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About digital collections
Digital collections and projects feature unique, primary-source materials for teaching, research, and discovery drawn from the Penn Libraries' signature collections or from our collaborations with the Penn community and with cultural heritage institutions. It provides access to important rare books, manuscripts, photographs and multimedia sources represented by images, texts, audio files, bibliographic databases, catalogs, and archival finding aids for the study of a wide array of subjects ranging from Philadelphia neighborhoods and the life of Marian Anderson to medieval manuscripts and Shakespeare's plays. In addition, this site gathers together Penn Libraries' pre-1923 materials publicly available through the Internet Archive as well as Penn-produced scholarship accessible in the ScholarlyCommons.
Created over the past fifteen years with generous support from Penn benefactors, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts and other non-profit agencies, DigitalPenn, like its founding project the Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text and Image, continues to grow as we engage with partner institutions locally and around the world. DigitalPenn collections are sustained by curators who are responsible for the life cycle management and stewardship of the content within the framework of Penn's digital library infrastructure.
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First offering the study of German in 1754, the University of Pennsylvania hosts one of oldest German programs in the United States. By the turn of the twentieth century, Penn was considered to have the premier department of German in the nation. At a time when fully one-third of the Pennsylvania population was of German heritage, Penn scholars forged the way for the study of German-Americans, particularly the Germans of Pennsylvania. Among the most notable were Marion Dexter Learned, renowned dialectologist who established the first graduate program in German at Penn, Oswald Seidensticker, the first professor of German Language and Literature at Penn, and Otto Springer, former Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Vice-Provost. Other noteworthy Penn faculty and affiliates who researched the history, language and culture of the Pennsylvania Germans included Martin Grove Brumbaugh, Henry Chapman Mercer, Joseph George Rosengarten and Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker.
The Penn Libraries collected a substantial number of materials on the history and language of the German emigrants to Pennsylvania to support the research of these esteemed faculty. Works by each of the scholars named above are represented in Penn's collection digitized by the Lyrasis collaborative with support in part from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Wherever possible, materials on the Pennsylvania German dialect listed in Otto Springer's 16-page mimeographed bibliography were digitized, as well as the bibliography itself. Of note in the collection is Marion Dexter Learned's 1911 ethnographical survey of Germans in Pennsylvania. Also digitized are the original 25 questions asked in the survey, published in Americana Germanica (vol.1, no.4), a monographic series for which Learned served as editor. The Pennsylvania German Society's publication series, 1891 to 1923, examining and preserving various aspects of the Pennsylvania German dialect and culture, is included as well.
[est. 171 vols.]
Researchers will find in the Internet Archive a fascinating array of expert studies of historic structures (including many in the Philadelphia region), cultural landscapes, building materials, and theories of preservation in the digitized theses written by students in Penn Design's Historic Preservation program from 1987 to 2003. At a time when society increasingly realizes the historical and cultural value of the inherited environment and what has been lost through the destruction of buildings, landscapes, and communities, the field of historic preservation has become central to the design, adaptive use, planning, and management of buildings, cities, and regions. Historic Preservation theses from 2004 to present are available in the ScholarlyCommons. [est. 309 vols.]
Journal of the Common Council of the City of Philadelphia and Ordinances of the City of Philadelphia
The Act of June 21, 1839 gave Philadelphia residents the right to directly elect the mayor. The structure of municipal government in Philadelphia as of1839, with its bicameral representative legislative branch and separately elected executive branch, continued with some variation until the Act of June 25, 1919 created the unicameral City Council that exists today.
Through the Lyrasis Mass Digitization Collaboration, the University of Pennsylvania Libraries are contributing virtually complete runs of the Journal of the Common Council of the City of Philadelphia, 1835-1916, and the Ordinances of the City of Philadelphia, 1850-1920.
The Journal of the Common Council of the City of Philadelphia contains minutes of the proceedings of the Common Council as well as the text of petitions, reports, resolutions, messages and ordinances that were presented to or created by the Council. The Ordinances of the City of Philadelphia contains ordinances passed by the Common and Select Councils. Ordinances include appropriations, directives to begin public works and construction, city planning decisions, and regulations. It was the decisions recorded in municipal documents such as these that helped shape the city during this vital eighty year period.
[est. 209 vols.]
The Penn Libraries' collections of rare Judaica rank among the most important in the world. Among Penn Judaica's most significant components are the remarkably rich holdings of Judaica Americana published before 1900. The provenance of Penn's Judaica Americana stems in large part from two private libraries built in 19th-century America: those of Isaac Leeser, the foremost Jewish publisher and translator in antebellum America and of Joshua I. Cohen, a Baltimore physician who was another extraordinary nineteenth-century collector. Both now form part of the Library at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at Penn. The Penn Libraries' Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Judaica Americana imprints are now freely available online to the public as part of Penn's Internet Archive collection. Selections are based, in large part, on Robert Singerman's Judaica Americana: bibliography of publications to 1900. [est. 120 vols.]
Published by the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting Agriculture, The Pennsylvania Farm Journal is "devoted to agriculture, horticulture, and rural economy"
The Plough, the Loom and the Anvil, is "An American farmers' magazine and mechanics' guide."
[est. 17 vols.]
With the digitizing of the illustrated exhibition catalogs published by Philadelphia's T Square Club in its most consequential years, researchers now will find in the Internet Archive a valuable record of contemporary architectural thought at the beginning of the twentieth century. The annual exhibitions between 1894 and 1922, the period documented by this project, chronicle the development of a cohort of architects responsible for creating much of Philadelphia in the new century. A powerful center of commerce and manufacturing, Philadelphia offered an exceptional field of play for architects: by publication in the T Square Club's annual exhibition catalogs, Philadelphia architects showcased the products of their studios to the nation and the world. Together with presentation of design work, the published catalogs include essays and valuable advertisements, documents of the physical fabric of architectural practice. [est. 24 vols.]
A selection of volumes from the personal library of Fairman Rogers (1833-1900), a Penn alumnus (A.B. 1853, A.M. 1856), co-founder of the School of Veterinary Medicine, Professor of Civil Engineering (1855-1871), and internationally recognized horseman. The materials, primarily published in the 19th century, bring together Rogers' interest in horses and their relationship to engineering, veterinary medicine, science, and history of industrialization, specifically related to agriculture, transportation, hauling, and construction. Comprised of medical guides, stud books, books on shoeing, harnessing, training, riding, driving, racing, keeping a proper stable, and breeds and breeding, the collection serves as a foundation for scholarly study of the role of the horse in the technical, scientific, and social evolution of 19th-century European and North American history. Selections from the collection are available at the Internet Archive and the full collection can be seen at the Print at Penn site.
In January 2010, Penn Libraries announced a gift of $300,000 from the Laurie Landeau Foundation, LLC, to support the digitization of the complete collection. The Foundation's president, Laurie Landeau (V'84, WG'84), is a University Trustee, former Chair and current Member of the Board of Overseers of School of Veterinary Medicine, and a generous and loyal supporter of Penn.
[est. 150 vols.]
Published by the Friends of the Library, University of Pennsylvania, this journal covers the provenance and history of important collections, news of recent acquisitions and purchases, and articles about the book trade and book history in Philadelphia and around the world.
[est. 45 vols.]
The World War I Pamphlet Collection at the University of Pennsylvania consists of just over 400 titles drawn from the general stacks at Van Pelt library. These pamphlets, many of them brittle and no longer fit for circulation, all deal with the First World War, its origins or aftermath. Out of this collection, more than 200 have been digitized and are made available here in Print at Penn. The remaining titles can be accessed digitally through the Hathi Trust. Published in nine languages, the selection of pamphlets includes political tracts, government publications, fund-raising brochures, and periodicals. Many of these items were given to the University of Pennsylvania Library by the Philadelphia attorney and politician James Montgomery Beck (1861-1936) who wrote and spoke often about the conflict. Given their rarity and ephemeral nature, the majority of items available in facsimile here are not available online in any other venue.
[est. 241 vols.]