In Response to: Road Trip: A Tiger Guide

Greetings from a non-alumna but a fan of Princeton’s history and excellent library and archives! I chanced to read this article and a few others from PAW while researching Richard Halliburton 1921, a Princeton roommate and lifelong friend of my grandfather, alumnus and former Princeton trustee, J. Penfield (“Shorty” or “Penny”) Seiberling 1921.

My grandfather and two of his three brothers — Willard Penfield (also “Shorty”) Seiberling 1915 and Franklin A. Seiberling ’31 — were deeply involved in and loved campus life at Princeton and went on to careers in their hometown’s rubber business and academia, respectively. To the point of this article, the legacy of their family lives on, and is told, in the walls and on the grounds of the beautiful Seiberling estate in Akron, Ohio: Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens ( It is a destination worth exploring for any traveler seeking beauty, interesting history, and the stories of American lives from the Gilded Age through post-World War II America.

The father of these Princeton alumni, Frank Seiberling — founder of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and later the Seiberling Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio — built the mansion and 70 acres of landscaped grounds with his wife Gertrude from 1911-15. Stan Hywet Hall is a 64,500 square-foot Tudor Revival mansion that draws thousands of visitors each year to its intact manor home and multiple gardens, which were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted protégé Warren Manning. Stan Hywet is a site most worthy of an hours-long visit. It is situated in an area of the Midwest filled with preserved history and beauty, which includes nearby the impressive Goodyear Airdock (built for housing and constructing zeppelins, blimps, and balloons); the Cuyahoga Valley National Park; the Ohio and Erie Canalway and Towpath Trail; Ohio Amish Country; and sites such as the National Football Hall of Fame and Cleveland’s excellent art and natural history museums and botanical garden. Completely preserved and containing nearly all-original and professionally preserved furnishings, artwork, photographs and textiles, Stan Hywet offers multiple tours that engage visitors in its rich architectural, engineering, decorative arts, horticultural, familial, cultural, staffing and business history.

Additional Princeton ties lie in close proximity: the Seiberlings’ former family estate is just over one mile from the homesites of the Harvey S. Firestone family in Akron — another family rich in support for and the history of the University — and is across the street from the home of alumnus Maurice “Mose” Knight, Jr. ’31, with whom Franklin Seiberling attended school and whose father founded the Knight Stoneware Company.

Stan Hywet (an Anglo-Saxon term for “stone hewn” or “stone quarry” — the home is built on a former stone quarry) was home to these three Seiberling Princetonians during different periods of their lives: Willard lived there following his graduation from Princeton until his marriage in 1923. He worked for Goodyear in aeronautical sales, participated in the early international balloon races in which Goodyear engaged, and sold the U.S. Navy blimps and balloons used during and after World War I. Later, he became Secretary of the Seiberling Rubber Company. My grandfather, known in Akron as Penfield or Penny Seiberling, enjoyed the beauty and luxury of life at Stan Hywet for the least time of these three — he was at home there only during summer and Christmas vacations while attending school at Lawrenceville and then Princeton. However, in later life, he led the efforts to preserve the home as a historic museum, raised and gave money for the nonprofit foundation that runs Stan Hywet, and served as the family’s representative on the board of trustees for two decades before his death in 1982. Franklin spent the most time at Stan Hywet of the brothers. He grew up there from age 8 onward, developed skill as a builder and licensed operator of short-wave radios in his own attic radio room in the home by age 12, and likely developed a lifelong passion for the fine arts and art history, thanks to the home’s extensive collection of British, Spanish, Indian and American Arts and Crafts-era antiques. This exposure may have laid a basis for him eventually to earn a PhD in art history from the University of Chicago and positions as professor of art history and head of the departments of art at the Ohio State University and at the University of Iowa.

An eloquent writer and advocate for Stan Hywet and Akron’s history and business community, as well as for the Princeton University education of old, Penfield Seiberling would most definitely recommend a visit to Akron and Stan Hywet for any traveler. I hope that your alumni will put Akron on their list as they make their way around our great country.

More information about Penfield Seiberling’s and his brothers’ careers at and after Princeton is available in the yearbooks and compiled volumes of magazines in the Seeley Mudd Library’s collection. Some notes about Penfield’s life at Princeton and the great and lasting friendships cemented there are noted here: My grandfather valued the friendships, learning and experiences of his four years at Princeton until the day he died, and it is a blessing to me to understand more clearly his young adulthood, thanks to the yearbooks, PAWs, and other records that Princeton’s libraries afford enthused family researchers.

Harriet D. Chapman k’1921
Akron, Ohio