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Democracy, Citizenship, & Constitutionalism

Immigration @ Penn - Overview

The Penn Libraries hold a healthy and deep collection of materials supporting research and instruction on immigration and related topics. Historic and current collection building for immigration have been by-products of our strong collections in American history and American literature, sociology, economics, anthropology, demography, and social work. Immigration has never been an explicit collection focus and no materials acquisition fund is devoted solely to acquiring immigration materials -- rather, the Penn Libraries's immigration collection reflects collaborative effort across formal subject areas.

Immigration materials are concentrated in Van Pelt Library, the main campus library and home to our humanities and social sciences collections. In addition, ethnographic materials on immigrant communities, acculturation and other anthropological topics will be found in the University Museum Library, and some media-related materials are held at the Annenberg School Library.

These Penn Libraries collections are supported on campus by two other specialized libraries. To support Penn's law faculty and students, Biddle Law Library collects extensively in American primary legal sources and the secondary legal research literature. Biddle Law Library also collects foreign and international legal materials, with strengths in the legal literature of the United Kingdom, Canada, India, Australia, France and Germany. Biddle Law Library and Van Pelt Library share international governmental depository collections of United Nations and European Union documents. The Demography Library collects materials to support the activities of the Population Studies Center, which funds its collection program. In addition to the basic literature on demography, the Demography Library has strong holdings in demographic history, migration, family studies, labor issues, women, family planning, and aging and health, with geographic concentrations on Africa and Latin America. Where Van Pelt Library focuses on the major population journals and published monographs, the Demography Library offerse strengths in specialized journals and in grey literature, including newsletters and research reports.

The Philadelphia area's rich special library collections complement the Penn Libraries's holdings for immigration research. The Historical Society of Pennsylvania has one of the nation's largest family history collections and, with its recent acquisition of the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies library, is a major repository of materials on America's ethnic and immigrant communities, along with the German American collections of the German Society of Pennsylvania and the Library Company of Philadelphia. Temple University's Urban Archives holds organizational records for many Philadelphia and regional organizations. The Mid Atlantic Regional Archives branch of the National Archives and Records Administration holds microform and electronic reproductions of historic census schedules and immigration records.