Additional ExhibitsMusselman Library

Check out our other Frankenstein exhibits. Pop Culture and Mary Shelley's Notebooks are in cases on the main floor just outside the Browsing Room.

Special Collections has a related exhibit on the creation of a Physical Education Department at Gettysburg College. (Located on the 4th floor and open Mon. - Fri. 1 to 5 p.m. and Tues. - Wed. evenings 6 to 9 p.m.)

Pop Culture Embraces Frankenstein

A monstrous man with an over-sized head and bolts protruding from his neck. An underground laboratory in a spooky castle with lightning flashing in the background.

The imagery of Frankenstein is easily recognized by all ages, making it a popular marketing tool. The monster has sold cereal, arthritis medicine, Twix candy bars, and even postage stamps.

The unnamed creature (remember Frankenstein was the scientist) also inspired two 1960s television shows (and related movies): "The Munsters" and "The Addams Family."

Mary Shelley wouldn’t recognize this monster, but you probably do!


Fred Gwynne portrayed the Frankenstein-inspired Herman Munster in the popular TV show and movie, "The Munsters."

A TV and print advertising campaign for an arthritis drug (left).

Even Marge Simpson got into the act as the Bride of Frankenstein for a Burger King promotion.

Mary Shelley's Notebooks

Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world.

A Portrait of Mary Shelley. Corbis-Bettmann ©.

Mary Shelley’s original manuscript of Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus consists of two notebooks, currently housed in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. This exhibit shows a replica of a few of those pages.

When it was first published in 1818, the book’s writer was listed as anonymous,
but the critical response to the novel was so immediate that Shelley was forced to acknowledge authorship.

The characters of Dr. Frankenstein and his creature served as brilliant metaphors in which the writer explored questions about life, death, and individual responsibility.

Ever since its publication 187 years ago, Frankenstein has fascinated a wide variety of scholars, providing thought provoking questions in philosophy, bioethics, feminism, eugenics, and the horror genre in literature and film.

Mens Sana in Corpore Sano:
A Sound Mind in a Healthy Body

It wasn’t until the late 1880s that physical education programs began to appear in educational institutions across the country. One of these institutions was Gettysburg College, then known as Pennsylvania College. Dr. George Diehl Stahley (shown in 1898 performing a dissection above; and in a 1912 class below left) served for several years as a part time lecturer in anatomy and hygiene. Then in 1889, the Board of Trustees formally created the Department of Physical Culture and Hygiene and appointed as Stahley as its first Chair.

Stahley’s program for Gettysburg College students consisted of several thorough physical examinations, prescribed exercise regimen and required course work in physiology and personal hygiene throughout their entire college career.

An M.D., Stahley taught until 1920 and is credited with not only introducing and developing the first modern physical education program at the College, but being an advocate for the acceptance of a modern science curriculum at the College.

Louis Thomas Jerome Auzoux (1797-1880), a French physician improved and popularized anatomical papier-mache models. As a medical student in the early 19th century, Auzoux found it difficult to study anatomy when the human cadavers he was dissecting deteriorated rapidly and wax models were not readily available.

Auzoux’s male model (shown right) was first introduced to the Physical Culture and Hygiene curriculum in 1896. As noted in the College catalogue for that year, “A newly purchased French manikin furnishes an excellent opportunity to study in situ all the numerous organs of the human body.” It was used continuously for the next 25 years until it was retired in 1921.

Source: Sixty-Fifth Annual Catalogue of the Officers and Student of Pennsylvania College, 1896-1897

(left) Photo from the scrapbook of John E. Ainsworth, Class of 1912 of students spoofing an autopsy. Note the Auzoux mannequin in the right corner.