A Library, an Organ, and 'The Scholium'

Philadelphia School House
Philadelphia School House

Mr. Benson donated $500 for a library in January of 1888. Mr. Benson also donated $600 for a pipe organ for the chapel in 1889. A Debating Society was formed in 1888 and they in turn started The Academy Scholium. The Scholium published articles about the school and sports scores as well as literary articles and poems.

The Scholium articles provide us with some history of athletics at Episcopal. A football team was pictured as early as 1882 and in the same year the Alumni society suggested adding three rowing machines. There was a cricket club by 1886. The Athletic Association and the Inter-Academic League were formed in 1887. By 1888 there were football, baseball, cricket, track, shooting and tennis teams.

Several changes occurred in 1890. The tuition was raised to $200, the same as Penn Charter and DeLancey. The school would be open until 3:30 for supervised study or gym, at no extra charge. The school would provide a catered lunch for students. Lastly, teachers’ salaries would be based on merit and seniority. However, attendance was down to 143 that year and the trustees blamed it on decreasing college acceptance rates. This caused Dr. Robins to resign, though not in bad blood as the Academy he left in 1891 was far better than the one he inherited in 1857.

1907 Shield
1907 Shield

The trustees appointed Dr. Klapp Headmaster on July 1st, 1891 with a set salary of $4000. Dr. Klapp was incredibly devoted to Episcopal and a kindly man always willing to help his students. He urged his students to apply themselves physically as he believed this improved their studies. Dr. Klapp moved the Benson Library so it was adjoining his office. He also changed the daily schedule to have longer but fewer classes, a lunch period, and an afternoon study hall. The Chapel was remodeled in 1891, and the organ was enlarged in 1895.

Dr. John Andrew Harris began teaching religion classes in 1893 to the VI Form. 1895 brought the first graduation ceremony in the school’s history. The school building was enlarged in 1899 and a new lower school building was built in 1909. The Alumni Society worked to increase the endowment, which took a major jump from $5,971 in 1892 to $8,636 in 1893. The Endowment grew to $16,000 by 1908.

As attendance began to rise again, the trustees considered moving the school to a new location but were discouraged when they found their current building valued only at $100,000. They decided to build an addition for $27,235.03 in the summer of 1899 which added three stories of classrooms and enlarged the gym. In 1898, the title of Vice President was added to the Board of Trustees and Rev. John Andrews Harris quickly assumed this title.

Under Dr. Klapp, school began with chapel at 9:00. Classes were an hour long and went from 9:15 to 1:15. Heavy emphasis was placed on literature and mathematics, with a few history, science and language classes. An athletic field was also rented in the suburbs for the children’s use for more organized and regular sports as Dr. Klapp wanted every boy involved in athletics.

Enrollment continued to grow and reached a peak of 300 in 1908. In 1909 the Academy expanded on Latimer Street, building a new building for $19,291.78. While this was the peak of Dr. Klapp’s management, enrollment began to decline which led to financial problems. Tuition was increased to $250 in 1911. Dr. Klapp decided to resign in June of 1914. The Episcopal Academy and the DeLancey School merged in 1915. The most successful parts of the merger were the additions of a Glee Club, a Debating Club, and the Domino Club for drama.