University of Pennsylvania Finding Aids

Navigation Aids

University of Pennsylvania Finding Aids
Search Finding Aids

Main Content

Edgar Meck Dilley writings

Ms. Coll. 1110

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Summary Information

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Dilley, Edgar M. (Edgar Meck), 1874-1960
Edgar Meck Dilley writings
Date [bulk]:
Date [inclusive]:
Call Number:
Ms. Coll. 1110
1 linear feet (3 boxes)
Writer, song-writer, and reporter Edgar Meck Dilley attended the University of Pennsylvania from 1893 to 1895 and is known for having written the school's alma mater, "Hail, Pennsylvania." This collection consists mainly of drafts of his writings, including novels and stories, plays and operas, lyrics, poems, and musical scores, as well as a few accompanying miscellaneous items.
Cite as:
Edgar Meck Dilley writings, 1876-1923, Ms. Coll. 1110, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania
PDF Version:

Return to Top »


Born in Philadelphia in 1874, Edgar Meck Dilley attended William Penn Charter School before entering the University of Pennsylvania in 1893, withdrawing at his father's insistence in 1895. While at Penn, Dilley studied architecture and was an active member of the Glee Club. As a sophomore, he composed the lyrics to the University's alma mater "Hail, Pennsylvania" and encouraged William J. Goeckel and Harry E. Westervelt to write "The Red and Blue," the alma mater more commonly sung today. Song-writing was Dilley's chief claim to fame, as he was also the author of the Pennsylvania State Song and of "Ave, Penn Charter", one of the alma maters of Penn Charter School.

From 1900 until 1923, Dilley worked as a reporter and writer in various locations. His newspaper stints included work for the McClure Times in Philadelphia, the  New York Sunday Herald, the  Chicago American, and the  St. Louis Post Dispatch. His assignments included the Roosevelt-Longworth wedding for the Philadelphia Press as well as a history of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. His first book,  The Red Fox's Son was published in 1911.

In 1923 Dilley moved to Clermont, Florida, to become a citrus farmer and to enjoy the opportunities for sailing; from 1942 until his death in 1960, he lived in St. Petersburg. Dilley resumed writing fiction in 1930 with work on his second novel, My American.

[the above is taken in its entirety from the Edgar Meck Dilley papers (UPT 50 D578), housed at the University of Pennsylvania's University Archives & Records Center]

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of drafts of the works of Edgar Meck Dilley along with a few miscelleneous items found with the drafts, and are arranged alphabetically by title or subject. Many of these copies are marked "sent" with a date of 1922 or 1923, despite the fact that some of the typescripts date the original drafts to 1911 or 1912. It seems likely that the bulk of these drafts were collected as a set (and annoted and corrected) around 1922 or 1923. The drafts are mainly in typescript form, with a few manuscript versions in some cases. Some of the drafts include synopses in addition to or instead of a draft of the work itself. They include all manner of genres: novels and stories, plays and operas, lyrics, poems, and musical scores. The accompanying miscellaneous items are: a copy of Old Penn (a University of Pennsylvania publication) from 1911 containing a review of Dilley's novel  The Red Fox's Son, a letter by Dilley to a former professor from 1915, plans for a piece of machinery designed by Dilley, and a copy of a special centenary newspaper from 1876,  Ye Greate Centennial.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts,  2015 August 10

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Ben Rosen

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Source of Acquisition

Anonymous gift, circa 1960.

Return to Top »

Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

At The University of Pennsylvania: -- University Archives and Records Center: Edgar Meck Dilley Papers (UPT 50 D578)

Return to Top »

Controlled Access Headings

  • Librettos
  • Manuscripts (documents)
  • Novels
  • Plays (performed works)
  • Songs--Texts
  • Typescripts
  • Writings (documents)
  • Authors
  • Authors, American--20th century
  • Lyricists
  • Music
  • Opera

Return to Top »

Collection Inventory

Box Folder

96 Upside Down 69 (manuscript draft), undated.

1 1

The Dogman (typescript synopses), 1923.

1 2

The Drummer Boy (manuscript libretto draft), undated.

1 3

Footsteps of the Invisible (typescript draft), undated.

1 4

The Forbidden Trail (typescript draft and synopses), 1922.

1 5-10

The Gland Bit (typescript draft), undated.

1 11

Her Boy O’ Dreams (typescript synopses), undated.

1 12

The Idol’s Eyes (typescript draft), undated.

2 1

The Inside Story (typescript synopses), 1922.

2 2

Kids (typescript synopses), undated.

2 3

Machinery plans by Dilley, undated.

2 16

Mother’s Boy (typescript draft), undated.

2 4

Old Penn, Vol. X, no. 4 (includes review of  The Red Fox's Son by Dilley) (includes a letter by Dilley to his former professor written in 1915), 1911, 1915.

2 5

A Pair of Kings (manuscript and typescript libretto drafts), undated.




Radio stories: Jack and Jill,  The Little Boy Who Was Ill,  The Little Boy Who Found The Lost Girl (typescript drafts), undated.

2 7

The Vengeance of San Nicolas (typescript synopsis), undated.

2 8

Virginia’s Yankee (typescript synopses), undated.

2 9

When the Lights Go Out (typescript synopsis and draft), 1922, undated.

2 10

Why Men Don’t Go To Church (typescript draft) (also includes newspaper clippings relating to church), 1923, undated.

2 11

The Winter King (manuscript draft) (includes music manuscript for "The Chant"), undated.

2 12

Songs (includes "Down Among the Dead Men" and "Ave, Penn Charter") (manuscript draft and printed), undated.

2 13

Unidentified lyrics (manuscript and typescript drafts), undated.

2 14

Unidentified stories (typescript drafts), undated.

2 15

Ye Greate Centennial (newspaper), 1876.

2 17