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Widener-PMC Class Notes From 90 Years Ago

December 14, 2011

I’m researching the 150-year history of the School of Engineering for the spring magazine and found a fascinating look at early alumni and ex-cadets for Widener predecessor institutions Pennsylvania Military Academy and Pennsylvania Military College.

Published in 1921, “Who’s Who — Thumbnail Sketches of Many Graduates and Ex-Cadets, Showing How They Have Been Engaged Since Leaving P.M.C.” is part of Henry Buxton’s Pennsylvania Military College: The Story of 100 Years, 1821-1921.  The entire article can be viewed online in the Digital Collections of the Widener University Archives.  The 34-page article has short biographies of many, certainly more than I can cover in a blog post, and I encourage you to scroll through it.

Here are three of the notes I found fascinating, and I added some information in italics with links I found elsewhere.

Russell Kelso Carter

— Russell Kelso Carter, Class of 1867: Married; author and preacher. Mr. Carter was connected with the faculty of the Pennsylvania Military College for 21 years. Critics have said that Mr. Carter’s historical novel, “Amor Victor,” is on a par with “Quo Vadis” and “Ben Hur,” “and as strong as anything of like nature in literature.” Home address, 713 St. Paul Street, Baltimore, Md.

Carter also wrote many well-known hymns.  You can read more about him in this biography or see his hymns here.

— J. Howard Lewis, Class of 1881. Widower, three children; Mr. Lewis was very prominent in college athletics, he being one of the star football and baseball players in 1880-81.  His Alma Mater takes exceeding satisfaction in his reputation as a horseman of international fame without, in the judgment of many, and equal in the world.  Home address, Elkins Park, Pa.

He was posthumously inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 1969.

–Carroll A. Devol, Class of 1878, Married. Military Record-Lieutenant, Infantry, 1879; captain, Quartermaster, 1896; major, Quartermaster, 1902; lieutenant colonel, Division Quartermaster General, 1909; colonel, Assistant Quartermaster General, 1911; brigadier general, Quartermaster Corps, 1913; major general, retired, 1916. General Staff, 1906-08. World War, on active duty, June, 1917. D. S. M., 1919. Also awarded Spanish-American War and Philippine Insurrection medals. Home address, Menlo Park, Cal.

He is listed in the Military Times Hall of Valor; he also served as quartermaster for the Panama Canal Project and is listed on our Distinguished Alumni Page.

Also noted in the Who’s Who are actor Burt Mustin (class of 1903), at the time noted as an “automobile salesmen” in Pittsburgh who was “prominent in Pittsburgh amateur dramatic circles”; and Sylvanus Griswold Morley (class of 1904), cited as a “noted archaeologist” and resident of Santa Fe, N.M.  He is the subject of the 2009 book, The Archaeologist Was a Spy: Sylvanus G. Morley and the Office of Naval Intelligence.

If you do peruse the online pages, note that there is no alphabetical or chronological order to the list.  Also, the files are large and can take some time to download, but it’s well worth it!

–Sam Starnes, Editor

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