We have just passed through college graduation season, with its new graduates roaming the streets in caps and gowns. The Rosenbach actually has a fair amount of academic dress represented in our collections owing to degrees accumulated by our founder A.S.W. Rosenbach, and even more by Marianne Moore, so I thought I’d post a few. I apologize in advance for the photo quality in this post–we don’t have formal pictures of these items and I didn’t have time to rephotograph them all, so I’m relying on snapshots taken during cataloging.
A.S.W. Rosenbach owes his sobriquet ” the Doctor” or “Dr. R” to his 1901 Ph.D. from Penn. Here are the 1901 graduates processing down Broad Street. Dr. Rosenbach is at the very front of the line, near the lower right corner.
We do have a U.Penn doctoral hood from Dr. R, but it is edged with brown velvet, which indicates that it is from his 1927 honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree, rather than his earned Ph.D. (In accordance with an intercollegiate agreement, liberal arts hoods are edged in white, fine arts in brown).
Another of his honorary degrees came from the Jewish Theological Seminary, Amherst, in 1945 and we also have his hood from that event.
But when it came to number of degrees, Dr. Rosenbach couldn’t hold a candle to Marianne Moore. Here she is in academic dress during her first year at Bryn Mawr (from which she graduated in 1909).
Beyond her earned bachelor’s degree, Moore would accumulate sixteen honorary degrees–her friend Elizabeth Bishop recalled that “she once modeled her favorite academic hoods for me.” The first to honor her was Wilson College, which gave her a Litt.D. in 1949.
Among her many other honorary degrees were Dickinson (1952)
Washington University in St Louis (1967)
and Princeton in 1968
We also have one doctoral robe for her, which we think is probably from NYU in 1967, when she was awarded the Doctor of Letters degree.