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Harvey Bassler Collection: Home

Connecting the Past with the Present

Harvey Bassler Collection, 1883-1950

By Amanda Walck


Biographical/Historical Note


Harvey Bassler was born April 21, 1883 in Myerstown, PA, the son of John H. (1834-1916) and Amanda M. Bassler, nee Mosser (1840-1919).  He died on March 14, 1950 (aged 66 years) in West Chester, PA, following an automobile collision.  He is buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in Myerstown, PA.


He graduated from Myerstown Public School in 1899.  He entered Albright College in Myerstown in 1900 and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English on June 18, 1903.   He graduated from Lehigh University with a Bachelors in Mining Engineering in 1908.  In 1909, he graduated from Albright College with a Masters Degree.  Bassler received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1913.  He also received the honorary degree of Doctor of Science  (Sc.D.) from Lehigh University in 1945 and Albright College in 1946.


While working on his Masters degree at Albright College, he was employed by the college, from 1908 to 1910 as a teacher of Natural Sciences.  From 1911 to 1920, he was employed by the United States Geology Survey, in Washington, D.C., as a Geologist.  During this time, he completed his Ph.D. in geology at Johns Hopkins University and was involved in S.A.T.C. (Students’ Army Training Corps; a precursor to ROTC) and worked during the First World War as an officer and teacher.  In 1920, Bassler was employed by Standard Oil Corporation out of New Jersey as a Petroleum Geologist.  Working for Standard Oil in Iquitos, Peru, Bassler developed an extensive collection of artifacts, some of which currently reside on display in the Smithsonian Institute.  It is claimed that he and his team were one of the first of the white men to enter the mouth of the Amazon River.  Leaving Standard Oil in 1932, Bassler went on to work at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, NY, starting in 1934, as a research associate.  His extensive travels and research in South America led to his recovery of priceless artifacts.  During the Second World War, he took a leave of absence from the museum to work with the government, especially with raw rubber development in the Amazon Rainforest.  He worked for the museum for 14 years and left in 1948.  He took a job in 1949 at Franklin and Marshall College, located in Lancaster, PA, and worked as a consultant in Pennsylvania History until his death in a car accident in 1950.  While researching at Franklin and Marshall, he turned his interests to Pennsylvania Dutch and compiled a collection of books, manuscripts and paintings related to the subject. 


At the time of his death, he was unmarried with no children.  He was an active and/or honorary member of the following organizations: Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honors society, Gamma Alpha Scientific society, Phi Beta Kappa Academic Honor society, and Sigma Xi Scientific Research society. 


The Harvey Bassler Collection was donated to Albright College Archives and Special Collections in 2004 from the Myerstown Community Library.


Scope and Content


The Harvey Bassler Collection consists of materials about the life of Harvey Bassler, with focus onto his years at Albright College Institute, Albright College and his continued interest in Albright College after graduation.  The collection contains programs of events from 1897 to 1919, photographs, and written documents.




The collection has been divided into four series.  Series 1 contains Academic records and information on Harvey Bassler from his time as an Albright College Institute and Albright College Undergraduate from 1894 to 1903, as well as when he received his Masters Degree from Albright and taught from 1908-1910.  This series contains publications, programs, report cards and written documents.  Series 2 contains documents relating to Albright College, such as programs and Alumni materials, which are from after Bassler left the college.  Series 3 contains related materials to Harvey Bassler and his academics at Albright College.  Series 4 consists of photographs of clubs and sports at Albright College Institute and Albright College while Harvey Bassler was there, as well as a faculty picture from his Post-Doctoral years.



Box and Folder Inventory

Box 1:  Personal Papers


            Series 1:  Academics 


Sub-Series 1:  Life at Albright College Institute 1894-1898


                                    Folder 1:  Course Catalogue 1894-1985; 1985-1986

                                    Folder 2:  The Philalethean 1895-1898

                                    Folder 3:  Report Cards from academic year 1896-1897

                                    Folder 4:  Non Dated Program for Elocutionary Entertainment

                        Sub-Series 2:  Life at Albright College 1898-1903; 1908-1910

                                    Folder 5:  Course Catalogue 1900-1901; 1901-1902; 1902-1903; 1903-1904

                                    Folder 6:  The Philalethean 1898-1902

                                    Folder 7:  Report Cards from 1900-1903

                                    Folder 8:  Star Course Ticket and Program 1900-1901

                                    Folder 9:  Written Document:  Eulogy to Howard Mohn 1900

                                    Folder 10:  Written Document:  Indictment against Wayne T. Killian 1902

                                    Folder 11: Neocosmian Literary Society 1903-1904

                                    Folder 12:  Assorted Programs from Undergraduate Years 1899-1903

                                    Folder 13:  Assorted Undated Programs from Undergraduate Years 1898-1903

                                    Folder 14:  Assorted Programs from Masters and Teaching Years 1909-1910

                                    Folder 15:  Undated Programs for Albright College

                                    Folder 16:  Commencement Programs from Undergraduate Years 1899-1903

                                    Folder 17:  Commencement Programs of Event for Week 1903; 1909; 1919

            Series 2:  Post Graduate Life

                        Sub-Series 3:  Albright College Programs

                                    Folder 18:  Assorted Programs from Post-Bachelors 1903-1905

                                    Folder 19:  Commencement Programs from Post-Doctorate 1911; 1919 

                                    Folder 20:  Sports Schedules:  Baseball, 1909; Basketball, 1914

                                    Folder 21:  Program from 1919

                        Sub-Series 4:  Albright College Alumni Association

                                    Folder 22:  Alumni Association Material

            Series 3:  Related Materials

                        Folder 23:  Written Document:  Mabel Woodring

                        Folder 24:  Albright Bulletin:  Dr. Aaron E. Gobble

            Series 4:  Photographs

                        Sub-Series 5:  Albright College Institute

                                    Folder 25:  Albright College Institute Football Team 1896

                                    Folder 26:  Albright College Institute Play Cast 1897

                        Sub-Series 6:  Albright College 1898-1903

                                    Folder 27:  Albright College Baseball Team 1900

                                    Folder 28:  Albright College Glee Club 1901

                                    Folder 29:  Albright College Basketball Team 1903

                        Sub-Series 7:  Albright College Post Graduate

                                    Folder 30:  Albright College Faculty 1916