George Stephens papers
Scope and Contents
This collection consists of items related to and purportedly created by fictitious Haverford College student, George Stephens (also spelled Stevens, Steevens, Stevinz).
The collection is divided into five series. The first includes works supposedly created by George Stephens, including correspondence, poetry, scholarship, and memoirs. Some of these items were created by Haverford students, faculty, and staff posing as Stephens while others were created by real people named George Stephens.
The second series consists of items about George Stephens, including artwork, poetry, photographs, correspondence, and Haverford lore. Most of these materials were created by Haverford College students, faculty, and staff to expand the mythos surrounding the fictitious George Stephens, but some items relate to real people named George Stephens or George Stevens, including a 2nd Lieutenant in a Civil War Union regiment and an American film director.
The third series contains materials related to the George Stephens Memorial Dinner, held from 1970 until at least 1986. These items include invitations, responses from invited guests, and photographs of the dinners. A series of photographs from the 1977 Dinner show President John R. Coleman being awarded the George Stevens Unmentionable Award and Bequest.
The fourth series includes materials related to the creation of the George Stephens collection. Many of the items in this series pertain to Edwin B. Bronner, Librarian of the College and the first Curator of the George Stephens Memorial Collection. There are also captions from various exhibits featuring the George Stephens Memorial Collection.
The final series consists of items purportedly belonging to George Stephens and other Stephens-related artifacts. Highlights of this series include George Stephens' diploma, his Haverford College soccer jerseys, his Ethiopian World Cup soccer jersey, a "fossil" of his prized race horse, and a "Save with Stevens" wooden bank.
George Stephens (alternately spelled "Stevens," "Steevens," "Stevinz," etc.) is a fictitious Haverford College student. Six Haverford students, Jim Booth (class of 1973), Roger Easton (class of 1972), Ron Norris (class of 1971), Bob Schwartz (class of 1971), Carl Tannenbaum (class of 1971), and Steve White (class of 1971), formed the George Stephens Memorial Association in 1969. The first George Stephens Memorial Dinner was held in 1970, at which time the first gift of "Stephensiana" was presented to the College and displayed in the Sharpless Gallery of Magill Library. At the 1977 Memorial Dinner, President John R. Coleman was presented with the first George Stevens Unmentionable Award and Bequest; photographs of this award ceremony are included in this collection. Edwin B. Bronner, Professor of History and Librarian of the College, was also the first Curator of the George Stephens Memorial Collection.
Tales of George Stephens's exploits grew more numerous over the years. The most popular story about Stephens identifies him as Ethiopia's goalie in the 1876 World Cup match against England. Due to various distractions and his own incompetencies, Stephens allowed England to score a single goal to win the match. Other tales identify Stephens as General George Custer's scout, implicate him in Rutherford B. Hayes's electoral victory over Samuel J. Tilden in 1876, and indicate that he sent William McKinley a faulty bulletproof vest that he was wearing at the time of his assassination in 1901. Stephens purportedly had relationships with several notable women, including journalist Margaret Fuller, trombonist Marguerite Dufay, and the also-fictitious Bryn Mawr Ice Cream Lady.
3.5 Linear Feet (4 boxes)
- George Stephens papers
- Elizabeth Jones-Minsinger
- November, 2019
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
Find It at the Library
Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections Library
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