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Speeches of Henry Sturgis Drinker President of Lehigh University

Identifier: SC MS 0020

Scope and Contents

Speeches are on a variety of topics, including Lehigh University and Bethlehem affairs, the influenza epidemic, education and its role in wartime, military preparedness and training, the League of Nations, conservation, and others. It includes a few letters written by Dr. Drinker as president of Lehigh University, some personal reminiscences, and one speech by Dr. Henry S. McCracken, chancellor emeritus of New York University, on war preparedness, delivered in 1899. What is of special interest is the names of early faculty and with the various curriculums offered in the early twentieth century.


  • Creation: 1905 - 1929


Biographical / Historical

Drinker (1850-1937) was a mining engineering graduate of Lehigh University Class of 1871. He was the only alumnus to serve as president of Lehigh University from 1905 to 1920. He was born in Hong Kong and was interested in China affairs and encouraged Chinese students to attend Lehigh. With his mining engineering education he helped solve the problems of building the two-mile long Musconetong Tunnel an engineering feat that enabled railroad travel between Easton, PA and New York City. He also studied law, admitted to the bar and became solicitor general for the Lehigh Valley Railroad from 1885 to 1905 at which time he became President of Lehigh University. At Lehigh he established the Alumni endowment fund in 1907, Lehigh Alumni Bulletin in 1913 and the Alumni Association incorporation in 1917. He started in the University a tradition of business-like management of university affairs. During his presidency, more buildings were completed than any previous president: the original Fritz Engineering Laboratory, Drown Hall, Coxe Mining Laboratory, Taylor Hall, Taylor Gymnasium and Fieldhouse, Taylor Stadium, and Lamberton Hall. As a friend of Gifford Pinchot, Drinker had an interest in horticulture which led to planting on campus many rare trees and plants and development of a Department of Forestry. He served as president of the American Forestry Association and was vice-president of the American Conservation Congress. In 1909 a teacher’s course and a business administration course were begun at Lehigh. In 1918 the University divided into three colleges: liberal arts, business administration and engineering – the basis of today’s colleges. He had an interest in military affairs and from 1913-1916 was involved in the National Reserve Corps. He served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Military Training Camps Association resulting in the establishment in 1919 of the Army R.O.T.C. He resigned as president of Lehigh University in 1920. His spouse was Aimee Ernesta Beaux Drinker (1852-1939). Their children were: Henry Sandwich Drinker (1880-1939), a musicologist; James Blathwaite Drinker (1882-1971) and Catherine Drinker Bowen (1898-1973), a renown historical author who wrote an excellent autobiography about life at Lehigh; there were three other children between James and Catherine. His sister-in-law was a well-known Philadelphia artist Cecilia Beaux who painted a portrait of him titled “Man with a Cat” now hanging in the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.


1 Linear Feet : 2 Boxes, 1 linear feet

Language of Materials



Typescripts of speeches, many with additional penciled-in notes, given by Dr. Drinker as president of Lehigh University, as president of the American Forestry Association, and as a supporter of war preparedness and the Student Army Training Corps movement.


Materials in this collection are arranged in two boxes: Box 1 speeches given to an assortment of organizations; Box 2 speeches specifically dealing with forestry.

Related Materials

1882. Drinker, Henry Sturgis. “Tunneling, explosive compounds and rock drills….” New York: Wiley 625.13 D781t3 1905. “Installation of president Henry Sturgis Drinker at Lehigh University: Speeches delivered at 26th celebrations of Founder’s Day.” SC LPub 0178K 1914. Drinker, Henry Sturgis. “The American Forestry Association.” L D 781a 1914. Drinker, Henry Sturgis. “The Panama Canal tolls controversy…” Brown & White. L D 781p 1924. Bowen, Catherine Drinker. “A History of Lehigh University.” The Lehigh Alumni Bulletin. 1970. Bowen, Catherine Drinker. “Family Portrait.” Boston: Little, Brown. “Papers by Henry Sturgis Drinker.” SC MS 0042 “Addresses at the dedication of tablet to Dr. Hnery Sturgis Drinker in the War record chamber of the Lehigh Alumni building.” L D781z “Documents on Henry S. Drinker’s presidency at Lehigh University assembled by Edward J. Gallagher.” SC MS0114


Cultural context

Genre / Form





Speeches of Henry Sturgis Drinker President of Lehigh University
Special Collections Staff expanded by Eleanor Nothelfer
1991-02-05 and 2015-07-21
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Lehigh University Special Collections Repository

Lehigh University
Linderman Library
30 Library Drive
Bethlehem PA 18045 USA
610-758-6091 (Fax)