The Behrend
History Project

An open access local history resource site developed by the faculty and students
of Penn State Behrend and hosted by the Penn State Digital Humanities Lab.

Welcome to the Archive

The Behrend History Project is a collaborative effort of the faculty and students of the Digital Media, Arts, and Technology program at Penn State Behrend. The project is proudly hosted and developed by members of the Penn State Digital Humanities Lab. The John M. Lilley Library at Penn State Behrend contains a large archival quality collection of artifacts relating to the Hammermill Paper Company, the family founders of the company, and the Penn State campus that bears the Behrend family name proudly to this day. Our collection spans three areas, including the Behrend Family Collection, the Hammermill Paper Company Collection, and Behrend College Collection.

Please follow this site as the students and faculty of Penn State Behrend work to share the rich history of the Erie region and the legacy of our college.


Hammermill Paper
Company Collection

image of a early 20th century printing press

The archival materials date from the founding through the takeover in the mid-1980’s and describe the growth of the company and changes in the papermaking process. The papers also touch on topics of cultural interest and local history such as the 1918 influenza epidemic, the pollution of Lake Erie, and the distrust of German-Americans and their companies during the Nazi era.


The Behrend
Family Collection

Image of two men pushing a rail cart

With the success of the Hammermill Paper Company, the Behrend family became prominent Erie citizens. By 1932 Ernst Behrend and his wife, Mary Brownell Behrend, purchased several farm parcels adjacent to Wintergreen Gorge in nearby Harborcreek and named the property Glenhill Farm. After hiring prominent Philadelphia architect R. Brognard Okie to remodel the Schilling farmhouse in the "colonial revival" style, the family enjoyed their retreat until the death of Mr. Behrend in 1940. Eventually, Mrs. Behrend returned to her New England roots and in 1948 she donated the farm to the Pennsylvania State University for use as an Erie campus.


The Hammermill
Bond Collection

Hammermill Bond Cover

The Hammermill Bond was a monthly news-magazine published at Erie, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., for the people of Hammermill Paper Co. Each issue was distributed free to all within the organization on the Friday nearest the first of each month.


The Behrend
Beacon Collection

An image from the Behrend Beacon

Behrend College's first student newspaper, the Nittany Cub, filled the bins a mere month after the campus, known then as Behrend Center, opened for classes in the fall of 1948. The cover story was a rousing thank you to Mary Behrend for the gift of land and buildings that provided for the new school’s existence. Through the years and the many title changes, including Behrend Collegian, Penn State Behrend Collegian, Collegian, The Behrend College Collegian, and currently The Behrend Beacon, the publishing of a student newspaper has been a proud Behrend tradition. This digital content contains the issues from 1948 through 2010.