Print This Issue

Loren Eiseley’s 100th Birthday Celebration at the Penn Museum
October 30, 2007, Volume 54, No. 10



The Penn Museum will celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Dr. Loren Eiseley Thursday, November 1 at 6 p.m. with an evening program. The Immense Journey: Loren Eiseley’s Life in Retrospect, about his life and work will be  presented by Mark Frazier Lloyd, director of the University of Pennsylvania Archives and Records Center.

On the centennial anniversary of the birth of Loren C. Eiseley, this is the story of how one person’s writings can influence millions of readers. Dr. Eiseley, Benjamin Franklin University Professor of Anthropology and History of Science, and curator of the Early Man section at the Penn Museum, was one of Penn’s intellectual giants in the mid 20th century. He joined the faculty in 1947 as professor and chair of the anthropology department and as a curator. His distinguished career led to his 1959 appointment as Provost. In 1961 he became the University’s first Benjamin Franklin Professor.

Dr. Eiseley was a highly respected anthropologist, Provost, science writer, ecologist, and poet. He published 11 books of essays, biography, and general science in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. His first and best known book, The Immense Journey, was published in 1946. He died July 9, 1977 (Almanac July 15, 1977). Dr. Eiseley, who earned his MA and his PhD in anthropology at Penn, is best known for the poetic essay style, called the “hidden essay,” which he used to explain complex scientific ideas, such as human evolution, to the general public. He is also known for his writings about humanity’s relationship with the natural world—writings which helped to inspire the modern environmental movement.

 “Today man has less time alone than any man before him.  But we are here for only a limited time, and I would rather spend such time as I have thinking about the meaning of the universe and the purpose of man, than doing something else.  I’ve spent hours in libraries and on park benches, escaping long enough to do a little thinking  … ,” he wrote.

The Penn Museum has a Loren Eiseley Society to honor his memory, further his ideals, sustain the Museum, and advance his vision. This program is free; birthday cake follows. Information: (215) 898-4890.

Almanac - October 30, 2007, Volume 54, No. 10