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Swarthmore College Penguin Club records

Identifier: SFHL-RG6-L4-A

Scope and Contents

The materials in this collection range over a time span from 1920 to 1989. This collection is made up materials from the Penguin Club and its predecessor, the Campus Club. "Series I. Minutes" contains minute books as well as miscellaneous membership lists. "Series II. Faculty Plays" includes flyers, production notes, and planning materials from faculty drama productions. "Series III. Events" contains records and information about other types of events hosted by the club. "Series IV. Kovalenko" contains planning information regarding the Kovalenko dinner dance, an annual dinner (later combined with the club's regular Christmas event) that was one of the faculty club's most reknowned events.

The materials in this collection mainly pertain to the clubs' organizing of events and functions, as well as modifications of their policies. Materials relating both to club dinners/gatherings and faculty plays mainly deal with logistics and advertising/invitations.

Series I: Minutes also includes miscellaneous membership lists. Series III: Events and Series IV: Kovalenko include some information about transformations, combinations, and continuations of certain club events.


  • Creation: 1920 - 1989


Biographical / Historical

The Faculty Men’s Club was established before 1915 as a social organization for members of the faculty. A similar Faculty Women’s Club, composed primarily for the wives of the faculty, was established around the same time. The Faculty Women’s Club changed its name to Women’s Campus Club in 1929, later known simply as the Campus Club and then as the Penguin Club. Among other social activities, in the 1940s the club began putting on a series of faculty and staff theatrical productions, which continued annually and then biennially through the 1980s.

The Penguin Club, previously known as the Campus Club and before that the Faculty Club, served as the primary social organization for Swarthmore faculty and their spouses from around 1920 until 1989. They regularly organized teas, dinners, dances, and other events for the faculty community. The club was also responsible for putting on the annual faculty play. One of the most extravagant events hosted by the club was the Kovalenko dinner dance, an annual event sponsored by a fund established by a Swarthmore professor. Michael Stephanovitch Kovalenko (1888-1954) was a professor of Astronomy at Swarthmore, and he set up a fund to support the annual event in honor of his wife. The Penguin Club regularly organized and hosted this event, naming a Kovalenko planning committee each year.


2.7 Linear Feet (7 boxes)




The Penguin Club, previously known as the Campus Club and before that the Faculty Club, served as the primary social organization for Swarthmore faculty and their spouses from around 1920 until 1989. The Penguin Club records, 1920-1989, include minutes of the Penguin Club and predecessor organization (including some Men’s and Women’s minutes), 1920s-1980s; faculty-staff drama production materials, such as programs, scripts, planning materials, and flyers, 1960s-1989; files on other activities of the Campus Club, such as museum tours, potlucks, and picnics; and materials on "The Kovalenko," an annual dinner dance for faculty. Also stored with this collection is one slim volume of records of Jocoseria, a faculty club for Robert Browning enthusiasts (1898-1899), call number RG6/L4-B.


This collection is arranged into four series: Series I. Minutes; Series II. Faculty Plays; Series III. Events; and Series IV. Kovalenko. Within these series, the materials are arranged chronologically. Stored alongside this collection is a single publication from Jocoseria, an earlier faculty club, call number RG6/L4-B.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by student employee Constance Hawley in 2016 under the supervision of FHL staff member Celia Caust-Ellenbogen.

Constance Hawley and Celia Caust-Ellenbogen
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 or requesting reproductions from Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College Library

500 College Avenue
Swarthmore Pennsylvania 19081 USA