MS-070: The Papers of Philip M. Biklé and Family

Reading Room Hours

When Classes are in session:
M, Th, F : 1 - 5 PM
T, W : 1 - 5 and 6 - 9 PM
Other times by appointment

Ask an Archivist

Special Collections

Musselman Library
Fourth Floor
Gettysburg College Box 420
Gettysburg, PA 17325

717-337-7002 ~ Director
717-337-7006 ~ Archivist
717-337-7014 ~ General Inquiries

MS-070: The Papers of Philip M. Biklé and Family

(7 boxes, 1.89 cubic feet)

Inclusive Dates: 1862-1924

Bulk Dates: 1878-1894

Processed by Nicole Lenart, 06

Fall 2005

Link to Full Finding Aid - PDF

Provenance Gift of Philip R. Biklé, class of 1905


Philip Melanchton Biklé was born in Smithsburg, Maryland, on December 1, 1844.  He attended Pennsylvania College from 1862-1866 where he was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity and the Phrenakosmian Literary Society. While he was a student, he attended the dedication of the National Cemetery and heard Abraham Lincoln deliver the Gettysburg Address.

After Biklé graduated second in his class in 1866, he was a professor of Latin and Mathematics at the York County Academy in Pennsylvania for one year.  Biklé then returned to Gettysburg to study at the Lutheran Theological Seminary from 1867-1869. He took a position as a professor of Latin and Greek from 1869-1870 at North Carolina College and was the vice-principal and a Latin professor at the Lutherville Female Seminary from 1870-1873.  He studied at Dartmouth College from 1873-1874, and upon finishing his studies, he returned to teach at Gettysburg College.  He was the Ockershausen Professor of Physics and Astronomy from 1874-1881 and the Pearson Professor of Latin and Literature from 1881-1925.  In 1889, Biklé also assumed the role of the Dean of the College, a position that he held until 1924.  Biklé continued to teach while he was Dean, retiring in 1925 after fifty-one years of service.  He died in 1934 at the age of ninety.

Biklé first married Annie M. Wattles in 1868 who died in 1872.  He remarried in 1877 to Emma J. Wolf, who later died in 1918.  He had four children, all of whom graduated from Gettysburg College.  Horace, his only child with Annie Wattles was born in 1877 and graduated from the college in 1889.  His children with Emma Wolf were Henry Wolf, class of 1897, Paul Harold, class of 1900, and Philip Raymond, class of 1905.  Biklé lived with his family on campus in Cottage Hall until December of 1913 when he was ordered to vacate the house because it was going to be converted into a dormitory.

While at Gettysburg College, Biklé edited the Pennsylvania College Monthly, a magazine about the college, its history, and academics from its first issue in 1877 until its last issue in December of 1893.  Additionally, Biklé edited the Lutheran Quarterly from 1880-1907.  He was instrumental in implementing changes to the college’s admission requirements in 1907 and also introduced new courses into the curriculum.  Biklé helped to bring a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa to campus in 1922 and encouraged the formation of the first alumni clubs.  Publications by Biklé include “Educating Young Men for the Ministry,” “Faraday, the Scientist and Christian, “Female Education in the Church,” and “Our Present Knowledge of the Sun.”

Biklé held various positions in the Lutheran Church:  he was the Secretary of the Maryland Synod in 1874 and again from 1876-1879; the secretary of the Lutheran Minister’s Insurance League from 1874-1876; and served as the first president of the Lutheran Educational Conference.

Series Description

The manuscript is divided into nine series.  Series 1: Biklé as a Student; Series II: Biklé as professor and dean, Series III: Lutheran Quarterly, Series IV: Pennsylvania College Monthly, Series V:  Correspnence, Series VI: Henry Wolfe Bicklé, Series VII: Paul Harold Bicklé, Series VIII: Philip Raymond, and Series IX: Miscellaneous.

Scope and Content Note  

The papers of Philip Biklé consist of mostly personal correspondence between Biklé and Emma, and the correspondence of Emma and their children.  Also included are class notes from Biklé’s years as a student, and account books from the Lutheran Quarterly and Pennsylvania College Monthly.   This collection does not include any information on Biklé’s publications, the classes he taught, or his work as a professor and dean.   The collection consists of seven boxes and nine series.

Series I:  Biklé as a Student

This series contains class notes taken by Biklé at Pennsylvania College, the Lutheran Seminary, and Dartmouth College.

Series II:  Biklé as professor and dean

This series contains various papers relating to Biklé’s years working on the faculty of Gettysburg College.  Included are the plans for his home at Cottage Hall, undated sermons, and a collection of letters from the 50th anniversary celebration for Biklé and Edward Breidenbaugh in 1924.  All college alumni were asked to donate $1 to be split among the two professors.  The response was enthusiastic, and this series includes letters sent by alumni with their donations.  The letters were sent to the college and are arranged chronologically.

Series III:  Lutheran Quarterly

This series contains account books and miscellaneous correspondence relating to the Quarterly.

Series IV: Pennsylvania College Monthly

Included here are account books and miscellaneous correspondence.

Series V: Correspondence

The correspondence series contains nine sub-series.  Sub-series A includes the correspondence between Emma and Philip Biklé.  Sub-series B contains letters to Philip M. Biklé from various family members and acquaintances.  Sub-series C contains letters to Emma Biklé from her father, H.G. Wolf.  Letters to Emma from her brother, Harold Wolf are located in sub-series D.  Sub-series E contains letters to Emma from her sister, Edith Wolf.  Sub-series F holds letters to Emma from her friend Ludie, and sub-series G contains letters addressed to “Pythias” [Emma] from “Damion,” who is presumably Ludie.  Sub-series H contains letters to Emma from miscellaneous family and friends.  The letters in sub-series I were written by Emma to her children. 

Series VI: Henry Wolf Biklé (born October 20, 1877)

The folders in this series include the correspondence of Henry W. Biklé arranged chronologically.

Series VII:  Paul Harold Biklé (born June 6, 1879)

This series contains the correspondence of Paul H. Biklé arranged chronologically.

Series VIII:  Philip Raymond Biklé (born June 5, 1885)

The one folder in this series contains the correspondence of Philip R. Biklé arranged chronologically and two newspaper articles relating to Philip’s life as an adult.

Series IX:  Miscellaneous

This series contains an autograph book of Annie Wattles and miscellaneous receipts, calling cards, and letter fragments.

Link to Full Finding Aid - PDF