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Kneedler Family Papers

Identifier: MS 055


This collection consists of letters, photographs and other material relating to four members of the Kneedler family of Greensburg, PA who attended Franklin and Marshall College in the 20th century. The largest portion of the material are letters written by Robert Glen, and Jay Ivan Kneedler (members of the Class of 1927). Their letters are particularly interesting as they depict student life in the 1920s. The second largest part contains the student papers (1961-1965) of A. Richard Kneedler, a 1965 graduate of Franklin and Marshall College, Professor of French, Administrator, and President of the College from 1988-2002.


  • 1893-2005,
  • Majority of material found within 1923-1925 .
  • Majority of material found within 1961-1965


Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Photocopying and publication restricted by copyright. except by permission of copyright holder..

Biographical / Historical

The Kneedler brothers Robert Glen and Jay Ivan Kneedler were the 2nd and 3rd members of their family to attend Franklin & Marshall, following in the footsteps of their older brother Alvin, who had enrolled at the College in 1914. All three of the brothers left F & M before graduation, Alvin, after his freshman year to enroll in the University of Pittsburgh School of Dentistry, and Robert and Jay, after their freshman and sophomore years at F & M, to transfer to Cornell University so that Jay could pursue a degree in engineering. Robert was approximately 10 months older than Jay and they were in the same class throughout school[as far as is known]. Robert was very interested in the humanities and foreign languages, both classical and modem, while Jay was the incipient engineer, generally doing much better in math and science. There are many references in the letters to individuals at Franklin & Marshall who crossed the brothers' paths and who are well known in the College's history. Among them are Professors Beck, Mull, Truxal and Weisgerber. Also mentioned several times is President Henry Harbaugh Apple. Students whom they knew who later taught at Franklin & Marshall included Mike Lewis and Kenneth D. Longsdorff. [In addition] there are references to other students whose names are not familiar [but surmised to be] Greensburg or Western Pennsylvania F & M students the Kneedler Family would have had reason to know. There are also many references to the names of various theaters, hotels and other places in Lancaster.. including the Fulton Opera House. The Kneedler brothers often went to the movies, the theater, vaudeville, lectures, even an organ recital by Marcel Dupre in the City of Lancaster. It was an active place and they took major advantage of it, much as Henry Kyd Douglas had done 75 or so years earlier. As he had, they traveled about Lancaster on foot. However, they also took the trolley in the City and hitchhiked to travel in the region, as they most notably did when they went to Carlisle via Harrisburg to attend an F & M/Dickinson football game and took the opportunity to sightsee in the state capital and even saw Gov. Gifford Pinchot out taking a constitutional.----note by Richard Kneedler.


1 Linear feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials



Collection: Organized into two series corresponding to early 20th century Kneedler brothers, Alvin, Robert G. and Jay I. and late 20th century Kneedler nephew, A. Richard.

Ownership and Custodial History

All of the materials in this collection were donated to the Archives and Special Collections by A. Richard Kneedler in January 2002.

Related Archival Materials

Records of Franklin and Marshall College, President Kneedler Records (RG 05/13): Custodian--Archives and Special Collections: Address--Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA, Country--USA..


The majority of the collection consists of 59 letters written home by Robert Glen Kneedler and Jay Ivan Kneedler, both members of Franklin & Marshall's Class of 1927, during their freshman and sophomore years at the College. They may be of particular interest for their documentation of various details of student life at F & M in the middle of President Henry Harbaugh Apple's tenure, including the bellicose interactions of freshmen and sophomores, the degree to which students lived and socialized in town, the tenor of student-faculty relations, the rigor (or the lack of rigor) of academics, the focus on athletics, the role of religion in student life, their connection with their parents, the period's fascination with transportation technologies, among other issues.

Processing Information

Processing completed January 2003.

Description rules
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Franklin and Marshall College Special Collections Repository

PO Box 3003
Lancaster PA 17604 United States