton Library. person
associatedWith Jonson, Ben, 1573?-1637 person
associatedWith Mack, Connie, 1862-1956. person
associatedWith Marston, John, 1575?-1634 person
associatedWith Modern Language Association of America corporateBody
associatedWith Nagle, Jay Edwin Sturgis, person
associatedWith Penniman, Ida Jutte person
associatedWith Penniman, James Hosmer, 1860-1931 person
associatedWith Penniman, James Lanman, 1832-1890 person
associatedWith Pilgrams in London corporateBody
associatedWith Royal Societies Club corporateBody
associatedWith Society of Colonial Wars corporateBody
associatedWith Sons of the Revolution corporateBody
associatedWith Speck, Frank Gouldsmith, 1881-1950 person
associatedWith The Pennsylvanian corporateBody
associatedWith University of Pennsylvania corporateBody
associatedWith University of Pennsylvania. Office of the Provost. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Pennsylvania. Presidents corporateBody
associatedWith University of Pennsylvania. School of Arts and Sciences corporateBody
associatedWith Walther, Ida Jutte person
associatedWith William Penn Charter School. corporateBody
associatedWith Wood, Francis C. (Francis Clark). person
Place Name Admin Code Country
English literature--Study and teaching


Birth 1868

Death 1941



Ark ID: w6jd4xrg

SNAC ID: 45323525