William Hervey Allen (1889-1949) graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1915. He served as a Lieutenant in the 28th (Keystone) Division of the U.S. Army in World War I and was wounded in battle. He published a book of poems, Wampus and Old Gold in the Yale Series of Younger poets (1921). His second book, Toward the Flame (1926), was a memoir of his experiences during the war.
Hervey Allen is best known, however, for the historical novel Anthony Adverse (1933) which followed its hero across Europe, Africa, and the Americas during the Napoleonic era. It was a substantial success and established Allen as a leading popular novelist. Allen then began a series of five novels taking colonial Western Pennsylvania as their subject and background. He completed three: The Forest and the Fort (1943), Bedford Village (1944) and Toward the Morning (1948). A fourth, The City in the Dawn, was published posthumously in 1950. Allan wrote a biography of Edgar Allan Poe and he co-edited the Rivers of America series with Carl Carmer. He taught at the Porter Military Academy in Charleston, South Carolina, and at Columbia and Vassar. In a letter to Chancellor McCormick in 1920, Hervey Allen said, “I owe much to the good Doctor Gibbs.”
Kenneth Miller Gould was a longtime editor of Scholastic magazine and the author of several books, including Windows on the World and They Got the Blame: The Story of Scapegoats in History.
Elmer Bernard Kenyon became the head of Carnegie Institute of Technology’s Drama department. He also served as the publicity agent for Helen Hayes, Dame Judith Anderson and Tallulah Bankhead. The Kenyon family papers are held by the University of Pittsburgh library system. The Kenyon family operated the Kenyon Theatre, the first “high class” vaudeville theatre on Pittsburgh’s Northside. They later opened the Kenyon Opera House, also known as the Pitt Theatre, in downtown Pittsburgh.
Marie McSwigan. After graduation (1919), McSwigan worked as a journalist for the Pittsburgh Press and then for the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegram. Later, she worked as a publicist for Kennywood and the Carnegie Institute Department of Fine Arts. She returned to the University of Pittsburgh in 1941 as Director of News Services and Director of Publications. McSwigan was also a successful children’s book author. Her books for children include The Weather House People (1940), Snow Treasure (1942), Five on a Merry-Go-Round (1944), Hi Barney (1946), Juan of Manila (1947), Our Town has a Circus (1949), Binnie Latches On (1950), The News is Good (1952), Three’s a Crowd (1953), All Aboard for Freedom (1954), and Small Miracle at Lourdes (1958). McSwigan also authored two biographies for adult audiences: Sky Hooks, The Autobiography of John Kane as Told to Marie McSwigan (1938) and Athlete of Christ (1959), on St. Nicholas of Flue, Switzerland’s patron saint. (John Kane was a self-taught Pittsburgh artist; his paintings are part of the Carnegie Museum permanent collection.)
Elizabeth Gertrude Levin Stern (1889-1954) was born in Poland. Her family emigrated to Pittsburgh in 1892, where he father served as a rabbi. She took her BA from the University of Pittsburgh in 1911. She had a successful career as a social worker and journalist, writing for the Philadelphia Public Leader, the New York Times, the New York Evening World, and the Philadelphia Sunday Record. She is the author of My Mother and I (1917), one of the first books to bring attention to the experience of immigrant families. This was followed by a partly autobiographical novel (written under the pen name “Leah Morton”), I Am a Woman—and a Jew (1926). Later in her career, Stern also published biographies of business-woman Margaret McAvoy Scott, inventor Josiah White, and The Women Behind Gandhi.
Robert Hasley Wettach joined the Law faculty at the University of North Carolina in 1921. He served as Dean of the Law School from 1941-1949. An expert in labor law, he was an examiner on the Textile Law Relations Board in 1934-35 and a panel member of the War Labor Board in 1943-45. Wettach served as Assistant Attorney General for the state of North Carolina. Van Hecke-Wettach Hall at UNC carries his name.
PhD Students and Dissertations
Wallace Lee Bonham, “The Harmony of the Ethical with the Dramatic Purpose in Shakespeare’s Great Tragedies”
Karl William Traugott Jentsch, “Shakespeare’s Attitude Toward the Church”
The university continues to offer a Sophomore Prize in English literature, but after 1912 the winners are no longer announced in the College Catalog.
The Sophomore Literature Prize
The Freshman Literature Prize